Intier Automotive Inc. is counting on Delphi Corp. to provide the spark it needs to deliver complete automotive interiors.
Intier, of Newmarket, Ontario, has formed a strategic alliance with Delphi, of Troy, Mich., to develop full interiors, including electronics. Intier is a public company in which Magna International Inc. of Aurora, Ontario, has a majority stake.
Tom Apostolos, president of Intier's automotive interior group, called the move "part of our model to develop relationships and partners to get the best-in-class technology."
Industry analyst Scott Upham says Intier until now "lacked the electronic piece of the puzzle" for its interiors program. "This fits into Intier's strategy of becoming a global systems integrator," says Upham, of automotive forecasting firm J.D. Power-LMC of Troy, Mich.
Of the three major interior suppliers in North America - Lear Corp., Johnson Controls Inc. and Intier - the Magna unit is the smallest. An alliance with Delphi, the largest supplier to North American automakers and a key supplier to General Motors, is bound to help Intier.
The Intier-Delphi alliance appears to be similar to the strategy of another interior supplier. Johnson Controls employs what it calls "peer partnering," by which it obtains expertise from suppliers while avoiding costly acquisitions and capital investment.
Apostolos says the two companies are working on a dozen projects, involving cockpit, overhead, seating and other systems, mostly in North America. "But this is a global alliance and we are targeting Europe as well."
Technologies both companies are working on include integrated electronics, wireless interconnects, and hybrid vehicle and dual-voltage systems.
Delphi is placing engineers at Intier sites in North America, and will expand the effort globally.