A Chinese group is in talks with Ford to purchase some of the assets of its components business, Automotive Components Holdings.

The Financial Times reported today that Wanxiang Group is interested in the assets as part of a strategy to increase the company's worldwide presence.

The newspaper quotes Wanxiang chairman, Lu Guanqiu, who said that that quality of the assets is all right, it's just the high labour costs that makes the businesses unprofitable. Guanqiu is reportedly also interested in Ford's advanced design and production technology and in gaining access to customers in the US.

Automotive Components Holdings is a Ford-managed temporary company formed in October 2005 when Ford 'bought back' some Visteon plants in a Visteon bailout deal. The division produces interior, climate, chassis and powertrain components and operates 11 plants in the United States and three in Mexico. Earlier this week it announced an agreement to sell its climate control business, including a plant in Plymouth Township, Michigan.

According to its website, Wanxiang Group Corporation is one of the top 500 companies. It is a supplier of universal joints, bearings, and CV joints to customers in over 40 countries around the world. It American subsidiary, Wanxiang America Corporation provides full-line customer service to the United States, Canada, Latin and South America and all of Europe.

Chairman, Lu Guanqiu, is the son of a farmer who built the company up from beginnings as a small bicycle repair shop. In addition to the automotive market, Wanxiang is also involved in large-scale agriculture, aquaculture, real estate development, infrastructure development, and a programme to help US companies doing business in China. The Group has 40,000 employees and a turnover of US$4.2bn.

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