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FORD and MERIDIAN SIGN MOU outlining sale of automotive components holdings SANDUSKY PLANT


* The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) announced today is another significant step forward in ACH’s strategy to sell its operations.
* With this announcement, ACH has sold one plant and signed MOUs related to eight additional plants during the past six months.
* ACH has made significant improvements in the competitiveness of its operations as it markets them to buyers who can move the businesses forward.

Dearborn, Mich.– Ford Motor Company and Meridian Automotive Systems today announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), outlining a framework for the sale of Automotive Components Holdings’ lighting business and its Sandusky, Ohio plant. With this announcement, ACH has sold one plant and signed MOUs related to eight additional plants during the past six months.

The primary product produced at the ACH Sandusky Plant is automotive lighting, including front, rear and signal lights. These products are found on a number of Ford vehicles from the Focus to the Expedition, and about 60 percent of Ford’s North American vehicle production.

“This announcement represents more progress with our Way Forward plan,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “The successful approach Ford is taking with our component operations – including selling or idling our ACH facilities – will help us achieve our commitment to reduce overall operating costs by $5 billion by the end of 2008.”

Other ACH businesses in negotiations for final agreement and sale include glass, fascias and fuel tanks, climate control systems, propshafts, and power transfer units (PTU) . The ACH fuel rail business and its El Jarudo subsidiary were sold at the end of the first quarter.

“The response from the marketplace has been better than expected,” said Al Ver, ACH CEO and COO and Ford Motor Company vice president. “We believe that is due, in large measure, to the significant improvement in the quality, on-time delivery and cost-effectiveness of our operations during the past year and a half.”

Automotive Components Holdings is a temporary company managed by Ford, which was established in October 2005 with former Visteon component operations. ACH’s mission is to ensure the flow of quality components and systems while preparing the ACH automotive component operations for sale or idling. Today, the $4 billion company and its 12 plants are supported by about 12,000 full-time employees, mostly leased from Visteon or Ford .

“Acquiring the Sandusky, Ohio facility is a logical extension of our engineering and manufacturing expertise in lighting,” said Richard Newsted, Meridian’s president and CEO.

“We are excited about the opportunity to improve the long-term competitive position of this operation and expand our strengths and capabilities in lighting technology.”

The sale is contingent upon reaching a new and competitive agreement with the United Auto Workers.


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