NTN Corp. announced it has been awarded business to provide the rear halfshafts (CVJ) for 100% of model year 2021 Cadillac Escalades. To meet the demands of GM’s high production volume, NTN began the mass production of the halfshafts in the summer of 2020. The all-new 2021 Escalade went on sale in late-2020 in North America, with availability in other countries to follow.
Full-size SUVs have traditionally used a solid axle rear end that connects the left and right tires without the use of halfshafts. As demand for full-size SUVs has continued to grow, particularly in North America, the demand for improved ride comfort and vehicle dynamics also has grown. The all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade has been engineered to accommodate an independent rear suspension (IRS), which transforms the driving dynamics of the vehicle, allowing each rear wheel to handle road conditions independently to enhance ride quality, steering responsiveness and overall driver control. This new IRS system also enables a lower interior floor to expand the Escalade’s interior roominess, and improve comfort by allowing easier access to the second and third rows, as well as creating a more natural seating position for third-row occupants.
To implement the all-new independent rear suspension, the Escalade required halfshafts that could provide the smooth transfer of power and refinement Cadillac buyers have come to expect, and also stand up to the 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque produced by the standard 6.2L V-8 engine. These rear halfshafts also need to operate flawlessly with the Escalade’s new and enhanced chassis technologies, including magnetic ride control, air ride adaptive suspension, and the electronic limited-slip differential, which deliver a responsive, precise driving experience and offer exceptional isolation from the road; and this is where NTN engineering comes in.
NTN’s EBJ (E series Ball fixed Joint) and EDJ (E series Double offset Joint) halfshafts are engineered to accommodate large SUVs, and feature a lightweight, compact design using our proprietary, eight ball track technology. In addition to our unique design, which provides optimum geometric operating angles required for rear halfshafts, we use a tubular interconnecting shaft design, to make them lighter and more rigid. These precision-engineered halfshafts help improve both function and ride comfort, as well as reducing vehicle weight for improved fuel efficiency.
As a global market share leader in CVJ products, NTN said it secured this business due to the company’s overall technical capabilities and excellent reputation for quality and reliability that satisfy the needs of full-size SUV customers. In addition to the iconic, luxury Cadillac Escalade, NTN’s halfshafts also are used in all of GM’s full-size SUVs including the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and GMC Yukon.
GM’s full-size SUVs are particularly popular in their segment in North America with a continuous increase in demand, and sales of approximately 300,000 units per year. “As NTN works to expand sales in the North America automotive industry, we believe there is a lot of growth potential for halfshafts as AWD/4WD vehicles remain in high demand, and OEM suspension designs shift to IRS,” the company announced.