French supplier Faurecia is continuing its search for a wider range of customers, signing an agreement with Japan's Namba Press Works to pursue seating deals for Daimler-Chrysler models.
DaimlerChrysler said earlier this year that it would combine components for small and mid-sized vehicles for its Chrysler unit and Mitsubishi.
Working together would give Faurecia and Namba a chance to pursue more customers in a wider geographic region, said Arnaud de David-Beauregard, Faurecia's executive vice president of group development.
'For the moment, there is no business,' he said. 'What we are doing is just setting up the structure for the potential of future business.'
Faurecia is the largest automotive seating supplier in Europe, holding a 25 percent share in the market. It is the third largest globally.
Faurecia has limited operations in North America, but it has been ramping up production with manufacturing at six sites in Canada. Faurecia has a contract to supply seating for General Motors' mid-sized sedans beginning in 2003.
Mitsubishi, meanwhile, is Namba Press Works' largest customer.
With DaimlerChrysler's plans to reduce costs by creating common platforms for Chrysler and Mitsubishi vehicles, Faurecia can begin to offer its collaboration with Namba as a single source for those common seating systems, David Beauregard said.
'What we are targeting is offering a global system for their common platforms for their vehicles,' he said.
Faurecia also has an operating agreement with NHK Spring of Yokohama, Japan, to produce seating for Nissan vehicles. Michel Costes, CEO of Mavel, a Paris-based automotive consulting business, said teaming up can be an important move for suppliers anxious to establish manufacturing strongholds globally.