Ford's semi-independent parts unit Visteon Automotive Systems expects its electronics expertise to bring greater sales outside Ford.
Charles Szuluk, Visteon president, said the electronics portion of Visteon's business should grow from about 40 percent of the total now to about 50 percent within the next decade.
At the same time, he said, Visteon hopes to raise its non-Ford sales from 6 percent now to 20 percent by 2002.
Total sales are $17.2 billion, making Visteon the second largest supplier after Delphi, GM's parts subsidiary.
A key component in Visteon's campaign is a personal computer that will bring entertainment features and Internet access to a vehicle's dashboard.
The voice-activated system allows occupants to watch a movie, retrieve e-mail messages, reply to e-mail and voice mail, obtain stock market information or link up with satellite maps and other navigation services. The system also controls the air conditioner, heater and radio.
Szuluk said Visteon is working with microprocessor supplier Intel and software giant Microsoft to keep up with computer technology.
He called the resulting automotive PC system an integrated 'plug-and-play' component, meaning the system does not have to be designed into the vehicle.
'Visteon intends to have this available on the aftermarket this year,' Szuluk said.
Szuluk joined Ford's Electronics Division 10 years ago after a 24-year career with IBM.
Szuluk said 1997 sales were up 5 percent, but he did not forecast 1998 results.