GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Lacks Enterprises Inc, a producer of high-quality finish solutions for the automotive and home appliance industries, announced it has formed GL Automotive, LLC, a joint venture (JV) with Grupo Guerra, to supply exterior components to Toyota Motor North America (TMNA).
Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, GL Automotive, currently has about 25 employees and is led by Christian Guerra. The company recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new 80,000 square-foot facility located within one mile of the Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas, Inc. (TMMTX) assembly plant. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Kevin Voelkel, president, TMMTX, participated in the ceremony.
GL Automotive will initially supply exterior components for the 2022 Toyota Tundra pickup and for the 2023 Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicle.
“We’re excited to launch the joint venture to support Toyota, which has been a key strategic customer for both Lacks Enterprises and Guerra,” said Kurt V. “KV” Lacks, director of business development at Lacks Enterprises. “Lacks and Guerra are both family-owned companies with similar cultures, dedicated team members and an innovative spirit. The JV strengthens our technical expertise and our ability to provide best-in-class components and systems to our customers.”
Lacks said San Antonio was selected as the home of the new JV due to its close proximity to the Toyota assembly plant. He notes that while its initial business is with Toyota, GL Automotive does not have an exclusive contract with the automaker.
“We expect to grow GL Automotive in terms of the number of employees, the amount of business we do with Toyota, and other automakers,” Guerra said.
Lacks also noted the JV in Texas is part of his company’s growth strategy. “As Lacks Enterprises looks for opportunities for expansion, we will consider states that support new business and growth opportunities.”
The Family Businesses
The Grand Rapids-based Lacks produces high-quality décor trim component finish solutions for the automotive industry. Originally named Metlac Corp., the company was founded in 1961 by John P. Lacks and his son, Richard Lacks Sr., to create die-cast products. The Lacks family changed the name of the business to Lacks Industries in 1972.
The fourth-largest privately-held employer in West Michigan, Lacks has more than 3,000 people at facilities in Grand Rapids and Novi, Mich., as well as Germany, the U.K., Japan and South Korea. Lacks business units—Lacks Trim Systems, Lacks Wheel Trim Systems and Plastic Plate, LLC—specialize in applying Lacks’ innovative finishes, production experience and testing capacity to meet the unique needs of its customers.
Guerra is a family-owned business formed by Heriberto “Berto” Guerra Jr., chairman, CEO and co-founder of Avanzar Interior Technologies, also a Tier 1 supplier to Toyota. Avanzar employs more than 1,300 people in San Antonio and Querétaro, Mexico. Berto Guerra is a Texas native who purchased his first business at age 18.
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