The struggles continue for Visteon (NYSE:VC). The auto parts maker recorded a larger-than-expected fourth-quarter loss today, and wound up losing a whopping $9.65 per share for all of 2003.

Things are not quite as bad as they seem, however. The results included $756 million -- or $6.02 per share -- in writedowns and other charges related to a restructuring of its relationship with former parent Ford (NYSE:F). But the company missed its targets even taking that into consideration. "Frankly," said CFO Daniel Coulson on a conference call, "some things that we expected to get accomplished and completed in the fourth quarter just didn't get resolved." (Transcript provided by CCBN StreetEvents.)

The highlight, however, has to be the progress made in diversifying its customer base and lessening its reliance on one company. Non-Ford revenue increased 16% to over $4 billion during the year, and management expects that number to grow by 25% in 2004. The total revenue target for the year is $18.6 billion to $18.8 billion -- up about 6% -- with actual earnings of $0.50 to $1.00 per share and positive free cash flow.

Rival Delphi (NYSE:DPH) has also seen success in diversifying away from its largest customer and former parent, General Motors (NYSE:GM). One problem facing both Delphi and Visteon, though, is increased competition from smaller or more specialized parts companies.

Investors considering this sector might want to take a look at BorgWarner (NYSE:BWA), a leading supplier of powertrain parts that, among other things, boost fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The stock is up 80% since Tom Gardner selected it as a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick about a year ago.