Growing global demand for GKN Driveline’s all-wheel drive (AWD) systems and expertise has led to the expansion of the company’s production capacity in China.
GKN’s Chinese joint venture, Shanghai GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems (SDS), has added five new AWD production lines across two of its facilities in Shanghai to support growing levels of business. The investment more than doubles the company’s AWD production capacity in China, with the new lines focusing on the manufacture of power transfer units (PTU) and rear drive modules (RDM).
China’s demand for AWD systems is forecast to grow from around 1.5 million vehicles in 2016 to over 2.5 million vehicles a year in 2023.1
Peter Moelgg, Chief Executive of GKN Driveline’s AWD and eDrive division, said: “As the only AWD supplier that has designed, produced and integrated a complete AWD system in-house, GKN is the logical choice for global and local automakers in China. The expansion of our SDS joint venture’s engineering and production capabilities positions GKN for further growth as automakers introduce more advanced AWD and electric AWD (eAWD) systems in China.”
GKN and SDS have established the engineering and production organisation, facilities and processes to deliver the technology, quality and growth that automakers require in the coming years.
The five new production lines represent a significant expansion of GKN’s all-wheel drive operations in China, adding the capacity to produce high-quality driveline units for a combination of global and domestic customers.
GKN successfully localised production of PTUs and RDMs for Jaguar Land Rover models last year, including the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport, with a number of localisation projects due to start production for a range of manufacturers over the next two years.
Des Smith, GKN Driveline Programme Management Support Director, added: “We have already successfully localised production of AWD technology on a global platform in China and we have several programmes due to start production over the next few months. Demand for AWD in China is strong and growing.”
SDS is one of China’s longest-running and most successful automotive joint ventures. Established in 1988, the company employs more than 3,200 engineers, managers and production staff at its facilities across China, including Shanghai, Wuhan, Changchun, and Chongqing.