DETROIT - Visteon Automotive Systems has restructured for a possible spinoff from Ford Motor Co.
Ford's parts-making operation in Dearborn, Mich., has combined business units, moved top executives and reassigned staff, the company confirmed.
The goal, said company spokeswoman Cheryl Eberwein, is to make Visteon a systems-integration leader. But a knowledgeable supplier executive said Visteon also is preparing to operate independently of Ford.
'They were not profit driven, but that's not the case anymore,' the supplier executive said.
According to a memo obtained by Automotive News, Visteon President Craig Muhlhauser told employees that he restructured the operation in response to market pressures. It requires 'taking the bureaucracy out of the business and pushing decision-making down,' he stated.
Muhlhauser now treats each company unit as a stand-alone business.
'It allows Visteon to see if its units are performing and which units are viable,' the supplier noted.
Visteon has integrated all plastic functions into one operation. The new division, Interior Systems, includes the former Exterior Trim division, along with the former Bumpers and Lighting business units. Interior Systems is headed by Steve Delaney, vice president and general manager.
The Wiper/Washer unit was combined with the Powertrain Control Systems division. The new unit is called Energy Transformation.
An advanced technology office was created under Marcos Oliveira, chief technology officer. His 50-person staff assesses technology seven to 20 years in the future.
Visteon spread its electronics expertise throughout the company. Its stand-alone division, Electronic Systems, was eliminated, and the division's employees were assigned to the remaining five divisions.
The reorganization comes at a time when Visteon has embarked on a $400 million annual cost-cutting campaign. The company hopes to gain part of those savings by pressuring suppliers to cut prices.
Visteon's reorganization was made more imperative by the recent tentative Ford-UAW contract, which covers Visteon.
Terms call for pay raises and job guarantees for Visteon's 23,500 UAW members. Visteon must compete with independent suppliers where wages range from $10 and $16 an hour, below the $21 hourly wage paid by General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler under the old contract.