Automotive mold maker Proper Group International Inc. and Tier 1 injection molder Eypex Corp. are forming a strategic alliance for automotive lighting, agreeing to jointly design, develop, market and manufacture lighting components.
The focus will be the automotive market for small lamps, a growing area because of autonomous vehicles, personalized customization and accent lighting. Eypex officials said the agreement helps the company's move to compete against offshore lamp suppliers.
Proper Group, based in Warren, Mich., and Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Eypex have a decades-long relationship. The companies announced on March 17 that they have signed a binding letter of intent to create the alliance.
Eypex, formerly automotive supplier Commercial Imports and Assembly Inc., was founded in 1998 as one of the original suppliers of rare earth magnetic assemblies to the auto sector. Eypex makes magnetic fastening products, interior and exterior lighting and injection molded assemblies.
The company has two plants in Michigan and one in China. In late 2018, Eypex bought the vehicle lighting and injection molding operation of Dakkota Integrated Systems LLC.
"With this agreement, each company can maintain their individual identities while leveraging each other's capabilities in our jointly targeted markets and applications," said Proper Group CEO Geoff O'Brien. "Taking a chapter from the Nissan/Renault alliance, we're establishing cross-company teams to manage key areas of engineering, product design, sales, marketing, program management and purchasing."
Eypex President Clarence Martin said: "Our customers are looking for new supply chain solutions to provide cutting-edge technologies and the global footprint of the large Tier 1 supplier, packaged in a smaller more agile and responsive organization."
The strategic alliance with Proper Group gives Eypex flexibility to manufacture in North America and Asia, including product development and testing, Eypex CEO Robert Granata said.
"Our strategy to efficiently service and supply our customers regionally elevates us above many of the independent, offshore small lamp suppliers who have struggled with recent supply chain and trade issues," he said.