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Adam Opel V. Mitras Automotive Notes

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ADAM OPEL V. MITRAS AUTOMOTIVE FACTS The First Claimant ("Opel") is a wholly owned subsidiary company within the General Motors group ("GM") based at Russelsheim in Germany. In the late 1990s GM and the Second Claimant ("Renault") entered into a joint venture to produce a van, badged and sold variously as an Opel/Vauxhall "Vivaro", a Renault "Trafic" and a Nissan "Primastar", which went into production in 2001. The Defendant ("Mitras"), originally a subsidiary of a German company, manufactured and supplied components to the automotive industry from a factory in Winsford, Cheshire. It was from the inception of the X83 project the sole supplier to the Luton plant of the technical front end, in layman's language the moulded plastic unit upon which the front bumper was mounted, under a highly developed system known as single source supply, used widely throughout the motor industry for many years. The Barcelona plant was by served by a different sole supplier, Peguform, based in Catalonia. In 2006, when the Claimants sought to refresh the look of the van by a "face-lift" which included a change to the front bumper, Mitras lost its role as supplier of the bumper mount. Somewhat surprisingly in the light of the RFQ provisions, no Purchase Orders were ever produced. Instead, Mitras received each week a rolling schedule of requirements for the following 40 weeks, generated by GM's computer in Germany. The precise quantities required each day were determined and notified by IBC to Mitras according to variations in production. There was a daily collection by GMR's haulier in a large articulated lorry. This was divided at the haulier's regional distribution centre into 3 separate loads, which were then delivered to Luton at eight hour intervals. The system was designed to minimise the amount of stock held by IBC. At any time there would be a maximum of 432 units in store with a further 48 lineside, to meet a production rate of 18 to 19 vans per hour. The functioning of this "lean material" or "just-intime" system, if not the precise figures, was explained to all suppliers, including Mitras. In 2004 GMR began to plan a refreshment to the look of the van, known as Phase 2. For this purpose they envisaged a change to the bumper mount to support an altered front bumper... By the end of 2005 GMR had apparently decided that the bumper mount for the Phase 2 van should be produced by LFT technology. GMR informed Mitras orally on 24 January 2006 that it was not intending to use Mitras on Phase 2. On being informed of GMR's intention to terminate its role as supplier in six months' time, Mitras advanced certain financial

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