Faurecia signs seat deal for DCX models

French automotive supplier Faurecia is continuing its search for a wider mix of customers, signing an agreement with Japan’s Namba Press Works Co. Ltd. to pursue seating opportunities in DaimlerChrysler models.

The automaker had announced this year that it would combine components for small and mid-sized vehicles for its Chrysler unit and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Working together with Namba would give Faurecia and Namba a chance to pursue more customers in a wider geographic region, said

Arnaud de David-Beauregard, Faurecia’s executive vice president of group development.

“For the moment, there is no business,” he said. “What we are doing is just setting up the structure for the potential of future business.”

Faurecia touts itself as the largest automotive seating supplier in Europe, holding a 25 percent share in the market. It is the third largest globally.

The company has limited operations in North America, but it has been ramping up production with manufacturing at six sites in Canada and has a contract in hand to supply seating for General Motors’ mid-sized sedans beginning in 2003.

Mitsubishi, meanwhile, is Namba Press Works’ largest customer.

With DaimlerChrysler’s plans to reduce costs by creating common platforms for Chrysler and Mitsubishi vehicles, Faurecia can begin to offer its collaboration with Namba as a one-stop shop for those common seating systems, David-Beauregard said.

“What we are targeting is offering a global system for their common platforms for their vehicles,” he said.

Faurecia also has an operating agreement with NHK Spring Co. Ltd. of Yokohama, Japan, to produce seating for Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. vehicles. Teaming up can be an important move for suppliers anxious to establish manufacturing strongholds globally, said Michel Costes, CEO of Mavel SA, a Paris-based automotive consulting business.

You can reach Rhoda Miel at rmiel@crain.com

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