Lear Corporation: A Proud History In The Asian Automotive Industry

Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA) began operations in 1917 as American Metal Products producing metal seat frames, and today is a global leader in providing automotive systems to major automotive manufacturers in Japan, Asia Pacific and around the world. Lear's heritage includes a long history serving Asia's automakers and providing superior products to meet the needs of the Asian market. Lear is the global leader in automotive seat systems, as well as one of the world's top three suppliers of headliners, electronics, door panels, and flooring and acoustic systems. In the past five years, Lear's business outside of Europe and North America has grown dramatically. For 1994, Lear reported sales of $196.3 million in rest-of-world (ROW) markets. Lear's proforma 1998 ROW sales (which include Lear's latest acquisitions) were $900 million. During the past five years, the company's ROW sales as a percentage of its total global sales increased from six percent in 1994 to nine percent in 1998. Lear conducts business with most major Asia Pacific automotive manufacturers including Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota in North America and Europe; Isuzu, Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki in North America; Chang'an Automotive, Daewoo, GM-Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mitsubishi, and Mazda in other markets. Lear also has business with PSA, Ford and General Motors through their joint ventures in the Asia Pacific region. Lear has a growing presence in the Japanese market. The company has facilities with engineering and design capability in Japan -- located in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagoya. Lear currently ships electronics and switches to the domestic Japanese market from its operations in North America and the Philippines. Lear also has a significant presence in the Asia Pacific region. The company's Asia Pacific Operations, headquartered in Singapore, has facilities in Australia, China, India, Philippines and Thailand. Since 1990, Lear has been producing high quality leather seat trim covers in Thailand for its seating operations in Europe and North America. In 1995, Lear opened facilities in Australia and India to provide just-in-time seating to General Motors. In 1998, the company won a contract to design, engineer and manufacture a total interior for Mahindra & Mahindra in India. Lear also opened facilities to provide just-in-time seating to Mahindra on its current vehicle platforms. Earlier this year, Lear announced that the company has signed a letter of intent to purchase a portion of Hyundai Motor Corporation's seating business. When finalized, the acquisition will provide the company's Asia Pacific Operations a strong base in Korea. In May 1999, Lear advanced its global business with the acquisition of United Technologies Automotive (UTA). Of special significance was the addition of world-class electronic and electrical distribution systems capabilities. The acquisition also expanded Lear's worldwide presence into the Philippines, adding engineering and manufacturing in Cebu. The engineering center supports electronics and interior products. The manufacturing facilities produce wire harnesses for the domestic, North American and Japanese markets. In addition to its wholly owned operations, the growth of Lear's Asian automotive business has been enhanced by a number of important partnerships. In 1987, Lear and NHK Spring Company Ltd. of Yokohama, Japan formed General Seating, a joint venture company that capitalized on NHK's manufacturing system and Lear's technology for seat systems and other interior components. General Seating has just- in-time seating plants in Frankfort, Indiana (USA) and in Woodstock, Ontario (Canada). Its customers during the past 12 years included CAMI Automotive (a General Motors-Suzuki joint venture), Honda and SIA (a Subaru-Isuzu joint venture). Another joint venture with NHK, General Seating (Thailand) Co. Ltd., was established in late 1996. This venture provides just- in-time seating to Ford/Mazda and Volvo; and will expand to include BMW next year. Lear and NHK recently established a research and development operation based in Dearborn, Michigan (USA), along with Lear's Transnational Division, which oversees Lear's interest in General Seating. Its close proximity to the Lear Corporation World Headquarters and Technology Center complex provides access to Lear's total systems capabilities including state-of-the-industry design and validation operations. In 1996, Lear made its first expansion into the rapidly emerging Chinese market, forming a joint venture with Jiangling Motors Co., Ltd. of Nanchang, China. The new company, Lear- Jiangling Interior Systems Co., Ltd., initially supplied seats and interior trim for Isuzu trucks and Ford Transit vans produced at the Jiangling Motors plant. In 1998, Lear increased its presence in China announcing joint ventures with Chang'an Automobile to provide full interior components for Chang'an Automotive in Chongqing; Shanghai Car Carpet to produce automotive carpets for Shanghai General Motors in Shanghai; and Shanghai Vehicle Awning to produce interior trim components for Shanghai General Motors. Also through the UTA acquisition, Lear assumed an ownership interest in a joint venture with DCAC in Wuhan, China. The joint venture produces wire harnesses for PSA and next year will begin to export wire harnesses to Citroen in France. In 1998, Lear announced a joint venture with Hanil to produce full interior systems for Hyundai's manufacturing plant in India. Lear also assumed UTA's majority interest in a joint venture with Furukawa of Tokyo, Japan, now doing business as Lear- Furukawa. The joint venture is based in El Paso, Texas (USA) and produces wire harnesses for Honda, Isuzu, Mazda and Subaru for the North American market. When Lear acquired Masland Industries in 1996, it also assumed Masland's ownership interest in AMTEX, which has operations in Lebanon, Ohio (USA) and Manteca, California (USA). This joint venture, formed by Masland and Hayashi Telempu of Nagoya, Japan in 1983, produces flooring and acoustic systems and other interior products for Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, NUMMI (a GM- Toyota venture), Subaru and Toyota for the North American automotive market. Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA), a Fortune 200 company headquartered in Southfield, Michigan (USA), is one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, with 1998 proforma sales of more than $12 billion. The company's world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by more than 100,000 employees in over 300 facilities located in 33 countries. Information about Lear and its products is available on the Internet at http://www.lear.com ots Original Text Service: Lear Corporation Internet: http://www.newsaktuell.de Contact: Leslie A. Touma, Vice President - Corporate Relations, (USA) +248-447- 7760, fax +248-447-1722, e-mail, ltouma@lear.com, or Karen Stewart- Spica, Director Corporate Communications, +248-447-1651, fax +248-447-5944, e-mail kstewart@lear.com, both of Lear Corporation Company News On-Call: http://www.prnewswire.com/comp/518304.html or fax (USA), 800-758- 5804, ext. 518304 Web site: http://www.lear.com

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