GKN Driveline Continues Rapid Growth in China; Developing Driveline Systems for EVs and Hybrids for the China Market
GKN Driveline continues its rapid growth in China with plans for a 12th manufacturing facility; expansion of an existing research center; and the introduction of new low-cost and electric-hybrid technologies for the China market.
At a media briefing at Auto China 2010, Stefan Magirius, president GKN China, said that the company will break ground this month for a new manufacturing facility in Changchun in northeast China. The 14,556 square-meter facility is scheduled to open in 2011 and will produce 1,000,000 constant-velocity driveshafts per year. A further 10,000 square-meter, phase-two expansion of the facility will increase annual production capacity to 3,000,000 units.
Magirius also said that GKN Driveline is rapidly developing driveline systems for hybrid and electric vehicles in China.
With more than eight years of production experience based on our ‘e-Drive’ technology, we clearly have recognized this as a key area for future growth. There are more than 200,000 hybrid electric cars equipped with GKN Driveline components already on the road in Asia.
Next year PSA Peugeot Citroën HYbrid4 technology will be launched on the Peugeot 3008 and on the Citroën DS5, incorporating GKN Driveline technology. (Earlier post.)
The HYbrid4 electric drive axle incorporates GKN Driveline’s proprietary disconnect clutch technology which facilitates on-demand all wheel-drive (AWD) use and contributes to the overall all-terrain functionality and fuel efficiency of the new PSA Peugeot Citroën system.
The HYbrid4 system is fitted with an electric motor with a maximum capacity of 27 kW and a maximum torque of 200 N·m at the rear. The GKN Driveline drive unit is capable of delivering 1500 N·m of torque to the rear wheels.
Changchun is the second new plant GKN has constructed in the last 18 months in China. In November 2009, the company opened its 11th plant in Wuhan, which produces sideshafts for vehicle manufacturers in central China. The 44,000 square-meter Wuhan facility is scheduled to produce 500,000 sideshafts this year with production increasing to one-million in 2011 and two-million by 2012.
Three years ago the company started production of transmission differentials for major vehicle manufacturers at a new wholly-owned facility in Pudong, Shanghai. Annual production capacity will be increased to more than 600,000 differentials later this year and the GKN Driveline Shanghai plant will launch its first power take-off unit (PTU) for AWD vehicles in July.
Magirius also announced the expansion of GKN’s Shanghai Technical Centre originally established in 2000.
Magirius reported that GKN also is developing a new line of low-cost driveline products for vehicles built by domestic automakers for sale in China. The new GKN Driveline systems are being designed at the Shanghai Technical Centre and built around the capabilities of local component suppliers to help meet demanding customer-cost requirements.
GKN’s “next generation” of low-cost products initially will be aimed at the country’s highly competitive small-car market segment. GKN Driveline is also introducing its next generation of high-technology driveshaft systems and components in China which will enable vehicle manufacturers to provide consumers with products that are:
- Lighter by up to two kilos per vehicle set;
- More efficient with improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions;
- Easier to park with turning-circle reductions of one metre or more; and
- Quieter, due to reductions in driveline noise, vibration and harshness.
GKN has operated in China for more than 20 years and currently employs some 4,000 people across its Driveline, Powder Metallurgy and Off Highway businesses. Current plans envisage that the Group’s China workforce will increase to around 6,000 within four years. This would make China the third largest concentration of employment within the global GKN Group.