Renault has chosen Delphi Automotive Systems (NYSE: DPH - news) to provide its advanced climate control technology for the next-generation Laguna, which the automaker officially debuted here at the Mondial de l'Automobile 2000. Delphi is responsible for developing and supplying the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system for the Renault Laguna, and has already begun ramp-up activity to support that program. The Laguna will go on sale in Europe by early 2001, according to Renault, competing in Europe's upper medium segment.

When it does reach dealer showrooms, it will do so with some of Delphi's most advanced climate control technology, such as an electronically controlled air conditioning compressor, automatic operation and air toxicity sensors, among others. Such technology is critical to Delphi's goal to add greater value to customer programs while answering motorists' call for more advanced features and capabilities.

"Vehicle air conditioning continues to grow significantly in Europe, due in part to motorists who are becoming more demanding in what they want out of their automobiles," said Tim Richards, director of European operations, Delphi Thermal Systems. "As it does, motorists are becoming more sophisticated in what they want out of their automobiles."

He noted that air conditioning penetration on the 2001 Renault Laguna is expected to approach nearly 100 percent, reflecting the prevailing trend in the European air conditioning market and the commitment of OEMs like Renault to enhance the driving experience for its customers.

"Renault's product line illustrates the company's drive to bring fresh and innovative products to the European market -- vehicles that are anything except basic transportation," Richards continued. "To do that, it needs its suppliers to provide excellence in all areas and that's something we strive for as we continue to grow our relationship with Renault."

Delphi is supplying the HVAC systems for all versions of the Laguna. The lifetime value of the contract is valued at more than USD $550 million, based on customer volume forecasts.

The HVAC systems will be assembled and shipped by Delphi's operation in Donchery, France. A number of key components that comprise the HVAC module are also manufactured in Europe by Delphi's Thermal division, including the evaporator (Donchery), heater core and accumulator dehydrator (Ostrow, Poland) and the electronically controlled air conditioning compressor (Douai, France). The Laguna will also feature Delphi's electronically controlled air conditioning compressor (produced in Douai, France). It marks the first large-volume application of the electronically controlled compressor -- a technology that's critical to improving fuel economy and reducing vehicle emissions. It provides electronic displacement control for the compressor, allowing for the reduction of power needed to operate the compressor and providing the potential for exhaust emissions reductions by minimizing air conditioning load.

Multi-national Delphi Automotive Systems, with headquarters in Troy, Mich., USA, Paris, Tokyo and Sao Paulo, Brazil, is a world leader in mobile electronics and transportation components and systems technology. Delphi's three business sectors -- Dynamics & Propulsion; Safety, Thermal & Electrical Architecture; and Electronics & Mobile Communication -- provide comprehensive product solutions to complex customer needs. Delphi has approximately 216,000 employees and operates 179 wholly owned manufacturing sites, 41 joint ventures, 53 customer centers and sales offices and 31 technical centers in 39 countries. Delphi can be found on the Internet at www.delphiauto.com