Sat, Feb 28, 2004 - Page 10 News List

DaimlerChrysler, GM court Taiwan's auto-parts makers

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

General Motors Corp (GM) and DaimlerChrysler AG are considering using Taiwanese auto-parts suppliers, an official close to the matter told the Taipei Times yesterday. Such deals would mark a breakthrough for local firms in their attempts to expand into the lucrative contract-manufacturing business.

Automobile-parts giant Delphi Corp, a manufacturing arm of GM, led a delegation to Taiwan earlier this week seeking possible partnerships with local suppliers, said Hwang Wen-fang (黃文芳) of the Taiwan Transportation Vehicle Manufacturers Association (台灣區車輛工業同業公會).

The four-member Delphi delegation visited the Taipei-based association on Thursday. The Troy, Michigan-based company makes mobile electronics and transportation components and systems technology.

"We're excited about Delphi's move. It's a good opportunity for Taiwanese auto-parts makers to expand their original equipment manufacturing [OEM] business, which makes up only a small part of auto-parts suppliers' revenue," Hwang said.

Last year, Taiwanese companies exported NT$107.8 billion worth of auto parts, much of it going to retailers and auto maintenance service providers rather than automakers, he said.

Hwang said local companies could reap big profits if Delphi decided to place orders, especially as the Delphi representatives were from the company's energy and chassis division, which has the biggest procurement spending among the company's eight divisions, he said.

Air cleaners, braking systems and chassis parts are among the major items Delphi may want to buy here, Hwang said.

German-US automaker DaimlerChrysler is also set to talk to 25 local auto parts suppliers next Tuesday in Taichung. The automaker said Frank Deiss, president of DaimlerChrysler's global procurement division, will lead a delegation to Taiwan, but declined to reveal details about what items they were interested in.

Ta Yih Industrial Co (大億), Taiwan's largest headlight maker, confirmed it would have talks with DaimlerChrysler next week.

"We'll send high-ranking officials to talk to DaimlerChrysler's officials. But it is still uncertain that any purchase contract will be signed," a Ta Yih company official surnamed Chen said yesterday.

Huang said Delphi seemed quite interested in Taiwanese manufacturers and requested an extra procurement meeting.

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