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Posted on Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 5:49 a.m.

Saline ACH factory now at full capacity due to Ford's sales success

By Nathan Bomey

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.

"Employment is strong at the plant," DiPietro said.

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 smoothly navigating the crisis. In August, for example, the automaker's posted sales gains 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. 

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. 

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter.


Catherine Juon

Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 10:34 p.m.

The change is very visible - even the kids commented driving by the other day about how nice it was to see all the activity. :-) Great news!


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 9:51 p.m.

The argument that my (Toyota, Honda, Subaru etc) was made in (Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama) does not hold water. These cars are ASSEMBLED from mostly Japanese made parts. The design work is done in foreign countries, and the profits go back to the foreign countries. For the most part, they do not support the US supplier base such as Dana, Federal-Mogul, Arvin-Meritor, Borg-Warner, etc.

John Galt

Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 10:56 a.m.

Good news. But I hope this is not just temporary, as a result of the one time draw-down in inventory driven by Cash-for-Clunckers. As for the "Foreign vs. Domestic" dispute: The component makers often diversify the customer base to sell to both foreign and domestic auto makers. Don't know if that is the case here, but it would be a wise business practice.


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 8:57 a.m.

To jondhall: My honda was built in Merrysville, Ohio by american workers and contains 70% american parts. My neighbor works at the new Toyota facility in York township. Some Chrysler truck transmissions come from China as well as Ford Fusion built in Mexico by mexican workers, etc, etc, etc. fyi: I bought my car from a LOCAL dealership that constantly gives back to the community in many ways. The issue is way more complicated and your "fox-speak" is not helpful.


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 7:18 a.m.

Make sure that you and all your friends and neighbors purchase a foreign car and we could stop this trend. A Foreign car is one which the profits go to a country other the the GREAT US of A! Then we have all our students educated by the India government via computer and shut down the NEA once and for all. Wake up America, all our jobs arr leaving and you are buying FOREIGN, we could even import our police and fire work. And you Mr. Government worker are NEXT!


Mon, Oct 19, 2009 : 6:49 a.m.

Some positive news for the Saline area.