A Michigan company that supplies construction, engineering and waste disposal services to automakers is walking away from some of its contracts, but the Chrysler group says a crucial paint-shop project at its Ohio Jeep plant remains on track.
At other auto plants, however, customers of Haden International Group Inc. have been scrambling to find replacements.
The troubles of the privately held Auburn Hills, Mich., company surfaced Feb. 3, when Haden stopped work on the paint shop for Chrysler's Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio. Chrysler said then that it was working on a "transition" for the project, but it said last week that Haden was back on the job.
Last week three other companies also reported problems with Haden.
Numerous phone calls to Haden's Auburn Hills office were not returned.
Haden ended its relationship with Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc., unexpectedly walking away from a large contract to dispose of paint sludge from Toyota's Georgetown, Ky., car plant. Haden also was responsible for a wastewater treatment contract at Georgetown.
Toyota spokesman Dan Sieger said the automaker has made temporary arrangements and that there was no danger of a service interruption.
"This took us by surprise," Sieger says. "They were long-term suppliers, going back many years with us."
Haden also abandoned a large paint plant renovation project at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. without completing its work.
NUMMI spokeswoman Rhonda Rigenhagen says most of Haden's work was finished, but the contractor left behind an uncompleted list of changes and corrections.
"We believe we'll have no problem finishing up those issues internally," Rigenhagen said.
She said NUMMI officials are not clear why Haden left the project early. Toyota, which owns NUMMI in a 50-50 joint venture with General Motors, is spending $140 million to upgrade the Fremont, Calif., plant's car assembly operation.
At NUMMI, Haden was responsible for remodeling the paint line used for GM and Toyota cars, Rigenhagen said. The project did not involve a second, more recent assembly operation where Toyota Tacoma pickups are produced.
Haden also was responsible for disposing of paint sludge at Ford Motor Co.'s Michigan Truck plant in Wayne, Mich. Ford purchasing spokesman Paul Wood said that Ford already has established a new service provider there and has alternative suppliers standing by to service Haden equipment at a handful of other plants around the world where Haden had done the installation.
Haden has installed paint equipment for virtually every automaker in Europe and a growing list of North American manufacturers.