By Rhoda Miel, UT Akron BureauSouthfield, Michigan-Lear Corp.’s global restructuring plans will see it decrease its emphasis on its interior components group in favour of its seating and electronics integration business units.The Southfield, Michigan-based auto supplier had announced in June that it was launching a programme that could see it close as many as 20 facilities. Those plans still are under consideration, but during a 29 July conference call with analysts, top executives noted that Lear’s plastics-heavy interiors business is the biggest focus of that restructuring.The interiors unit is on a pace to break even this year, but when it considers the high cost of capital equipment and a decision by General Motors Corp. reversing earlier plans to outsource full interior programmes to suppliers, it simply does not make sense for long-term investments, executives said. At this point, the direction has changed somewhat,” said Lear chairman and ceo Bob Rossiter. The approach today in purchasing is that they would rather buy components than complete interior systems.”With the auto interiors business as a whole going through a consolidation, it makes sense to question Lear’s long-term approach, he said. Lear is working with outside consultants to determine what it should do. Options include divesting some operations. That doesn’t say we’re leaving the plastics business,” Rossiter said. It says we’re trying to find a way that gives us a chance to be successful.”
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