DETROIT - Cambridge Industries Inc. has used a simple strategy to dominate the market for composite plastics: Buy out the competition.
Since 1990, the company has grown from $3 million in sales to $510 million. Cambridge now owns a 42 percent share of the market, more than double that of its chief rival, Budd Co.
Last week, the Madison Heights, Mich., company paid $76 million for the plastics operations of Eagle-Picher Industries Inc. and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Cambridge acquired three Eagle-Picher plants in Indiana that make door assemblies, spoilers and other components. Goodyear's plant in Jackson, Ohio, makes body panels, plastic hoods and exterior trim for trucks. The two divisions generated $134 million in sales last year.
Now Cambridge will shift its focus from acquisitions to new technology, said Chairman Richard Crawford. This year the company plans to open a 90,000-square-foot technology center that will develop techniques to provide high-gloss painting and molded-in color for plastic body panels.