TURIN, Italy - Magneti Marelli S.p.A. and Midas Inc. are forming a strategic alliance to develop Midas' aftermarket auto-repair service business in Europe and South America. Magneti Marelli will acquire all the European operations of Midas, which will continue to operate under the brand name, for $100 million.
LONDON - LucasVarity PLC and France's Thomson-CSF, a specialist in military electronics, have formed a joint venture to design, develop and manufacture automotive radar sensors for adaptive cruise control and future collision avoidance systems. The venture, LucasVarity Thomson CSF, will be owned equally by the parent companies.
BIRMINGHAM, England - LDV has won a contract worth $20 million a year to supply steel and aluminum panels for the new Land Rover Discovery. LDV will supply more than 100 pressings for the vehicle, including the main floor and rear body side inners, wheel arches and rear tailgate inners. Pressings will be manufactured at the company's Birmingham plant.
COVENTRY, England - Delphi Automotive Systems is working with Jaguar Cars Ltd. to develop adaptive cruise control. Based on Delphi/ Delco's Forewarn microwave radar technology, the system measures the distance and relative speed of preceding vehicles using sensors mounted at the front of the vehicle. Jaguar plans to introduce the system on selected models in strategic markets by the end of 1999.
LONDON - Mannesmann AG has reached a tentative agreement to acquire a controlling interest in Lucas Kienzle Instruments Ltd. LucasVarity PLC owns 60 percent of Lucas Kienzle, and Germany's VDO AG holds 40 percent. Terms of the accord were not disclosed.
SAO PAULO - Fiat Auto began production of the Strada pickup, the fifth variation of its 178 world car program. It replaces the Fiorino pickup, which is sold regionally and exported to western Europe. The Strada is 14.5 feet long and 5.4 feet wide, with a load capacity of 1,540 pounds. A turbodiesel version will be exported to western Europe beginning next spring. Fiat also confirmed it is in negotiations to produce the 178 family in Iran with local assembler Pars Khodro and in Egypt with the Nasco group, which already assembles the Fiat Tempra under license.
SHANGHAI - China Hainan Sundiro Motorcycle Co. Ltd. will use Orbital Engine Corp.'s computer-controlled direct fuel-injection system on its conventional two-stroke engines. Sundiro said motorcycles equipped with the Orbital technology have shown significant reductions in emissions and improved fuel economy during tests.