TRAVERSE CITY, MICH. (Aug. 4, 1 p.m. ET) — Ford Motor Co. has agreements to sell two of its parts plants, including the massive interiors plant in Saline, Mich.
Published reports said the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker has a memorandum of understanding to sell the Automotive Components Holdings LLC plant in Saline to French auto supplier Faurecia SA, but neither Ford nor Faurecia executives would confirm it.
Another MOU is in hand for ACH's lighting plant in Sandusky, Ohio, signed in recent months, said Ford spokeswoman Della DiPietro. Further details were not available on that proposal either.
The memo lays out the framework for a future sale, she pointed out, but does not guarantee a deal will be confirmed. An earlier MOU between Ford and Johnson Controls Inc. for Saline ended without a sale in 2008.
ACH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ford, currently operates four plants – down from 17 when the carmaker first formed the group to take over plants sold back to Ford by Visteon Corp. in 2005.
The company continues to seek buyers for its climate control plant in Plymouth, Mich. A hydraulic steering operation in Indianapolis is slated to close in 2012, DiPietro said.
ACH completed the sale of its Milan, Mich., fuel tank blow molding facility to Inergy Automotive Systems earlier this year. Paris-based Inergy is currently leasing the facility while it builds an all-new operation in the Detroit suburb of Huron Township, Mich.
The Saline facility is one of the biggest interiors parts plants in the region, covering more than 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and employing 2,300 people. It has injection molding, cast and urethane skin production and assembly, making door panels, instrument panels, center consoles and other interior trim for a number of Ford's major vehicles, including the Focus and Taurus.
It has production that was also once part of ACH's former Utica, Mich., interiors site, moved to Saline to consolidate operations.
Ford has invested more than $120 million at the site since ACH took it over, including $32 million in 2010 for interior skin and other manufacturing.
Ford has also put money into the Sandusky facility, adding two injection molding presses earlier this year to make taillights for the Explorer and other Ford vehicles.