Azure Dynamics Corporation, the developer and producer of hybrid electric and electric components and powertrain systems for commercial vehicles including the Ford Transit Connect Electric, has filed for bankruptcy protection in Canada.
Founded in Canada, Azure moved its headquarters to Detroit’s suburbs in 2008 after having considered sites in Northeast Ohio.
The company laid off about 120 people worldwide at four sites today, including about 50 people in Oak Park. The company also had layoffs at its offices near Boston, the United Kingdom and in Canada.
The company halted production of the Transit Connect Electric Monday and said it’s not sure when it might be able to restart production — or if it will permanently end production. The company has produced about 500 Ford Transit Connect Electric vans worldwide since it began production in late 2010.
Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said the automaker is monitoring the situation with Azure and working to make sure its dealerships can support hybrid and electric van owners who need service. He added that Ford has not yet decided if it will try to find a new company to supply hybrid and electric conversions for its vans.
Azure needed to generate $50 million to $60 million in annual revenue to become profitable. The company posted $38 million in revenues in 2011 and sold about 800 vehicles.
Johnson Controls Inc. invested more than $6 million in Azure. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority also approved $1.3 million in state tax credits for the company.