Tenneco Automotive says it will supply its first Computerized Electronic Suspension (CES) next year for an '03 European sport sedan, and the technology later will be on the road in North America.

CES requires no hydraulic fluid, is lightweight, draws little power and provides variable damping on demand. The shock-strut combination can adjust itself up to 80 times per second based on road and driving conditions, says Tim Jackson, senior vice president of global technology for Tenneco.

Electronically controlled variable damping is not new and has been featured on upper-middle and luxury cars. General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac Seville, for example, uses a similar system it dubs Continuously Variable Road Sensing Suspension. Mr. Jackson says electronic damping has been attempted on other low-volume niche vehicles, often with limited success. “But now the concept is sustainable,” he says.

Electronic damping can influence a broader range of ride and handling requirements by employing simple software adjustments. Often, electronic damping-equipped vehicles can feature in-cockpit controls the occupants can use to select calibrations for a soft, luxury ride or a rigid, sporty ride, he says.

Mr. Jackson says the OEM cost for CES at all four corners of a vehicle would be less than $300.

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, Tenneco also unveils its Tubular Integrated Converter (TIC), which is a converter housing that requires no welds. It is 10% lighter than a typical converter housing and offers cost savings of up to 25%.

Tenneco is producing 1.2 million a year, primarily for Ford Transit and Focus, Peugeot 406, Citroen C5 and Opel Corsa.