Delphi Corporation on Thursday said that its Asia-Pacific sales grew 30% in the first five months of this year from a year earlier, beating its estimate, according to Reuters. Delphi chief executive officer JT Battenberg said that robust demand in China was behind the solid growth in the region, which exceeded 22% in 2002, the report said.

According to Reuters, Battenburg said that Delphi, which was spun off by General Motors in 1999, saw its China sales grow more than 30% in each of the last two years and strong demand for its engine management system and other products continue to boost its sales despite the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare.

"SARS did impact on (China's vehicle sales) growth, but in a very positive way," Battenberg reportedly said.

Reuters said that Battenburg noted that consumers bought vehicles earlier to avoid exposure to SARS on public transport, leading to an 88% rise in the Chinese passenger car market so far this year.

"Delphi is outpacing the rate of vehicle production growth, indicating Delphi continues to gain market share in the fastest growing market," Battenberg reportedly said.

Reuters noted that, despite its performance in Asia, Delphi, based in Troy, Michigan, in June halved its second-quarter earnings outlook and cut its full-year profit target because of weak sales of new vehicles and production, and costs related to a legal settlement.

Asked if Delphi plans any mergers and acquisitions (M&A), Battenberg reportedly said it has no interest in acquiring rival parts makers although he expects more consolidation in the industry.

Reuters noted that the Delphi chief was speaking after its US peer ArvinMeritor launched a $US2.2 billion unsolicited offer for bigger rival Dana Corporation in a move to cut costs and expand its product range in the brutally competitive supplier market.

"Delphi has no activity in the M&A field at this time...Delphi has no interest in getting bigger," Battenburg said, according to Reuters.

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