In yet another step toward integrating suppliers more closely into the actual production of a vehicle, Ford Motor Co.'s new assembly plant near Porto Alegre, Brazil, will use extensive supplier-built modules for a small sedan or car-based sport/utility vehicle.

One supplier will deliver a "rolling chassis," much like Dana Corp. is doing at Chrysler Corp.'s new pickup truck plant in Brazil. Other suppliers will be responsible for powertrain, steering, braking and suspension modules. Ford will provide the body and much of the interior. Some suppliers actually will build up their products within the walls of the assembly plant.

Volkswagen AG and Daimler-Benz AG have similar arrangements in their newest Brazilian plants. General Motors Corp. has something similar at its new plant in Gravatai, Brazil.