DETROIT -- Visteon Corp.'s pending plant sale to Plastech Engineered Products Inc. does not signal a trend, a Visteon spokesman said.
Visteon agreed on Aug. 13 to transfer the lease and sell the assets of its new plant in Chicago to Plastech.
The plant handles final assembly and sequencing of front-end modules, cockpit systems, fuel storage systems and climate systems for the Ford Freestyle, Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego. Production of those vehicles began in July.
Visteon will continue to supply parts to the plant. But the company's Tier 2 role on those products is unique to Chicago and does not indicate a trend, said Visteon spokesman Jim Fisher.
Visteon CEO Peter Pestillo told Automotive News in April that the company is considering dropping into a Tier 2 role for certain products in order to save money on r&d, technology and equipment. He pointed to chassis components, glass and lighting as candidates.
Said Fisher: "We would look at every situation on a case-by-case basis. This made sense in this situation in large part because of who we're selling to. We view Plastech as a long-term partner. We're continuing to look at how can we best be competitive and meet the end customer's needs."
Plastech of Dearborn, Mich., is one of the largest minority-owned auto suppliers in North America, partly because of its acquisition of LDM Technologies Inc. in February. After that deal, Plastech CEO Julie Nguyen Brown said she expected $1.5 billion in sales this year.
Terms of the Visteon deal were not disclosed.
Said Fisher: "We've been talking to them (Plastech) a long time on a number of potential business transactions, and this stemmed from those discussions."
He would not disclose the other potential transactions.
Plastech already operates a plant next to the one it's buying from Visteon in Ford's supplier park. That plant provides interior trim components.
"It's a natural expansion of our business," said Zee Do, Plastech's marketing and communications director.
Visteon also continues to provide parts directly to Ford for the three nameplates made in Chicago, Fischer said. Those parts include front and rear lamps, fascias, door trim panels, washer bottles and alternators.
Visteon and Plastech expect to complete their deal Sept. 30.