DETROIT -- Ford Motor, Chrysler and Honda of America Manufacturing are propping up a troubled small US supplier after General Motors moved its tooling from the company last month to protect production of its Chevrolet Malibu sedan.
Efforts are underway to wind down or sell the supplier, SKD Automotive Group, to a healthy North American company, industry sources said. Chrysler and Honda are providing extra funding in the interim, the sources say.
Ford also continues to buy stampings from the factory, the automaker confirmed.
GM defended its decision to remove the equipment from SKDs plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, during the Christmas shutdown.
Based on SKDs financial distress and uncertainty, GM had to take action to protect our business interests, said GM spokesman Dan Flores.
Carmakers are under pressure to protect the sources of critical parts at a time when the industry is in a tailspin.
John Chen, president of the suburban Detroit supplier, did not return telephone calls. Because the company has both US and Canadian headquarters, SKD last month sought the Canadian equivalent of bankruptcy reorganization.
Protect parts production
The Brampton plant now supplies stampings to Ford, Honda and Chrysler. Ford and Chrysler spokespeople told Automotive News Europe that they have reached agreements that will protect parts production. Honda executives were not available to comment.
Ford, Honda and Chrysler approved a 60-day agreement to keep the company going, said Jerry Dias, an assistant to Ken Lewenza, president of the Canadian Auto Workers union.
Chrysler depends on the supplier for its Brampton assembly plant, which builds the Chrysler 300 and 300C and Dodge Charger and Challenger cars.
SKDs plant made parts for GMs Malibu and Saturn Aura cars built in Kansas City, Kansas. The plant also made stampings for Hummer SUVs built in Mishawaka, Indiana, and Shreveport, Louisiana.
The local union branch, surprised by GMs move to pull the tools December 23, promptly put up a blockade around the Brampton plant. But the blockade was unable to stop GMs tools from being moved to Magna International and Van Rob Stampings.
GM says its vehicle production was unaffected by the changeover in suppliers.
The CAWs Dias says GM may have acted to head off a bankruptcy that could have halted the tooling move.
SKD, founded in 1937, operates a plant in Michigan and Mexico and three in Canada. It makes large chassis, structural and suspension stamped parts.
SKD ranked No. 112 on the Automotive News list of the 150 largest suppliers of parts to automakers in North America, with sales of $399 million (311 million) in the fiscal year 2007.