Delphi Corporation booked more than 20 new half shaft programmes globally during 2004, totalling more than $US550 million in lifetime revenue.

More than 70 percent of this new business is with new customers. The revenue will be generated over the length of the contracts, which average four years.

Much of the new business coincides with Delphi's global expansion and includes programmes with seven independent vehicle manufacturers in Asia Pacific. A localised engineering and sales team at Delphi's technical centre in Beijing helped to secure the new China business.

In addition, manufacturing capabilities are localised in China through a joint venture with Delphi Saginaw Lingyun Halfshafts.

"The China market provides great growth opportunities for our half shaft product," said a Delphi Steering spokesman. "[We have] been able to capitalise on these growth opportunities because they offer unsurpassed understanding of the relationship between the chassis and the powertrain enabling us to solve challenges in the entire system."

"In addition, the half shaft market in general is growing faster than the overall vehicle market as many SUVs are switching to independent rear suspensions, premium cars are moving to all-wheel drive and big trucks are starting to use constant velocity joints on their propeller shafts, replacing traditional universal joints."