More MBS CoverageTRAVERSE CITY, MI – Delphi Corp. is stepping up its efforts to expand globally and move into non-automotive product areas, Rodney O’Neal, president and chief operating officer, tells attendees of the Management Briefing Seminars here.

“Clearly, we need a new play,” O’Neal says. “We know we need a new play, customers know we need a new play, even our union knows. We’re going to step up and it’s going to get done.

“We’re not looking just to survive, we’re looking to thrive,” he says.

Since Delphi broke away from General Motors Corp. in 1999, the supplier has pursued a strategy of expanding globally and decreasing its dependence on GM as a customer. The original plan also called for reducing Delphi’s high-cost U.S. labor base largely through attrition.

Delphi's Rodney O'Neal

O’Neal says that orderly, pragmatic plan now is going to accelerate. Delphi also is going to speed development of more unique and sophisticated products and continue to move away from commodity products.

And even though Delphi already has opened nine new technical centers since 1999, O’Neal promises even more moves into new technology areas and market sectors, especially those not directly related to automotive, including consumer electronics and medical devices.

He cites Delphi’s successful partnership with XM Satellite Radio in the development of mobile satellite devices as an example.

Another product area slated for expansion: Solid-oxide fuel cells, which have a variety of non-automotive and automotive applications.

O’Neal says Delphi will become such an aggressive global player, it will anticipate its customers’ moves into new markets and show up before they do.

dwinter@primediabusiness.com