Three plastics operations are on the list to set up shop at Ford Motor Co.'s first North American supplier park in Chicago next year.
Visteon Corp., Summit Polymers Inc. and Plastech Engineered Products Inc. are among nine suppliers named May 16 to become the first occupants of the site near Ford's Chicago assembly plant.
Visteon, based in Dearborn, Mich., will produce a variety of systems for Ford's new CrossTrainer sport utility and minivan crossover vehicle and the Five Hundred passenger car in Chicago, including assembly of a complete fuel module featuring a thermoformed tank.
The firm also will deliver front-end systems, cockpits and climate-control systems.
Portage, Mich.-based Summit will produce injection molded consoles while Plastech, also headquartered in Dearborn, will make injection and blow molded plastic components. The companies did not specify what parts Plastech will make.
The 155-acre supplier park will open in 2003 and be fully operational in 2004, employing as many as 1,000 people among all of the companies on site.
Infrastructure at the site will allow companies to supply components to each other easily, Dearborn-based Ford executives noted. Wire harness provider S-Y Systems, for instance, can ship units directly to Ford or to Visteon and Summit for the modules those firms will provide.
``Cross-tier supplier relationships will add significant value and will create synergistic opportunities between suppliers,'' Roman Krygier, group vice president manufacturing and quality, said in a news release.
Supplier parks are fairly common in other auto-producing regions, but have not made the leap to North America. Now, though, they are gaining attention. In addition to Ford, Japanese automaker Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. is building a ``supplier campus'' adjacent to an assembly plant under construction in Canton, Miss. That site is slated to open next year.