PARIS - Valeo SA, the diversified French components supplier, continued to divest nonstrategic activities by selling two units in Germany and Italy. Valeo Electronics Verwaltung GmbH and Valeo Electronics KG, which design and manufacture automotive electronic display systems, are being acquired by Borg Luxembourg SA. Valeo also has sold its fuel tank caps and filler activity based in Pianezza, Italy, to Ergom S.p.A.
PRAGUE - Skoda A/S, Volkswagen AG's Czech subsidiary, said it will invest $1.8 billion in new products and technology up to 2003. Chairman Vatislav Kulhanek said a large slice of the total will be for a new engine plant to produce 500,000 1.0- and 1.4-liter engines a year beginning in 2001.
BRUSSELS - Volkswagen AG won European Commission approval to buy Ford Motor Co.'s 50 percent stake in AutoEuropa, the two companies' joint production venture in Portugual. Terms of the sale, which the companies announced in December, were not disclosed. The plant, in Palmera, produces a jointly developed minivan that is sold in Europe as the Ford Galaxy, VW Sharan and Seat Alahambra.
DUSSELDORF - Mannesmann Sachs and Beldesan have formed a 50-50 joint venture to produce shock absorbers in Turkey. The unit, Sachs Beldesan Suspansion Sistem, will manufacture more than 3 million shock absorbers a year at a plant at Gebze/Kocaeli near Istanbul. Beldesan is a unit of Turkey's largest industrial group, Koc, which has vehicle production joint ventures with Fiat and Ford.
AMSTERDAM - Renault SA launched the sixth model off the Megane platform at the Amsterdam auto show. The Megane wagon, built at the automaker's Turkish plant, will go on sale in March. The Megane has become the best-selling French car in Europe, with a 4 percent share of the overall new-car market. It comes in 5-door, 4-door, coupe, cabriolet, minivan and wagon versions.
BRUSSELS - The European associations of automotive suppliers and manufacturers - respectively, CLEPA and ACEA - have signed a set of guidelines aimed at improving the relationship between carmakers and their supply chains. The guidelines cover the design and manufacture of cars and the supply of original equipment components. The guidelines also address six key issues: cooperation in design and manufacturing planning, price/cost relationship, effective adoption of modern manufacturing processes, quality, logistics and legal rules.
STUTTGART - Hella K.G. Hueck Co. and Behr GmbH agreed to combine their activities in air conditioning and engine cooling into a new company, Behr-Hella Thermocontrol GmbH. The two companies agreed in March 1998 to the joint development and manufacture of front-end modules.