SAO PAULO, Brazil - Ford may buy a complete rolling chassis from its parts subsidiary, Visteon.
Visteon is considering a $200 million investment to build two new plants near Ford assembly plants. Visteon would provide a rolling chassis - a frame, powertrain, steering, brakes, suspension, wheels and tires. Ford would add interiors and bodies.
Craig Mulhauser, Visteon vice president, confirmed the scope of the proposal, but he refused to give details.
'We have to convince Ford that our products are better price-, quality- and delivery-date-wise,' said Mulhauser. He was in Sao Paulo to meet clients.
Mulhauser did not explain how Visteon can operate at less cost than Ford in Brazil. However, one Visteon plant is proposed to serve Ford's Sao Paulo plant, which is old and has little room to grow. Ford makes the Ka and Fiesta in Sao Paulo, with a capacity of 300,000 a year. Ford proposes adding 200,000 units there.
The second Visteon proposal would put a plant in Guaira, where Ford intends to build its world car, the Amazon project. Proposed Amazon volume is about 170,000 a year.
The project for Sao Paulo could be an Escort-sized car or a pickup truck designed for emerging markets. Sources said Ford is working on both projects.
The two Visteon proposals are independent. Each would be about the same size, employing about 600 people. They would have to be operational by 2000 to meet Ford's product planning timetable, according to engineering sources in Brazil.