Magna International Inc. loses a significant shareholder, as OJSC Russian Machines plans to sell the 20 million Magna Class A subordinate voting shares it purchased in September 2007. Russian Machines will sell the shares to financial institutions and also will cease to be an indirect shareholder of M Unicar Inc., a Russian holding company that will continue to be indirectly controlled by the Stronach Trust. Magna Co-CEO Siegfried Wolf says the Canadian conglomerate continues to have a good working relationship with businessman Oleg Deripaska and his Basic Element Group, which includes Russian Machines and its controlled subsidiary, GAZ Group, Russia’s second-largest auto maker. Magna will remain a significant supplier to GAZ and will continue its planned growth within the Russian market.

Visteon Corp. opens an office in St. Petersburg, Russia, it says will support its expansion in the country. The supplier is in the process of building a manufacturing facility in the Kaluga region that is expected to begin production in 2010. Separately, Visteon says its electrically driven air-conditioning compressor is featured in the BMW hybrid-demonstration vehicle presented at the Paris auto show.

PPG Industries Inc. plans to close in mid-2009 its coating manufacturing facility in Clarkston, ON, Canada, that employs about 150 workers. The supplier says it will shift Clarkston’s production to other North American plants.

With the completion of the sale of PPG Industries’ automotive glass and services business, Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC launches business operations. Affiliates of Kohlberg & Co. will own 60% of the business, while PPG will retain about 40%. James Wiggins, an operating partner at Kohlberg, has been named chairman and CEO of PGW.

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. says it is continuing to adjust production schedules at its U.S. facilities due to raw material shortages and softening demand in the North American market. The supplier is flexing employee work schedules and time off in an attempt to avoid layoffs at any of the plants.

Honeywell International Inc., maker of Garrett turbochargers, plans to launch more than 200 turbocharger applications in the next two years for small-displacement gasoline and diesel engines ranging from 1.2L to 1.7L. The company says the fitments will include its latest, third-generation Variable Nozzle Turbine technology, which provides 10% greater efficiency with a 10% reduction in turbine size.

Denso Corp. plans to build a new ¥8 billion ($76 million) common-rail, diesel-fuel-injection system test facility at its Zenmyo Plant in Japan. Although the company says it will continue to evaluate the common-rail systems at its headquarters in Kariya, Japan, the new facility will allow it to speed up product development by being able to perform performance and durability evaluations on the same site the components are manufactured. Construction is set to begin in May 2009, with production commencing in April 2010.

GKN Driveline Torque Technology is supplying Mitsubishi Motors Corp. with its advanced power transfer unit for use on the all-wheel-drive system of the ’09 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X. Called the Active Center Differential, the gearbox-mounted unit houses a helical, limited-slip differential (LSD) for the front wheels and an electro-hydraulic clutch pack for the center differential. The company also supplies the Evo X’s Active Yaw Control multi-plate rear LSD, which uses torque vectoring technology to over-rotate the outside rear wheel in corners to improve handling dynamics.

Teson Trims Pty. Ltd. will close its doors Oct. 10 because a buyer for the financially strapped supplier can’t be found, published reports say. The Australian maker of door inserts, kick panels and spare-wheel covers was contracted to supply parts for the new Camry Hybrid soon to be built by Toyota Motor Corp. Australia Ltd. The Australian newspaper quotes a National Union of Workers representative as saying suppliers such as Teson are the victims of uncontracted cost write-downs forced on them by Australia’s three auto makers. Teson employs 126 workers.

Valeo SA is supplying Ford Motor Co.’s Volvo Cars unit with its MicroOptics rear-lighting system for use on the new XC60 cross/utility vehicle. Valeo says it is the first to apply the technology, which uses a new optical surface to diffuse light uniformly. Separately, Valeo will supply the new Mitsubishi Racing Lancer for the 2009 Dakar Rally with a new engine-cooling system that it says offers 5% fuel savings. The Lancer also is equipped with Valeo’s LED daytime running lights. Additionally, Valeo establishes a joint venture, named Valeo Lighting Systems India Private Ltd., with the Anand Group. Located in Chennai, India, the JV will develop, produce and sell headlamps, rear laps and fog lamps for the local market.

The Bosch Group endows a chair at Stanford University, known as the Robert Bosch Chairmanship of the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, to be occupied by Professor Friedrich B. Prinz. The supplier also becomes a member of Stanford’s CarLab, an initiative founded by three university professors focusing on interdisciplinary research into automotive vehicle safety, the environment and enjoyable transportation.

Australia’s Mett Pty. Ltd. reportedly is spending A$6 million ($4.8 million) on a new plant and an equipment upgrade after winning a large export contract from General Motors Corp. Mett will supply front-engine-cover assemblies for a range of GM vehicles in the U.S., Canada and Australia. The order is expected to result in sales of A$57 million to A$75 million ($45.1 million to $59.3 million), with exports accounting for two-thirds of the total.

Apriso Corp., a provider of adaptive software solutions, says Saint-Goban Glass will expand its reliance on Apriso FlexNet to 19 Float Glass locations. Apriso says the platform improves quality and traceability across production and logistics processes.

— compiled by Laurel Wright