Ford Motor Company and Tulsa-based GLASS PRODUCTS have reached a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining a framework for the sale of the Automotive Components Holdings’ glass operations.

This MOU brings to five the number of ACH businesses sold or currently involved in negotiations toward sales agreements.

Automotive Components Holdings was created in October 2005 to ensure the flow of critical components to Ford and to significantly reduce Ford’s material costs over time. The unit took over a number of former Ford-owned factories subsequently owned by Visteon.

Operational costs as well as quality and delivery measures have significantly improved since ACH’s formation, Ford said on Wednesday.

ACH’s glass operations plants are in Nashville, Tennessee, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, and there is a subsidiary called Vidriocar in Juarez, Mexico.

ACH glass operations supply architectural glass, original equipment and aftermarket glass for Ford cars and trucks, and aftermarket glass for vehicles of other makes. It supplied original equipment glass for about 2.7m vehicles last year. About 1,600 full-time employees work in the operations.

“This MOU is another solid sign of progress for our North American Way Forward plan,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas in a statement.

“The successful approach Ford is taking with our component operations – including selling or idling our ACH facilities – will help us achieve our commitment to reduce overall operating costs by $5bn by the end of 2008.”

With this agreement, ACH has sold one business and has signed MOUs outlining the framework for the sale of four others.  The ACH fuel rail business and its El Jarudo subsidiary were sold recently.  Negotiations are continuing regarding the climate control business and the Sheldon Road Plant near Plymouth, Michigan; the fascia and fuel tank businesses and the Milan (Michigan) Plant; and the ACH propshaft business, which currently is one of the products produced at a Monroe, Michigan, facility.

Al Ver, ACH CEO and COO and Ford vice president, said: “Sale of these operations has been in various stages of discussion and negotiation for many years. We believe this agreement represents the best option for the continued success of these facilities in the years ahead.”

Glass Products was formed by Robert Price, a Tulsa-based private investor with a strong record of success in the natural gas industry, logistics, and medical facility management.

The final agreement is contingent upon a new and competitive agreement with the United Auto Workers union, as well as state and local government incentives.