DETROIT, Oct. 13 -- Bridgewater Interiors LLC, a minority-owned joint venture between Johnson
Controls and Epsilon LLC, announced that it will open a manufacturing plant in Warren, MI, to
build automotive seat systems for Ford Motor Co. in Michigan beginning in 2004.
Beginning next year, Bridgewater Interiors will supply seat systems for the new 2004 F-150
pickup truck built at Ford's Dearborn, MI, plant, and Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator
models produced at the automaker's Michigan truck assembly plant in Wayne, MI.
The planned 265,000 sq-ft Warren plant is expected to employ approximately 600 when it reaches
full production. Bridgewater plans to locate its new production at an existing manufacturing
facility previously occupied by other Johnson Controls manufacturing operations. The property
is designated as one of the state of Michigan's 11 Renaissance Zones -- tax-free districts
designed to encourage business development in distressed urban and rural areas.
In March, Johnson Controls was awarded operational responsibility for the Expedition and
Navigator seating programs, which previously were supplied by Visteon Corp. Production of
second- and third-row seats for the models -- which currently are built at Visteon's
Chesterfield Township, MI, facility -- will be moved to Bridgewater Interiors' Warren location.
Front-row seats -- currently produced at Johnson Controls' Plymouth, MI, manufacturing plant --
will be transferred to the Warren site as well. The Plymouth, MI, manufacturing plant will
begin producing seating systems for the Ford Focus and Lincoln Town Car.