Mahle, which has factories in Booth Drive and Paterson Road in the town as well as in Northampton, took on 75 employees as recently as 2014, when it employed more than 500 people across the two towns.
But a statement today says changes will have to be made following the loss of two customers.
Plant manager Anthony Green said in a statement: “Following changes in the strategic direction of some major customers, Mahle is currently reviewing its manufacturing activities in Wellingborough.
“It is proposed that by spring 2017, these activities will be adapted to the new market situation and will be set for future opportunities.
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“The manufacturing sites of Wellingborough are part of Mahle Powertrain Ltd and supply high-quality components, such as cylinder heads and engine blocks, as well as fully assembled engines to customers of the automotive and engine industry.
“Despite ongoing work for a leading automotive OEM and other small batch production for various customers, the decision of two customers not to extend production requires that we restructure.
“We need to make these changes now to firmly anchor our growth in the coming years.
“It is envisaged that about 80 of the company’s 213 employees are likely to be impacted by the proposed restructuring, which is planned to be completed by spring 2017.
“We deeply regret having to undertake this painful step.
“However, this is the only way to give the plant a firm foundation and safeguard the majority of the workforce.”
Collective consultation with employee representatives concerning the proposal will begin shortly.