General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. told a bankruptcy court Wednesday that they support Chrysler LLC's effort to get some tools back from Plastech Engineered Products Inc.
Chrysler asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit to allow it to sue Plastech for the equipment, despite rules barring lawsuits against companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection.
The tools Chrysler wants back are used for making door panels, interior parts and other products, and Chrysler wants to give them to other suppliers.
Plastech halted Chrysler's actions two weeks ago when it filed for bankruptcy, and four Chrysler plants were shut down briefly last week when Plastech stopped shipping parts.
Dearborn-based Plastech has resumed sending parts to Chrysler under an agreement that expires Friday. Plastech supplies Chrysler with about 500 plastic interior, exterior and power train components — parts for nearly all its vehicles.
Spokesmen for GM and Ford and for auto supplier Johnson Controls Inc. told the court Wednesday they believe they have the right to reclaim their own equipment under their contracts with Plastech.
"GM is not taking a position regarding whether the court should grant Chrysler the relief it is seeking," GM spokesman Frank Sopata said. "But GM does strongly support Chrysler's position regarding the tooling since we have entered into the same agreement as Chrysler and the other major customers of Plastech to reclaim our tooling should it be necessary."
Chrysler told the judge it was unhappy with the quality of Plastech's products, spokesman Michael Palese said.
Ford and GM haven't experienced any disruption in their supply from Plastech or reported any quality problems.
"We've continued to work with them all along," Ford spokesman Todd Nissen said.
GM Chief Financial Officer Fritz Henderson said Tuesday that GM hasn't made any decisions about whether to keep doing business with Plastech but is trying to help the supplier.
"We're working constructively with them to help them with their current financial difficulties," he said.
A message was left with Plastech seeking comment.
Also Wednesday, Judge Phillip Shefferly approved a financing deal that extends Plastech's operations through Feb. 27. Plastech got funding from GM, Ford and Johnson Controls as part of that deal.