Lacks Enterprises, Grupo Guerra form joint venture to support Toyota

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The 2022 Toyota Tundra Limited. GL Automotive did not yet announce the specific Tundra models/trim levels for which it is supplying exterior components. Courtesy Toyota

A local automotive supplier joined forces with another company to create a business that will supply exterior parts to Toyota.

Kentwood-based Lacks Enterprises said Monday, Nov. 15, it formed San Antonio, Texas-based GL Automotive, a joint venture with Grupo Guerra to supply exterior components to Toyota Motor North America.

GL Automotive currently has around 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 one mile from the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) assembly plant.

GL Automotive initially will supply exterior components for the 2022 Toyota Tundra pickup and for the 2023 Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicle.

Kurt “KV” Lacks. Courtesy GL Automotive

“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 (joint venture) 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 GL Automotive due to its proximity to the Toyota assembly plant. He said 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 (and) the amount of business we do with Toyota and other automakers,” Guerra said.

Lacks also said the joint venture 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,” he said.

Lacks produces décor trim component finish solutions for the automotive industry. Originally named Metlac Corporation, 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.

Lacks has more than 3,000 employees at facilities in greater Grand Rapids and Novi, as well as Germany, the U.K., Japan and South Korea. Lacks’ business units — Lacks Trim Systems, Lacks Wheel Trim Systems and Plastic Plate — specialize in applying Lacks’ finishes, production experience and testing capacity to meet the needs of its customers.

The company offers thermoplastic design, injection molding, chrome plating, painting, assembly, logistics and supply chain management, as well as global export and distribution capabilities.

Guerra is a family-owned business formed by Heriberto “Berto” Guerra Jr., chair, CEO and co-founder of Avanzar Interior Technologies, also a tier one 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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