Workers pull a giant Radio Flyer wagon into place at near Navy Pier in Chicago in June 2000. The world's biggest wagon was made by Chicago-based Radio Flyer Inc. to mark its 80th anniversary. It now plans to manufacture the iconic American toy in China, and will lay off nearly half of its 90 employees.
updated 3/31/2004 4:51:12 PM ET 2004-03-31T21:51:12

Radio Flyer Inc., maker of the little red wagon loved by generations of children, plans to move manufacturing of its metal wagons to China.

The 87-year-old company said it would keep its headquarters and distribution business in Chicago but decided the Chicago plant where the metal wagons are built is too expensive to maintain. With the plant closing later this year, Radio Flyer will lay off nearly half its 90 employees.

Chief executive Robert Pasin, whose grandfather started the company, said he did not believe the move would hurt customer loyalty.

"We're still a Chicago company. We're still a Chicago brand," he said.

Radio Flyer's tricycles, scooters and most of its other products are already made in China. A Wisconsin company makes its plastic wagons and will continue to do so.

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