Autoliv is one of the first seven suppliers Ford picked for new long-term global contracts. Ford wants to improve its relations with partsmakers, reported Automotive News Europe.

Ford's worldwide efforts to reduce its costs have frequently pitted it against its supplier base in a series of price-cut demands on parts.

The Swedish safety systems specialist is the only European-based supplier on the initial list. Ford says it will add more suppliers in the coming months.

Other European-based suppliers are expected to make the list.

Autoliv makes airbags, seat belts and electronics for safety systems. Ford has become one of its largest customers in recent years. Ford liked the work Autoliv was doing for Swedish automaker Volvo, one of luxury brands that makes up Ford's Premier Automotive Group, and decided to use Volvo safety technology throughout the Ford group.

As part of Ford's select supplier group, Autoliv expects even more business from Ford and longer contracts. In return, Ford expects a better look at Autoliv's financial state and first chance at Autoliv technology innovations.

Autoliv is "enthused by the opportunity" to be in the first group of suppliers, but full details of the new Ford initiative are still unclear, said Stefan Kršnung, vice president of Autoliv's global Ford business unit.

"It's good that Ford has recognised that the current model is not working," said Kršnung, in an interview. "We are looking forward to it. We agree with Ford - the present model is not working the best."

Other suppliers in Ford's first seven are US-based Delphi, Johnson Controls, Lear and Visteon; Japanese supplier Yazaki; and Canada-based Magna International. Magna is the parent of Austrian vehicle engineering and contract assembler Magna Steyr.

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