Somebody at Lear Corp. did some thinking. North America's fifth-largest auto supplier has struggled this year as automakers soured on a concept deeply important to Lear -- one-stop shopping for vehicle interiors.
Lear has the ability to produce all major components in a vehicle interior: instrument panels, headliners, seats, door panels and consoles. But General Motors -- Lear's biggest customer -- and other automakers weren't buying it.
Now the bankruptcy case of interior products giant Collins & Aikman Corp. has created some opportunities. Lear expressed interest. Then billionaire investor Wilbur Ross' company purchased a chunk of Collins & Aikman's bank debt.
Instead of competing with Ross, Lear decided to join him. With the help of another large financier, Lear and Ross are negotiating a strategic deal that could lead to the formation of a giant automotive interiors components business.
Good for them. Anytime you can revive a troubled product line in the auto business and persuade deep pockets to join you, it's a good thing for the industry.