Lear to Acquire Seattle Connected Vehicle Tech Firm Xevo For $320M

Lear Corp., a Southfield, MI-based manufacturer of car seats, automotive electrical systems, and other products, announced Tuesday it has agreed to acquire Xevo, a Seattle-based developer of connected vehicle software, for $320 million.

Lear (NYSE: LEA) has been in business for over a century, and says its products are used by nearly every major automaker. The company’s sales were $21.1 billion last year. Lear says it has about 169,000 employees across 257 locations in 39 countries.

Xevo, in turn, has developed technology that’s available today in more than 25 million vehicles. The company was founded in 2000 and has grown to more than 300 employees, who primarily work at Xevo’s offices in Seattle and Tokyo. Xevo’s Journeyware product line allows drivers and passengers to adjust a vehicle’s settings and access mobile applications via the in-car entertainment system. The company’s Xevo Market platform provides those in a vehicle equipped with the software information on nearby food, gas, and lodging alternatives, and the option to, for example, book a hotel room.

“This transaction … allows us to enhance our capabilities in software, services, and data analytics and strengthen our market position in connectivity,” Lear CEO Ray Scott says in a prepared statement.

Lear has collaborated with smaller, technology-focused businesses through its partnership with Techstars Detroit; the program is housed in the Lear Innovation Center in the city’s downtown. That tie-up is part of Lear Innovation Ventures Possibilities, a corporate investment arm led by John Absmeier, Lear’s chief technology officer. Lear is also among the corporations that have backed GreenLight Fund, which supports social entrepreneurs in Detroit.

Xevo, originally known as UIEvolution, changed its name in 2016 after acquiring Surround.io, a Seattle-based developer of smart camera software and services, for an undisclosed sum.

Trending on Xconomy