PARIS - SAI Automotive AG, the automotive interiors division of French supplier Sommer-Allibert, has landed a huge contract to engineer cockpit modules for cars based on Ford's future mid-range C212 platform.
The C212 platform will spawn replacements for the Ford Focus, Volvo S40/V40 and Mazda 323. Global output for the entire C212 program could reach 2 million vehicles a year.
'We will be an integrator for the whole project,' said Freddy Ballé, SAI's co-chief executive officer.
Manufacturing contracts have not yet been awarded. That phase of the deal will require delicate negotiations with Visteon, Ford's in-house parts maker, according to SAI executives. Visteon is Ford's traditional supplier of dashboards.
'Visteon will be very active for the Ford-branded vehicles,' said Ballé. 'We will certainly make the Volvo part and Mazda has its own suppliers in Japan.'
Ballé said SAI would probably have to invest in manufacturing facilities for the program.
Ballé said Ford had been drawn to SAI's new cockpit technology, called Syntes.
'Our idea was to design a plastic structure consisting of two parts welded together that adds stiffness and is safe,' said Jean-Michel Elter, head of Sommer-Allibert.
This technology replaces the traditional iron strut that extends across the length of the dashboard and therefore simplifies manufacturing of the cockpit.
Ford is already SAI's second-largest customer after Volkswagen.