Visteon Automotive Systems, the world's second-largest automotive supplier, is turning to one of the world's smallest car companies for help in learning design processes.
In turn, the carmaker, De Tomaso Automobiles Ltd., is tapping Visteon's technological and manufacturing expertise.
De Tomaso Automobiles Ltd. is a partnership between De Tomaso Modena S.p.A., a family-owned manufacturer, and Qvale Automotive Group, a San Francisco distributor of European sports cars. De Tomaso Automobiles will make, distribute and market the De Tomaso Mangusta, an Italian sports car.
A Mangusta, complete with a Visteon-supplied interior and Ford V-8 power, will be unveiled by Visteon next week at the SAE International Congress and Exposition in Detroit. The car, displayed at the Visteon booth, will be full of Visteon's new technology.
The David and Goliath relationship has benefits for both Visteon and De Tomaso. Visteon says it can learn design and manufacturing methods for making parts using a limited-run production schedule.
'We are successful at doing high volumes, but future trends indicate success (will come from designing and manufacturing) in the 25,000 to 100,000 range,' said John Quigley, director of Visteon's Global Technology Development programs. 'This is an opportunity for Visteon to work with a niche manufacturer to learn how to do small volume.'
For De Tomaso, the link is essential. 'Without this relationship with Visteon, the car wouldn't have happened,' said Bruce Qvale, CEO of De Tomaso Automobiles.
The Mangusta's entire interior, including the instrument panel, seats, control knobs and electronics, is designed and manufactured by Visteon. From blank page to finished interior, the process took nine months, Quigley said. He said this is the fastest Visteon has produced a complete custom interior.
The partnership also helps Visteon expand its non-Ford sales base. Visteon, an enterprise of Ford Motor Co., is trying to bolster its portfolio with business from outside the Ford network.
The Mangusta gives Visteon a brand-neutral display case, Quigley said. At auto shows around the world, Visteon will have an eye-catching car for its new gadgetry. De Tomaso has recognition in Europe, where Visteon wants to expand.
The Mangusta is powered by a 32-valve, dual-overhead-cam, 4.6-liter V-8. Visteon and De Tomaso tinkered with the engine, boosting its output to 320 hp at 6,000 rpm.
Qvale said 500 to 700 Mangustas will be produced yearly in Italy. De Tomaso Automobiles will sell the Mangusta factory-direct for around $75,000 in the United States, starting this summer. In Europe, a dealer network is being set up, Qvale said.