Lear Corporation (NYSE:LEA) today announced that it will open a new seating plant in Genk, Belgium, next month as a result of having been awarded a new contract to supply complete seats for the upcoming Ford Mondeo model. Terms of the new contract with Ford Motor Co. were not disclosed.

Lear will employ approximately 400 workers in the 90,000-square-foot plant, which is located adjacent to Ford's assembly plant in Genk. The Lear facility will feature an intricate conveyor system that will allow the automotive supplier to deliver seats to the plant in sequence to ensure that Ford receives the Mondeo seats on time, and in the proper order in which they are to be installed in the compact cars.

"Lear is extremely proud to be chosen to supply the Mondeo seating systems, which Ford is outsourcing for the first time," said Kenneth L. Way, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lear Corporation. "This plant in Belgium is one of several Lear European facilities to open this year, and demonstrates our commitment to the region."

"When this new factory is operational, Lear will be the largest local supplier to Ford in Genk," said Randall Carron, President, International Operations for Lear. "Lear is pleased to play a key role in the automotive workforce in Belgium."

Lear Corporation, a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Southfield, Mich., USA, focuses on automotive interiors and electronics, and is the world's fifth-largest automotive supplier. Sales in 1999 were $12.4 billion. The company's world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by more than 120,000 employees in over 300 facilities located in 33 countries. Information about Lear and its products is available on the Internet at www.lear.com .