SALINE, Mich. (AP) — Auto parts maker Johnson Controls Inc. has tentatively agreed to buy a vehicle interiors factory that employs about 1,350 workers from Ford Motor Co., it was announced Thursday.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
The plant — a former Visteon Corp. facility based in Saline, Mich. — which makes door panels, floor consoles, instrument panels and other parts for Ford vehicles, is part of a holding company that Ford formed for factories it took back from Visteon and wants to sell or close.
The deal is contingent on negotiating a competitive labor agreement with the United Auto Workers, as well as resolution of other issues to make the plant more competitive, Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls said in a statement.
The company said the purchase fits into the growth plan for its interiors business by adding to its manufacturing capacity.
''Our goals are to swiftly bring this operation to profitability, diversify its customer base, achieve synergies from the added volume and increase our share of the interiors market,'' Jeff Williams, group vice president of Johnson Controls, said in a statement.
The plant covers 1.6 million square feet on 189 acres in Saline, which is about 40 miles west of Detroit.
Visteon is Ford's former parts arm that was spun off as a separate company in 2000.
Mark Caruso, president of the UAW local at the plant, said he would rather it stay with Ford, but he's happy it will be sold to a respected company.
''They appear to be a solid company. They have union background,'' Caruso said.