GKN Driveline certainly can't be accused of short-termism on the basis of its announcement that it has extended its joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) for another 50 years.

The first automotive industry component-manufacturing joint venture in China, Shanghai GKN Drive Shaft Company (SDS) was formed in 1988.

Other Chinese partners in Shanghai GKN include SDIC Machinery & Light Industries Company and Bank of Communications Company.

Speaking in London, GKN Automotive's chief executive Nigel Stein noted that GKN was the first major European automotive supplier to invest in China and today is the country's leading producer of driveline components.

"Shanghai GKN serves as an industry model for successful joint-venture operations in China and we anticipate continued growth for years to come," Nigel Stein said.

 "Over the last five years, Shanghai GKN has invested more than RMB 1 billion (about €100 million) to expand production in China, including major investments for new manufacturing facilities in Wuhan and Chongqing."

Nigel Stein added that Shanghai GKN's new 44,000-square-metre plant in Wuhan is on schedule to begin production later this year.

Shanghai GKN currently has five production facilities in China. In addition to its Wuhan and Chongqing plants, it has manufacturing operations in Kangqiao, Shenjiang and Zhoupu. The company annually produces more than 600,000 propshafts, 5 million sideshafts and 1.5 million universal joints.

Shanghai GKN's major Chinese automotive partner, SAIC, is one of China's top three automotive companies with sales in 2008 of more than one million passenger cars and 500,000 commercial vehicles.