Valeo has signed a memorandum of understanding with Japanese lighting supplier Ichikoh Industries to create a global alliance in lighting systems.
This will be Valeo's third partnership with a Japanese company since Renault took a stake in Nissan just over one year ago.
Valeo's partnership with Unisia-JECS in transmissions has been operational since April 1, and its partnership with Zexel for thermal systems 'is close to a final agreement,' said Andre Navarri, Valeo chief operating officer. Valeo signed a memorandum of understanding with Zexel in December 1999.
Ichikoh is the third largest Japanese lighting supplier after Koito and Stanley Electric. It has a Japanese market share of 26 percent, according to the company.
Its largest customer is Nissan, but a fifth of sales are with Toyota. Valeo will take a 20 percent share in Ichikoh, and Ichikoh has the option to take a stake in Valeo's lighting business of up to 20 percent. Valeo expects the final agreement to be completed before July 1, 2000. The agreement between Valeo and Ichikoh covers joint design, development and production of lighting systems.
'This alliance consolidates Valeo's worldwide leadership position in automotive lighting systems' said Noel Goutard, Chairman and CEO of Valeo.
The two group's combined shares of the world automotive lighting market add up to 20 percent. Valeo is global market leader in the lighting business with a share of 17 percent, said a Valeo lighting division executive.