TRW Automotive Aftermarket has agreed a joint venture with ArvinMeritor to distribute Gabriel and TRW branded shock absorber ranges for the European independent aftermarket.

The plan is for the joint venture to begin operation and distribution in January 2008.

Francois Augnet, vice president for TRW automotive aftermarket Europe and Asia Pacific, said: "Shock absorbers are an integral element of our core chassis portfolio. We already offer a comprehensive TRW branded range to our European customers and are committed to enhancing it with the Gabriel programme to maintain and develop our leading chassis position in the European aftermarket."

With the recent sale of its European exhaust aftermarket business, ArvinMeritor has sharpened its focus on original equipment manufacturer (OEM) systems engineering with renewed emphasis on its global ride control business.

With the joint venture, TRW and ArvinMeritor will jointly control the future marketing, sales and distribution of the Gabriel and TRW aftermarket programmes throughout western, central and eastern Europe.