The business in China was 'challenging', according to CEO Ray Scott. He added that this situation will continue in the short- to medium-term.
Demand fell in Europe, partly driven by the emission tests scandals. On the upside he said that Lear is 'going through a great cadence of launches' in the US.
The company said that global automotive production fell by about 1% in 2018,
Lear said that, excluding the impact of foreign exchange, sales were up 2% in 2018. The sales increase reflects the addition of new business, and the acquisition of Grupo Antolin, which completed in May 2017.
The company also released details of its order backlog for the first time this year. Lear said it has orders worth $3.4 bn and that this is the largest in the company's history.
E-Systems represents approximately 30% of the backlog. The company said that this reflects market share gains and accelerating growth from vehicle electrification and connectivity.
Scott, speaking to Automotive News Europe, said he plans to bring his firm's seating and electronic businesses closer together in the future.
'The seat is in the first position for physical connectivity,' he said. 'You can personalise that seat, as opposed to a dashboard centre stack where everyone has to share.
'Think about the headrest: you can create a sound zone, and passengers can receive their own phone calls or text messages.
In addition, he said: 'We are also work in BioBridge. This uses non-intrusive technology embedded in the seat that reads heart rate, stress or drowsiness. Our dynamic safety system moves the seat in a subtle way to protect passengers from front or rear collision.'
At the same time, Scott denied that auto seating is built on old technology. 'You may have old manufacturing with some components… but to adjust the seat for impact automatically, that takes a lot of technology.
'As the consumer moves to mobility and ride-sharing and even autonomous driving, it becomes even more important to differentiate. I couldn't be more excited about the possibilities of this technology being embedded,' he added.
Meanwhile, Scott added that the first high-profile role out of one of these technologies will happen in 2020.
'The ConfigureE+ adaptive system will go into production with a premium automaker in Europe in 2020. It's built into the floor pan, and it gives you the flexibility to move the seats along a powered rail.'
Automotive News Europe's Peter Sigal contributed to this story.
|Lear 2018 numbers ($ bn)