DETROIT - Visteon Corp. is out as the interior integrator for the next generation of General Motors' small cars.
The move is a blow to the supplier's effort to boost business with companies other than former parent Ford Motor Co.
Visteon stopped acting as an integrator for the project in April, the Dearborn, Mich., supplier and GM confirmed last week.
The move cuts to four the number of suppliers coordinating development of interiors for GM vehicles - Johnson Controls Inc., Lear Corp., the Intier Automotive unit of Magna International Inc., and Venture Industries. Intier has taken over the small-car project, according to GM.
"GM's interior integration strategy continues to evolve based on current and future vehicle program plans," said Bo Andersson, GM vice president of worldwide purchasing, production control and logistics.
"To more effectively manage our business objectives and maximize the integrators' capabilities, we've made the decision to work with fewer of them at this time."
Visteon remains a key supplier to GM, Visteon spokesman Greg Gardner said.
GM began to create interior integrators in 2001 because it believed making a single supplier responsible for the overall interior for each vehicle program - including design, development, and management of all other suppliers - would lead to faster development, better quality and lower costs. GM coordinates all the suppliers of interior components.
But in January, when GM announced the five companies it had selected to be integrators, the automaker retained design and sourcing control.
"GM is essentially saying to those suppliers that if you want to be a true integrator with design and sourcing control, first prove that you can manage the process," a Wall Street analyst said.
French interior parts supplier Faurecia also had been slated to be an interior integrator, but GM parted ways with the company last year. GM said Faurecia's decision to back out was mutual.
But Visteon and Faurecia were concerned they would not gain sufficient content on the program to generate a profit.
Being chosen as an interior integrator by GM was an important step for Visteon, said Paul Haelterman, an industry analyst with CSM Worldwide of Northville, Mich., in a study published this year.
Visteon's selection got the company's foot in the door and showed its intent to be a long-term, multi-client player in interiors.
Visteon still has multiple contracts to supply components for GM products, including lighting and the plastic fuel tank for the 2003 Hummer H2 and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system for a 2004 car. c
Rhoda Miel is a reporter for Plastics News, a sister publication of Automotive News