Panoramic sunroof of Lincoln MKS boosts Inalfa sales

Inalfa's panoramic sunroof on the 2009 Lincoln MKS has rigid panels made of darkened glass. The car was shown last fall at the L.A. auto show.
The launch of the Lincoln MKS this month is expected to bolster Inalfa Roof Systems Inc. as the North American leader in panoramic sunroof systems, the company says.

Inalfa expects to sell the large sunroofs for the Lincoln sedan at an annual rate of 30,000 the first year, says Michael Smith, vice president of business development.

Inalfa's first big win in the multipanel-sunroof business came in 2006 with the BMW X5, the sunroof maker's largest single program. The sunroof is selling at an annual rate of 100,000 units, Smith says.

Panoramic sunroofs are large, multipanel roof systems. Unlike folding sunroofs, these systems provide rigid, secure panels that were first seen as options on premium European imports. They are made of darkened glass.

Inalfa also supplies traditional sunroofs to the Ford Escape crossover and Ford Fusion sedan. Ford is Inalfa's biggest North American customer, Smith says.

The big sunroofs for both the Lincoln and the X5 are built at Inalfa's Auburn Hills, Mich., plant and shipped in sequence to Ford Motor Co.'s Chicago assembly plant.

Smith says Inalfa has orders for panoramic-sunroof launches for 2009 and 2010 from both a domestic and a transplant automaker. He declined to identify them.

Inalfa, which is based in the Netherlands, ranks No. 145 on the Automotive News list of the 150 largest suppliers of original-equipment parts to North America with sales of $233 million in its 2007 fiscal year. 

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