Auto parts company and Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation BorgWarner (NYSE:BWA) turned in another fine quarter yesterday. Whatever effects Detroit's massive discounts on its cars may be having on automakers, they don't seem to have slowed BorgWarner down one bit. In continuation of a trend noted around this time last year, BorgWarner did an end run around "stagnant market conditions" in the U.S. by boosting sales to Europe and Asia. Even the increase in raw material costs didn't keep the company from growing sales and profits strongly.

The results: sales grew 16% over Q3 2003's numbers; earnings rose 22% for a total quarterly profit per diluted share of $0.79. And over the longer, year-to-date term, the company did almost as well, with sales again up 16% and earnings up in tandem.

As good as all that news was, however, it was only the beginning. The company proved even more profitable from a free cash flow perspective, growing that metric by 77% year-on-year to rake in $154 million in the first three quarters of 2004. Much of that was used to pay down long-term debt by $61 million; the rest went into the bank and swelled company coffers to $189 million. That's a luxury that free-cash-flow-negative auto parts makers such as Visteon (NYSE:VC), Delphi (NYSE:DPH), and Superior Industries (NYSE:SUP) can ill afford.

With Detroit starting to slash its production schedules, will it be possible for BorgWarner to keep its growth up and drive its debt down? Considering that BorgWarner was recently tapped to help build a new engine that will become standard at Hyundai, Mitsubishi, and DaimlerChrysler (NYSE:DCX), it seems likely that it can indeed continue to grow. It's becoming more and more a global company, and as it does, a slowdown in any one country -- let alone one city (Detroit) -- should have less and less effect on its bottom line.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.