While the Auto Parts Advisory Committee and the United Auto Workers Union were calling for a stronger autoparts trade agreement to address an imbalance in Japan’s favour, Michigan-based Lear Corporation announced (30/11/00) that it will supply the complete interior system for a future sports vehicle to be built in Hiroshima, Japan. Financial terms of the multi-million dollar agreement were not disclosed.

Lear was awarded the business as the total system integrator and will manage six automotive suppliers during the design and production process of the future vehicle's interior. This is the first total interior programme the US company has been awarded in Japan and the vehicle will be sold in the US, Europe, Middle East and South America. Production volume, however, is estimated at only approximately 60,000 to 70,000 vehicles a year.

"Lear is extremely pleased with Mazda's vote of confidence in our skill and expertise as an interior systems integrator by awarding Lear our first-ever complete interior programme in Japan," said Lear president and CEO Bob Rossiter.

The new business award from Mazda represents Lear's fifth total interior programme and is the second announcement by Lear in the past month related to major business wins from Japanese automakers.

"The Asian auto market represents a huge opportunity for Lear," Rossiter said. "We have recently won several new business programs with Japanese automakers and are currently negotiating other projects to keep our momentum in the region going strong."