V. Johnson Enterprises LLC, an affiliate of Redford, Mich.-based Piston Group, announced Oct. 29 the formation of a new joint venture with Valeo SA called Detroit Thermal Systems LLC.
Ford Motor Co. orchestrated the deal to create the minority-owned supplier and to transfer its ACH climate control business in Plymouth Township, Mich., to the new joint venture.
To support the ACH climate control, or HVAC, business, DTS announced it is leasing a 365,000-square-foot plant in Romulus, Mich. The plant will make heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units for Ford vehicles, with 30 injection molding presses. The plant has the capacity to produce 2 million units annually, the company said in a release.
Production will begin during the third quarter of 2013, the company said. Assets and operations will be moved over the next two years. Current ACH employees, many United Auto Workers members, will need to reapply for positions at the new DTS plant.
“Our investment in readying this site, with the installation of advanced equipment and employee training, demonstrates our commitment to rebuilding a vibrant manufacturing base in the Detroit area,” Kurt Hall, COO of the new company, said in a release.
V. Johnson Enterprises, led by former Detroit Piston and Chairman and CEO Vinnie Johnson, will maintain a majority stake in the venture. Paris-based Valeo operates in North America as Valeo Automotive Inc. in Troy, Mich.
Valeo's North American unit generated sales of $1.9 billion last year with 447 employees in metro Detroit. At the time of the deal-signing in 2006, the plant employed 1,250, according to a Ford release.