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 SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Lear Seating Corporation,

a leading worldwide manufacturer of car and truck seats based in Southfield, will celebrate its 75th year tomorrow (Thursday, Aug. 27) in the presence of 1,200 employees, suppliers, government officials and community leaders.
 Kenneth L. Way, chairman of Lear, said his company began modestly in 1917 as American Metal Products with one plant and 18 employees on Epworth Boulevard in Detroit.
 "Our company has enjoyed remarkable growth in the past 75 years," said Way. Today we have 14,500 employees worldwide, 45 facilities in 10 countries, and sales of $1.4 billion during the 1992 fiscal year."
 Way said Lear's growth will continue at a substantial pace because of marked expansion of operations in Europe.
 "Lear's operations were handicapped at the start of the 1992 model year because of the downturn in the economy," Way said. "Later we benefited from the start-up of seating for the GM Suburban and Yukon trucks, Volvo cars, and Saab in Finland. Also, we have begun operations in our new Opel plant in Eisenach, Germany, formerly East Germany."
 Lear's 75th birthday party will feature a large tent with food served from countries in which it operates, including USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany and Sweden.
 On display at Lear for the 75th birthday will be the following vehicles, all equipped with Lear seats: The 1 millionth Corvette, the Dodge Viper and the Ford Probe GT. In addition, a 1917 Cadillac Opera Coupe will also be displayed.
 Lear Seating Corporation has undergone numerous and massive changes since its founding by Frederick C. Matthaei, a University of Michigan alumnus, regent, benefactor and subsequently a pioneer automotive parts supplier. From its earliest beginnings, AMP produced seating components as well as tubular and stamped steel assemblies for the automotive and aircraft industries.
 Matthaei's original idea worked out very well indeed. The biggest clients for the young firm were Ford Motor Company, General Motors Corporation, and Chrysler Corporation. These companies were producing more cars faster, and in greater quantities than anywhere in the world.
 Way expects Lear's sales to reach $2 billion by the mid-1990s.
 Way said Lear will open five new Just-In-Time manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Europe. This will help meet the needs of more than $650 million in new business the company has secured.
 Lear's Just-In-Time manufacturing was probably the single most important innovation that has changed the way the firm does business. By providing clients with complete seating systems within 1 1/2 to 3 hours of when they are ordered, Lear Seating Corporation has reduced its inventory and manufacturing costs and passes savings on to its customers.
 By utilizing the resources of its Southfield, and Reitberg, Germany, automotive technical centers, Lear can work closely with customers to develop entire systems rather than components. Processes such as Sure Bond and Pour-In-Place Systems allow designers more flexibility while cutting costs and improving quality.
 Way said he is very optimistic about the future, given that his firm fared so well during the recent recession. "Next year we expect sales to grow 15 to 20 percent and we see plenty of good things on the horizon. We have new programs coming on that will allow us continued growth as more people enjoy the comfort of Lear seats."
 Continuing in an optimistic tone, he added, "The recession has been tough on all of us, but we kept growing. The increased stability of Europe, along with our lean, customer-focused manufacturing, will give us the opportunity to continue our aggressive expansion."
 -0- 8/26/92
 /NOTE: Media representatives are invited to Lear open house at company headquarters, 21557 Telegraph Road, Southfield, from 4-8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27. There will be excellent photo opportunities starting at 9 a.m. today (Wednesday, Aug. 26). Lear Chairman Way and President Bob Rossiter will be available for photos on both days. Please call Nick Feles at 313-746-1515 for photo arrangements at the plant. CONTACT: Tony DeLorenzo of A.G. DeLorenzo & Associates, 313-644-9150, for Lear Seating Corporation/ CO: Lear Seating Corporation ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

DH -- DE005 -- 3355 08/26/92 09:58 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 26, 1992

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