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GKN Driveline Introduces New Technology Aimed at Improving Performance

Vehicle makers plan to introduce “breakthrough” technology from GKN Driveline designed to provide lighter driveshaft components, improved fuel economy and better overall vehicle performance.

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AUBURN HILLS, MI — Vehicle makers plan to introduce “breakthrough” technology from GKN Driveline designed to provide lighter driveshaft components, improved fuel economy and better overall vehicle performance.

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“Customers whose cars are equipped with this new technology will notice significant improvements in performance,” said Rob Rickell, director of engineering for the GKN Driveline’s global driveshaft group.

The technology is scheduled to appear on new models built in the U.S. next year, followed by European introductions. Compared with current designs, GKN Driveline’s new driveshaft components will offer new-car buyers products that are expected to be lighter by 8.8 pounds or more; more fuel efficient by up to .65 gallons per 1,000 miles; easier to park with turning-circle reductions of one meter or more and quieter, due to reductions in driveline noise, vibration and harshness.

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“Our new designs represent the first major change in constant-velocity joint (CVJ) technology in more than 70 years,” said Rickell. “Teamwork played a major role in the development process. Engineering groups working together at company research centers in Germany, Mexico, Spain and the U.S. were able to develop production-ready components in less than three years.”

Driveshafts equipped with the new technology will be manufactured at GKN Driveline facilities around the world. The company is the industry’s leading supplier of CVJs designed to help transfer power from a vehicle’s engine to its wheels. Car and light-truck drivelines typically are equipped with up to 12 such joints. GKN Driveline currently produces more than 95-million CVJs per year.

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With GKN Driveline’s new technology, the owner of a mid-sized, front-wheel-drive car equipped with a six-cylinder engine could expect annual fuel-economy savings of $95 or more, according to Rickell.

In addition to various consumer benefits, GKN Driveline’s new generation of CVJs also provides vehicle manufacturers with reductions in driveshaft package size up to 8 percent or more and improvements in operating efficiency of more than 30 percent. Package-size reductions also can reduce component weight from eight to 15 percent.

The company’s patented countertrack and crosstrack technologies currently are undergoing further development in collaboration with two European manufacturers, two Japanese carmakers and one in the U.S.

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“We expect countertrack and crosstrack technology to replace designs currently used on an industry-wide basis within a relatively short period of time,” Rickell said.

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