DETROIT A leading automotive metal stamping supplier has expanded into the plastics molding business.
Oxford Automotive Inc. bought six injection presses as part of its purchase of Italy's Gessaroli Group, based in Turin. Gessaroli used the machines to make parts for car locks and hood and trunk releases, said John Walker, Oxford's executive director of global integration.
Oxford will put Gessaroli's parts in its door modules, he said.
'It's part of the integration program for us,' Walker said. 'We have a very active door-module program.'
Gessaroli has annual sales of about $30 million for both its plastic and metal-formed components, doing the bulk of its business with Fiat SpA. The purchase price was not disclosed.
With GM buying a 20 percent stake in Fiat Auto, the deal promises even better connections for Oxford, Walker said.
'We're pushing $300 million (of business) in Europe now with this acquisition, he said. Because we do so much work with GM, it's a great fit for us.'
Oxford will continue focusing on metal components, Walker said, but likely will buy into a wider variety of materials as it expands into modular integration.
More companies may find themselves in the same position as Oxford as automakers push for more integration from suppliers, said analyst Scott Upham, president of Providata Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.
'Oxford mainly produces the guts that go into the doors,' he said.
'If they want to turn out the entire module, they're going to have to get into plastics and sealing technology and rubber.
'You're going to see more and more companies getting into acquisitions outside their normal fields, developing alliances and signing up preferred suppliers so they can integrate.'
Oxford, of Troy, Michigan, USA, posted $791 million in worldwide sales in 1999. General Motors is its biggest customer.
Automotive News Europe ranks Oxford as the 64th-largest supplier of original equipment parts to North America.
Talk from the Top with Oxford Automotive CEO Steve Abelman, see Page 34