Southfield, Mich.-based Lear Corp. has announced that it will open an automotive seat trim manufacturing operation in Portugal that could employ more than 4,000 workers in 2000 and provide product for nearly all of its European customers. The new operation will encompass more than 400,000 square feet of space built on a 30-acre parcel in Palmela, near Lisbon. It is expected to open in the fourth quarter of this year with about 1,000 workers. Lear officials say they intend to ultimately consolidate production of a majority of their European market for automotive seat covers in this single location. Lear has 74 facilities in Europe including technical centers, sales offices, and manufacturing plants.