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Inergy invests $110 million in Michigan plastic fuel tank plant

By: Catherine Kavanaugh

October 14, 2013

Inergy Automotive Systems, a subsidiary of Plastic Omnium, has invested $110 million into a new extrusion blow molding facility that will produce about 1.5 million plastic fuel tanks a year in the Detroit suburb of New Boston, Mich.

The plant's 400 skilled manufacturing and administrative employees are part of a 6,000-person global workforce that allows the Tier-One supplier to boast that one in every five light vehicles is equipped with an Inergy fuel tank.

Inergy, which is headquartered in Levallois-Perret, France, has more than 30 manufacturing facilities in 19 countries that supply the world's major car manufacturers with about 14 million fuel systems made of high density polyethylene a year. Annual sales exceeded $2 billion in 2011 (1.5 billion euros).

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is scheduled to attend Tuesday's grand opening of the plant, which is helping retain jobs in one of the state's hit hardest by the recession.

The guest list for Mark Sullivan, president and CEO of Inergy Automotive Systems, The Americas, also includes Francois Delattre, the French ambassador to the United States; Hau Thai-Tang, vice president of global purchasing for Ford Motor Co.; and Laurent Burelle, chairman and CEO of Plastic Omnium.

In addition to fuel tanks, Plastic Omnium supplies automotive components and body modules as well as waste containers for communities and companies.

Inergy, a wholly-owned subsidiary, manufactures the hollow plastic fuel tanks that help automakers strike a better balance between vehicle costs, safety and weight. The blow-molded tanks weigh a third of the average steel tank, which improves fuel economy and lowers CO2 emissions. The products also are durable, don't corrode, and are compatible with biofuels after a few minor adjustments.

In addition to reducing emissions by making vehicles lighter, Inergy is focused on developing emissions-control systems for diesel engines and energy storage systems for hybrid vehicles.

The newest facility of Inergy Automotive Systems, 36000 Burelle Ave., which was formerly called International Drive, is in New Boston, which is within Huron Township.