Lear Announces Chevy Volt Supply Relationship

· · 10 years ago

Shortly after announcing plans for a new Detroit-area manufacturing facility—and less than a year removed from bankruptcy—the parts maker Lear Corporation has revealed a long-term collaboration with General Motors to produce components for the Chevy Volt. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, Lear has been quietly collaborating with GM for two years, engaging in weekly meetings that have allowed it to form a non-traditional, no-bid relationship with the carmaker.

Lear says EVs and hybrids will factor heavily into its future plans as it attempts to re-establish itself as a profitable American parts manufacturer. Before filing for bankruptcy, the company generated nearly 80 percent of its sales from supplying seats to General Motors and Ford. Last year though, more than 60 percent of the patents Lear filed were for technologies related to hybrid and electric vehicles.

Among the components that Lear will provide for the Volt are the onboard charging system, a wall and travel charger, the wiring that connects the onboard charger to the battery pack, and a "disconnect" button that allows technicians and emergency responders to kill power from the battery in the event of an accident.

Lear has more than 200 workers dedicated to electric vehicles, including 30 recent hires. The company expects plug-in parts to make up roughly 7 percent of its electronics sales by 2012.

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