FRANKFURT -- European carmakers and suppliers said on Wednesday they were encountering no supply disruptions after Delphi Corp., the largest U.S. auto parts maker, sought court protection from creditors.
Delphi filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Saturday, Oct. 8, but its operations outside the United States were not covered by the filing.
Over the long run, analysts say, Delphi's troubles may help the prospects of European parts makers and provide them with opportunities to acquire pieces of the company.
"We are as good as unaffected," said a spokesman for German automotive supplier and tire maker Continental, which swaps parts with Delphi. "There are absolutely no problems there."
In Europe, Delphi makes shock absorbers, clutches and brakes among other parts for customers including BMW and DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes Car Group.
"It's not affecting us," added a spokesman for DaimlerChrysler, which he said was in close contact with Delphi.
"Our intention is to avoid any production and financial disruptions, so we are working pretty closely together with them, although we are certainly not their biggest client," he added.
He would not give details but said DaimlerChrysler's business with Delphi was relatively small compared with that of former Delphi parent General Motors and its Detroit rival Ford Motor Co.
'WON'T HAPPEN HERE'
The bankruptcy filing puts Delphi on a collision course with the United Auto Workers union as the company shrinks domestic operations and slashes union wages and health-care benefits.
In France, the head of car parts maker Valeo said his company would not encounter the problems that led Delphi into a Chapter 11 filing.
"It would never happen to Valeo for a simple reason -- our management system is characterized by speed and transparency," Thierry Morin told LCI television.
He was not asked about whether Valeo wanted to obtain businesses from Delphi. In the past, car industry executives have said they would not touch Delphi assets that were heavily burdened with the social costs of pensions.
In the longer term, car parts companies such as Valeo hope to gain more orders from Ford and GM as the automakers reduce their dependence on a single parts supplier, but few discuss their plans in public.
In a note for clients published on Monday, Oct. 10, Morgan Stanley suggested that investors use any weakness in shares of auto parts companies with strong growth prospects and solid balance sheets such as Continental or Sweden's Autoliv to stock up.
It also pointed out acquisition opportunities if Delphi sells off parts of its broad portfolio of powertrain, brake, chassis, climate control, safety and electronics products.
"Were Autoliv to be interested in any of these areas, we believe Delphi's steering wheel and safety electronics business is more attractive than its airbag business, given that Autoliv already has sufficient scale and competency," it said. "From a Continental perspective, they have placed a higher priority on acquisitions in Asia than in North America."