The average General Motors Corp. vehicle has an astounding $3,000 worth of content from Delphi Automotive Systems, the world's largest supplier that was cut free from GM six months ago.

While Delphi has an aggressive goal to expand its non-GM business, it sees potential to expand sales to its former parent as well, especially through the growing electronics market and emerging technologies such as direct gasoline injection.

Expanding the $3,000 figure is the mission of Delphi's newest executive, Elizabeth Schwarting, who comes from Eastman Kodak Co. to fill the newly created position of global customer director for the GM account. She joins a crew of 50-some executives who have come to Delphi within the past year from outside GM, many from outside the auto industry.

“I think there's a lot of opportunity to grow our existing business with GM,” says Ms. Schwarting, who was vice president of strategic accounts in her previous job. “When you look at the staggering figure that GM purchases, $86 billion in total from suppliers, and our piece of that is $22 billion, that is huge. But there is still a huge gap there of business to win.”

By comparison, DaimlerChrysler AG is Delphi's second-largest customer, at just under $1 billion in annual sales.

On a content-per-vehicle basis, Isuzu Motors Ltd. is Delphi's second top customer, at about $290 per vehicle, a far cry from GM's $3,000. Each vehicle from DaimlerChrysler and Rover Group Ltd. has an average of about $175 in Delphi content.

Delphi's GM business unit now resembles the structure it has devised to cultivate non-GM customers, including a critical single-point of contact who also acts as an advocate for the customer. In the past, Delphi had customer teams deployed for GM's various business units.

“What we did not do was put in place a little more of a hierarchy at the senior level on the GM account,” says James Bertrand, vice president of operations who will oversee Ms. Schwarting.

He says it's crucial that GM knows how important it is to Delphi, even though Delphi is pushing hard for outside business. “We want them to know we're not forgetting them,” he says.

In the first six months of 1999, Delphi has booked $10 billion worth of new GM business, compared to $5 billion outside GM. Mr. Bertrand says Delphi hasn't used its right of last refusal, which gives the company a chance to match a competitor's price on some GM business if it has equivalent technology. That clause expires at the end of 2001.