JCI presented an innovative interiors study at the 2013 IAA in Frankfurt (Photo: JCI)

Johnson Controls is exploring strategic options for its automotive business, whose core products are seating and interior systems.

The US-based automotive supplier, which is among the top providers of seating systems to the auto industry, said a possible divestment would let it focus more directly on its other two business areas; energy storage and building efficiency.

"Our goal to be a multi-industrial company supersedes any one of our different segments," JCI CEO Alex Molinaroli said in an analyst call. He added that the company, on the one hand, wants to invest more into its energy and buildings operations, while on the other hand securing the possibility of greater resource allocations for the automotive business.

JCI executives said no decision has been made whether it will sell the automotive business outright, divest parts of it, or opt for a joint venture. "We're looking at a broad range of alternatives and options," Molinaroli said.

Bruce McDonald, executive vice president, said in the analyst call that he expected to have "some ideas" in the next couple of quarters. "We'll the have to start narrowing the options as we go forward," he said.

JCI's seating business has annual revenue in excess of 17 billion dlrs. The company sells interior systems worth around 4.5 billion dlrs a year.

The building efficiency division has annual sales of about 10.1 billion dlrs, while JCI sells 6.6 billion dlrs worth of battery systems a year.

Press and analyst reports say that a number of automotive suppliers could be interested in buying all or part of JCI's automotive assets. They include: Lear, Grupo Antolin, Magna, Faurecia and various Chinese companies.