MTU Expands Drive Shaft Business In North American Market

MTU Expands Drive Shaft Business In North American Market

MTU Drive Shafts, a unit of DaimlerChrysler and the world’s largest manufacturer of passenger-car drive shafts, said it is setting up a new U.S. subsidiary and manufacturing operation in Charleston, South Carolina.

“The U.S. plant will further increase our competitive edge in the growing NAFTA market,” said Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen, President and CEO of MTU and Head of the DaimlerChrysler Off-Highway business unit.

The new subsidiary, MTU Drive Shafts LLC, will produce drive shafts for premium automotive companies in the United States and the U.S. plant will have a capacity for about one million drive shafts annually, the company said. This is about 75 percent of the current production figure of the existing drive shafts plant in Friedrichshafen, Germany, it added.

Rob Tykal, formerly Technical Director of the Off-Highway Division at Detroit Diesel Corp. (DDC), was appointed President of MTU Drive Shafts LLC. “Our customers expect just-in-time delivery and high flexibility. By assembling the drive shafts in the U.S., we are much better equipped to meet these requirements,” Tykal.

The Charleston MTU operation is located adjacent to a Freightliner facility, which currently builds American LaFrance fire and emergency services vehicles. Freightliner LLC is also a DaimlerChrysler company.

The machinery necessary for the production, assembly and balancing machines, welders and others, will be installed beginning in April 2003, with series production starting in 2004. By 2006, the company plans to employ over 200 workers who will work in three shifts.

“Today, we are market leader for passenger car drive shafts worldwide, and already No. 2 for drive shafts for light trucks in Europe”, said Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen. The drive shaft business of MTU Friedrichshafen accounts for eleven percent of the company’s overall sales. “Drive shafts are a substantial part of the MTU product portfolio.

Sales increases result from the DaimlerChrysler car business as well as, increasingly, from business with other manufacturers,” he added.

MTU has a worldwide market share of 26 percent for passenger-car drive shafts. About one quarter of all manufactured cars worldwide which are equipped with rear or all-wheel drive, use drive shafts from Friedrichshafen, the company said.

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