Saline ACH factory now at full capacity due to Ford's sales success
Saline’s Automotive Components Holdings plant is operating at full capacity - a remarkable reversal of fortune for a plant that’s faced potential closure in recent years.
The 1.6-million-square-foot plant now employs more than 1,900 workers, up from 1,600 earlier this year, said Della DiPietro, spokeswoman for ACH, which is controlled by Ford Motor Co.
ACH said in October 2008 that it would spend $82 million to add new equipment at the Saline plant and add employees.
The plant’s increased capacity is also reflective of Ford’s momentum in the midst of the global automotive industry crisis. Sales reports have shown that Ford is smoothlyÂ navigatingÂ the crisis. In August, for example, the automaker'sÂ posted sales gainsÂ compared to declines at General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Chrysler and Nissan.
Agreements to sell the ACH plants in Saline and Milan collapsed in late 2008 and early 2009, respectively, leading to speculation that the plants might be shuttered. ACH was originally formed for the sole purpose of closing or selling 17 ex-Visteon Corp. operations.
But the plants ultimately proved too important to
Ford’s operations to close down. Latest employment figures for the
Milan plant were not immediately available.
DiPietro confirmed that efforts to sell the plants remained suspended.
"The plan is that we would continue to make operational improvements such that at the time the market comes back, and there’s renewed interest in investments in automotive supply manufacturing, we will be in a good position to attract outside interest,” DiPietro said. “We’ve acknowledged that, with the economy and the credit markets being what they are, people aren’t looking to make that kind of investment.”
For the city of Saline, the ACH plant’s extended life is a bonus. The plant last year represented 9 percent of the city's tax base.Â
The city, which has gradually diversified its tax base over the last 15 years, was planning its budget to reflect significant loss of tax revenue from the ACH plant.Â