MORRISTOWN, NJ - "Who are those guys?" Robert Redford and Paul Newman kept asking each other that as they watched a posse relentlessly stalking them in the classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

To those of us who follow the automotive plastics industry, it wasn't surprising to have the phrase or the movie clip crop up in a recent AlliedSignal Plastics promotional video.

The company is the second largest supplier of nylon compounds to the automotive market and produces some highly technical, high-profile applications such as the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) grille opening reinforcement panel on the Ford Motor Co. Taurus - it's made of recycled pop bottles. The application keeps millions of the plastic bottles out of landfills every year, but if you ask who supplied the plastic, you'll probably just get a blank stare. In Detroit, AlliedSignal Inc. is known as a producer of antilock brake systems and such.

But just like that posse in the movie, AlliedSignal Plastics has been quietly stalking the automotive market: reorganizing its sales and marketing functions to customer need-driven business units, adding plant capacity, introducing a 48-hour delivery program for its popular "Capron" and "Petra" resins and promising several major new products over the next 12 months. It's even offering direct customer access and two-way communications via the Internet.

AlliedSignal also is promising to increase "educational activities" among molders and OEMS on "clarifying the strengths and abilities of nylon 6 vs. 6/6" - a move that's sure to get the attention of DuPont Automotive, which dominates the nylon 6/6 market.

"For about 80% of most-known engineering applications, the two materials are essentially interchangeable, yet many molders and design engineers alike still perceive significant performance characteristics between the two," AlliedSignal says.

Automotive Industry Manager Ronald R. Hornack, who was director of marketing/sales at Himont Advanced Materials before joining the company last year, also has been beefing up his department with top-quality personnel from competitors and forming cross-functional teams to attack specific market segments such as intake manifolds and recycled materials. At AlliedSignal Inc.'s world headquarters here in Morristown, he recently outlined an aggressive campaign to win myriad new interior, exterior and under-the-hood applications.

In the coming months people in Detroit probably will be saying a lot of things about AlliedSignal Plastics. but it probably won't be "Who are those guys?"