Tony Lewin, Automotive News Europe
Delphi facilities in at least four European countries will be affected by the embattled supplier's decision to narrow its product range.
The giant US-based supplier, which put its American operations in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, will exit a number of sectors - including brakes, steering, chassis systems, catalysts, cockpits and instrument panels - as part of a plan it announced March 31.
Delphi will sell or close all its global plants that make the non-core components, said Steve Gaut, Delphi Europe's head of communications.
Where plants produce a variety of components we will have to work out transition plans depending on what the buying company wants,â€ he told Automotive News Europe.
Delphi currently produces steering systems in Italy, Poland and Spain. Delphi plants in the UK produce brake systems, suspension modules and instrument clusters, according to information on Delphi's Web site.
Shocks, springs and bearings are made in Spain and Poland, along with ball joints and drive axles. Delphi also plans to exit door modules and latches, raising questions about production of the Peugeot 1007 and Mercedes Vito power door systems at Ponte De Sor, Portugal.
Delphi refused to discuss which systems were produced at its plants or which facilities are threatened.
Delphi's European sales totaled $5.1 billion (currently E4.0 billion) in 2004, the most current period for which detailed data is available.
We are making our own internal plans in Europe for the divestments,â€ Gaut said. How the transformation plan will impact the various facilities will be subject to negotiation.â€
Gaut confirmed that Delphi's planned exit from the chassis business means that its innovative MagneRide damper technology is for sale.
In some of the businesses offered, we have leading-edge technologies, which will clearly make these attractive to purchasers,â€ he said.
Several major European suppliers - including Robert Bosch, ZF Friedrichshafen and Faurecia - have expressed interest in Delphi's North American facilities. But which European plants will be offered for sale is still unclear.
Delphi Europe President Volker Barth told ERJ sister publication Automobilwoche that most European cutbacks would be administrative jobs. He said manufacturing and research and development positions barely would be affected in Germany.
From Automotive News Europe (A Crain publication)