Emission and ride control products specialist Tenneco is focusing on growth with Japan-based original equipment customers, according to new chairman and CEO Gregg Sherrill.

“One of our key growth strategies is to expand our business with Japan-based customers, some of the fastest growing original equipment manufacturers worldwide,” said Sherrill in a statement issued after he spent a week in Japan meeting OEMs.

Tenneco now supplies Japanese customers in 14 countries and revenue from Japanese OEMs accounted for 10% of Tenneco’s 2006 global original equipment revenues and 20% of North American original equipment revenue.

The company expects this growth will continue with an expected 32% increase in global OE revenue from Japanese customers by 2008.

The company continues to make progress on becoming a development partner with customers in Japan. Tenneco has been named a development supplier in Japan on four different platforms with vehicles that will be produced in Asia, Europe and North America.

Industry analyst Global Insight predicts that roughly 34% of global light-duty vehicle production growth over the next 10 years will be generated by the Japanese OEMs.

“Our goal is to increase our business with fast-growing OEMs so that the revenues we generate from these customers roughly match their global market share,” said Sherrill. “This growth will be driven by increasingly stringent emissions regulations worldwide and the increase in diesel powered vehicles, which create demand for our hot-end emission control capabilities and diesel after-treatment technologies.

“The growth in our ride control business comes from customers who are looking for improved handling and stability and unique ride characteristics that help differentiate their vehicles.”

Some of the company’s recent launch successes include the Toyota Tundra in North America and the Suzuki Swift in Japan and Europe.

Tenneco is one of 18 on-site suppliers to Toyota’s Tundra, which is assembled in the automaker’s new truck plant San Antonio, Texas. The company invested in two new facilities to supply the full exhaust system on the vehicle and introduced a new advanced laser welding technology designed to reduce muffler weight and lower material costs.

Tenneco last year began supplying front strut module and rear shock parts for the Suzuki Swift Sport, launched in Japan and Europe.

At a technical review with Nissan this week, Tenneco showed off its latest diesel technologies It was one of the first to market with a diesel particulate filter passenger car application in Europe and the company has transferred that technology to other markets worldwide.

Also highlighted was the company’s CES shock absorber, its first electronic suspension system, which is gaining customer acceptance globally.

Tenneco participated in similar shows with Toyota in Japan and North America last year.