IMLAY CITY, Mich.—Vintech Industries Inc. is making progress on becoming a global Tier 2 automotive supplier. The Imlay City-based company is preparing to open two new manufacturing plants in Newnan, Ga., and Carregado, Portugal.
"Going back a couple of years ago, we realized that our strategy should be to become a dedicated global Tier 2 supplier, supplying Tier 1 needs anywhere in the world," CEO Jim Schoonover, said in a telephone interview. "Our customers are supplying systems to global vehicles—in the U.S., in Asia and in Europe. We're able to support each one of those Tier 1 customers, anywhere in the world, for the first time. It's very exciting to finally be able to do that."
Vintech makes extruded seals and molding, as well as insert molded parts, at plants in Michigan, China and Mexico. The company makes a variety of interior and exterior parts, with a specialty in developing new applications.
Vintech is leasing the 20,000-sq.-ft. facility in Portugal, near Lisbon. The factory is expandable, so it can accommodate growth, Schoonover said, noting that the company is in the process of rebuilding extrusion lines for the plant. Schoonover said Vintech buys some equipment new, and also buys used Davis-Standard machines and refurbishes them in-house.
The plant, set to begin production in December or January, will start with 10 employees and grow to 50 within a few years.
Vintech previously had plans to start manufacturing in Turkey for the European market, through a joint venture. But economic problems in Turkey convinced officials to expand in Portugal instead, Schoonover said.
The company bought the 30,000-sq.-ft. Georgia factory, and has plans to add 20,000 square feet of space onto a pad that already exists on the site. That plant will start with 10 employees in the first quarter of 2019, and grow to 50 within a few years.
Schoonover said it makes sense to expand in Georgia because of current automotive supply chain concerns about trade.
"We have a lot of customers in the area—in Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. With the recent tariffs, there's certainly a need for OEMs to localize some of that business," he said. "For example, if an OEM is currently importing products from Europe or South Korea, they may have to pay tariffs. If we can manufacture locally, it makes more sense."
Schoonover who founded Vintech in 2004 in Imlay City, said Vintech has 125 different Tier 1 customers, and the largest only accounts for 8 percent of its sales.
Both of Vintech's Michigan plants—in Almont and Imlay City—are at capacity, so opening the two new plants will free up space for the Michigan plants to grow.
Vintech has annual sales of about $50 million.
"We have a clear road map to $100 million in sales. We all work hard, and we're certain that the future will be good," he said.
Vintech employs about 300 globally, with the Michigan plants accounting for about 200. Plants in Monterrey and Puebla, Mexico, employ about 70; and factories in Ningbo and Ninghai, China, employ about 30.