A group of tooling and mold-manufacturer trade associations has met twice with General Motors Corp. officials this week to discuss alleged comments made by a GM official that the company wants to outsource all its tooling to foreign firms.
The meetings were prompted by alleged comments made by GM's director of global cost engineering at a recent industry event that GM Chairman Rick Wagoner wants to source all its tooling work from low-cost countries like India and China.
General Motors presently purchases 49 percent of its vendor tooling from LCC's [low cost countries like India and China], and if the chairman had it his way, it would be 100 percent, the GM official allegedly said.
Craig Wiggins, president of Canada-based Tooling & Equipment Capital Solutions Inc., said the GM executive was Stu Spiers, and the comments were made at an event called The Smart Approach to Tooling, held March 11 in Troy by the Original Equipment Suppliers Association.
Representatives from the National Tooling and Machining Association, the American Mold Builders Association and the Canadian Tooling and Machining Association met with GM executives on March 24, and Wiggins took part in a meeting on March 26, although no action has been settled on by any of the businesses.
GM spokesman Dan Flores said he could not verify the alleged statements, nor could he verify that Spiers made the comments.
I can't verify what he said. But if he said that, his comments in no way reflect any corporate or regional policy or strategy on current or future tooling purchases, Flores said, calling the alleged GM comment completely inappropriate and completely inaccurate.
Flores also said he could not verify if the company had received the requests for a meeting with Wagoner.
The comments could not be directly verified by Crain's Detroit Business, as transcripts were not available.
But OESA materials available online confirm that Spiers did make a presentation at the March 11 event.
The group said it also has submitted a proposal to the Obama adminstration's auto industry task force overseeing the restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler LLC, and wishes to discuss the proposal with Wagoner in the requested meeting.
The group is calling for a faster pay system for tooling used to build parts for GM vehicles. Instead of the standard toolmaker payment schedule of five to 18 months after delivery to its customer, the group wants GM to pay its toolmakers 90 percent of the tooling cost within 60 days after delivery.
The remaining 10 percent would be paid after the tooling was approved.