Already wrestling with a parts shortage at three U.S. assembly plants due to a strike at a key supplier, General Motors Corp.’s manufacturing network faces a double-whammy should a second supplier with financial troubles shutter its operations.

GM confirms it has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Detroit for access to its tooling should financially strapped Plastech Engineered Products Inc. become unable to deliver parts. GM also reportedly has sought quotes from other suppliers for its GMT900 light pickup and SUV trim business, one of Plastech’s largest programs for the auto maker and a massive chunk of GM’s North American business.

Dearborn-based Plastech filed for Chapter 11 protection on Feb. 1, after Chrysler LLC terminated its agreements with the Tier 1 supplier over a series of quality and delivery setbacks. The filing triggered an operational freeze and kept Chrysler from taking the tooling to another supplier. Chrysler and Plastech currently operate under an interim agreement that expires on March 17.

Earlier this week, Plastech asked the court to borrow $14 million to support its liquidity. That comes on top of $11.5 million GM reportedly loaned the company last year.

But now GM has filed paperwork with the court to ensure it can recover tooling should Plastech find itself unable to deliver parts. Unlike Chrysler, however, GM does not seek immediate possession of its tooling.

“We’re still very supportive of Plastech’s efforts to reorganize, and we do not anticipate a parts shortage,” GM spokeswoman Linda McGill tells Ward’s. “It is not unusual for us to take steps to ensure our parts supply. This is an ‘if-and-only-if’ situation; a contingency plan.”

Inquiries to Plastech seeking comment on the GM filing were not immediately returned.

The Plastech filing arrives as GM idles or slows 28 of its manufacturing locations, including seven vehicle assembly plants, due to a strike at driveline- and chassis-component supplier American Axle Mfg. & Holding Inc.

GM’s altered production schedules affect 37,279 of its 80,476 hourly manufacturing employees. Ward’s estimates the auto maker is losing more than 6,000 units of production for every day the plant shutdowns continue.

GM says its business remains well-insulated from the strike. AAM mostly supplies parts to the auto maker’s fullsize truck and SUV programs, where inventory levels on nearly all products exceed 100 days’ supply, Ward’s data shows.

About 3,650 AAM employees represented by the United Auto Workers union in Michigan and New York walked off the job more than two weeks ago after the expiration of a 4-year labor agreement. Negotiations resumed on Wednesday (March 12) after the union walked away from the bargain table on Monday.

The UAW says it is fighting to maintain employment in the U.S., while AAM claims it can no longer operate its business competitively under rules and agreements previously reached with its workers. The supplier has threatened “additional capacity rationalization initiatives” should it not attain a more competitive labor cost structure with UAW for its U.S. locations.

jamend@wardsauto.com