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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                      to                     .
Commission file number: 1-11311
https://cdn.kscope.io/6a888466832f702406ece380ccc8145e-lear-20201231_g1.jpg
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 13-3386776
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)

21557 Telegraph Road, Southfield, MI 48033    
(Address of principal executive offices)            
         (248) 447-1500        
(Registrant's telephone number including areas code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s) Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $0.01 per shareLEA New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company" and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).    Yes      No  
As of July 4, 2020, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share, held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $6,453,113,027. The closing price of the common stock on July 2, 2020, as reported on the New York Stock Exchange, was $107.88 per share.
As of February 8, 2021, the number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s common stock was 60,115,014 shares.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain sections of the registrant’s Notice of Annual Meeting of Stockholders and Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A for its Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held in May 2021, as described in the Cross Reference Sheet and Table of Contents included herewith, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Report.


Table of Contents
LEAR CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
CROSS REFERENCE SHEET AND TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
  
Page Number
or Reference
ITEM 1.
ITEM 1A.
ITEM 1B.
ITEM 2.
ITEM 3.
ITEM 4.
SUPPLEMENTARY ITEM.
ITEM 5.
ITEM 6.
ITEM 7.
ITEM 7A.Quantitative and qualitative disclosures about market risk (included in Item 7)
ITEM 8.
ITEM 9.
ITEM 9A.
ITEM 9B.
ITEM 10.
ITEM 11.
ITEM 12.
ITEM 13.
ITEM 14.
ITEM 15.
ITEM 16.
________________________
(1)Certain information is incorporated by reference, as indicated below, to the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A for its Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held in May 2021 (the "Proxy Statement").
(2)A portion of the information required is incorporated by reference to the Proxy Statement sections entitled "Election of Directors" and "Directors and Corporate Governance."
(3)Incorporated by reference to the Proxy Statement sections entitled "Directors and Corporate Governance — Director Compensation," "Compensation Discussion and Analysis," "Executive Compensation," "Compensation Committee Interlocks and Insider Participation" and "Compensation Committee Report."
(4)A portion of the information required is incorporated by reference to the Proxy Statement section entitled "Directors and Corporate Governance — Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners, Directors and Management."
(5)Incorporated by reference to the Proxy Statement sections entitled "Certain Relationships and Related Party Transactions" and "Directors and Corporate Governance — Independence of Directors."
(6)Incorporated by reference to the Proxy Statement section entitled "Fees of Independent Accountants."



Table of Contents
PART I
ITEM 1 – BUSINESS
In this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this "Report"), when we use the terms the "Company," "Lear," "we," "us" and "our," unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, we are referring to Lear Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries. A substantial portion of the Company’s operations are conducted through subsidiaries controlled by Lear Corporation. The Company is also a party to various joint venture arrangements. Certain disclosures included in this Report constitute forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. See Item 1A, "Risk Factors," and Part IIItem 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsForward-Looking Statements."
BUSINESS OF THE COMPANY
General
Lear Corporation is a leading Tier 1 vertically integrated supplier to the global automotive industry. We supply seating, electrical distribution and connection systems, electronic systems, and software and connected services, to all of the world's major automotive manufacturers. At Lear, we are Making every drive betterTM by providing technology for safer, smarter and more comfortable journeys, while adhering to our values — Be Inclusive. Be Inventive. Get Results the Right Way.
We have 251 manufacturing, engineering and administrative locations in 38 countries. We continue to grow our business in all automotive producing regions of the world, both organically and through complementary acquisitions. We continue to restructure our manufacturing footprint to optimize our cost structure with 68% of our manufacturing facilities and 86% of our employees located in low cost countries.
Built on a foundation and strong culture of innovation, operational excellence and engineering and program management capabilities, we use our product, design and technological expertise, global reach and competitive manufacturing footprint to achieve the following financial goals and objectives:
Continue to deliver profitable growth, balancing risks and returns;
Invest in innovation to drive business growth and profitability;
Maintain a strong balance sheet with investment grade credit metrics; and
Consistently return excess cash to our stockholders.
Our business is organized under two reporting segments: Seating and E-Systems. Each of these segments has a varied product and technology range across a number of component categories:
Seating Our Seating segment consists of the design, development, engineering and manufacture of complete seat systems, seat subsystems and key seat components. Our capabilities in operations and supply chain management enable synchronized (just-in-time) assembly and delivery of high volumes of complex complete seat systems to our customers.
Included in our complete seat system and subsystem solutions are advanced comfort, wellness, safety and sound offerings, as well as configurable seating product technologies, all of which are compatible with traditional internal combustion engine ("ICE") architectures and the full range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric architectures. Our advanced comfort, wellness, safety and sound offerings are facilitated by our system, component and integration capabilities, together with our in-house electronics, sensor, software and algorithm competencies. As the most vertically integrated global seat supplier, our key seat component product offerings include seat trim covers, surface materials such as leather and fabric, seat mechanisms, seat foam and headrests.
E-Systems Our E-Systems segment consists of the design, development, engineering and manufacture of complete electrical distribution and connection systems, electronic systems, and software and connected services. The unique combination of these capabilities enables us to provide our customers with customizable solutions with optimized designs at a competitive cost.
Electrical distribution and connection systems utilize low voltage, high voltage, high speed data cables and flat wiring to connect networks and electrical signals and manage electrical power within the vehicle for all types of powertrains – from traditional ICE architectures to the full range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric architectures. Key components in our electrical distribution portfolio include wire harnesses, terminals and connectors, and engineered components for both ICE and electrified vehicle architectures that require management of higher voltage and power.
3

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Electronic systems facilitate signal, data and power management within the vehicle and include the associated software required to facilitate these functions. Key components in our electronic systems portfolio include body domain control modules and products specific to electrification and connectivity trends. Electrification products include on-board battery chargers, power conversion modules, high voltage battery management systems and high voltage power distribution systems. Connectivity products include gateway modules and communication modules to manage both wired and wireless networks and data in vehicles. In addition to electronic modules, we offer software that includes cybersecurity, advanced vehicle positioning for automated and autonomous driving applications and full capabilities in both dedicated short-range communication and cellular protocols for vehicle connectivity.
Our software and connected services offerings include embedded control software and cloud and mobile device-based software and services. Our customers traditionally have sourced our electronic hardware together with the software that we embed in it, but such software may also be sourced by our customers independently of the hardware. Our connected services software solutions include award-winning Xevo Market, an in-vehicle commerce and service platform that connects customers with their favorite brands and services by delivering highly-contextual sales offers through vehicle touch screens and vehicle-branded mobile applications.
We serve all of the world's major automotive manufacturers across both our Seating and E-Systems businesses, and we have automotive content on more than 400 vehicle nameplates worldwide. It is common to have both seating and electrical content on the same and multiple vehicle platforms with a single customer. Further, with the seat becoming a more dynamic and integrated system requiring increased levels of electrical and electronic integration, the combined capabilities of our Seating and E-Systems businesses are a competitive advantage.
Our businesses benefit globally from leveraging common operating standards and disciplines, including world-class product development and manufacturing processes, as well as common customer support and regional infrastructures, all of which contribute to our reputation for operational excellence. Our core capabilities are shared across component categories and include high-precision manufacturing and assembly with short lead times, management of complex supply chains, global engineering and program management skills, the agility to establish and/or transfer production between facilities quickly and a unique customer-focused culture. Our businesses utilize proprietary, industry-specific processes and standards, leverage common low-cost engineering centers and share centralized operating support functions, such as logistics, supply chain management, quality and health and safety, as well as all major administrative functions.
We are focused on profitably growing our businesses and have implemented a strategy designed to deliver industry-leading, long-term financial returns. This strategy includes disciplined investment in our business to grow and enhance our product offerings, strategically focusing our portfolio on products and technologies to support emerging trends, such as autonomy, connectivity, electrification and shared mobility, and leveraging an industry-leading cost structure to expand our operating margins.
Responsible and sustainable environmental, social and governance ("ESG") principles and practices are integrated into our strategy and operations. Our ESG strategy and initiatives are developed by a cross-functional team of senior subject matter experts, reviewed and approved by senior management and overseen by the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of our Board of Directors. We are continuously working to embed ESG into our key business processes, including corporate strategy, enterprise risk management and product and process development and innovation. Our ESG efforts demonstrate how we live our core value of Get Results the Right Way, and in 2020, we reinforced this commitment by becoming a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact.
From an environmental standpoint, our global operations drive the efficient use of energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the prevention of pollution and safe and sustainable production processes. During 2020, we published ambitious carbon reduction goals that we intend to achieve by 2030, including 100% usage of renewable energy and a 50% reduction in carbon emissions at our manufacturing facilities, as well as an aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2050.
We are innovating, developing and manufacturing products that contribute to a more sustainable economy and future mobility. These range from "green" products such as SoyFoamTM, a substitute for certain petroleum-based products, and seat coverings made from recycled ocean plastics, to on-board battery chargers, battery management systems, high voltage wiring, and terminals and connectors that facilitate hybrid and electric vehicles. Additionally, our intelligent and reconfigurable seats and electronic modules and software offerings enhance connectivity and support the trend of shared mobility.
We believe the best way to deliver the highest quality products and services is to maintain a work environment that prioritizes safety and fosters collaboration, inclusion, tolerance and respect for our 175,000 employees around the world. Our key human capital management resource initiatives are set forth in "— Human Capital Management" below.
We are especially proud of our employee volunteer efforts to support our global communities, such as the educational campaign, "Focus on the Drive," to increase awareness and decrease the incidence of distracted driving. Through our Operation GIVE campaign, more than $1 million in employee contributions benefited local programs focused on economic well-being,
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education and the environment in 2020. During 2020, we also reinforced our commitment to human rights, publishing a Human Rights Policy that clearly defines how we approach, govern and defend the dignity of people throughout our operations, our global supply chain and the communities in which we operate.
Our governance activities help ensure that our business and operations are conducted in compliance with all applicable laws as well as Lear’s policies and procedures, particularly our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, which addresses conflicts of interest, bribery and corruption, political contributions and information technology security, among other things. Our Board of Directors, and its Audit and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees, oversee our compliance and governance activities. Our expectations related to conducting business in a sustainable and ethical manner extend to our supply base. Suppliers must meet the requirements of our Supplier Sustainability Policy and Supplier Code of Conduct. We monitor their compliance both internally and through the use of a third party.
Available Information on our Website
Our website address is http://www.lear.com. We make available on our website, free of charge, the periodic reports that we file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), as well as all amendments to these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are filed with or furnished to the SEC. We also make available on our website or in printed form upon request, free of charge, our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (which includes specific provisions for our executive officers), charters for the standing committees of our Board of Directors and other information related to the Company. We are not including the information contained on our website as a part of, or incorporating it by reference into, this Report.
The SEC maintains an internet site (http://www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information related to issuers that file electronically with the SEC.
History
Lear was founded in Detroit in 1917 as American Metal Products, a manufacturer of seating assemblies and other components for the automotive and aircraft industries, and was incorporated in Delaware in 1987. Through a management-led buyout in 1988, Lear Corporation established itself as a privately-held seat assembly operation for the North American automobile market with annual sales of approximately $900 million. We completed an initial public offering in 1994 and developed into a global supplier through organic growth and a series of acquisitions.
In May 1999, we acquired UT Automotive, Inc. ("UT Automotive") from United Technologies Corporation. UT Automotive was a leading supplier of automotive electrical distribution systems. The acquisition of UT Automotive represented our entry into automotive electrical and electronic systems and was the basis for our current E-Systems segment.
We have subsequently augmented our internal growth plans with selective acquisitions and investments to expand our component capabilities and global footprint, as well as expand our technology portfolio:
In May 2012, we acquired Guilford Mills, a leading supplier of automotive seat and interior fabric, for approximately $243 million.
In January 2015, we acquired Everett Smith Group, Ltd., the parent company of Eagle Ottawa, LLC ("Eagle Ottawa"), the world's leading provider of leather for the automotive industry, for approximately $844 million.
In August 2015, we acquired intellectual property and technology from Autonet Mobile, a developer of wireless communication software and devices for automotive applications.
In November 2015, we acquired Arada Systems Inc., an automotive technology company that specializes in vehicle-to-vehicle ("V2V") and vehicle-to-infrastructure ("V2I" and together with V2V, "V2X") communications.
In April 2017, we acquired Grupo Antolin's automotive seating business for approximately $292 million.
In January 2018, we acquired Israel-based EXO Technologies, a leading developer of differentiated GPS technology providing high-accuracy positioning solutions for autonomous and connected vehicle applications.
In January 2019, we launched Lear Innovation Ventures ("LIV") to supplement our internal innovation efforts. LIV provides us with a framework to invest in advanced development teams, partnerships and early stage technologies by working with venture capital firms, accelerators and incubators, as well as by providing direct capital to start-ups and internal innovation initiatives.
In April 2019, we acquired Xevo Inc. ("Xevo"), a Seattle-based, global leader in connected car software, for approximately $322 million. Xevo is a supplier of software solutions for the cloud, vehicles and mobile devices that are deployed in millions of vehicles worldwide.
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Industry and Strategy
We supply all vehicle segments of the automotive light vehicle original equipment market in every major automotive producing region in the world. Our sales are driven by the number of vehicles produced by the automotive manufacturers, which is ultimately dependent on consumer demand for automotive vehicles, and our content per vehicle. Global automotive industry production volumes declined 6% in 2019 and another 17% in 2020 to 72.6 million units, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Details on light vehicle production in certain key regions for 2020 and 2019 are provided below. Our actual results are impacted by the specific mix of products within each market, as well as other factors described in Item 1A, "Risk Factors."
(In thousands of units)
2020 (1)
2019 (1) (2)
% Change
North America13,027.3 16,314.4 (20%)
Europe and Africa16,873.9 21,703.8 (22%)
Asia39,257.7 44,651.8 (12%)
South America2,163.5 3,128.5 (31%)
Other1,323.5 1,417.0 (7%)
Total72,645.9 87,215.5 (17%)
(1)Production data based on IHS Markit.
(2)Production data for 2019 has been updated from our 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K to reflect actual production levels.
Details on light vehicle production in certain emerging markets for 2020 and 2019 are provided below.
(In thousands of units)
2020 (1)
2019 (1) (2)
% Change
China21,899.5 23,133.2 (5%)
India3,199.3 4,166.5 (23%)
Brazil1,904.7 2,803.8 (32%)
Russia1,324.7 1,597.7 (17%)
(1)Production data based on IHS Markit.
(2)Production data for 2019 has been updated from our 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K to reflect actual production levels.
Details on our sales in certain key regions for 2020 and 2019 are provided below.
(In millions)20202019% Change
North America$6,630.5 $7,365.5 (10%)
Europe and Africa6,240.3 7,785.5 (20%)
Asia3,655.3 3,968.3 (8%)
South America519.4 691.0 (25%)
Total$17,045.5 $19,810.3 (14%)
China (consolidated)$2,592.7 $2,579.7 1%
China (non-consolidated)1,210.2 1,166.6 4%
Key trends affecting our business include electrification, connectivity and autonomy. In addition, our business is affected by the consolidation of automotive manufacturers, as well as new non-traditional entrants to the automotive industry, the collaboration of automotive manufacturers on commonized vehicle platforms, increasing demand for luxury and performance features, including increasing levels of electrical and electronic content, and China’s emergence as the largest automotive market in the world. In particular, we believe that we have a significant opportunity for growth in China with both global and domestic automotive manufacturers.
Another key trend benefiting our business is the shift toward crossover and sport utility vehicles. Our content on such vehicles, especially those for which our Seating segment supplies products, can be significantly higher than our average content per vehicle. Crossover and sport utility vehicle production has grown to approximately 40% of total vehicle production in 2020, up from 27% of total vehicle production five years ago. China has been a major driver of this trend, where crossover and sport utility vehicle production now comprises approximately 43% of total vehicle production, up from 28% of total vehicle production five years ago.
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Our strategy addresses these trends and the major imperatives for success as an automotive supplier: quality, service, cost and efficiency, and innovation and technology. We have expanded key component and software capabilities through organic investment and acquisitions to ensure a full complement of the best solutions for our customers. We have restructured, and continue to align, our manufacturing and engineering footprint to attain a leading competitive cost position globally. We have established or expanded activities in new and growing markets, especially China, in support of our customers’ growth initiatives and in pursuit of opportunities with new customers. These initiatives have helped us achieve our financial goals overall, as well as a more balanced regional, customer and vehicle segment diversification in our business.
In addition, we believe that demand for energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions, as well as the demand for enhanced communications and safety, are driving the technology trends of electrification, connectivity and autonomy. We are focused on those trends which provide us with significant business opportunities where we have competitive differentiation and innovative technology. While both of our businesses are powertrain agnostic, we are well positioned to capitalize on the following technology trends, each of which is likely to be at the forefront of our industry for the foreseeable future in light of the long-term convergence toward electric, connected and autonomous vehicles:
Electrification – Demand for more energy efficient vehicles is increasing, both from automotive manufacturers to meet stricter fuel economy and emissions standards and from a growing segment of end consumers who wish to reduce the carbon impact of automobiles. This requires further use of electronically controlled and assisted powertrains and related components to improve fuel efficiency, the adoption of alternative energy powertrains, such as 48-volt mild hybrid, full hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure battery electric, that facilitate electrification of the vehicle, and the use of lighter weight materials throughout the vehicle.
Connectivity – Customer and consumer demands for continuous communication and information exchange with the vehicle are increasing. What began with consumer demand to extend and integrate mobile connectivity into the vehicle by connecting mobile devices with vehicle infotainment systems is evolving such that the vehicle has an embedded, direct line of wireless communication connecting it with various networks (e.g., cellular, infrastructure, satellite, etc.) and other vehicles. We expect these trends to continue, making the vehicle a constantly connected device, receiving and transmitting data through a variety of signals which communicate directly with on-board vehicle systems, and facilitating delivery of content and services for consumers and automotive manufacturers.
Autonomy/Advanced Driver Assistance – Customer and consumer demands are evolving from safety features and systems that protect vehicle occupants when a crash occurs to advanced driver assistance systems that help prevent crashes by assisting in the vehicle’s operation under certain conditions. The development of automated intervention uses many of the same core technologies that will enable vehicles to drive autonomously under an increasing variety of driving conditions.
Shared Mobility – As vehicle utilization increases and ride-sharing becomes more relevant, customer and consumer demands for more services, enhanced personalization and an improved mobility experience are also increasing.
Regulation is also a major influence on these trends, as government mandates (e.g., for vehicles to meet minimum fuel economy and emissions standards or be equipped with certain safety-related components) are driving vehicle design and technology plans.
We are well positioned with respect to these trends as we design and manufacture products across our entire E-Systems portfolio that are aligned with the trends toward electrification, connectivity, autonomy and shared mobility. Our product lines offer growth opportunities that are aligned with these trends but are ultimately dependent on global vehicle production volumes.
Furthermore, our seats are an active part of the occupant experience and the vehicle safety system. As a result of our innovative product design and technology capabilities, we are able to provide seats with enhanced safety features, such as the active head restraint and seat mechanisms that withstand collision impact in excess of what is demanded by regulatory agencies. We have developed products and materials to reduce cost and enhance seat design and packaging flexibility, including our mini recliners and micro adjust tracks. Additionally, we have focused our innovation efforts on the configurability of seat positioning, which provides consumers with advanced seating features and functionality and has resulted in the development of our ConfigurE+TM configurable seat system. Another way in which we are well positioned to benefit from this trend-related growth is our belief that the seat system will become increasingly more sophisticated, dynamic and connected to both the occupants and the vehicle. The seat is the logical focal point for monitoring the driver and passengers and for facilitating feedback between the vehicle and the occupants.
We believe that the convergence of these technology trends and eventual proliferation of autonomous vehicles will benefit both our Seating and E-Systems segments. We believe that autonomous vehicles will have seat designs and requirements that are far more flexible and demanding in both autonomous and piloted driving states. Further, more active monitoring of the driver and the driver’s position and physical state will be required to manage the transitions between autonomous and piloted driving conditions. A demand for mobility services and on-demand transportation from providers such as Uber, Lyft and Didi (in China)
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is helping to drive interest and growth in these technology trends, particularly fully autonomous vehicles. The increasing prevalence of mobility services will potentially create a new segment of autonomous vehicle fleet customers with unique vehicle technology and design needs, including more flexible, durable and connected seating solutions for a wide range of passengers. Not only will autonomous vehicles need to be fully connected and networked to maximize their safety and efficiency, their power consumption will be significantly higher to support the array of sensors and processing power required to operate such vehicles. This will allow us to take further advantage of our ability to design and offer efficient power management solutions. INTUTM Seating and ConfigurE+TM in our Seating segment and our capabilities in connectivity, including gateway modules, and the features and functions facilitated by Xevo market in our E-Systems segment are well-aligned with the trend toward autonomous vehicles.
Seating Segment
Lear is a recognized global leader in complete automotive seat systems, realizing a 23% global market share in 2020. Additionally, Lear is a recognized leader in key individual seat components. The Seating segment consists of the design, development, engineering, just-in-time assembly and delivery of complete seat systems, as well as the design, development, engineering and manufacture of all major seat components, including seat covers and surface materials such as leather and fabric, seat mechanisms, seat foam and headrests. Our extensive system level knowledge and component level capabilities, including internal development of sensor and control algorithms, have provided a solid foundation for innovation and commercialization of advanced comfort, wellness and convenience features. We believe that we have the most complete set of component offerings of any automotive seating supplier and are a leader in every automotive producing market in the world. Further, our INTUTM Seating and ConfigurE+TM offerings, in addition to our light weight and more environmentally friendly products, are well-aligned with the trends toward electrification, connectivity and autonomy. Overall, our global manufacturing and engineering expertise, low-cost footprint, complete component capabilities, quality leadership and strong customer relationships provide us with a solid platform for both organic and inorganic growth opportunities to reach our target global market share of 28% in complete automotive seat systems.
We produce seat systems that are fully assembled and ready for installation in automobiles and light trucks. Seat systems are generally designed and engineered for specific vehicle models or platforms. We develop seat systems and components for all vehicle segments from compact cars to pick-up trucks and full-size sport utility vehicles. We are the world leader in luxury and performance automotive seating, providing craftsmanship, elegance in design, use of innovative materials and industry-leading technology required by premium brands, including Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Ferrari, Jaguar Land Rover, Lamborghini, Lincoln, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
We are continuing to execute our strategy of selective vertical integration of key seat components to enhance growth, improve quality, increase profitability and support our current market position in just-in-time seat assembly. In this regard, our capabilities in seat mechanisms include complete development and manufacturing capabilities in key locations to supply every major automotive producing region in the world. In addition, we have developed standardized seat mechanisms that can be used across multiple vehicle programs to minimize investment costs. We believe that our low-cost manufacturing footprint in seat mechanisms and our precision engineered seat mechanism expertise are competitive advantages.
We have continued to grow our seat cover operations in low-cost markets, including precision cutting, assembly, sewing and lamination. We are also continuing to develop our fabric business (originally secured through our acquisition of Guilford Performance Textiles), and our acquisition of Eagle Ottawa has afforded us an industry-leading market share in automotive leather globally. Our capabilities in leather design, development and manufacturing allow us to deliver the most luxurious, durable and performance-tested leathers to our customers. On a global basis, we can provide a full range of seat cover capabilities, including design and surface coating solutions, as well as unique leather and fabric applications. We believe that the combination of these capabilities in seating surface materials differentiates us and provides us with a competitive advantage facilitating our leadership position in the industry.
We are committed to sustainability and reducing the environmental footprint of our products, operations and supply chain to meet current needs without compromising future generations. With a diverse team, we work to improve the sustainability of our operations through identification and reduction of generated waste, reuse of materials whenever possible and recycling. Our sustainability efforts leverage available technology to substitute certain petroleum-based products with "green" products such as SoyFoamTM and to manufacture a range of fabrics that contain recycled, renewable or recyclable yarns that reduce our environmental impact. For example, we manufacture fabric with recycled content, such as recycled polyester derived from post-consumer waste, through grinding and re–extruding processes. Ocean Waste yarns are sourced from plastic ocean garbage that collects in fishing nets. After segregation, PET plastic bottles and other plastic waste are recycled into a high-quality polymer, which is used to produce 100% recycled polyester yarn for fabric production.

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Advanced Seating Craftsmanship and Innovation
We believe that our broad portfolio of capabilities, including advanced design and material integration skills, is a differentiating competitive advantage for us. Our team of experts at our Center for Craftsmanship in Southfield, Michigan has developed a portfolio of product technologies that deliver differentiated design, craftsmanship and comfort, as well as sustainable products. Through this dedicated studio, we are leveraging our unique position to be an industry leader in differentiated design and facilitating customer interactions with designers and engineers working collaboratively to create innovative solutions early in the design process. The breadth of our portfolio and depth of our design expertise allow us to have early involvement in the automotive manufacturer’s design process and the opportunity to better integrate all seating components to provide differentiated design comfort, quality and overall value for the end consumer. We believe that our unmatched component capabilities, design know-how, global manufacturing presence and our portfolio of enabling and sustainable technologies uniquely position us to bring innovative designs into production with the highest level of craftsmanship.
We believe that we are the only fully integrated seating supplier with global capabilities in critical seat components, together with global electronics (including software) design, integration and manufacturing expertise. To maintain our competitive advantage, we continue to drive advanced seating innovations through a combination of comprehensive product capabilities aligned with industry mega trends and early customer engagement. The result is a broad portfolio of innovative, sustainable solutions enabling our intelligent seating offerings for today and tomorrow. Examples of our advanced technology offerings can be found in our Intelligent Seating (INTUTM Seating) systems and Configurable Seating Architecture (ConfigurE+TM) products.
Intelligent Seating (INTUTM Seating)
The seat offers a direct connection between the driver, passengers and vehicle systems. Our development of INTUTM technologies provides the driver and passengers with intelligent, intuitive seat system options that offer enhanced wellness, safety, comfort and sound performance. Our extensive knowledge in consumer ergonomics and comfort, in combination with our electronics’ capabilities, facilitated the development of our INTUTM seat features, which are capable of being programmed to identify certain key occupant inputs and automatically adjust the appropriate seat parameters to provide consumers with a better, highly personalized, in-vehicle experience. Our suite of INTUTM technologies includes comfort, wellness, sound and safety.
Our INTUTM Comfort features were developed to improve comfort throughout long drives. Derived from our research, INTUTM Comfort deploys proprietary technology and in-house developed analytical processes to identify the optimal seat position for the occupant given certain conditions. For example, on extended trips, the lumbar support is continuously adjusted for optimal comfort, and seat bolsters automatically adjust during sharp curves to provide the driver with optimal support. The latest addition to the INTUTM Comfort features is our INTUTM Thermal Comfort system. We have developed and driven efficiencies into individual seat components and full system integration to outperform existing systems. Continued advancements in our INTUTM Thermal Comfort system are targeted to optimize the overall thermal performance of the vehicle interior, which may reduce vehicle energy consumption of both ICE and electric vehicles.
Configurable Seating Architecture (ConfigurE+TM)
The ability to provide flexible seat positioning while offering consumers advanced seating features and functions is now achievable through our ConfigurE+TM configurable seating architecture. Winner of a PACE Award (Automotive News annual award for innovation in the automotive industry), ConfigurE+TM with its configurable powered rail system enables selective seat positioning and/or removal for virtually limitless configurations while maintaining the functionality of the seat’s electronic features. By providing power without a wire harness, seats can be easily removed, and vehicle cabins can be quickly customized for traditional passenger or conference configurations, cargo, etc. providing flexibility for personal, autonomous, ride-share and public transportation needs. Further, the potential market for ConfigurE+TM includes commercial trucks, as well as light vehicles.
Other Core Capabilities
With capabilities unmatched by any seat supplier in the industry, we consistently produce world-class seat systems to exceed the expectations of every type of driver and passenger. Our designs incorporate intelligent features, and our patented modular sub-assemblies with embedded technologies transform the seating market.
We maintain state-of-the-art testing, instrumentation and data analysis capabilities. We possess in-house, industry-leading seat validation test centers featuring crashworthiness, durability and full acoustic and sound quality testing capabilities. Together with computer-controlled data acquisition and analysis capabilities, these centers provide precisely controlled laboratory conditions for sophisticated testing of parts, materials and systems. In addition, we incorporate many convenience, comfort and safety features into our designs, including advanced whiplash prevention concepts, integrated restraint seat systems and side impact airbags. We also invest in our computer-aided engineering design and computer-aided manufacturing systems.
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We have developed products and materials to improve comfort and ease of adjustment, promote customization and styling flexibility, increase durability and reliability, enhance safety, expand the usage of environmentally friendly materials and reduce cost and weight.
Our core capabilities extend into key seat components as well, including:
Leather and Fabric – We deliver the most luxurious, durable and performance-tested leathers to more automotive brands globally than any other automotive leather supplier, while ensuring sustainable and responsible sourcing practices. Our premium leathers are designed for seamless integration with our industry leading secondary operations, exceeding customer expectations for quality and service. Our Eagle Ottawa premium leather group has developed and launched a new technology that allows for the creation of highly customizable designs with new levels of definition and pillowing, improving the comfort and style of the seat while retaining the air flow necessary for ventilated seats. This technology has already been launched in Europe with additional program awards to launch in North America in 2021. Additionally, our proprietary anti-soiling performance leather finishing technology, Ansolé™, improves durability and protects against staining and fading.
Our Guilford Premium Suede is a market-driven unique product positioned to compete with premium non-woven materials by providing a light weight, cost effective solution with improved functionality. Guilford Premium Suede is a luxury, premium material which is versatile and suitable for various interior applications, providing increased elongation and improved moldability for manufacturing processes. Our branded Texstyle surface material coatings and treatment technologies enhance cleanability by releasing and repelling stains; prevent the growth of bacteria and mildew through the addition of antimicrobial treatments, including silver ion technologies; protect fabric against water and oil-based stains; minimize soiling of light colors; and are anti-static and anti-dusting.
Seat Mechanisms – We supply world-class front-row and rear seat systems, recliners, tracks, latches and other products in a scalable modular family. Our seat architectures are a core component of our industry-leading vertical integration capabilities around the world. Smaller, low-weight and low-noise materials deliver high performance, safety and functionality.
Our high-speed smart fold technology is a regulated folding adjustment mechanism that delivers premium convenience while maintaining leading safety and comfort benefits. Our mini recliners and micro adjust tracks are seat mechanisms, which provide precision movement and facilitate interior packaging space flexibility. Our ECO Structures utilize an innovative hub and spoke concept offering economic solutions for developing markets.
Foam and Comfort – Self-blended, custom foam formulations are at the heart of our seats. Our highly engineered low-profile foam, low-emission foam and our first-to-market, U.S.-sourced SoyFoam™ are break-through innovations in comfort, safety and sustainability.
Manufacturing Leadership
Our continued focus on expanding our expertise and capabilities in materials, logistics and manufacturing is a key enabler in providing our customers with world-class seat system products. Our unique proprietary processes and employee engagement initiatives will continue to provide us with a competitive advantage.
We pioneered just-in-time ("JIT") seat assembly. Typically located adjacent to or near our customers’ manufacturing and assembly sites, our JIT facilities deliver finished products matching our customers’ exact build specifications for a particular day, shift and sequence. Our expertise in logistics and lean manufacturing processes enable us to meet our customers’ delivery requirements while maintaining inventories at optimum levels.
Believed to be the world’s most vertically integrated manufacturer of complete seat systems, we utilize the latest industry innovations and automated technologies to facilitate our continuous improvement efforts. Moreover, we have continued to expand our employee engagement initiatives achieving global scalability, successfully driving cultural advances. Our initiatives have resulted in increased first-time quality, decreased absenteeism, material cost reductions and decreased average build times per vehicle.
Customers
The top five customers of our Seating segment are: General Motors, Daimler, Stellantis (reflective of the 2021 merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler), Volkswagen and Ford.

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Competition
Based on independent market studies and management estimates, we believe that we hold the #2 position in seat systems assembly globally on the basis of revenue with strong positions in all major markets. We are a leading supplier of various components produced for complete seat systems.
Our primary competitors in this segment globally are Adient, plc, Faurecia S.A., Magna International Inc., Toyota Boshoku Corporation and TS Tech Co., Ltd., which have varying market presence depending on the region, country or automotive manufacturer. Peugeot S.A., Toyota Motor Corporation and Honda Motor Co. Ltd. hold equity ownership positions in Faurecia S.A., Toyota Boshoku Corporation and TS Tech Co., Ltd., respectively. Other automotive manufacturers maintain a presence in the seat systems market through wholly owned subsidiaries or in-house operations. In seat components, we compete with the seat systems suppliers identified above, as well as certain suppliers that specialize in particular components.
For additional factors that may impact our Seating segment’s business, financial condition, operating results and/or cash flows, see Item 1A, "Risk Factors."
E-Systems Segment
The E-Systems segment consists of the design, development, engineering and manufacture of complete electrical distribution and connection systems, electronic systems, and software and connected services for light vehicles globally. We are a leader in signal distribution and power management within the vehicle for all types of powertrains – from traditional ICE architectures to the full range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric architectures. We have connectivity hardware and software capabilities, including cybersecurity expertise, that facilitate secure, wireless communication between the vehicle’s electrical and electronic architecture and external networks, as well as mobile devices and other vehicles. We also offer software and services for the cloud, vehicles and mobile devices that enable consumer e-commerce, multi-media applications and enterprise services among other new and emerging applications.
As the only automotive supplier with both electrical distribution and electronic capabilities for all vehicle architectures, we have a competitive advantage as we are able to offer our customers customized solutions optimized to provide complete architecture benefits. Our component designs contemplate the complete architecture performance, creating superior value for our customers and providing us with a competitive advantage. Our investments in electrification over the past twelve years are providing us with a significant growth opportunity with respect to this trend. Further, electrified vehicle architectures represent a significant content per vehicle expansion opportunity for us, with two to three times the potential content per vehicle opportunity of traditional ICE architectures.
Electrical Distribution and Connection Systems
Electrical distribution and connection systems route networks and electrical signals and manage electrical power within the vehicle for all types of powertrains, including traditional ICE architectures and the full range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric architectures, supporting the current industry trend toward electrification. Key components in the electrical distribution and connection system include wire harnesses, terminals and connectors, and engineered components for both ICE and electrified vehicle architectures that require management of higher voltage and power.
Wire harness assemblies are a collection of wiring, terminals and connectors, and engineered components that link all of the various electrical and electronic devices within the vehicle to each other and/or to a power source. Our wire harnesses provide low voltage (12 volts / 48 volts) and high voltage (60 volts – 800 volts) power distribution. Low voltage wire harnesses are used on all light duty vehicles, and high voltage wire harnesses are used on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. Wire harness assemblies are a collection of individual circuits fabricated from raw and insulated wire, which is automatically cut to length and terminated during the manufacturing process. Individual circuits are assembled together, inserted into connectors and wrapped or taped to form wire harness assemblies. The assembly process is labor intensive, and as a result, production is generally performed in low-cost labor sites in Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Africa, China and the Philippines.
Connection systems include conductive metal components and connector housings that join wire harness assemblies together at their respective end points or connect devices to wire harness assemblies. Connection systems can vary significantly in size and complexity depending on the amount of power or data being transferred and the number of connections being made at any particular point in the electrical distribution system. Terminals and connectors support both low voltage (12 volts / 48 volts) and high voltage (60 volts – 800 volts). Low voltage terminals and connectors are applicable on all light duty vehicles, and high voltage terminals and connectors are applicable on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. Our terminals and connectors are produced by highly automated processes including stamping, injection molding, and automated assembly processes. Our terminals and connectors are currently manufactured in Germany, Eastern Europe, China and the United States. Key material inputs to our terminals and connectors business include metals, such as copper and aluminum, and various resins.
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Engineered components consist of molded components included as part of a wire harness or electronic assembly that perform specific engineered functions such as protection, routing, sealing or covering to ensure that the wire harness or electronic assembly properly performs its function. Engineered components are applicable on all vehicle architectures and are produced using molding processes. Our engineered components are currently manufactured in Germany, Czech Republic, the United States and China. Key material inputs to our engineered components are various resins.
Electronic Systems
In our E-Systems segment, we also design, develop, engineer and manufacture electronic systems, which control various functions within the vehicle, as well as develop and integrate the associated software for these electronic systems. Our embedded software solutions have traditionally been sourced as a system with our electronic hardware offerings. Although this trend continues, customers are beginning to source software separately from the related hardware. Our established capabilities in embedded control software will allow us to capitalize on such opportunities. Our electronic modules include body domain control modules, smart and passive junction boxes and gateway and communication modules that are applicable to all vehicle types. As a result of twelve years of investment in electrification, our electronic systems business also includes electronic modules that are specific to hybrid and electric vehicles, such as on-board battery chargers, power conversion modules, high voltage battery management systems and high voltage power distribution. Our engineering and development activities for electronics are in the United States (Southfield, Michigan), Germany, Spain, China and India. We assemble these modules using capital-intensive, high-speed surface mount placement equipment and assembly processes in Mexico, Europe, Northern Africa and China. Electronic system products and their applications include:
Body Domain Control Modules – Body domain control modules primarily control vehicle interior functions outside of the vehicle’s head unit or infotainment system. Depending on the vehicle’s electrical and electronic architecture, these modules can be either highly integrated, consolidating multiple functional controls into a single module, or focus on a specific function, such as seat position and comfort controls or the door zone control module which controls features such as window lift, door lock and power mirrors. Key components include various semiconductor devices, passive electronic components and printed circuit boards.
Smart and Passive Junction Boxes – Passive junction boxes are centrally located modules within the vehicle that contain fuses and/or relays for circuit and device protection and serve as a connection point for multiple wire harnesses. Smart junction boxes represent the integration of junction boxes with certain body domain control module functions, which can provide higher efficiency solutions for packaging size, mass and assembly in certain vehicle electrical architectures. Certain materials, particularly certain specialized electronic components, are available from a limited number of suppliers.
Gateway and Communication Modules – We develop and produce gateway modules, which facilitate secure access to, and communication with, all of the vehicle systems at a central point and translate various signals to facilitate data exchange across various vehicle domains. Our connectivity capabilities include communication modules which manage wireless communications over cellular (including 5G), V2X, Bluetooth and WiFi and are connected to the vehicle networks. We develop and provide hardware and software for these products. We also have capabilities in high accuracy vehicle positioning through a cloud-computing-based system combined with software in vehicles to achieve high precision navigation solutions for our customers’ V2X and automated vehicle platforms. Key components include semiconductor devices, passive electronic components and printed circuit boards.
Integrated Power Modules – Integrated power modules are power electronics products used on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles that have at least two, but typically three, functions integrated into a single module to achieve efficiencies, including packaging size, reduced electrical connections and reduced mass. Our offerings are focused on the integration of on-board battery chargers, DC/DC converters and high voltage power distribution. Each of these products can be integrated into a single integrated power module or purchased independently depending on the automotive manufacturer’s architectural preferences.
On-board battery chargers are electronic modules that convert power from the electrical grid to high voltage direct current power to charge high voltage batteries for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. These are applicable on all plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. Key components include semiconductor electronic components, passive electronic components, printed circuit boards and aluminum castings.
DC/DC converters are electronic modules that convert voltage levels of power between high voltage and 12V electrical architectures. DC/DC converters are applicable on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle types. Key components include semiconductors, passive electronic components, printed circuit boards and aluminum castings.
High voltage power distribution units are electronic control modules that provide switching of high voltage power between the different loads and sources within a high voltage electrical architecture. Battery
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disconnect units are a specialized type of high voltage power distribution unit that may be packaged inside the vehicle’s high voltage battery. High voltage power distribution units are applicable on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. Key components include copper bus bars, contactors and molded housings.
High Voltage Battery Management Systems – High voltage battery management systems are a system of multiple electronic control modules comprised of sensing modules and computing modules that provide sensing and assessment of the high voltage battery’s condition, performance and status, as well as calculate appropriate control adjustments to battery temperature control, amperage draw and charge rate to ensure proper performance of the system. These systems are applicable on hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles. Key components include semiconductors, application specific integrated circuits and passive electronic components.
Software and Connected Services
Our software offerings include embedded software which is impacted by the increased complexity and processing power in electronic systems and is driving rapid increases in software requirements associated with these systems. Accordingly, we continue to build on our knowledge and capabilities in software in order to design and develop more complex and integrated electronic systems capable of more efficiently managing the distribution of power and data signals through the vehicle.
Software arising from our electronic systems product lines, where our customers' sourcing practices are beginning to consider software independent from hardware, include certain capabilities in body, connectivity and electrification domains of the vehicle. New modular software architectures, developed by us and others, enable software to be potentially sourced independent of hardware. We are beginning to offer our software solutions in this way. Software is applicable on all light duty vehicles and is developed in Germany, the United States and India using processes dependent on highly skilled and specialized labor.
Our connected services software solutions include award-winning Xevo Market, an in-vehicle commerce and service platform that connects customers with their favorite brands and services by delivering highly-contextual sales offers through vehicle touch screens and vehicle-branded mobile applications. Connected services are applicable on all light duty vehicles and are developed in the United States and Japan using processes dependent on highly skilled and specialized labor.
Customers
The top five customers of our E-Systems segment are: Ford, Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and Geely.
Competition
Our major competitors in electrical distribution and connection systems include Aptiv PLC, Leoni AG, Molex Incorporated (a subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc.), Sumitomo Corporation, TE Connectivity and Yazaki Corporation. Our major competitors in electronic modules, including connectivity solutions, include Aptiv PLC, Continental AG, Denso Corporation, Harman International Industries, Incorporated (a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.), Hella AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, Valeo S.A. and Visteon Corporation.
Technology
Our complete electrical distribution and connection system design capabilities, coupled with certain market-leading component technologies, allow access to our customers’ development teams, which provides an early indication of our customers’ product needs and enables us to develop system design efficiencies. Our ability to design and integrate electronic modules creates a competitive advantage as we support customers with complete electrical architecture development. The E-Systems segment is technology driven and typically requires higher investment as a percentage of sales than our Seating segment. Our expertise is developed and delivered by approximately 2,600 engineers across sixteen countries and is led by six global technology centers of excellence in Belgium, China, Germany, Spain and the United States (Southfield, MI and Seattle, WA) for each of our major product lines in this segment, which are described below.
In electrical distribution and connection systems, our technology includes expertise in the design and use of alternative conductor materials, such as aluminum, copper-clad steel and other hybrid alloys. Alternative conductor materials can enable the use of ultra small gauge conductors, which reduce the weight and packaging size of electrical distribution and connection systems. We also have developed proprietary manufacturing process technologies, such as our vertical manufacturing system that features three dimensional wire harness assembly boards. Our expertise in terminals and connectors technology facilitates our ability to implement these small gauge and alternative alloy conductors. We have developed advanced capabilities in aluminum terminals and aluminum wire termination, ultra small gauge termination and high voltage terminals and connectors. We have developed high packaging density in-line connectors and new small gauge terminals that will enable wire gauge reduction and provide our customers with smaller and lower cost solutions. Our high voltage terminals and connectors are a part of our advanced efficiency systems capabilities, and we have established a leading capability in power density (power per
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packaging size) that is being adopted by multiple automotive manufacturers. We have approximately 650 patents issued or applied for in the advanced efficiency systems product technology area. These technologies are supported by our proprietary virtual proving grounds, which is an industry-leading suite of in-house developed tools and processes to significantly reduce the design, development and validation testing time and expense.
In electronic systems, we are a market leader in smart junction box technology and began production of our Automotive News PACE Award winning Solid State Smart Junction Box™ in 2016. We are a leader in gateway module technology and have capabilities to enable our gateway and other electronic control modules to efficiently and securely manage the increasing amount of both wired and wireless signals running throughout, as well as outside of, the vehicle, including being first-to-market with an ethernet-enabled gateway module. In high power electronics, we offer high efficiency battery chargers, which charge vehicles faster, high voltage battery management systems, which optimize battery performance for longer range and faster charging, and highly integrated power modules, which reduce cost, weight and size while reducing time to charge and extending electric vehicle range. Our connectivity technologies include full software capabilities in-house, 5G cellular expertise, vehicle-to-vehicle communications and cybersecurity.
Software remains a critical element of our E-Systems business. Software capabilities are becoming more important in the management of complex and highly sophisticated electrical architectures. Software within the vehicle is rapidly growing as a key element of technological innovation and a cost effective way to provide new features and functions. We currently employ approximately 900 software engineers globally and are pursuing expansion of specialized capabilities in vehicle networking, control algorithms, cybersecurity and connectivity platforms and protocols.
For additional factors that may impact our E-Systems segment’s business, financial condition, operating results and/or cash flows, see Item 1A, "Risk Factors."
Customers
In 2020, General Motors and Ford, two of the largest automotive and light truck manufacturers in the world, accounted for 19% and 13% of our net sales, respectively. In addition, Stellantis (reflective of the 2021 merger of PSA and Fiat Chrysler) accounted for 11% of our 2020 net sales. We supply and have expertise in all vehicle segments of the automotive market. Our sales content tends to be higher on those vehicle platforms and segments which offer more features and functionality. The popularity of particular vehicle platforms and segments varies over time and by regional market. We expect to continue to win new business and grow sales at a greater rate than overall automotive industry production. For further information related to our customers and domestic and foreign sales and operations, see Note 15, "Segment Reporting," to the consolidated financial statements included in this Report.
Our customers award business to their suppliers in a number of ways, including the award of complete systems, which allows suppliers either to manufacture components internally or to purchase components from other suppliers at their discretion. Certain of our customers also elect to award certain components directly to component suppliers and independent of the award of the complete system. We have been selectively expanding our component capabilities and investing in manufacturing capacity in low-cost regions in order to enhance our cost competitive structure and maximize our participation in such direct component sourcing by our customers.
Our customers typically award contracts several years before actual production is scheduled to begin. Each year, the automotive manufacturers introduce new models, update existing models and discontinue certain models and, periodically, even complete brands. In this process, we may be selected as the supplier on a new model, we may continue as the supplier on an updated model or we may lose the business on a new or updated model to a competitor. Our sales backlog reflects our estimated net sales over the next three years from formally awarded new programs, less lost and discontinued programs. This measure excludes the sales backlog at our non-consolidated joint ventures. As of January 2021, our 2021 to 2023 sales backlog is $2.8 billion, an increase of 4% as compared to our sales backlog as of January 2020. Our current sales backlog reflects $1.0 billion related to 2021 and 68% and 32% related to our Seating and E-Systems segments, respectively. In addition, our 2021 to 2023 sales backlog at our non-consolidated joint ventures is approximately $400 million. Our current sales backlog assumes volumes based on the independent industry projections of IHS Markit as of December 2020 and internal estimates, a Euro exchange rate of $1.18/Euro and a Chinese RMB exchange rate of 6.65/$. This sales backlog is generally subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including vehicle production volumes on new and replacement programs and foreign exchange rates, as well as the timing of production launches and changes in customer development plans. For additional information regarding risks that may affect our sales backlog, see Item 1A, "Risk Factors," and Part II — Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Forward-Looking Statements."
We receive purchase orders from our customers that generally provide for the supply of a customer’s annual requirements for a particular vehicle model and assembly plant, or in some cases, for the supply of a customer’s requirements for the life of a particular vehicle model, rather than for the purchase of a specified quantity of products. Although most purchase orders may be terminated by our customers at any time, such terminations have been infrequent and have not had a material impact on our
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operating results. We are subject to risks that an automotive manufacturer will produce fewer units of a vehicle model than anticipated or that an automotive manufacturer will not award us a replacement program following the life of a vehicle model. To reduce our reliance on any one vehicle model, we produce automotive systems and components for a broad cross-section of both new and established models. However, larger cars and light trucks, as well as vehicle platforms that offer more features and functionality, such as luxury, sport utility and crossover vehicles, typically have more content and, therefore, tend to have a more significant impact on our operating performance. Our net sales for the year ended December 31, 2020, consisted of 31% passenger cars, 52% crossover and sport utility vehicles and 17% trucks and vans.
Our agreements with our major customers generally provide for an annual productivity price reduction. Historically, cost reductions through product design changes, increased manufacturing productivity and similar programs with our suppliers have generally offset these customer-imposed price reduction requirements. However, raw material, energy and commodity costs can be volatile. Although we have developed and implemented strategies to mitigate the impact of higher raw material, energy and commodity costs, these strategies, together with commercial negotiations with our customers and suppliers, typically offset only a portion of the adverse impact. Certain of these strategies also may limit our opportunities in a declining commodity environment. In addition, we are exposed to increasing market risk associated with fluctuations in foreign exchange as a result of our low-cost footprint and vertical integration strategies. We use derivative financial instruments to reduce our exposure to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. For additional information regarding our foreign exchange and commodity price risk, see Part II — Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Liquidity and Financial Condition — Foreign Exchange" and "— Commodity Prices."
Seasonality
Our principal operations are directly related to the automotive industry. Consequently, we may experience seasonal fluctuations to the extent automotive vehicle production slows, such as in the summer months when many customer plants close for model year changeovers, in December when many customer plants close for the holidays and during periods of high vehicle inventory. See Note 17, "Quarterly Financial Data," to the consolidated financial statements included in this Report.
Raw Materials
The principal raw materials used in our seat systems, electrical distribution and connection systems and electronic systems are generally available and obtained from multiple suppliers under various types of supply agreements. Components such as fabric, foam, leather, seat mechanisms, terminals and connectors, and certain other components are either manufactured by us internally or purchased from multiple suppliers under various types of supply agreements. The majority of the steel used in our products is comprised of fabricated components that are integrated into a seat system, such as seat frames, recliner mechanisms, seat tracks and other mechanical components. Therefore, our exposure to changes in steel prices is primarily indirect, through these purchased components. With the exception of certain terminals and connectors, the materials that we use to manufacture wire harness assemblies are substantially purchased from suppliers, including extruded and insulated wire and cable. The majority of our copper purchases are comprised of extruded wire and cable that we integrate into electrical wire harnesses. In general, our copper purchases, as well as a significant portion of our leather purchases, are subject to price index agreements with our customers and suppliers. We utilize a combination of short-term and long-term supply contracts to purchase key components. We generally retain the right to terminate these agreements if our supplier does not remain competitive in terms of cost, quality, delivery, technology or customer support.
Human Capital Management
As of December 31, 2020 and 2019, our employment levels worldwide were approximately as follows:
Region20202019
United States and Canada10,60010,100
Mexico55,20050,400
Central and South America20,90017,000
Europe and Africa56,50056,800
Asia31,40029,800
Total174,600164,100
A substantial number of our employees are members of unions or national trade organizations. We have collective bargaining agreements with several North American unions, including the United Auto Workers, Unifor, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and Workers United. Each of our unionized facilities in the United States and Canada has a separate collective bargaining agreement with the union that represents the workers at such facility, with each such agreement having an expiration date that is independent of the other agreements. The majority of our employees in Mexico and Europe are members
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of industrial trade union organizations or confederations within their respective countries. Many of these organizations and confederations operate under national contracts, which are not specific to any one employer. We have occasionally experienced labor disputes at our plants. We have been able to resolve all such labor disputes and believe our relations with our employees are generally good.
See Item 1A, "Risk Factors — A significant labor dispute involving us or one or more of our customers or suppliers or that could otherwise affect our operations could adversely affect our financial performance," and Part II — Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Forward-Looking Statements."
Compliance and Ethics
We are committed to conducting our business with integrity and in compliance with all applicable laws of the cities, states and countries in which we operate and have established a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics to assist employees in this regard. We encourage employees to report concerns through a variety of channels, including a compliance and ethics line which allows for anonymous reporting. All reports are investigated and resolved. We also maintain an anti-retaliation policy such that any employee who reports a concern in good faith is protected from harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequences.
Health and Safety
Our health and safety programs are designed around global standards with appropriate variations to address the multiple jurisdictions and unique working environments of our manufacturing operations. We maintain a health and safety management system that is compliant with the ISO 45001 standard. Each of our locations performs regular safety audits to ensure that proper safety policies are in place and appropriate safety training is provided. In addition, we engage an independent third-party conformity assessment and certification vendor to audit selected operations for adherence to our global health and safety standards.
In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we created a Safe Work Playbook, which provides a standardized approach for each of our facilities to create a consistent and safe work environment and offers insights into navigating operational challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The playbook is publicly available and includes health and safety information related to plant operating protocols; employee education, training and feedback; facility assessments; and phased reopening of engineering and administrative centers.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We strive to build a culture of diversity and inclusion through our human resource practices and policies and work to eliminate discrimination and harassment in all of its forms. In 2020, we committed to invest in initiatives that address racial inequality and discrimination. The investment will be a combination of grants to external organizations, as well as internal investments to educate and engage our employees. We formed an Executive Diversity Council to develop a comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, prioritize activities and drive accountability and results. Our recently launched Together We Belong campaign will include employee training, virtual events and a global survey to drive awareness and engagement. Additionally, we support employee resource groups, which are employee-led volunteer groups open to all employees with the goal to improve attraction, retention, inclusion and engagement of a diverse and global workforce.
Training and Talent Development
We are committed to the continued development of our employees. Since 2019, we have delivered more than 3.7 million hours of safety, development, leadership, quality, continuous improvement, lean manufacturing and ISO and IATF certification training. In 2020, we launched Leads Self Lite, a leadership development program offered to early to mid-career employees. The program inspires career ownership and growth by leveraging internal leadership development tools and insights. Our Emerging Leaders Development Program is a twelve-month leadership and business course designed to develop high-potential managers and directors. Our CEO Academy is our premier leadership development opportunity. Twice per year, a select group of leaders representing diverse functions and backgrounds are invited to participate in a week-long leadership immersion event, during which each participant presents a bold business idea to help drive Lear’s success. In addition, formal talent reviews and succession planning occur annually – globally and across all business areas. Senior leadership provides annual updates on succession and talent development to the board of directors.
Intellectual Property
Worldwide, we have approximately 2,300 patents and patent applications pending. While we believe that our patent portfolio is a valuable asset, no individual patent or group of patents is critical to the success of our business. We also license selected technologies to automotive manufacturers and to other automotive suppliers. We continually strive to identify and implement new technologies for use in the design and development of our products.
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Advanced technology development is conducted worldwide at our nine advanced technology centers and at our product engineering centers. At these centers, we engineer our products to comply with applicable safety standards, meet quality and durability standards, respond to environmental conditions and conform to customer and consumer requirements. Our global innovation and technology center located in Southfield, Michigan, develops and integrates new concepts and is our central location for consumer research, benchmarking, craftsmanship and industrial design activity.
We have numerous registered trademarks in the United States and in many foreign countries. The most important of these marks include LEAR CORPORATION® (including our stylized version thereof) and LEAR®, which are widely used in connection with our products and services. Our other principal brands include XEVO®, GUILFORD® and EAGLE OTTAWA®. ConfigurE+TM seating, INTUTM seating, LEAR CONNEXUSTM signal and data communications, EXOTM high-accuracy positioning, JOURNEYWARE® software, ProTec® active head restraints, SMART JUNCTION BOXTM technology, STRUCSURETM systems, AVENTINO® leather and TeXstyleTM fabrics are some of our other trademarks used in connection with certain of our product lines.
Government Regulations and Environmental Matters
We are subject to a variety of federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations, including those related to health, safety and environmental matters. Costs incurred to comply with these governmental regulations are not material to our capital expenditures, financial performance or competitive position. Additional information about the impact of government regulations on Lear’s business is included in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," under the heading "Legal and Regulatory Risks."
We are committed to sustainability in our operations and products. We adhere to local, state, federal and foreign laws, regulations and ordinances which govern activities or operations that may have adverse environmental effects. These laws, regulations and ordinances may impose liability for clean-up costs resulting from past spills, disposals or other releases of hazardous wastes. For a description of our outstanding environmental matters and other legal proceedings, see Note 14, "Commitments and Contingencies," to the consolidated financial statements included in this Report.
In addition, our customers are subject to significant environmentally focused state, federal and foreign laws and regulations that regulate vehicle emissions, fuel economy and other matters related to the environmental impact of vehicles. To the extent that such laws and regulations ultimately increase or decrease automotive vehicle production, such laws and regulations would likely impact our business. See Item 1A, "Risk Factors."
Furthermore, we currently offer products with green technology, such as SoyFoamTM, and are creating technologies that facilitate environmentally friendly transportation alternatives such as hybrid and electric vehicles. Our expertise, capabilities and environmental leadership are allowing us to expand our product offerings in this area.
Joint Ventures and Noncontrolling Interests
We form joint ventures in order to gain entry into new markets, expand our product offerings and broaden our customer base. In particular, we believe that certain joint ventures have provided us, and will continue to provide us, with the opportunity to expand our business relationships with Asian automotive manufacturers, particularly in emerging markets. We also partner with companies having significant local experience in commerce and customs, as well as capacity, to reduce our financial risk and enhance our potential for achieving expected financial returns. In some cases, these joint ventures may be located in North America or Europe and used to expand our customer relationships.
As of December 31, 2020, we had thirteen operating joint ventures located in five countries. Of these joint ventures, four are consolidated, and nine are accounted for using the equity method of accounting. Eleven of the joint ventures operate in Asia, and two operate in North America (both of which are dedicated to serving Asian automotive manufacturers). Net sales of our consolidated joint ventures accounted for approximately 8% of our net sales in 2020. As of December 31, 2020, our investments in non-consolidated joint ventures totaled $143 million.
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A summary of our non-consolidated operating joint ventures, including ownership percentages, is shown below. For further information related to our joint ventures, see Note 6, "Investments in Affiliates and Other Related Party Transactions," to the consolidated financial statements included in this Report.
CountryNameOwnership
Percentage
ChinaBeijing BHAP Lear Automotive Systems Co., Ltd.50%
ChinaGuangzhou Lear Automotive Components Co., Ltd.50
ChinaJiangxi Jiangling Lear Interior Systems Co., Ltd.50
ChinaLear Dongfeng Automotive Seating Co., Ltd.50
ChinaChangchun Lear FAWSN Automotive Seat Systems Co., Ltd.49
China
Beijing Lear Hyundai Transys Co., Ltd.
40
HondurasHonduras Electrical Distribution Systems S. de R.L. de C.V.49
IndiaHyundai Transys Lear Automotive Private Limited35
United StatesKyungshin-Lear Sales and Engineering LLC49

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ITEM 1A – RISK FACTORS
Our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows may be impacted by a number of factors. In addition to the factors affecting our business identified elsewhere in this Report, the material risk factors affecting our operations include the following:
Risks Related to Our Business
Our industry is cyclical and a decline in the production levels of our major customers, particularly with respect to models for which we are a significant supplier, or the financial distress of one or more of our major customers could adversely affect our financial performance.
Our sales are driven by the number of vehicles produced by our automotive manufacturer customers, which is ultimately dependent on consumer demand for automotive vehicles, and our content per vehicle. The automotive industry is cyclical and sensitive to general economic conditions, including the global credit markets, interest rates, consumer credit and consumer spending and preferences. Automotive sales and production can also be affected by the age of the vehicle fleet and related scrappage rates, labor relations issues, fuel prices, regulatory requirements, government initiatives, trade agreements, tariffs and other non-tariff trade barriers, the availability and cost of credit, the availability of critical components needed to complete the production of vehicles, restructuring actions of our customers and suppliers, facility closures and increased competition, as well as consumer preferences regarding vehicle size, configuration and features, including alternative fuel vehicles, changing consumer attitudes toward vehicle ownership and usage, such as ride sharing and on-demand transportation, and other factors.
Due to the overall global economic conditions in 2020, largely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the automotive industry experienced a decline in global customer sales and production volumes. In 2020, global vehicle production decreased 17% as compared to 2019. In Asia, vehicle production decreased 12%, including 5% in China and 23% in India. Vehicle production also decreased 20% and 22% in North America and Europe and Africa, respectively. As a result, we have experienced and may continue to experience reductions in orders from our customers in certain regions. An economic downturn or other adverse industry conditions that result in a decline in the production levels of our major customers, particularly with respect to models for which we are a significant supplier, or the financial distress of one or more of our major customers could reduce our sales or otherwise adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows. Further, our ability to reduce the risks inherent in certain concentrations of business, and thereby maintain our financial performance in the future, will depend, in part, on our ability to continue to diversify our sales on a customer, product, platform and geographic basis to reflect the market overall. We may not be successful in such diversification.
Pandemics or disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19, have disrupted, and may continue to disrupt, our business, which could adversely affect our financial performance.
Pandemics or disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19, have disrupted, and may continue to disrupt, the global economy. The COVID-19 pandemic led to a dramatic reduction in economic activity worldwide. International, federal, state and local public health and governmental authorities have taken and may continue to take extraordinary actions to contain and combat the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 throughout most regions of the world, including travel bans, quarantines, "stay-at-home" orders and similar mandates that have caused many individuals to substantially restrict their daily activities and many businesses to curtail or cease normal operations.
The automotive industry was particularly negatively impacted by the situation with a sudden and sharp decline in consumer demand and automotive manufacturers suspending or severely limiting automobile production globally during portions of 2020. In 2020, we experienced, and we may continue to experience, reductions in orders from our customers globally, which in turn adversely affected, and may continue to affect, our financial performance. This reduction in orders may be further exacerbated by a continued global economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, which could decrease consumer demand for vehicles or result in the financial distress of one or more of our customers or suppliers. As described in more detail under "Our industry is cyclical and a decline in the production levels of our major customers, particularly with respect to models for which we are a significant supplier, or the financial distress of one or more of our major customers could adversely affect our financial performance" above and "Adverse developments affecting or the financial distress of one or more of our suppliers could adversely affect our financial performance" below, decreases in consumer demand for automotive vehicles, declines in the production levels of our major customers, financial distress of one or more of our major customers or suppliers or other adverse developments affecting one or more of our suppliers, could adversely affect our financial performance. In addition, if COVID-19 were to affect a significant amount of the workforce employed or operating at our facilities, we could experience delays or the inability to produce and deliver products to our customers on a timely basis.
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Unprecedented industry disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted operations in every region of the world. As described in more detail under "Our substantial international operations make us vulnerable to risks associated with doing business in foreign countries" below, our substantial international operations make us vulnerable to risks associated with doing business in foreign countries.
While all of our global manufacturing plants have resumed production, we may experience unexpected delays or obstacles, such as higher employee absenteeism, supply chain disruptions or government mandates, that may hamper our ability to operate our facilities. Further, we may not be able to operate at optimal levels of efficiency given new work rules and procedures implemented to protect our employees. The suspension of production at our manufacturing facilities, or difficulties or inefficiencies in production, would likely adversely impact our future results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and that impact may be material.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our reliance on internet technology has increased due to the number of employees working remotely. This reliance has resulted in increased cybersecurity risks, including the risk that we fail to appropriately maintain the security of the data we hold. See "A disruption in our information technology systems, or those of our customers or suppliers, including a disruption related to cybersecurity, could adversely affect our financial performance" below.
As described in more detail under "Our existing indebtedness and the inability to access capital markets could restrict our business activities or our ability to execute our strategic objectives or adversely affect our financial performance" below, the volatility created by COVID-19 could adversely affect our access to the debt and capital markets. In addition, our ability to continue implementing important strategic initiatives and capital expenditures may be reduced as we devote time and other resources to responding to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 continues to spread in most regions of the world and the extent to which our financial performance will be adversely affected will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including, but not limited to, the duration and spread of the pandemic, its severity, the effectiveness of actions to vaccinate populations, contain the virus or treat its impact and how quickly and to what extent normal economic and operating conditions can resume. Even after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience adverse impacts on our business and financial performance as a result of its global economic impact, including a recession that has occurred or may occur in the future, which will likely result in lower demand for new vehicles for a period of time, as new vehicle sales are typically correlated with positive consumer confidence and low unemployment.
The COVID-19 pandemic may also exacerbate other risks disclosed herein, including, but not limited to, our competitiveness, demand for our products and shifting consumer preferences.
The loss of business with respect to, or the lack of commercial success of, a vehicle model for which we are a significant supplier could adversely affect our financial performance.
We receive purchase orders from our customers, which generally provide for the supply of a customer’s annual requirements for a particular vehicle model and assembly plant or, in some cases, for the supply of a customer’s requirements for the life of a particular vehicle model, rather than for the purchase of a specific quantity of products. In addition, it is possible that our customers could elect to manufacture our products internally or increase the extent to which they require us to utilize specific suppliers or materials in the manufacture of our products. The loss of business with respect to, the lack of commercial success of or an increase in directed component sourcing for a vehicle model for which we are a significant supplier could reduce our sales or margins and thereby adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Our inability to achieve product cost reductions to offset customer-imposed price reductions could adversely affect our financial performance.
Downward pricing pressure by automotive manufacturers is a characteristic of the automotive industry. Our customer contracts generally provide for annual price reductions over the production life of the vehicle, while requiring us to assume significant responsibility for the design, development and engineering of our products. Prices may also be adjusted on an ongoing basis to reflect changes in product content/costs and other commercial factors. Our financial performance is largely dependent on our ability to achieve product cost reductions through product design enhancement and supply chain management, as well as manufacturing efficiencies and restructuring actions. We also seek to enhance our financial performance by investing in product development, design capabilities and new product initiatives that respond to the needs of our customers and consumers. We continually evaluate operational and strategic alternatives to align our business with the changing needs of our customers and improve our business structure by investing in vertical integration opportunities globally. Our inability to achieve product cost reductions that offset customer-imposed price reductions could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
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Increases in the costs and restrictions on the availability of raw materials, energy, commodities and product components could adversely affect our financial performance.
Raw material, energy and commodity costs can be volatile. Although we have developed and implemented strategies to mitigate the impact of higher raw material, energy and commodity costs, these strategies, together with commercial negotiations with our customers and suppliers, typically offset only a portion of the adverse impact. Certain of these strategies also may limit our opportunities in a declining commodity environment. In addition, the availability of raw materials, commodities and product components fluctuates from time to time due to factors outside of our control, including trade laws and tariffs. If the costs of raw materials, energy, commodities and product components increase or the availability thereof is restricted, it could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Adverse developments affecting or the financial distress of one or more of our suppliers could adversely affect our financial performance.
We obtain components and other products and services from numerous Tier 2 automotive suppliers and other vendors throughout the world. We are responsible for managing our supply chain, including suppliers that may be the sole sources of products that we require, that our customers direct us to use or that have unique capabilities that would make it difficult and/or expensive to re-source. In certain instances, entire industries may experience short-term capacity constraints. Additionally, our production capacity, and that of our customers and suppliers, may be adversely affected by natural disasters. Any such significant disruption could adversely affect our financial performance. Furthermore, unfavorable economic or industry conditions could result in financial distress within our supply base, thereby increasing the risk of supply disruption. An economic downturn or other unfavorable industry conditions in one or more of the regions in which we operate could cause a supply disruption and thereby adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Our substantial international operations make us vulnerable to risks associated with doing business in foreign countries.
As a result of our global presence, a significant portion of our revenues and expenses are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. We have substantial manufacturing and distribution facilities in many foreign countries, including Mexico and countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and Europe. International operations are subject to certain risks inherent in doing business abroad, including:
exposure to local economic conditions;
political, economic and civil instability and uncertainty (including acts of terrorism, civil unrest, drug-cartel related and other forms of violence and outbreaks of war);
labor unrest;
expropriation and nationalization;
currency exchange rate fluctuations, currency controls and the ability to economically hedge currencies;
withholding and other taxes on remittances and other payments by subsidiaries;
investment restrictions or requirements;
repatriation restrictions or requirements;
export and import restrictions and increases in duties and tariffs;
concerns about human rights, working conditions and other labor rights and conditions and the environmental impact in foreign countries where our products are produced and raw materials and/or components are sourced, as well as changing labor, environmental and other laws in these countries;
pandemic illness;
increases in working capital requirements related to long supply chains; and
global sovereign fiscal matters and creditworthiness, including potential defaults and the related impacts on economic activity, including the possible effects on credit markets, currency values, monetary unions, international treaties and fiscal policies.
Expanding our sales and operations in Asia and our manufacturing operations in lower-cost regions are important elements of our strategy. As a result, our exposure to the risks described above is substantial. The likelihood of such occurrences and their potential effect on us vary from country to country and are unpredictable. However, any such occurrences could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
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We operate in a highly competitive industry and efforts by our competitors, as well as new non-traditional entrants to the industry, to gain market share could adversely affect our financial performance.
We operate in a highly competitive industry. We and most of our competitors are seeking to expand market share with new and existing customers, including in Asia and other potential high growth regions. Our customers award business based on, among other things, price, quality, service and technology. Our competitors’ efforts to grow market share could exert downward pressure on our product pricing and margins. In addition, the automotive industry has attracted, and will continue to attract, non-traditional entrants as a result of the evolving nature of the automotive vehicle market, including autonomous vehicles, ride sharing and on-demand transportation. Further, the global automotive industry is experiencing a period of significant technological change, including a focus on environmentally sustainable vehicles and subcomponents. As a result, the success of portions of our business requires us to develop, acquire and/or incorporate new technologies and depends not only on our customers' ability to execute their strategies to exploit these technologies but also on the adoption of such technologies by end consumers. Such technologies are subject to rapid obsolescence. Our inability to maintain access to these technologies (through development, acquisition or licensing) may adversely affect our ability to compete. If we are unable to differentiate our products, maintain a low-cost footprint or compete effectively with technology-focused new market entrants, we may lose market share or be forced to reduce prices, thereby lowering our margins. Any such occurrences could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
A significant labor dispute involving us or one or more of our customers or suppliers or that could otherwise affect our operations could adversely affect our financial performance.
A substantial number of our employees and the employees of our largest customers and suppliers are members of industrial trade unions and are employed under the terms of various labor agreements. We have labor agreements covering approximately 82,500 employees globally. In the United States and Canada, each of our unionized facilities has a separate collective bargaining agreement with the union that represents the workers at such facility, with each such agreement having an expiration date that is independent of the other agreements. Labor agreements covering approximately 85% of our global unionized work force, including labor agreements in the United States and Canada covering approximately 1% of our global unionized workforce, are scheduled to expire in 2021. There can be no assurances that future negotiations with the unions will be resolved favorably or that we will not experience a work stoppage or disruption that could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows. A labor dispute involving us, any of our customers or suppliers or any other suppliers to our customers or that otherwise affects our operations, or the inability by us, any of our customers or suppliers or any other suppliers to our customers to negotiate, upon the expiration of a labor agreement, an extension of such agreement or a new agreement on satisfactory terms could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows. In addition, if any of our significant customers experience a material work stoppage, such as the General Motors labor strike in the fall of 2019, that customer may halt or limit the purchase of our products. This could require us to shut down or significantly reduce production at facilities relating to such products, which could adversely affect our business and harm our profitability.
Certain of our operations are conducted through joint ventures which have unique risks.
Certain of our operations, particularly in emerging markets, are conducted through joint ventures. With respect to our joint ventures, we may share ownership and management responsibilities with one or more partners that may not share our goals and objectives. Operating a joint venture requires us to operate the business pursuant to the terms of the agreement that we entered into with our partners, including additional organizational formalities, as well as to share information and decision making. Additional risks associated with joint ventures include one or more partners failing to satisfy contractual obligations, conflicts arising between us and any of our partners, a change in the ownership of any of our partners and less of an ability to control compliance with applicable rules and regulations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related rules and regulations. Additionally, our ability to sell our interest in a joint venture may be subject to contractual and other limitations. Accordingly, any such occurrences could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Our inability to effectively manage the timing, quality and costs of new program launches could adversely affect our financial performance.
In connection with the award of new business, we obligate ourselves to deliver new products and services that are subject to our customers’ timing, performance and quality standards. Additionally, as a Tier 1 supplier, we must effectively coordinate the activities of numerous suppliers in order for the program launches of our products to be successful. Given the complexity of new program launches, we may experience difficulties managing product quality, timeliness and associated costs. In addition, new program launches require a significant ramp up of costs; however, our sales related to these new programs generally are dependent upon the timing and success of our customers’ introduction of new vehicles.
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Our inability to effectively manage the timing, quality and costs of these new program launches could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Significant changes in discount rates, the actual return on pension assets and other factors could adversely affect our financial performance.
Our earnings may be positively or negatively impacted by the amount of income or expense recorded related to our global defined benefit plans. Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States require that income or expense related to the defined benefit plans be calculated at the annual measurement date using actuarial calculations, which reflect certain assumptions. The most significant of these assumptions relate to interest rates, the capital markets and other economic conditions. These assumptions, as well as the actual value of pension assets at the measurement date, will impact the calculation of pension and other postretirement benefit expense for the year. Although pension expense and pension contributions are not directly related, the key economic indicators that affect pension expense also affect the amount of cash that we will contribute to our pension plans. Because interest rates and the values of these pension assets have fluctuated and will continue to fluctuate in response to changing market conditions, pension and other postretirement benefit expense in subsequent periods, the funded status of our pension plans and the future minimum required pension contributions, if any, could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Impairment charges relating to our goodwill and long-lived assets could adversely affect our financial performance.
We regularly monitor our goodwill and long-lived assets for impairment indicators. In conducting our goodwill impairment testing, we may first perform a qualitative assessment of whether it is more likely than not that a reporting unit’s fair value is less than its carrying amount. If not, no further goodwill impairment testing is required. If it is more likely than not that a reporting unit’s fair value is less than its carrying amount, or if we elect not to perform a qualitative assessment of a reporting unit, we then compare the fair value of the reporting unit to the related net book value. If the net book value of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, an impairment loss is measured and recognized. In conducting our impairment analysis of long-lived assets, we compare the undiscounted cash flows expected to be generated from the long-lived assets to the related net book values. Changes in economic or operating conditions impacting our estimates and assumptions could result in the impairment of our goodwill or long-lived assets. In the event that we determine that our goodwill or long-lived assets are impaired, we may be required to record a significant charge to earnings that could adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
Our failure to execute our strategic objectives could adversely affect our financial performance.
Our financial performance depends, in part, on our ability to successfully execute our strategic objectives. Our objectives are to deliver superior long-term stockholder value by investing in innovation to drive business growth and profitability, while maintaining a strong balance sheet and returning excess cash to our stockholders. Various factors, including the industry environment and the other matters described herein and in Part II — Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," including "— Forward-Looking Statements," could adversely affect our ability to execute our strategic objectives. These risk factors include our failure to identify suitable opportunities for organic investment and/or acquisitions, our inability to successfully develop such opportunities or complete such acquisitions or our inability to successfully utilize or integrate the investments in our operations. Our failure to execute our strategic objectives could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows. Moreover, there can be no assurances that, even if implemented, our strategic objectives will be successful.
Risks Related to Our Indebtedness
Our existing indebtedness and the inability to access capital markets could restrict our business activities or our ability to execute our strategic objectives or adversely affect our financial performance.
As of December 31, 2020, we had approximately $2.3 billion of outstanding indebtedness, as well as $1.75 billion available for borrowing under our revolving credit facility. As of December 31, 2020, there were no amounts outstanding under our revolving credit facility. The debt instruments governing our indebtedness contain covenants that may restrict our business activities or our ability to execute our strategic objectives, and our failure to comply with these covenants could result in a default under our indebtedness. We also lease certain buildings and equipment under non-cancelable lease agreements with terms exceeding one year, which are accounted for as operating leases. Additionally, any downgrade in the ratings that rating agencies assign to us and our debt may ultimately impact our access to capital markets. Our inability to generate sufficient cash flow to satisfy our debt and lease obligations, to refinance our debt obligations or to access capital markets on commercially reasonable terms could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
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Changes affecting the availability of the London Inter-bank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") may have consequences for us that cannot yet be reasonably predicted.
We have outstanding debt with variable interest rates based on LIBOR. Advances under our revolving credit facility and our term loan facility generally bear interest based on (i) the Eurocurrency Rate (as defined in our credit agreement and calculated using LIBOR) or (ii) the ABR (as defined in our credit agreement). The LIBOR benchmark has been the subject of national, international and other regulatory guidance and proposals to reform. In July 2017, the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (the authority that regulates LIBOR) announced that it intends to stop compelling banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR after 2021. These reforms may cause LIBOR to perform differently than it has in the past, and LIBOR may ultimately cease to exist after 2021. Alternative benchmark rates may replace LIBOR and could affect our debt securities, debt payments and receipts. At this time, it is not possible to predict the effect of any changes to LIBOR, any phase out of LIBOR or any establishment of alternative benchmark rates. Any new benchmark rate will likely not replicate LIBOR exactly, which could impact our contracts that terminate after 2021. There is uncertainty about how applicable law and the courts will address the replacement of LIBOR with alternative rates on variable rate retail loan contracts and other contracts that do not include alternative rate fallback provisions. If LIBOR ceases to exist after 2021, the interest rates on our revolving credit facility and our term loan facility will be based on the ABR, which may result in higher interest rates. In addition, any changes to benchmark rates may have an uncertain impact on our cost of funds and our access to the capital markets, which could impact our results of operations and cash flows. Uncertainty as to the nature of such potential changes may also adversely affect the trading market for our securities.
Legal and Regulatory Risks
A disruption in our information technology systems, or those of our customers or suppliers, including a disruption related to cybersecurity, could adversely affect our financial performance.
We rely on the accuracy, capacity and security of our information technology networks. Despite the security measures that we have implemented, including those measures related to cybersecurity, our operational systems (including business, financial, accounting, human resources, product development and manufacturing processes), as well as those of our customers, suppliers and other service providers, and certain of our connected vehicle systems and components that may collect and store sensitive end-user data (which could include personally identifiable information) could be breached or damaged by computer viruses, malware, phishing attacks, denial-of-service attacks, human error, natural or man-made incidents or disasters or unauthorized physical or electronic access. These types of incidents have become more prevalent and pervasive across industries, including our industry, and are expected to continue in the future. The secure operation of our information technology networks, and the processing and maintenance of information by these networks, is critical to our operations and strategy. A breach could result in business disruption, including the vehicle systems and components that we supply to our customers or our plant operations, theft of our intellectual property, trade secrets or customer information or unauthorized access to personal information, such as that of our employees or end consumers of vehicles that contain certain of our connected vehicle systems or components. Although cybersecurity and the continued development and enhancement of our controls, processes and practices designed to protect our operational systems and products from attack, damage or unauthorized access are a high priority for us, our actions and investments may not be deployed quickly enough or successfully protect our systems against all vulnerabilities, including technologies developed to bypass our security measures. In addition, outside parties may attempt to fraudulently induce employees or customers to disclose access credentials or other sensitive information in order to gain access to our secure systems and networks. There are no assurances that our actions and investments to improve the maturity of our systems, processes and risk management framework or remediate vulnerabilities will be sufficient or deployed quickly enough to prevent or limit the impact of any cyber intrusion or security breach. Moreover, because the techniques used to gain access to or sabotage systems often are not recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate the methods necessary to defend against these types of attacks, and we cannot predict the extent, frequency or impact these attacks may have on us. To the extent that our business is interrupted, including the vehicle systems and components that we supply to our customers or our plant operations, or data is lost, destroyed or inappropriately used or disclosed, such disruptions could adversely affect our competitive position, relationships with our customers, financial condition, operating results and cash flows and/or subject us to regulatory actions, including those contemplated by data privacy laws and regulations like the European Union General Data Privacy Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act, or litigation. In addition, we may be required to incur significant costs to protect against the damage caused by these disruptions or security breaches in the future.
We are also dependent on security measures that some of our customers, suppliers and other third-party service providers take to protect their own systems and infrastructures. Any security breach of any of these third-parties' systems could result in unauthorized access to our or our customers’ or suppliers' sensitive data or our own information technology systems, cause us to be non-compliant with applicable laws or regulations, subject us to legal claims or proceedings, disrupt our
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operations, damage our reputation or cause a loss of confidence in our products or services, any of which could adversely affect our financial performance.
A significant product liability lawsuit, warranty claim or product recall involving us or one of our major customers could adversely affect our financial performance.
In the event that our products fail to perform as expected, regardless of fault, and such failure results in, or is alleged to result in, bodily injury and/or property damage or other losses, we may be subject to product liability lawsuits and other claims or we may be required or requested by our customers to participate in a recall or other corrective action involving such products. We also are a party to agreements with certain of our customers, whereby these customers may pursue claims against us for contribution of all or a portion of the amounts sought in connection with product liability and warranty claims. We carry insurance for certain product liability claims, but such coverage may be limited. We do not maintain insurance for product warranty or recall matters. In addition, we may not be successful in recovering amounts from third parties, including sub-suppliers, in connection with these claims. These types of claims could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
We are involved from time to time in various legal and regulatory proceedings and claims, which could adversely affect our financial performance.
We are involved in various legal and regulatory proceedings and claims that, from time to time, are significant. These are typically claims that arise in the normal course of business including, without limitation, commercial or contractual disputes, including disputes with our customers, suppliers or competitors, intellectual property matters, personal injury claims, environmental matters, tax matters, employment matters and antitrust matters. No assurances can be given that such proceedings and claims will not adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
New laws or regulations or changes in existing laws or regulations could adversely affect our financial performance.
We and the automotive industry are subject to a variety of federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations, including those related to health, safety and environmental matters. Governmental regulations also affect taxes and levies, capital markets, healthcare costs, energy usage, data privacy, international trade and immigration and other labor issues, all of which may have a direct or indirect effect on our business and the businesses of our customers and suppliers. We cannot predict the substance or impact of pending or future legislation or regulations, or the application thereof. The introduction of new laws or regulations or changes in existing laws or regulations, or the interpretation thereof, could increase the costs of doing business for us or our customers or suppliers or restrict our actions and adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
We are subject to regulation of our international operations that could adversely affect our financial performance.
We are subject to many laws governing our international operations, such as those that pertain to data privacy, prohibit improper payments to government officials and restrict where we can do business and what information or products we can supply to or purchase from certain countries or third parties, including but not limited to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the U.S. Export Administration Act. Violations of these laws, which are complex, may conflict with laws of other jurisdictions and often are difficult to interpret and apply, could result in significant fines, criminal penalties or sanctions that could adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
We are required to comply with environmental laws and regulations that could cause us to incur significant costs.
Our manufacturing facilities are subject to numerous laws and regulations designed to protect the environment, and we expect that additional requirements with respect to environmental matters will be imposed on us and our customers in the future. Material future expenditures may be necessary if compliance standards change or material unknown conditions that require remediation are discovered. Environmental laws could also restrict our ability to expand our facilities or could require us to acquire costly equipment or to incur other significant expenses in connection with our business. If we fail to comply with present and future environmental laws and regulations, we could be subject to future liabilities, which could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Developments or assertions by or against us relating to intellectual property rights could adversely affect our financial performance.
We own significant intellectual property, including a large number of patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets, and we are involved in numerous licensing arrangements. Our intellectual property plays an important role in maintaining our competitive position in a number of the markets that we serve. Developments or assertions by or against us relating to intellectual property rights could adversely affect our financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
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Changes in U.S. administrative policy, including changes to existing trade agreements and any resulting changes in international relations, could adversely affect our financial performance.
As a result of changes to U.S. administrative policy, among other possible changes, there may be (i) changes in policies pertaining to the environment; (ii) changes to existing trade agreements; (iii) greater restrictions on free trade generally; and (iv) significant increases in customs duties and tariffs on goods imported into the United States. The United States, Mexico and Canada signed a new trade agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement ("USMCA"), which serves as the successor agreement to the North American Free Trade Agreement ("NAFTA"). The USMCA became effective on July 1, 2020. There can be no assurance that the ongoing transition from NAFTA to USMCA will not adversely affect our business. The United States still maintains significant tariffs on most imports from China. It remains unclear what specific actions the new U.S. administration may take to resolve trade-related issues with China and other countries. A trade war, other governmental action related to tariffs or international trade agreements, changes in U.S. social, political, regulatory and economic conditions or in laws and policies governing foreign trade, manufacturing, development and investment in the territories and countries where we currently manufacture and sell products or any resulting negative sentiments towards the United States could adversely affect our business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows.
Changes in the United Kingdom's economic and other relationships with the European Union could adversely affect us.
In December 2020, the United Kingdom finalized a free trade agreement with the European Union, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement ("TCA"), to manage future bilateral trade and formally completed its withdrawal from the European Union. Thus, effective January 1, 2021, trade between the European Union and the United Kingdom is now subject to border controls and imported goods must meet bilateral content rules as set out in the TCA to qualify for duty-free trade.
We have significant operations in both the European Union and the United Kingdom. In 2020, our European Union (excluding the United Kingdom) and United Kingdom sales totaled $4.5 billion and $0.6 billion, respectively. Our supply chain and that of our customers are highly integrated across the European Union and the United Kingdom, and we are highly dependent on the free flow of goods in those regions. We have implemented procedures to manage our supply chains with the new border controls and to comply with the TCA’s bilateral content rules. However, there can be no assurance that the new border controls and content rules will not adversely impact our competitive position, supplier and customer relationships and financial performance.
ITEM 1B – UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None.
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ITEM 2 – PROPERTIES
As of December 31, 2020, our operations were conducted through 251 facilities, some of which are used for multiple purposes, including 78 just-in-time manufacturing facilities, 127 dedicated component manufacturing facilities, 5 sequencing and distribution sites, 32 administrative/technical support facilities and 9 advanced technology centers, in 38 countries. Our corporate headquarters is located in Southfield, Michigan.
Seating
ArgentinaCzech RepublicIndonesiaMexico (continued)RomaniaUnited Kingdom
Escobar, BAKolinCikarangNuevo CasasIasiAlfreton
Ferreyra, CBAStribroItalyGrandes, CHRussiaCoventry
BelgiumDominican RepublicCaivano, NAQueretaro, QEKalugaRedditch
BrusselsSanto DomingoCassino, FRPanzacola, TLNizhny NovgorodSunderland
BrazilFranceGrugliasco, TOPiedras Negras, COSlovak RepublicUnited States
BetimFeigniesMelfi, PZRamos Arizpe, COPresovColumbia City, IN
CaçapavaHerblayPozzo d’Adda, MISaltillo, COVoderadyDetroit, MI
JoinvilleJarneyMacedoniaSan Felipe, GUSouth AfricaDuncan, SC
PernambucoRoche La MoliereTetovoSan Luis Potosi, SLEast LondonFarwell, MI
São BernardoGermanyMalaysiaSilao, GOPort ElizabethFlint, MI
CanadaBesigheimBehrang StesenToluca, MXSouth KoreaGrand Prairie, TX
Ajax, ONBremenMexicoVilla Ahumada, CHGyeongjuGrand Rapids, MI
ChinaEisenachArteaga, CAMoldovaSpainHammond, IN
BeijingGinsheim-Ascension, CHUngheniBarcelonaHebron, OH
BoadingGustavsburgCuautlancingo, PUMoroccoBurgosKenansville, NC
ChangshuRietbergFresnillo, ZAKenitraEpilaLouisville, KY
ChongqingHungaryHermosillo, SOTangierMartorellMontgomery, AL
HangzhouGyörHuamantla, TLPolandO PorrinoMorristown, TN
LiuzhouSzolnokJuarez, CHBierunValenciaPine Grove, PA
PinghuIndiaLeon, GTJaroslawVigoRoscommon, MI
Rui’anChennaiMeoqui, CHLegnicaVitoriaSelma, AL
ShanghaiHaridwarMexico City, DFTychyThailandTuscaloosa, AL
ShenyangNasikMonclova, COPortugalMueang Nakhon Wentzville, MO
WuhanPuneNaucalpan deMangualdeRatchasimaVietnam
WuhuTijara Juarez, MXValencaRayongHai Phong City
Yangzhou
E-Systems
ArgentinaChina (continued)GermanyMexicoPolandSpain
Pacheco, BAChongqingBersenbrueckApodaca, NLMielecAlmussafes
San Francisco,KunShan HuaQiaoKronachChihuahua, CHRomaniaValls
CBAShanghaiPuttlingenJuarez, CHCampulungThailand
BrazilSuiNingWismarTorreon, CAPitestiKabin Buri
CamanducaiaTianJinHondurasMoroccoSerbiaUnited States
NavegantesWuhanNacoKenitraNovi SadBellevue, WA
ChinaYangzhouHungarySalé Al-JadidaSouth AfricaPlymouth, IN
ChangchunCzech RepublicGödöllöTangierPort ElizabethTraverse City, MI
VyskovJapanPhilippines
TokyoLapu-Lapu City
Administrative/Technical
BelgiumFranceIndiaJapan (continued)PhilippinesUnited Kingdom
LeuvenVélizy-PuneTokyoLapu-Lapu CityCoventry
BrazilVillacoublayIsraelYokohamaSingaporeUnited States
São PauloGermanyTel AvivMalaysiaSouth KoreaAnn Arbor, MI
ChinaCologneItalyKlangSeoulEl Paso, TX
ShanghaiKorntal-Grugliasco, TOMexicoSpainRochester Hills, MI
Czech RepublicMünchingenJapanJuarez, CHVallsSouthfield, MI
BrnoRemscheidHiroshimaNetherlandsSwedenSparta, MI
PilsenSchwaig-OberdingKariyaHilversumGothenburgWilmington, NC
SindelfingenNagoyaThailand
WolfsburgBangkok

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ITEM 3 – LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
Legal and Environmental Matters
We are involved from time to time in various legal proceedings and claims, including, without limitation, commercial or contractual disputes, product liability claims and environmental and other matters. For a description of risks related to various legal proceedings and claims, see Item 1A, "Risk Factors." For a description of our outstanding material legal proceedings, see Note 14, "Commitments and Contingencies," to the consolidated financial statements included in this Report.
ITEM 4 – MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
None.
SUPPLEMENTARY ITEM – INFORMATION ABOUT OUR EXECUTIVE OFFICERS
The following table sets forth the names, ages and positions of our executive officers. Executive officers are appointed annually by our Board of Directors and serve at the pleasure of our Board.
NameAgePosition
Shari L. Burgess62Vice President and Treasurer
Jason M. Cardew50Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Alicia J. Davis50Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Investor Relations
Thomas A. DiDonato62Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Amy A. Doyle53Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer
Carl A. Esposito53Senior Vice President and President, E-Systems
Harry A. Kemp45Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Frank C. Orsini48Executive Vice President and President, Seating
Raymond E. Scott55President and Chief Executive Officer
Set forth below is a description of the business experience of each of our executive officers.
Shari L. BurgessMs. Burgess is the Company’s Vice President and Treasurer, a position she has held since August 2002. Ms. Burgess previously served as the Company’s Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Diversity Officer from January 2014 to May 2018 and in various financial roles since joining the Company in 1992. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Burgess served as the corporate controller for Victor International Corporation and as an audit manager for Ernst & Young LLP.
Jason M. CardewMr. Cardew is the Company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, a position he has held since November 2019. Mr. Cardew most recently served as the Company's Vice President, Finance - Seating and E-Systems since September 2018. Prior to that, he served as the Company's Vice President, Finance - Seating since April 2012. Previously, he served as the Company's Vice President and Interim Chief Financial Officer since September 2011, Vice President, Finance - Financial Planning and Analysis since April 2010, Vice President, Finance - Seating since 2008, Vice President - Finance since 2003 and in various financial roles since joining the Company in 1992.
Alicia J. DavisMs. Davis is the Company's Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Investor Relations, a position she has held since September 2019. Ms. Davis most recently served as the Company's Vice President, Investor Relations, since joining the Company in August 2018. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Davis was on the faculty at the University of Michigan Law School since June 2004, where she most recently served as an unpaid, tenured professor and the Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives. Previous to that, she was a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis since June 2002, a Vice President at Raymond James & Associates since August 1999 and an Investment Banking Analyst at Goldman Sachs from August 1993 to June 1995.
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Thomas A. DiDonatoMr. DiDonato is the Company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, a position he has held since January 2019. Mr. DiDonato most recently served as the Company's Senior Vice President, Human Resources since joining the Company in April 2012. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. DiDonato served as Executive Vice President, Human Resources for American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. since 2005, Chief People Officer for H.J. Heinz from April 2004 to July 2005 and Senior Vice President, Human Resources for Heinz North America from July 2001 to April 2004. Earlier experiences include directing human resources for a $14 billion division of Merck & Co. and heading worldwide staffing for Pepsico. Mr. DiDonato began his career at General Foods Corporation and moved up to manage the personnel at its largest manufacturing facility.
Amy A. DoyleMs. Doyle is the Company’s Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer, a position she has held since May 2017. Ms. Doyle most recently served as the Company’s Assistant Corporate Controller since September 2006. Previously, she served in positions of increasing responsibility at the Company, including Director, Financial Reporting since 2003 and Manager, Financial Reporting since joining the Company in 1999. Prior to joining the Company, Ms. Doyle served as an audit manager for Arthur Andersen LLP.
Carl A. EspositoMr. Esposito is the Company’s Senior Vice President and President, E-Systems, a position he has held since joining the Company in September 2019. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Esposito served at Honeywell Aerospace, a division of Honeywell International Inc., as President of the Electronic Solutions Strategic Business Unit from January 2017 to July 2019 and at Honeywell International Inc. as Vice President of Aerospace Marketing, Product Management and Strategy since December 2010, Vice President of Avionics Systems Marketing and Product Management since December 2009, Vice President of Global Business Aviation Sales and EMEAI Customer Support since January 2007 and in various other roles since 1990.
Harry A. Kemp
Mr. Kemp is the Company's Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, a position he has held since August 2019. In this role, Mr. Kemp has responsibility for the Company’s Compliance and Environmental, Social and Governance activities. Mr. Kemp most recently served as the Company's Vice President and Corporate Counsel since January 2019. Previously, he served as the Company's Vice President and Divisional Counsel - Seating since September 2016 and Vice President and Divisional Counsel - E-Systems since joining the Company in December 2009. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Kemp was a partner at Bodman PLC since 2003 and served as an engagement manager at McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm, since 2000.
Frank C. OrsiniMr. Orsini is the Company’s Executive Vice President and President, Seating, a position he has held since March 2018. Mr. Orsini most recently served as the Company’s Senior Vice President and President, E-Systems since September 2012. Prior to that, he served as the Company's Vice President and Interim President, E-Systems since October 2011. Previously, he served as the Company’s Vice President, Operations, E-Systems since 2009, Vice President, Sales, Program Management & Manufacturing, E-Systems since 2008, Vice President, North America Seating Operations since 2005 and in various other management positions for the Company since joining the Company in 1994.
Raymond E. ScottMr. Scott is the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer, a position he has held since March 2018. Mr. Scott most recently served as the Company’s Executive Vice President and President, Seating since November 2011. Prior to that, he served as the Company’s Senior Vice President and President, E-Systems since February 2008. Previously, he served as the Company’s Senior Vice President and President, North American Seat Systems Group since August 2006, Senior Vice President and President, North American Customer Group since June 2005, President, European Customer Focused Division since June 2004 and President, General Motors Division since November 2000.
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PART II
ITEM 5 – MARKET FOR THE COMPANY’S COMMON EQUITY,
RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information
Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "LEA."
Dividends
We currently expect to pay quarterly cash dividends in the future, although such payments are at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will depend upon our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements, alternative uses of capital and other factors that our Board of Directors may consider at its discretion. See Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Forward-Looking Statements," and Note 12, "Capital Stock, Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss and Equity," to the consolidated financial statements included in this Report.
Holders of Common Stock
The Transfer Agent and Registrar for our common stock is Computershare Trust Company, N.A., located in Canton, Massachusetts. On January 31, 2021, there were 251 registered holders of record of our common stock.
For certain information regarding our equity compensation plans, see Part III — Item 12, "Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters — Equity Compensation Plan Information."
Common Stock Share Repurchase Program
Since the first quarter of 2011, our Board of Directors has authorized $6.1 billion in share repurchases under our common stock share repurchase program. As of December 31, 2020, we have a remaining repurchase authorization of $1.4 billion, which will expire on December 31, 2022. In March 2020, as a proactive measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we suspended share repurchases under our share repurchase program.
We may implement our share repurchases through a variety of methods, including, but not limited to, open market purchases, accelerated stock repurchase programs and structured repurchase transactions. The extent to which we will repurchase our outstanding common stock and the timing of such repurchases will depend upon our financial condition, prevailing market conditions, alternative uses of capital and other factors. See Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Forward-Looking Statements," and Note 12, "Capital Stock, Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss and Equity," to the consolidated financial statements included in this Report.
As of December 31, 2020, we have paid $4.7 billion in aggregate for repurchases of our outstanding common stock, at an average price of $90.07 per share, excluding commissions and related fees, since the first quarter of 2011.
A summary of the shares of our common stock repurchased during the fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2020, is shown below:
PeriodTotal Number
of Shares
Purchased
Average
Price Paid
per Share
Total Number of Shares
Purchased as Part of
Publicly Announced 
Plans or Programs
Approximate Dollar
Value of Shares that
May Yet be Purchased
Under the Program
(in millions)
October 4, 2020 through October 31, 2020— $— — $1,430.0 
November 1, 2020 through November 28, 2020— 1,430.0 
November 29, 2020 through December 31, 2020— — — 1,430.0 
Total$— $1,430.0 
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Performance Graph
The following graph compares the cumulative total stockholder return from December 31, 2015 through December 31, 2020, for our common stock, the S&P 500 Index and a peer group(1) of companies that we have selected for purposes of this comparison. We have assumed that dividends have been reinvested, and the returns of each company in the S&P 500 Index and the peer group have been weighted to reflect relative stock market capitalization. The graph below assumes that $100 was invested on December 31, 2015, in each of our common stock, the stocks comprising the S&P 500 Index and the stocks comprising the peer group.
https://cdn.kscope.io/6a888466832f702406ece380ccc8145e-lear-20201231_g2.jpg
December 31,
2015
December 31,
2016
December 31,
2017
December 31,
2018
December 31,
2019
December 31,
2020
Lear Corporation$100.00 $108.88 $147.22 $104.10 $119.05 $139.18 
S&P 500$100.00 $111.95 $136.38 $130.39 $171.44 $174.68 
Current Peer Group (1)
$100.00 $95.59 $125.89 $75.43 $92.92 $109.54 
Previous Peer Group (1)
$100.00 $100.31 $135.64 $91.79 $123.23 $155.37 
(1)We do not believe that there is a single published industry or line of business index that is appropriate for comparing stockholder returns. As a result, we have selected a peer group comprised of representative independent automotive suppliers whose common stock is publicly traded. Our current peer group, referenced in the graph above, consists of Adient plc, American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., Aptiv PLC, Autoliv, Inc., BorgWarner Inc., Continental AG, Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc., Dana Incorporated, Faurecia, Gentex Corporation, Gentherm Incorporated, Magna International, Inc., Tenneco Inc., Valeo and Visteon Corporation, which we believe provides a more meaningful comparison of stock performance than our previous peer group. Our previous peer group, referenced in the graph above, consisted of Adient plc, American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., Aptiv PLC, BorgWarner Inc., Dana Incorporated, Gentex Corporation, Magna International, Inc., Superior Industries International, Inc., Tenneco Inc. and Visteon Corporation.
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ITEM 6 – SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The following statement of operations, statement of cash flows and balance sheet data were derived from our consolidated financial statements. Our consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016, have been audited by Ernst & Young LLP. The selected financial data below should be read in conjunction with Item 7, "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," and our consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto included in this Report.
For the year ended December 31,
2020 (1)
2019 (2)
2018 (3)
2017 (4)
2016 (5)
Income Statement: (in millions) (6)
Net sales$17,045.5 $19,810.3 $21,148.5 $20,467.0 $18,557.6 
Gross profit1,108.9 1,737.5 2,318.3 2,291.1 2,122.6 
Selling, general and administrative expenses588.9 605.0 612.8 635.2 608.2 
Amortization of intangible assets65.9 62.3 51.4 47.6 53.0 
Interest expense99.6 92.0 84.1 85.7 82.5 
Other (income) expense, net (7)
55.2 24.6 31.6 (4.1)40.6 
Consolidated income before provision for income taxes and equity in net income of affiliates299.3 953.6 1,538.4 1,526.7 1,338.3 
Provision for income taxes93.9 146.1 311.9 197.5 370.2 
Equity in net income of affiliates(28.5)(23.2)(20.2)(51.7)(72.4)
Consolidated net income 233.9 830.7 1,246.7 1,380.9 1,040.5 
Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests75.4 77.1 96.9 67.5 65.4 
Net income attributable to Lear$158.5 $753.6 $1,149.8 $1,313.4 $975.1 
For the year ended December 31,
2020 (1)
2019 (2)
2018 (3)
2017 (4)
2016 (5)
Income Statement Data:
Basic net income per share available to Lear common stockholders$2.63 $12.80 $17.35 $18.79 $13.48 
Diluted net income per share available to Lear common stockholders$2.62 $12.75 $17.22 $18.59 $13.33 
Weighted average shares outstanding –
basic
60,254,380 61,697,192 65,672,164 68,542,563 72,345,436 
Weighted average shares outstanding – diluted60,426,962 61,923,528 66,161,816 69,277,981 73,124,949 
Dividends per share$1.02 $3.00 $2.80 $2.00 $1.20 
Statement of Cash Flows Data: (in millions)
Cash flows from operating activities$663.1 $1,284.3 $1,779.8 $1,783.1 $1,619.3 
Cash flows from investing activities(468.8)(922.4)(693.5)(868.6)(637.1)
Cash flows from financing activities(411.7)(361.9)(1,030.5)(742.0)(872.9)
Capital expenditures452.3 603.9 677.0 594.5 528.3 
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As of or for the year ended December 31,20202019201820172016
Balance Sheet Data: (in millions)
Current assets$6,776.7 $6,406.7 $6,280.5 $6,613.0 $5,649.3 
Total assets13,198.6 12,680.7 11,600.7 11,945.9 9,900.6 
Current liabilities5,076.7 4,666.2 4,500.6 4,854.3 4,182.3 
Long-term debt2,300.3 2,293.7 1,941.0 1,951.5 1,898.0 
Equity4,614.9 4,501.1 4,360.6 4,292.6 3,192.9 
Other Data (unaudited):
Employees at year end174,600164,100 169,000 165,000 148,400 
North American content per vehicle (8)
$509 $451 $452 $456 $422 
North American vehicle production (in millions) (9)
13.0 16.3 17.0 17.1 17.8 
European content per vehicle (10)
$370 $359 $385 $354 $316 
European vehicle production (in millions) (11)
16.9 21.7 22.6 23.0 22.3 
(1)2020 results include $149.9 million of restructuring and related manufacturing inefficiency charges (including $23.3 million of asset impairment charges), $21.1 million loss on the extinguishment of debt, $4.0 million impairment of an investment, $33.8 million of tax benefits related to restructuring charges and various other items, a $15.5 million tax benefit related to the U.S. deferred tax effect of our foreign branches and $28.9 million of tax expense related to a net increase in valuation allowances on deferred tax assets.
(2)2019 results include $189.7 million of restructuring and related manufacturing inefficiency charges (including $9.5 million of asset impairment charges), $1.6 million of transaction costs, $1.1 million loss related to litigation, $1.6 million related to a favorable indirect tax ruling in a foreign jurisdiction, $10.6 million loss on the extinguishment of debt, $5.0 million impairment of an investment, $4.0 million gain related to the deconsolidation of an affiliate, $1.6 million gain related to an affiliate and $122 million of net tax benefits related to an increase in research and development tax credits for the years 2013 through 2018, changes in the tax status of certain affiliates, the U.S. tax impact of the foreign tax credit regulations issued in the fourth quarter of 2019, net reductions in tax reserves, share-based compensation, various tax-related items, including the release of valuation allowances, tax rate changes and audit adjustments, restructuring charges and various other special items partially offset by the establishment of valuation allowances on the deferred tax assets of foreign subsidiaries.
(3)2018 results include $104.3 million of restructuring and related manufacturing inefficiency charges (including $4.7 million of fixed asset impairment charges), $0.5 million of transaction costs, $5.4 million pension settlement charge, $17.1 million gain related to litigation, $15.8 million related to a favorable indirect tax ruling in a foreign jurisdiction, $10.0 million gain related to obtaining control of an affiliate, $8.9 million loss related to affiliates and $49.1 million of net tax benefits related to the reversal of valuation allowances on the deferred tax assets of certain foreign subsidiaries, share-based compensation, a tax rate change in a foreign subsidiary, an adjustment to the 2017 provisional income tax expense, restructuring charges and various other items partially offset by an increase in foreign withholding tax on certain undistributed foreign earnings and the establishment of valuation allowances on the deferred tax assets of certain foreign subsidiaries and various other items.
(4)2017 results include $74.5 million of restructuring and related manufacturing inefficiency charges (including $1.3 million of fixed asset impairment charges), $3.8 million of transaction costs, $5.0 million charge due to an acquisition-related inventory fair value adjustment, $15.4 million litigation charge, $21.2 million loss on the extinguishment of debt, $54.2 million gain related to obtaining control of an affiliate and $214.8 million of net tax benefits related to U.S. corporate tax reform and its associated transition tax, foreign tax credits on repatriated earnings, the reversal of valuation allowances on the deferred tax assets of certain foreign subsidiaries, share-based compensation, an incentive tax credit in a foreign subsidiary, the redemption of senior notes due 2023, restructuring charges and various other items.
(5)2016 results include $69.6 million of restructuring and related manufacturing inefficiency charges (including $4.7 million of fixed asset impairment charges), $34.2 million non-cash pension settlement charge, $1.3 million of transaction costs, $30.3 million gain related to obtaining control of an affiliate and $23.6 million of net tax benefits related to restructuring charges, a non-cash pension settlement charge and various other items.
(6)The income statement for 2016 has been restated to reflect a non-cash pension settlement charge as other (income) expense, net in conjunction with the 2018 adoption of Accounting Standards Update 2017-07, "Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost." As a result, gross profit
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increased $20.5 million, selling, general and administrative expenses decreased $13.7 million, and other expense, net increased $34.2 million.
(7)Includes non-income related taxes, foreign exchange gains and losses, gains and losses related to certain derivative instruments and hedging activities, losses on the extinguishment of debt, gains and losses on the disposal of fixed assets, gains and losses on the consolidation and deconsolidation of affiliates, the non-service cost components of net periodic benefit cost and other miscellaneous income and expense.
(8)"North American content per vehicle" is our net sales in North America divided by total North American vehicle production. Content per vehicle data excludes business conducted through non-consolidated joint ventures. Content per vehicle data for 2019 has been updated to reflect actual production levels.
(9)"North American vehicle production" includes car and light truck production in the United States, Canada and Mexico based on IHS Markit. Production data for 2019 has been updated to reflect actual production levels.
(10)"European content per vehicle" is our net sales in Europe and Africa divided by total European and African vehicle production. Content per vehicle data excludes business conducted through non-consolidated joint ventures. Content per vehicle data for 2019 has been updated to reflect actual production levels.
(11)"European vehicle production" includes car and light truck production with gross vehicle weights up to 3.5 tons in Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom based on IHS Markit. Production data for 2019 has been updated to reflect actual production levels.
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ITEM 7 – MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Executive Overview
We are a leading Tier 1 vertically integrated supplier to the global automotive industry. We supply seating, electrical distribution and connection systems, electronic systems, and software and connected services, to all of the world's major automotive manufacturers.
Built on a foundation and strong culture of innovation, operational excellence, and engineering and program management capabilities, we use our product, design and technological expertise, global reach and competitive manufacturing footprint to achieve our financial goals and objectives of continuing to deliver profitable growth (balancing risks and returns), investing in innovation to drive business growth and profitability, maintaining a strong balance sheet with investment grade credit metrics and consistently returning excess cash to our stockholders.
Our business is organized under two reporting segments: Seating and E-Systems. Each of these segments has a varied product and technology range across a number of component categories.
Our Seating business consists of the design, development, engineering and manufacture of complete seat systems, seat subsystems and key seat components. Our capabilities in operations and supply chain management enable synchronized (just-in-time) assembly and delivery of high volumes of complex complete seat systems to our customers. Included in our complete seat system and subsystem solutions are advanced comfort, wellness, safety and sound offerings, as well as configurable seating product technologies, all of which are compatible with traditional internal combustion engine ("ICE") architectures and the full range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric architectures. Our advanced comfort, wellness, safety and sound offerings are facilitated by our system, component and integration capabilities, together with our in-house electronics, sensor, software and algorithm competencies. As the most vertically integrated global seat supplier, our key seat component product offerings include seat trim covers, surface materials such as leather and fabric, seat mechanisms, seat foam and headrests.
Our E-Systems business consists of the design, development, engineering and manufacture of complete electrical distribution and connection systems, electronic systems, and software and connected services. The unique combination of these capabilities enables us to provide our customers with customizable solutions with optimized designs at a competitive cost. Electrical distribution and connection systems utilize low voltage, high voltage, high speed data cables and flat wiring to connect networks and electrical signals and manage electrical power within the vehicle for all types of powertrains – from traditional ICE architectures to the full range of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric architectures. Key components in our electrical distribution portfolio include wire harnesses, terminals and connectors, and engineered components for both ICE and electrified vehicle architectures that require management of higher voltage and power. Electronic systems facilitate signal, data and power management within the vehicle and include the associated software required to facilitate these functions. Key components in our electronic systems portfolio include body domain control modules and products specific to electrification and connectivity trends. Electrification products include on-board battery chargers, power conversion modules, high voltage battery management systems and high voltage power distribution systems. Connectivity products include gateway modules and communication modules to manage both wired and wireless networks and data in vehicles. In addition to electronic modules, we offer software that includes cybersecurity, advanced vehicle positioning for automated and autonomous driving applications and full capabilities in both dedicated short-range communication and cellular protocols for vehicle connectivity. Our software and connected services offerings include embedded control software and cloud and mobile device-based software and services. Our customers traditionally have sourced our electronic hardware together with the software that we embed in it, but such software may also be sourced by our customers independently of the hardware. Our connected services software solutions include award-winning Xevo Market, an in-vehicle commerce and service platform that connects customers with their favorite brands and services by delivering highly-contextual sales offers through vehicle touch screens and vehicle-branded mobile applications.
We serve all of the world's major automotive manufacturers across both our Seating and E-Systems businesses, and we have automotive content on more than 400 vehicle nameplates worldwide. It is common to have both seating and electrical content on the same and multiple vehicle platforms with a single customer. Further, with the seat becoming a more dynamic and integrated system requiring increased levels of electrical and electronic integration, the combined capabilities of our Seating and E-Systems businesses are a competitive advantage. Our businesses benefit globally from leveraging common operating standards and disciplines, including world-class product development and manufacturing processes, as well as common customer support and regional infrastructures, all of which contribute to our reputation for operational excellence. Our core capabilities are shared across component categories and include high-precision manufacturing and assembly with short lead times, management of complex supply chains, global engineering and program management skills, the agility to establish and/or transfer production between facilities quickly and a unique customer-focused culture. Our businesses utilize proprietary, industry-specific processes and standards, leverage common low-cost engineering centers and share centralized operating support functions, such as logistics, supply chain management, quality and health and safety, as well as all major administrative functions.
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COVID-19 Pandemic
Our sales are driven by the number of vehicles produced by the automotive manufacturers, which is ultimately dependent on consumer demand for automotive vehicles, and our content per vehicle. Unprecedented industry disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted operations in every region of the world. Global automotive industry production volumes in 2020, as compared to 2019, are shown below (in thousands of units):
2020 (1)
2019 (1) (2)
% Change
North America13,027.3 16,314.4 (20 %)
Europe and Africa16,873.9 21,703.8 (22 %)
Asia39,257.7 44,651.8 (12 %)
South America2,163.5 3,128.5 (31 %)
Other1,323.5 1,417.0 (7 %)
Global light vehicle production72,645.9 87,215.5 (17 %)
(1)Production data based on IHS Markit.
(2)Production data for 2019 has been updated from our 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K to reflect actual production levels.
Our operations in China were impacted first, with most plants in the country closed for several weeks during the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter, all of our facilities in China were operating and capacity utilization was increasing. Beginning in mid-March, our operations in Europe, North America, South America and Asia (outside of China) were impacted, with virtually all of our plants closed at the end of the first quarter and closures continuing throughout April and, in most cases, a portion of May. Although manufacturing resumed gradually, most of our plants in our major markets were operating at pre-COVID-19 levels at the end of the second quarter and throughout the second half of 2020. We experienced significant inefficiencies and incremental costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of the year, which diminished toward the end of the second quarter. In the second half of 2020, we experienced less significant but ongoing costs related to personal protective equipment, employee transportation and higher labor costs reflecting an increase in absenteeism.
Although industry production has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, partially due to our customers' need to replenish inventory levels, it is likely that, for a period of time, the global automotive industry will experience lower demand for new vehicles as a result of the global economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as new vehicle sales are typically correlated with positive consumer confidence and low unemployment. We are also continuing to monitor our supply base, as well as related production constraints imposed by various governments, to minimize the impact on our manufacturing operations. Further, a resurgence of the virus with corresponding shelter-in-place orders impacting industry production in 2021 could also impact our financial results.
Liquidity actions
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we took a number of proactive steps to preserve cash and maximize our financial flexibility, including the reduction of discretionary spending, the implementation of salary reductions and deferrals, the reduction of capital expenditures, the aggressive management of working capital and the suspension of share repurchases and quarterly dividends. We are also continuing to seek opportunities offered under government incentive programs throughout the world. In March 2020, we borrowed $1.0 billion under our revolving credit facility, which was repaid in full in September 2020. With $1.3 billion of cash on hand at the end of the 2020, $1.75 billion of availability under our revolving credit facility and no near-term debt maturities, we believe that we are well positioned to withstand the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Employee protection
Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees. We have restricted business travel, established protocols for visitors entering our facilities, enhanced disinfection and cleaning procedures at our facilities and promoted social distancing. We have created a Safe Work Playbook, which provides a standardized approach for each of our facilities to create a consistent and safe work environment and offers insights into navigating operational challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The playbook is publicly available and includes health and safety information related to plant operating protocols; employee education, training and feedback; facility assessments; and phased reopening of engineering and administrative centers.
For risks related to the COVID-19 pandemic, see Part I — Item 1A, "Risk Factors — Pandemics or disease outbreaks, such as COVID-19, have disrupted, and may continue to disrupt, our business, which could adversely affect our financial performance."
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Industry Overview
Automotive sales and production can be affected by the age of the vehicle fleet and related scrappage rates, labor relations issues, fuel prices, regulatory requirements, government initiatives, trade agreements, the availability and cost of credit, the availability of critical components needed to complete the production of vehicles, restructuring actions of our customers and suppliers, facility closures, changing consumer attitudes toward vehicle ownership and usage and other factors. Our operating results are also significantly impacted by the overall commercial success of the vehicle platforms for which we supply particular products, as well as the profitability of the products that we supply for these platforms. The loss of business with respect to any vehicle model for which we are a significant supplier, or a decrease in the production levels of any such models, could adversely affect our operating results. In addition, larger cars and light trucks, as well as vehicle platforms that offer more features and functionality, such as luxury, sport utility and crossover vehicles, typically have more content and, therefore, tend to have a more significant impact on our operating results.
Our percentage of consolidated net sales by region in 2020 and 2019 is shown below:
20202019
North America39 %37 %
Europe and Africa37 %39 %
Asia21 %20 %
South America%%
Total100 %100 %
Our ability to reduce the risks inherent in certain concentrations of business, and thereby maintain our financial performance in the future, will depend, in part, on our ability to continue to diversify our sales on a customer, product, platform and geographic basis to reflect the market overall.
Key trends affecting our business include electrification, connectivity and autonomy. In addition, our business is affected by the consolidation of automotive manufacturers, as well as new non-traditional entrants to the automotive industry, the collaboration of automotive manufacturers on commonized vehicle platforms, increasing demand for luxury and performance features, including increasing levels of electrical and electronic content, and China’s emergence as the largest automotive market in the world. In particular, we believe that we have a significant opportunity for growth in China with both global and domestic automotive manufacturers. Another key trend benefiting our business is the shift toward crossover and sport utility vehicles, where our content can be significantly higher than our average content per vehicle.
In addition, we believe that demand for energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions, as well as the demand for enhanced communications and safety, are driving the technology trends of electrification, connectivity and autonomy. We are focused on those trends which provide us with significant business opportunities where we have competitive differentiation and innovative technology. While both of our businesses are powertrain agnostic, we are well positioned to capitalize on these technology trends, each of which is likely to be at the forefront of our industry for the foreseeable future in light of the long-term convergence toward electric, connected and autonomous vehicles.
Our sales and marketing approach addresses these trends, while our strategy focuses on the major imperatives for success as an automotive supplier: quality, service, cost and efficiency, and innovation and technology. We have expanded key component and software capabilities through organic investment and acquisitions to ensure a full complement of the best solutions for our customers. We have restructured, and continue to align, our manufacturing and engineering footprint to attain a leading competitive cost position globally. We have established or expanded activities in new and growing markets, especially China, in support of our customers’ growth initiatives and in pursuit of opportunities with new customers. These initiatives have helped us achieve our financial goals overall, as well as a more balanced regional, customer and vehicle segment diversification in our business.
For further information related to these trends and our strategy, see Part 1 — Item 1, "Business — Industry and Strategy."
Our customers typically require us to reduce our prices over the life of a vehicle model and, at the same time, assume significant responsibility for the design, development and engineering of our products. Our financial performance is largely dependent on our ability to achieve product cost reductions through product design enhancement and supply chain management, as well as manufacturing efficiencies and restructuring actions. We also seek to enhance our financial performance by investing in product development, design capabilities and new product initiatives that respond to the needs of our customers and consumers. We continually evaluate operational and strategic alternatives to improve our business structure and align our business with the changing needs of our customers and major industry trends affecting our business.
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Our material cost as a percentage of net sales was 64.3% in 2020, as compared to 65.0% in 2019 and 64.4% in 2018. Raw material, energy and commodity costs can be volatile, reflecting changes in supply and demand and global trade and tariff policies. We have developed and implemented strategies to mitigate the impact of higher raw material, energy and commodity costs, such as the selective in-sourcing of components, the continued consolidation of our supply base, longer-term purchase commitments and the selective expansion of low-cost country sourcing and engineering, as well as value engineering and product benchmarking. However, these strategies, together with commercial negotiations with our customers and suppliers, typically offset only a portion of the adverse impact. Certain of these strategies also may limit our opportunities in a declining commodity environment. In addition, the availability of raw materials, commodities and product components fluctuates from time to time due to factors outside of our control. If these costs increase or availability is restricted, it could have an adverse impact on our operating results in the foreseeable future. See Part I — Item 1A, "Risk Factors — Increases in the costs and restrictions on the availability of raw materials, energy, commodities and product components could adversely affect our financial performance," and "— Forward-Looking Statements" below.