By James Treece, Automotive News
Detroit, Michigan-- International Automotive Components Group is partially offsetting a dismal year by picking up business from troubled rivals, IAC owner Wilbur Ross told Automotive News last week.
"I don't pretend we haven't been hurt," he said here on the sidelines of the North American International Auto Show. "We have been hurt." Ross acknowledged that IAC won't make money this year.
But the supplier has added "around $300 million in new business" over the past six months by picking up contracts from other, bankrupt suppliers, he said.
James Kamsickas, president of IAC's American and Asian operations, said the business came from bankrupt interiors and plastics moulders such as Blue Water Automotive Systems Inc., Progressive Moulded Products Inc. and Cadence Innovation llc.
Ross described it as "airlifting the business out."
Over the Christmas holidays, for example, IAC used more than 35 full semitrailer trucks to take 65 tools and dies from a failed rival and distribute the equipment to IAC factories, which then began making the parts.
Helping automakers make a smooth transition to an IAC factory has been critical to winning the business. "We've yet to interrupt a production line," at an automaker's factory, Kamsickas said.
The added revenue "doesn't come close to offsetting" the volume lost from the industry's sales drop, he said. Volumes at the supplier's Big 3 customers are down 40 percent to 60 percent, Kamsickas said.
To help, IAC's top managers took a 4 percent pay cut effective 1 Jan.
In addition, Ross said, last year "we infused more capital into the company and probably will infuse more capital" again this year.
"We had anticipated a down year," Ross said. Last year's sales drop was worse than he had expected, he said, but "at least we didn't have rose-coloured glasses on."
IAC, which was created in 2005, has bought the interiors assets of Lear Corp. and combined them with select assets of the defunct Collins & Aikman Corp. Ross also has purchased niche players in Brazil and Japan.
International Automotive Components Group North America llc of Dearborn, Michigan, is the No. 1 North American injection moulder on the Plastics News 2008 ranking, with related sales of $1595 million.