Motus Integrated Technologies formed to run former JCI headliners business

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General Motors Co. Tim Lee, the former chairman of GM China, is chairman of the new Motus. Former United Plastics Group Inc. executive Shannon White is president and CEO.

A new Tier 1 auto supplier has been formed to operate a headliner and sun visor business acquired from Johnson Controls Inc.

Motus Integrated Technologies, backed by private equity firm Atlas Holdings LLC, will have its North American headquarters in Holland, Mich., at JCI’s former Maplewood facility. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

JCI announced the planned sale, which left the auto supplier with a portion of its interiors unit, in February. It later announced a deal to spin off the remainder of its interiors group into a joint venture with Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems Co. Ltd.

Focusing on only two products will be Motus’ advantage, said Matthew Taylor, director of business development.

“Johnson Controls set a pretty good base for the business, but it had conflicting strategies,” he told Plastics News. “We’re going to focus ourselves on the headliner/overhead systems and sun visors. And so that allows us the ability to keep focus from a sales perspective, a development perspective, innovation, everything else, where again JCI had a much broader vision from an interior perspective and had to kind of spread that across multiple products.”

The Motus leadership team includes President and CEO Shannon White, a former executive with United Plastics Group Inc., and Chairman Tim Lee, a former longtime General Motors executive who retired in April as chairman of GM China. Several have significant experience within JCI’s interiors division as well, Taylor said.

“We’ve brought quite a few guys with a lot of leadership experience and a lot of automotive experience right out of the interiors division, so just that longer term experience [and] relationship with the customers is all coming with us,” he said.

In addition to its Holland location, Motus will continue operations in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico; Überherrn, Germany; and Creutzwald, France, and will have production capabilities in Cottondale, Ala., according to a news release.