DETROIT -- An obscure German parts maker has stood up to Chrysler Group over an issue that has vexed suppliers for decades: how to protect themselves when actual production levels fall short of an automaker's rosy forecasts.
Suppliers typically have no recourse when weak sales mean lower-than-projected production. But in this case, Chrysler's contract with Montaplast of North America Inc. requires the carmaker to renegotiate prices if production fails to meet certain volume levels. Now Montaplast has sued to force Chrysler to live up to the contract.
A Chrysler spokesman declined to comment. A Montaplast attorney says the case is being settled.
Montaplast, a unit of plastics parts maker Montaplast GmbH, of Morsbach, Germany, has kept a low public profile. It is one of the world's leading makers of air intake manifolds, says an executive at a rival company. The manifolds at the heart of the lawsuit are on three Chrysler six-cylinder engines.