Delphi Corporation has confirmed previously announced new North American electric power steering business is with Ford for the Ford Escape small SUV.

The 2008 model year platform also includes the Escape hybrid and Mazda Tribute derivatives.

It's the first time Delphi has supplied its electric power steering system to Ford.

"We currently supply steering columns and other steering components to Ford and are very pleased to add electric power steering," said Delphi Steering president Robert Remenar in a statement.

Remenar added that higher petrol prices, positive market reaction to vehicles with hybrid powertrains, and high US sales of trucks and SUVs driving OEM fleet CAFE ratings up are all factors that influence the need for technology that can help improve fuel economy on passenger vehicles.

Delphi has produced more than 3.5 million EPS units since its system was first introduced in Europe in 1999.