General Motors Co. is suing Plymouth, MI-based JTEKT North America Inc., alleging it has spent more than $30 million to repair problems in the steering systems of the Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac Pursuit, Pontiac G5, Chevrolet HHR and other cars, beginning with the ’05 model year. GM says customers have complained about unusual noises –which the auto maker calls “excessive gear backlash” – in the steering column while driving on rough roads. JTEKT contends its components all meet GM’s specifications and testing requirements. A GM spokesman tells The Associated Press the problems are not considered a safety issue and the lawsuit likely will be settled out of court.

TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. says its next-generation airbag control unit will begin production with two auto makers – one European and one Asian – in 2012. One of the auto makers will apply the technology in more than 10 different car lines to cover a volume of about 7 million vehicles over the lifetime of the agreement. The technology allows the integration of a range of pre-crash occupant safety functions as well as inertial sensors for stability control, TRW says.

Citation Corp. wins a $50 million contract with Continental AG’s Continental Teves subsidiary to supply iron-cast brake components for small hybrid vehicles and cross/utility vehicles in North America. The program, which will launch in October 2011 at Citation’s Brewton, AL, facility, is anticipated to run for up to five years and generate $40 million in revenue.

Asimco Technologies, the largest independent manufacturer of automotive and heavy-duty truck components in China, is up for sale in a deal that could fetch more than $200 million, Reuters reports. U.S. boutique investment bank Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital Inc. has been hired to advise on the sale. About 15 global private-equity funds, including the Carlyle Group and TPG Capital, reportedly are reviewing the company's books. The Beijing-based company, founded by Wall Street veteran Jack Perkowski 15 years ago, has sales of more than $500 million, according to its website.

DuPont Co.’s DuPont Fluroproducts division says it will increase the price of its bulk R-134a refrigerant, used in automotive air conditioning, by 10% after Dec.1 due to increasing raw-materials costs.

– compiled by Laurel Wright Lindh