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LucasVarity plc
IndustryAutomotive and aerospace
SuccessorTRW Inc.
HeadquartersUnited Kingdom
Key people
Victor A. Rice
ProductsBraking, diesel systems, diesel engines electrical, aftermarket and aerospace systems
Number of employees
SubsidiariesLucas CAV/Simms/RotoDiesel/Condiesel,
Lucas Automotive,
Lucas Aerospace,

LucasVarity plc was a UK automotive parts manufacturer, created by a merger of the British Lucas Industries plc, and the North American Varity Corporation in August 1996.



The Company was formed in August 1996, by the merger between Lucas Industries plc and the North American Varity Corporation.[1] Lucas employed 46,000 people compared with Varity's 9,000.[2]

At the time of the merger, LucasVarity announced plans for a £65 million pound savings programme. The areas streamlined included the treasury, communications and marketing departments, as well as divisional managers. "The merger created a unique opportunity to reassess the skills and competencies we require in the senior management team", said LucasVarity Chief Executive Victor A. Rice.[2]

Attempted relocation to the United States[edit]

In 1998 the management attempted to shift the company's head office and primary listing to the United States. The company suffered an embarrassing defeat in a shareholder vote, amid claims that its directors were looking to cash in on the much higher pay packets available in the United States. Victor Rice suffered a barrage of criticism from shareholders and the British media.[3]

Sale to TRW[edit]

Following this defeat, an offer was made by TRW, an American company specializing in satellites, defence and automotive parts, to purchase the company in an all-cash offer, which was accepted in March 1999.[4]

Subsequent history[edit]

TRW quickly sold Lucas Diesel Systems to Delphi, which was then a USA based automotive parts and systems manufacturer with a large presence in Europe, during January 2000. The diesel fuel injection equipment research, engineering and manufacturing business of Lucas, known in later years as Lucas Diesel Systems Ltd (and previously CAV Ltd) continues at all of its original worldwide sites (with the exception of those in Japan and South Carolina, USA which had closed by this time). The business name has been changed to Delphi and the business is a major part of its Powertrain Division.[5]

Lucas Aerospace (by then called TRW Aeronautical Systems) was sold to Goodrich Corporation,[6] which itself is now part of UTC Aerospace Systems.

TRW itself was later acquired by Northrop Grumman, who sold the automotive assets of Lucas, Varity and TRW's own automotive group to the Blackstone Group as TRW Automotive.[7]

In September 2004 Elta Lighting Ltd., a UK-based automotive electrical components supplier, acquired a license from TRW Automotive to use the Lucas name and logo on products in the UK and Europe. This saw the familiar green and white 'Lucas' logo return to the UK after several years absence. Now trading under the name of 'Lucas Electrical' the company concentrates on after-market component supply rather than as an original equipment supplier to manufacturers. Initially the Lucas name was used on Elta's existing product of automotive light bulbs but has been gradually expanded to cover much the same range as the original Lucas company- light units, batteries, switches and controls, ignition components, remanufactured starter motors and alternators, wiper blades and electrical accessories. Operations and manufacturing take place at several locations in the UK as well as overseas.


At formation LucasVarity was managed in seven divisions. The current ownership of these divisions is detailed below.

Division Original Buyer Year Sold Current Owner
Lucas Aerospace Goodrich Corporation 2002 Collins Aerospace (part of United Technologies Corporation)
Light Vehicle Braking System TRW 2002 ZF Friedrichshafen
Heavy Vehicle Braking System ArvinMeritor 1999 Meritor
Lucas Diesel Systems Delphi 2000 Delphi Technologies
VarityPerkins (Diesel Engines) Perkins Engines Company Limited (subsidiary of Caterpillar, Inc.) 1998 Perkins Engines Company Limited (subsidiary of Caterpillar, Inc.)
Electronic & Electrical Systems Prestolite & TRW 1998 & 2002 Prestolite & ZF Friedrichshafen
Lucas Aftermarket Operations Prestolite, ArvinMeritor, TRW, Delphi & Elta Lighting 1998, 1999, 2000 & 2006 Prestolite, Meritor, ZF Friedrichshafen, Delphi Technologies & Elta Lighting