Automotive supplier Johnson Controls Inc. has agreed to buy Ford Motor Co.'s Automotive Components Holdings interiors business and its plant in Saline, Mich. - dependent on a few details being worked out.
The plant, which produces instrument panels, door panels, center consoles and seating for several automakers, employs 1,350, about 400 of whom are temporary workers. The facility is 1.6 million square feet and sits on 189 acres.
The auto parts are made from several processes, including injection molding and thermoforming. The plant also has assembly operations.
Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford and Glendale, Wis.-based Johnson Controls announced a nonbinding memorandum of understanding - a deal contingent upon a new labor agreement between JCI and the United Auto Workers, ``as well as resolution of other issues needed to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the operation,'' a JCI news release said.
The deal, if completed, will allow JCI to ``provide further support to ... Ford,'' said JCI spokeswoman Debbie Lacey in a Nov. 15 telephone interview. ``This complements our global growth plans for our interiors business,'' she said.
JCI has proved itself to be a good business decision maker, according to Jim Gillette, director of supplier analysis for CSM Worldwide, a Northville, Mich.-based consulting group.
``They're very smart about what they produce and what they don't want to produce,'' Gillette said Nov. 16 by telephone. ``They really understand that their money is being made in innovation, engineering and design.''
Gillette said JCI has several partnerships with other suppliers that can make certain parts more inexpensively than it can.
For Ford, the pending deal represents a continued effort to sell or close the automaker's Automotive Components Holdings operations and reduce material costs by the end of 2008.
ACH has already sold two business units in Mexico and now has six agreements in place for the sale of seven other plants, as well as another business from an eighth plant, said Della DiPietro, ACH director of public affairs, by phone.
JCI's Automotive Experience unit sold $17.5 billion worth of goods in fiscal year 2007. The business unit operates about 250 plants worldwide and employs 77,000.