GKN Driveline is expanding its presence in China with the construction of a new plant through its Chinese joint venture Shanghai GKN HUAYU Driveline Systems (SDS). The expansion is in-line with GKN’s recently communicated strategy to target growth in the burgeoning Chinese automotive sector.
The facility is currently under construction by a third party in Pinghu, Zhejiang Province, which SDS will lease once complete.
The 10,000 sqm Pinghu plant will initially manufacture gears for eDrive systems and will help meet increasing levels of electric and hybrid vehicle production in China. GKN has won a number of key electric driveline programmes that will be delivered by SDS. It will also produce gear sets for all-wheel drive final drive systems.
It is expected to commence operation during the second quarter of 2018.
The first eDrive unit produced by SDS – the Multimode eTransmission for a domestic Chinese automaker – is due to roll off production lines later this year and there will be a significant ramp up of production in the coming years.
China will become a major global production hub for GKN’s state-of-the-art electric drivelines and GKN forecasts its JV partner could be manufacturing 1 million eDrive units per year by 2025.
Greg MacLean, Deputy General Manager SDS, said: “The growth of vehicle electrification is accelerating faster in China than anywhere else in the world. SDS, with strong support from GKN, is investing in people and facilities to meet the New Energy Vehicle market demand. Currently SDS is benefiting from a number of localisations built on GKN’s strong position in Europe and the Americas. Our long standing technical relationship with GKN affords SDS a unique position in the market to deliver innovative all-wheel drive and electrified technologies that our customers are demanding in China.”
The introduction of eDrive technology builds on GKN and SDS’s proven history of successfully implementing new driveline technologies into China. The company became the first Tier One automotive supplier to establish a Joint Venture in China in 1988, bringing the latest technologies in driveshafts into the market and subsequently building a market leading position in CVJ with SDS.
In 2013, GKN expanded its relationship with SDS to introduce the production of torque management technologies and all-wheel drive systems into China. GKN became the first Tier One supplier to design, develop and manufacture a complete all-wheel drive system in China in 2015 on the MG GS, and to date has produced all-wheel drive systems across nine separate programmes for a range of domestic and international automakers.