Six months after buying Walbro Corp., TI Group Automotive Systems has brought discipline and a new contract to the company.
Walbro has been awarded a major fuel system contract by General Motors for its new Epsilon mid-sized car, due in the 2003 model year, say supplier sources familiar with the program. The contract could be worth up to $175 million in annual sales.
The global contract is a major coup for Walbro. The Auburn Hills, Mich., fuel system supplier had been slowed by management and profitability issues before the TI Group takeover in June.
Those problems also were recognized by TI Group PLC, an Abingdon, England, conglomerate with $2.2 billion in 1999 sales for its automotive systems unit. But the company wanted a leading fuel system company to marry TI-owned Bundy Group, a Warren, Mich., maker of vehicle fluid-carrying systems.
With TI Group's financial discipline and operating savvy, the company believed those problems could be fixed easily, said James Davis, president of TI Group's North American Operations. Walbro recorded sales worldwide of $677.9 million in 1998.
The proof of that tinkering is in the contracts. The Epsilon contract includes the Chevrolet Malibu, Oldsmobile Alero, Pontiac Grand Am, Saturn L series and Opel Vectra in Europe.
Walbro will make plastic fuel tanks, pumps and fuel lines under the contract, Davis said.