Faurecia CEO quits after bribery claim
PARIS - Faurecia SA's leader has stepped down in the face of a probe by German prosecutors into bribery allegations against him and the company.
The Paris-based automotive interiors supplier said in an Aug. 2 news release that Pierre Levi stepped down as chairman and chief executive officer ``as a consequence of the current judicial inquiry in Germany and in the best interests of the group.''
During a July 28 news conference in Frankfurt, prosecutor Sybille Gottwald alleged Levi had known since 2001 that Faurecia had paid kickbacks to carmakers in exchange for contracts, according to Reuters.
The German investigation has implicated 10 auto suppliers, Reuters reported. During the conference, Gottwald said there is evidence of bribery at interior trim molder Sommer Allibert SA dating back to 1998. Faurecia acquired Sommer Allibert in 2001.
Faurecia has been expanding in North America, announcing plans in January to invest $300 million to build six plants there.
Levi has been CEO of Faurecia since 2000. The company named Chief Financial Officer Frank Imbert as acting CEO.
Landmark buying thermoform machines
AKRON, OHIO - Landmark Plastics Corp. of Akron is spending $1.2 million to expand its thermoforming capacity.
According to Ohio's Development Financing Advisory Council, Landmark will receive a $750,000 loan with an interest rate of 3 percent over seven years to buy machinery.
Landmark officials declined comment.
The advisory council said Landmark will buy thermoforming equipment to make large horticulture containers. The firm will replace the injection presses it now uses to make the containers.
Landmark employs 134 at its Akron facility and expects to add 10 workers.
Plastic Trim expanding facility in Ohio
BINGHAM FARMS, MICH. - Auto supplier Plastic Trim LLC will invest $1.8 million in new equipment at its Beavercreek, Ohio, plant to make parts for new contracts.
Plastic Trim, based in Bingham Farms, injection molds and extrudes exterior trim for the auto industry, including body side moldings and bumper fascia.
The company will receive a $1 million loan from Ohio to help finance the purchases, according to a July 31 news release from the state. Plastic Trim expects to add 25 jobs within three years to its current base of 108 employees.
U.S., German venture grows in Mexico
QUERETARO, MEXICO - Two molders in the U. S. and Germany are expanding their partnership to make auto parts in Mexico.
Wiesauplast GmbH & Co. of Wiesau, Germany, and Plastic Moldings Co. LLC of Cincinnati have had an operating agreement since 2000, with PMC using Wiesauplast's technology to make precision parts such as brake components in the U.S. Now with Wiesauplast-PMC de Mexico srl in Queretaro, the firms are moving into production there. The joint venture already has acquired injection molder ACG in Queretaro, along with its 40 employees and 10 presses, the firms said in an Aug. 1 news release.
The joint venture, called WPMX, will make ``hyper-precision'' parts for the auto industry.
The venture will feature high-volume, fully automated production cells with product design, tooling and project management from Wiesauplast and PMC, said Torsten Kutschinski, Wiesauplast managing director.
Quality Model salvages molds after fire
LAKESHORE, ONTARIO - Quality Model Group has begun putting injection molds into production after salvaging them from its fire-destroyed operation in Lakeshore.
A Quality Model spokesman said in an Aug. 3 telephone interview that most of the molds ``are in pretty good shape.'' Custom molders in the Windsor, Ontario, area near Lakeshore are running most of the salvaged molds, although some all-terrain-vehicle part molds may be relocated to Quality Model's Orangeburg, S.C., facility, which is near customer Honda of South Carolina Manufacturing Inc. in Timmonsville, S.C.
The Lakeshore Fire Department said the fire started at a 300-ton injection press. No damage estimate was provided.