Getrag Getriebe und Zahnradfabrik Hermann Hagenmeyer GmbH & Cie KG of Untergruppenbach, Germany (Getrag) is to join forces with Dana Corporation of Toledo, Ohio and Volvo Car Company (VCC) to establish a so-called "All-Wheel-Drive Centre of Excellence" in a joint venture in Koping, Sweden, specialising in AWD and chassis systems for cars and sport utility vehicles.

The new entity is expected to begin operating during the second half of 2003. A joint venture between Getrag and Dana will own 60% and Volvo Car Corporation the remaining 40%.

According to the business plan, the new operation expects to install capacity for initially up to 750,000 power take off units (PTUs) and axle differential assemblies.

The Koping facility will act as a fully independent supplier, integrated within the Getrag group, and will market its services, on a global basis, to Ford, including all its affiliates as well as to all other car manufacturers within Europe.

"Together with Volvo and based upon an agreed upon investment plan, we will transform Koping into the leading full service supplier in the European AWD market place," claimed Getrag corporate group CEO Tobias Hagenmeyer.

"This technology will be of utmost importance for the fast growing 'crossover vehicle' market segment, which we already successfully introduced with two major OEMs in the United States through our affiliate… where we are in the process of launching three additional major programmes."

The chassis systems currently made in the Koping plant for Volvo Cars will be transferred to the new facility which intends to actively pursue new business from other OEMs.

The Koping plant currently supplies approximately 150,000 manual transmissions annually to Volvo. Toward the end of 2004, Volvo manual transmission production will be transferred to Getrag Ford Transmissions in Cologne, Germany, which is a 50:50 joint venture between the two firms founded in February 2001 specialising in manual and auto-shift manual transmissions.

"The operations in Koping will be streamlined to create a fully integrated self-sufficient AWD centre of excellence, including RD&E, sales and marketing, purchasing and production of AWD components and assemblies," said Volvo Cars production director Curt Germundsson.

Koping currently also produces chassis components, spring struts and around 100,000 rear axle differential assemblies and PTUs annually.