PARIS – Delphi Corp. signs on two new European customers for its MagneRide suspension system.

The supplier declines to reveal which auto makers will adopt its magnetic suspension system that currently is employed only by General Motors Corp.

However, the technology should be introduced on the vehicles in 2006 or 2007, F. Timothy Richards, vice president-sales and marketing, tells Ward's at the auto show here.

Delphi's MagneRide slated for Europe.

"We're talking two different scenarios,” he says. “There's one specialty manufacturer of vehicles that will be putting (MagneRide) across the line, and a higher-volume manufacturer that is putting it on one of their car lines.”

In one case, the suspension will be optional as an up-level performance feature. The technology will become the base chassis suspension in the other application.

The European auto makers initially will get the current second-generation MagneRide system, which is fitted on the '05 Chevrolet Corvette chassis and some Cadillac models.

Delphi still is developing MagneRide's third generation, Richards says, and the new European customers are expected to adopt that technology shortly into the life of their vehicles using the system.

He says the third generation deals with sophistication and controllability of the damper, which is improved with each generation, as well as lower cost that allows broader application.

Getting the value equation right is essential to Delphi in order to expand the appeal of MagneRide, he says. "When we first designed the product, the cost and performance weren't as attractive as they needed to be for a standard option on 200,000 cars."

Additionally, Delphi Chairman J.T. Battenberg announces some $180 million in new business with Renault SA. Delphi will supply complete electronic systems for a B-segment car the French auto maker is developing.

Battenberg says sales to Europe were up 11% during the first half of 2004 vs. like-2003.

jstoll@primediabusiness.com