Investing in camshafts and chassis

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

So you're all revved up about buying into the auto sector.

A piece of advice: don't overlook the supplier side.

At least that's what some investment specialists are telling investors.

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The importance of the auto parts/tire industry is that this sector, according to recent analysis by investment house Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, may be the growth sector of the overall auto industry.

The supplier industry is being driven by consolidation, as larger firms snap up weaker competitors.

Moreover, more auto manufacturers are going global, which means they need components throughout the world.

You probably know these companies by name. You see them almost every day. And yet for many investors, they remain the hidden gems of the US auto industry.

Consider the companies: Delphi Automotive Systems, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Cooper Tire & Rubber, Stoneridge, Federal Mogul Corporation, Tower Automotive.

Delphi is well known for its electronic/ignition products; Goodyear and Cooper for their tires.

Stoneridge produces electrical components for vehicles.

Federal Mogul makes the little things that provide the internal guts of the modern automobile - like camshafts, chassis products, fuel system components, and heat transfer units.

Tower is a jack-of-all (car) trades, dealing with upper and lower body structures, chassis and suspension stampings, and not just for passenger cars, but sports utility vehicles, and light, medium and heavy duty trucks.

To get a quick feel for their products, click to Tower's Web site at www.towerautomotive.com. But make sure you don't have your speakers turned to full volume. You might blow out the windows in your house.

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