BERLIN - Delphi Automotive Systems' European operation is playing a leading role in the move to establish a broad customer base, said President J.T. Battenberg III.
Delphi became independent from General Motors just one month ago.
'In the past few months I have been on a whirlwind tour telling the world about Delphi, and focusing on our independence,' he said in a speech at the Automotive News Europe Congress. 'And what a time it has been. We've secured a $6 billion line of credit to run our business and we are now listed on the New York Stock Exchange. We have got rid of $1.5 billion in long-term debt through a bond issue.
'We've restructured our company, acquired new customers and developed a culture unique to Delphi.'
Financially, Battenberg said, Delphi has a strong story to tell. New business worldwide continues to grow at double digit rates.
In just the first quarter of this year it gained $6 billion of new business - $4 billion with GM and $2 billion with other customers.
He added: 'Delphi Europe is a big part of that success story. Because we work with all the major European auto manufacturers, this region is way ahead of other parts of the operation in developing a broad customer base. European sales reached $4.7 billion last year.'
Later, Battenberg said the change to independence had gone even better than expected, and had been 'an exhilarating ride.'
He added: 'Back in 1992 when I took over the components business it was losing $1 billion a year, and a real weight around the neck of GM. My job really was to evaluate the business to see if we should sell it or just close it - and get out [of the supplier industry].
'My analysis was contrary to both those ideas. I said to the board that if you let me clean this business up we can have a viable company within five years.
'I met with a lot of skepticism, but I did have support from Jack Smith and others and they told me to go ahead.
'We sold off $6.5 billion worth of businesses, closed some plants, refocused on core areas and
generally went through a lot of pain.'
Speaker: JT Battenberg III
Title: President, Delphi Automotive Systems.
Theme: Delphi's move to independence
Quote: 'Back in 1992 when I took over the business it was losing $1 billion a year, and a real weight around the neck of GM. My job really was to evaluate the business to see if we should sell it or just close it - and get out (of the supplier industry).'