Delphi Automotive is doing what many of its competitors and customers haven't been brazen enough to do: leaving its Motor City roots behind for Silicon Valley.
In a move to redefine itself as a supplier of future technologies, Delphi last week said it will spin off the powertrain operations that have been at the heart of its identity.
Instead, Delphi will shift its attention to such emerging fields as software, electronics, advanced safety and electrical architectures. Those are key pieces in the commercialization of autonomous driving and cloud-based infotainment and connected vehicles.
Delphi even revealed that the historic change in focus might prompt it to change its name, although it did not provide specifics.
Wall Street, industry analysts and even Delphi's automaker customers hailed the strategic play.
"Having a supply base that can aggressively go after this complicated space rather than waiting for us to tell them? Wonderful -- whether they sell to us or not," responded Wayne Powell, vice president for electronic systems at Toyota Motor North America.
"Having suppliers like a Delphi or others play in that space to help hook it together is wonderful," Powell told Automotive News. "There's really no downside."
"Great move," said Adam Jonas, an analyst with Morgan Stanley who has historically praised auto industry disruptor Tesla Motors for its technologies and growth potential. "The timing couldn't be better."