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Published: Monday, 12/18/2006

Ford agrees to sell 2 more parts plants once owned by Visteon


DEARBORN, Mich. - Ford Motor Co. said today it has entered into agreements with two companies to sell auto parts plants it owns in Michigan and Mexico.

Flex-N-Gate Corp. agreed to buy an operation in Milan, about 35 miles southwest of Detroit, that produces automotive grills and bumpers and employs about 700 people. They include salaried employees leased from Visteon Corp. and United Auto Workers union hourly employees leased from Ford, the automaker said.

Flex-N-Gate is a privately held company based in Urbana, Ill., with manufacturing operations in several countries.

Meanwhile, Cooper-Standard Automotive Inc. agreed to purchase an automotive fuel rail factory owned by Ford in El Jarudo, Mexico, that has about 500 workers, Ford said.

Cooper-Standard, which is headquartered in Novi, is a leading global automotive supplier specializing in the manufacture and marketing of systems and components for the automotive industry.

Dearborn-based Ford said Dec. 6 it had agreed to sell its climate-control business to Valeo SA, a French automotive supply company. The operation is based at a plant in Plymouth Township, about 15 miles west of Detroit.

The plants were once a part of Visteon, Ford's parts wing that was spun off into a separate company in 2000. But Ford took some plants back in October 2005 and formed Automotive Components Holdings LLC with the intent of closing or selling them.

The holding company produces automotive and architectural glass, automotive interior, climate, chassis, and powertrain components. It operates 10 plants in the United States and three in Mexico.

The deals for the U.S. plants were contingent upon reaching agreements with the UAW. Financial terms for the three agreements were not disclosed.

Ford shares fell 8 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $7 in late-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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