Osram Sylvania Automotive Lighting unveils in Hillsboro, NH, the industry's first standardized LED taillamp module, showcased on Ford Motor Co.'s restyled '06 Mercury Mountaineer.

Osram engineers say the standardized taillamp assembly will allow auto makers and lighting suppliers easier, less costly access to the advantages of LED illumination, which include faster initial illumination, increased durability and greater styling possibilities.

Osram says the new standardized LED fixture, dubbed Joule, consolidates the LED light source and thermal-management system, allowing the LED fixture to be used universally in other vehicle models or platforms, much like the incandescent bulbs that currently dominate the market.

For the '06 Mountaineer, Osram engineers say the Joule system enabled Mercury to incorporate the new look of the LED lighting without a costly and time-intensive reconfiguration of the taillamp module.

Engineers typically prefer to brag about performance advantages of new technology, but Osram developers openly admit the foremost selling point of LED lighting may be the variety of new styling options the technology presents for designers.