Textron Automotive Co. Inc. has teamed up with one of its suppliers, Jackson Plastics Inc., to create a joint venture to mold interior trim and consoles for Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc.
Jackson Plastics President Henry Jackson will serve as president and majority owner of Synova Plastics LLC, which will ramp up this summer to supply the 2002 Toyota Camry.
The new company will spend as much as $3 million on six new presses of up to 1,500 tons and another $500,000 to renovate space at Textron's existing Morristown, Ind., facility, which will serve as Synova's headquarters, Jackson said.
Eventually he hopes to see the company expand its customer base and size.
"We hope that this is just the tip of the iceberg," Jackson said in a Feb. 15 telephone interview.
Jackson Plastics of Nicholasville, Ky., has been a Tier 2 supplier to Troy, Mich.-based Textron almost since it opened seven years ago. The company will continue separately from Synova, with contracts including plastic wheel covers for Toyota.
According to Textron, Henry Jackson was a natural choice when the company began looking for a minority-owned firm to partner with in the new business.
"Jackson Plastics has been a certified minority supplier to Textron Automotive since 1995, meeting or exceeding all of our requirements for quality, cost and technology," said Textron Automotive Trim Division President William Maclean.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc. has set a target of getting at least 5 percent of its parts through minority-owned companies by 2002, making it a strong potential customer.
"This goes along with the whole company philosophy," said Toyota spokeswoman Barbara McDaniel. "Our intent is to have long-term contracts, and the company wants to help the supplier become successful along the way."
Toyota has helped create other new minority ventures, including blow molder Du-Plast LLC. That company is majority owned by former Detroit Pistons star Joe Dumars, who is black. Du-Plast begins molding heating and air conditioning ducts for the 2002 Camry this summer.
Toyota's Erlanger, Ky.-based North
American manufacturing division would not give any details on how close it is to the 5 percent target. But McDaniel said Toyota is "very pleased" with its progress toward the goal.
"Toyota had a lot to do with bringing this marriage together," Jackson said.
Now Jackson and Textron are making plans to expand their contracts beyond Toyota to provide both a wider variety of parts and more automakers.
"It's our goal to expand with international companies," Jackson said. "This is a great opportunity."