DETROIT — Former basketball star Joe Dumars is continuing to score in Detroit, adding more plastics businesses to his corporate scoreboard. The former Detroit Pistons guard already owns 52 percent of thermoformer Detroit Technologies Inc. Now Detroit Technologies has spun off a wholly owned subsidiary, Du-Plast LLC, that will make blow molded auto parts starting this summer from a 63,000-square-foot factory in Canton, Mich.
The new company has one contract to turn out heating and air-conditioner ducts for Toyota Motor Co.'s 2002 Camry, and it's wrapping up at least two other deals, said Bill Vaughn, a partner and vice president of sales and marketing with DTI.
Du-Plast will operate as both a Tier 1 supplier and subsupplier to the auto industry, he said.
Former blow molder Edward Narens and Jim Haas, who owns Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Summit Polymers, also are partners in Du-Plast.
Detroit-based DTI has about 60 full-time employees, turning out thermoformed carpet for trunks from recycled plastics. General Motors Corp. is its biggest customer, Vaughn said, but the business is getting increased interest from other manufacturers, including Toyota.
The Japanese carmaker accounts for 20-25 percent of DTI's booked businesses, with pieces headed to Toyota's U.S. production sites.
Toyota is increasing its business with DTI, Vaughn said. It now represents its second-biggest customer. At the same time, the corporation is aiming to have 5 percent of its supplies come from minority-owned companies.
Toyota encouraged Dumars to join forces with the Narens family, who previously operated blow molder Kenco Plastics Inc. of Farmington Hills, Mich., and Haas, who produces injection molded heating and air-conditioner parts for Toyota.
The carmaker wants to establish solid minority suppliers and Haas and the Narens family could provided strong support as mentors to the new company, Narens said.
"We've had a long and good relationship with Toyota," he said.
"There was a good opportunity for us to get involved," Vaughn said.
Du-Plast will start with about a dozen employees, but should grow to 100, he said.
The business eventually will supply reservoirs, exterior and seating components.