DETROIT - The company that gained industry notoriety for building the flaring plastic-body panels for the Dodge Viper sports car is being sold. APX International is selling its Production Molding Co. to Cambridge Industries Inc., APX President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Miller confirmed.
PMC, a Madison Heights, Mich., company, has 100 employees and reported $13 million in sales last year, Miller said. Calls to Cambridge executives in Madison Heights were not returned.
The planned sale comes as APX prepares to be acquired by publicly traded MascoTech Inc. The previously announced deal will create one of the nation's largest automotive-engineering and technical-service businesses. Madison Heights-based APX, with 1995 sales of $190 million, would add to MascoTech's technical-services group, which accounted for 21 percent of company business last year, or $210 million in sales.
The combination of APX and MascoTech leaves no room for a plastic-components manufacturing operation such as PMC, Miller said.
``We got involved in this as part of technology development,'' he said, ``but now we're beating out parts. We don't have the staff backup or the expertise to run an efficient manufacturing operation demanded by today's standards. We are an engineering company.''
PMC grew out of a technology venture between Chrysler Corp. and APX to further develop resin-transferred molding, a technology then only feasible for low-volume or prototype vehicles.
Chrysler wanted to use the lower-cost resin-transfer molding technique on its expensive Vi-pers, where it planned to build thousands of body panels with a high-quality finish. PMC builds outside and inside plastic panels, with the exception of the car's hood.
The firm's RTM molding technology is now at the point, said Miller, ``where our shareholders are best served by disposing of it to people who can earn more money on it than we can.''