By Liz White, UT staff
Southfield, Michigan-Automotive interiors supplier Lear Corp. has received a Supplier Performance Award of the Year for Product Development by Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M).
Lear also disclosed that it continues to add new business outside of North America with the contract for the seating on M&M's future "Ingenio" utility vehicle.
The Ingenio replaces the Bolero utility vehicle, and is scheduled to be launched in 2008, said a Lear announcement.
M&M has a substantial share of India's semi-urban and rural vehicle markets following the introduction of premium multipurpose-utility vehicles like Bolero and Scorpio.
Lear has a major presence on M&M's current utility vehicle product offerings, which have annual production of about 122 000 vehicles. Lear is also ramping up production for two additional programmes to be introduced later this year and early in 2007.
"Lear has had a long and successful relationship with M&M," from 1998, when it gained orders for the total interior program of the Scorpio, said Lear chairman and chief executive officer, Bob Rossiter, in Lear's announcement.
"This partnership has allowed Lear to expand its business in India, one of several key markets where we are making progress in growing and diversifying our sales portfolio globally," he added.
Rossiter said Lear's contribution to Mahindra's success was recognised with M&M's Supplier Performance Award of the Year for Lear, in the year M&M instituted the awards.
Lear's first complete interior-anywhere
Lear began supplying seats in 1998 from two plants in Mumbai and Nashik, India, where M&M plants are located. Lear then won the Scorpio programme-M&M's first indigenously developed sport-utility vehicle-less than two years after establishing operations in India.
This was the first complete interior system ever awarded to Lear, and covered engineering, design, manufacture and supply. In January 2002, Lear completed a 10 000 sq.m integrated manufacturing facility in Nashik to supply all seat requirements of M&M's utility vehicles and the complete interior of the Scorpio which launched in June 2002.
Lear also has an engineering and design centre in Mumbai, India.
In November 2004, Lear was awarded the all-new Scorpio, as well as the Scorpio Single Cab/Double Cab (SC/DC) programs covering full development-of seating, instrument panels, floor consoles, trim and carpeting. All of this was to be achieved at competitive cost in less than a year. The new Scorpio was launched in March 2006, and the SC/DC launch is scheduled for July 2006.
In July 2005, Lear also gained the seat business of Mahindra Renault Ltd, to be launched in January 2007. Lear is constructing a 6000 sq.m plant in Nashik to support these programmes.