Big Three carmakers are seeking backup suppliers in case financial problems halt production at injection molder Plastech Engineered Products Inc.
A proposed $200 million bailout to stabilize the maker of interior trim, wiring harnesses and cockpit modules is uncertain because ``there is a lot of buck-passing'' among the four parties tapped for help, according to a source who is taking part in the negotiations.
The four companies - General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., Chrysler LLC and Tier 1 supplier Johnson Controls Inc. - are still smarting from their unsuccessful $46 million bailout of Plastech in early 2007.
The latest Plastech crisis comes at a difficult time for automakers. Each has struggling suppliers, and more supplier failures are expected if North American light-vehicle production falls to 14.3 million units, as some analysts predict.
Even as the Big Three discuss a Plastech bailout, they are lining up other suppliers. GM has sought quotes from a supplier about picking up the GMT900 light truck and SUV trim. That program is one of Plastech's largest for GM, representing roughly 5 percent of Plastech's sales.
Plastech founder and Chief Executive Officer Julie Brown declined by e-mail to discuss the situation with Automotive News, a sister publication to Plastics News.
Plastech of Dearborn, Mich., ranks No. 51 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers in North America, with estimated North American original-equipment automotive parts sales of $1.07 billion in 2006. The company also ranks No. 6 on the Plastics News list of top North American injection molders, with estimated relevant sales of $925 million.