Detroit Manufacturing Systems celebrates grand opening, 500 new jobs

Alisa Priddle| Detroit Free Press

Hundreds gathered at an auto plant in Detroit today to mark the grand opening of Detroit Manufacturing Systems, which will employ hundreds of workers making auto parts, starting with instrument panels for the Ford Mustang.

The plant in the Gateway Industrial Center in Detroit has plans to create about 500 jobs over the next three years.

There currently are 65 hourly employees, members of UAW Local 600, and 48 salaried. The company wants to have 509 hourly and 105 salaried by July 2013 to handle future Ford work and possibly the addition of other automotive contracts.

“This is the largest number of new auto jobs in the city of Detroit in over 20 years,” said Louis Green, president of the Michigan Minority Supplier Council.

The event opened with a Native Americans veteran color guard to honor the native heritage of DMS chief executive Andra Rush, whose mother is Mohawk.

DMS is a joint venture of Rush Group, the largest Native American enterprise in the country, and French supplier Faurecia.

Rush said she is humbled by the opportunity and excited to get the plant going as part of her family’s 25-year experience as a parts supplier.

Ford is the first customer for the operation, which started training workers a week ago.

In addition to the Mustang, the plant will start to provide interior components for the Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition in October and later add the F-150, Explorer, Taurus, Lincoln MKS and MKT and Focus.

DMS is expected to supply cockpits, instrument panels, center consoles and door panels for a growing number of Ford vehicles.

“There have not been many prouder moments than today,” sad Jimmy Settles, head of the UAW’s Ford department.

DMS was formed in May after Faurecia leased part of a former Visteon plant in Saline and acquired $1.1 billion worth of business that was done in Saline. Some of the components from Saline will be shipped to DMS to go into the interior components built up at the new Detroit plant.

Rush Group has the majority stake in the joint venture, with about 70% of the business.

Yann Delabriere, chairman and CEO of Faurecia, said it is a milestone for his company and he is pleased to “bring a bit of French flavor to Detroit.”

Buying the Saline plant from Ford has contributed to Faurecia becoming the sixth largest auto supplier in North America, tripling its presence over the last five years.

Tony Brown, group vice president of global purchasing for Ford, stressed the importance of minority supplier diversity and brought taped messages of congratulations from Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Alan Mulally.

Ford started its diversity program in 1978.

For information on employment with DMS, go to the company’s website at dms-na.com

Contact Alisa Priddle at apriddle@freepress.com

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