Ford Motor Co. created a minority supplier scheme that involves V. Johnson Enterprises (an affiliate of former NBA star Vinnie Johnson's Piston Group), entering a joint venture with French supplier Valeo SA. Detroit Thermal Systems LLC is the name of this new entity. According to a report last week by Crain's Detroit Business (an Automotive News affiliate), Ford facilitated the deal to form the minority-owned supplier and to shift its ACH Sheldon Road plant climate control business in suburban Detroit to the newly formed joint venture.
DTS has leased a 365,000-square-foot plant located west of Detroit in Romulus, Mich., for the new business. The plant’s operations are meant to sustain the ACH business, or HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) units for Ford vehicles, with a total of 30 injection-molding presses. The plant will start production in the third quarter of 2013 and can build 2 million units each year.
The equipment, assets and operations from the Sheldon Road plant will be moved to Detroit Thermal Systems' Romulus plant, which is set for completion by the end of 2014. Della DiPietro, ACH consultant and spokesperson, said that Ford will then find a way to sell the plant. DTS hopes that by 2015, it will have hired 500 workers at the Romulus plant. There are currently 750 ACH Sheldon Road workers. Many of which are UAW members. They will have to reapply for positions at the new DTS plant. DiPietro said that most of them will get job offers from either DTS or Ford.