Sakthi Automotive under major financial and operational distress as GM parts ways with supplier

It was in 2017 when Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan gave his public blessing to Sakthi Automotive after they broke ground on another facility.

"It's a special day. Everything about this city's recovery starts with a job," said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

And for some, the jobs that arrived have proven to be a great rebound, especially for ex-felons like Corey Johnson.

"Sakthi gave me an opportunity. I started on the line, worked my way up from line to supervisor," said Johnson.

But that was then, and the news today that General Motors was cutting ties with the supplier is now. 

"Seven-hundred and fifty people is losing their jobs," said Johnson.

It's estimated that 150 people have already been laid off. The company originally said the firings were due to the month-long GM strike. But that ended weeks ago and nobody has been brought back.

Those tremors have perpetuated angst among some of their ex-employees their jobs won't be back.

"My phone's gonna get shut off, I got my car taken from me. It got repoed because I don't have any money. I applied for unemployment but that takes weeks," said Arianna Ortiz.

"(I got a) wife and three kids. It's hard you know, it's very hard. Christmas right around the corner, Thanksgiving right around the corner - it's a tragedy," said Travis Fernandez.

GM accounts for approximately 80 percent of Sakthi's revenue. Supplying aluminum castings for several cars the automaker sells, sources say the supplier is in receivership. With major operational and financial distress weighing them down, GM said it was forced to find another supplier at the end of October. 

In a statement, the company said "GM was forced to move its remaining business from Sakthi Automotive Group USA (SAGUSA) to a new supplier after the court-appointed receiver stopped shipping parts, jeopardizing GM vehicle production and putting additional jobs at risk. This was a difficult decision, as GM has spent several months and considerable funds to try and keep SAGUSA as a viable supplier."

FOX 2 reached out to the supplier, but no one has responded and we weren't allowed on the property.