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Checker Motors Files for Bankruptcy

After 87 years of operation - some of which were spent building one of the world's most famous taxi cabs - Checker Motors Corporation filed for bankruptcy this week.

The company, based out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, sought protection from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Grand Rapids, Michigan, this past Friday. Though the firm no longer builds automobiles (production of the ubiquitous Marathon ended in 1982), it has continued to serve as a supplier to several automotive manufacturers. According to Automotive News, it's the latest in a string of such companies to hit strife - 54 suppliers have filed for bankruptcy since 2000 (three of them filed twice), while several filed for protection in the past year alone.

Checker's reasons for filing for bankruptcy as reported on the filing include rising material costs, the declining market share of its clients, and a desire to lower wages to levels competitive of already bankrupt suppliers. The company has been unable to lower its unionized employees' wages in over a year of labor talks.

In the bankruptcy documents, Checker lists assets of $24.5 million and liabilities of $21.8 million, which includes $3.4 million in unsecured trade debt. The company lists net sales at $63.4 million in 2007 and expects net sales for 2008 to be $61.5 million. Checker's customers include Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor *** and General Motors.