The annual Automotive News ranking of the Top 150 suppliers to North America has again lost some familiar names. ITT Automotive, Echlin Inc. and others were swallowed in 1998. And we already know that the latest list (Pages 21-26) carries two names, LucasVarity and UT Automotive, for the last time. Their stars will fade with the 20th century, snuffed out by merger and acquisition.
The Top 150, to a large degree, represent true survivors. They have tied their fate to the auto business and - for better or worse - will stick with it.
Still, the dust hasn't settled. Our list of 1998's leaders includes some companies thought to be ripe for a deal. As the auto parts players become bigger and bigger, this much is becoming clear: The aftershocks from the deals they make will only grow stronger.