Local Auto Suppliers Profits Boosted From Big Three Sales Gains

By Stephanie Parkinson

January 3, 2013 Updated Jan 3, 2013 at 7:07 PM EDT

Roanoke, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) - The big three U.S. automakers posted strong 2012 sales gains Thursday and that's trickling down helping some local businesses.

Chrysler saw a 10 percent hike, GM saw an almost four percent increase and Ford had its best year since 2008, cranking out more than two million vehicles.

Naturally this is a boost for the companies who supply these major automakers. But it doesn't come without a catch. What helped Economy Machine Products in Roanoke do well in 2012 was inventing a part for a new bread of cars in high demand.

In 2012 they started creating a new part for one of Ford's hybrids. That contract is what the company's owner credits a lot of their 2012 gains to, and because this is for a new vehicle hopes this contract will continue.

“Because it's something new in the marketplace, it's a hands free fastener; it will speed up the assembly,” said Jean Williams, Owner, Economy Machine Products.

Economy Machine Products has been around since the 1950s so they also suffered during the 70s and 80s when the U.S. auto industry took its first big dive.

"We learned that you've got to be diversified and we're always looking to add new industries," said Williams.

In the past automotive parts accounted for 70 percent of their business but now it only accounts for between 35 and 40 percent. The rest focuses on industries like agriculture and archery. For those industries they build products like arrow heads and parts for chicken watering systems.

Williams says it's a business plan that keeps them stronger even when one industry, like the automotive, has a downturn.

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