Topy Corp. is a minnow in the auto world. But its threat to put one of the industry's whales on the beach has paid off -- at least temporarily.
Topy, a Japanese-owned wheel maker in Frankfort, Ky., threatened to stop delivering wheels for Saturns and other General Motors models if GM didn't agree to a price increase in light of soaring steel prices.
Marilyn Peters, a lawyer representing GM, told Topy in an August letter that stopping shipments "would be devastating to GM causing shutdowns of assembly lines and possibly whole plants." She said in the letter that GM would pay what Topy is asking, under protest, to keep production running.
This month, Topy sued in federal court in Detroit, alleging it's losing money on every wheel it sells GM. Topy says GM reneged on a promise to bump up the wheel prices.
GM denies that and says Topy would be breaching its contract if it doesn't keep the wheels rolling in.
Topy declined to comment last week. Said GM spokesman Tom Wickham: "We are in talks with Topy."