Textron Automotive Co. Inc. is in discussions with South Korea's largest automotive supplier to establish an alliance that would give the North American company more exposure in Asia.
Hyundai Mobis and Textron Automotive already work together on some programs. The talks aim at formalizing that relationship, said Textron spokesman Tim Weir.
"We are hopeful something will happen," he said. "We've only just begun working with Korean automakers recently."
The discussions come even as the Troy, Mich.-based auto supplier's corporate parent, Textron Inc., considers ways to reduce its exposure to the auto industry, including possibly selling all or part of the unit.
But that goal and the talks with Hyundai Mobis are not mutually exclusive, noted analyst Scott Upham. Any potential sale could take months or years to finalize. In the meantime, Textron Automotive needs to look at ways to continue improving the business.
"They're waiting for the right suitor now," said Upham, president of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Providata Automotive. "This is a long-term play. It may take a year or more to sell it off. You still need to make sales and keep it attractive."
An alliance with Hyundai Mobis would provide Textron with a greater geographic reach, while providing the Seoul-based supplier with access to new programs and improved production.
Hyundai Mobis — formerly called Hyundai Precision Ltd. — is part of the Hyundai Motor Co. group, which includes Hyundai and Kia brand vehicles. Upham compared it to Delphi Automotive Systems or Visteon Corp., but on a smaller scale.
It sells parts to its sister automaking companies as well as other automakers throughout Asia. It also is looking to expand into direct competition with North American supplying giants but needs more expertise.
Textron, meanwhile, has limited auto exposure in Asia. Its fuel- tank blow molding division, Kautex Textron, has production in Chennai, India, a joint venture in Changchun, China, and a sales office in Yokohama, Japan.