China Automotive Systems (CAAS) has estimated its electric power steering set sales will reach about 150,000 units in 2011.

Sales in 2010 were about 40,000 units, the supplier said.

It claims to have designed and produced the first domestic EPS products in China abd first shipments began in September 2009 to Suzuki with Changan Automobile Company also becoming a customer in mid-2010. Recent customers include Dongnan Motor, FAW Haima Automobile and Great Wall Motors.

The company last year formed a joint venture with the Beijing Hainachuan Auto Parts Cosubsidiary of Beijing Automobile Industrial Holdings (Beijing Auto) to design, develop and manufacture both hydraulic and electric power steering systems.

A new production facility for the JV is being completed with a design capacity for 300,000 units of hydraulic and 200,000 units of electric power steering systems plus parts.

CAAS is also building a new 120,000 sq m production plant in Wuhan to supplement its Jinzhou plant’s annual EPS production capacity of 200,000 units.

Chairman Hanlin Chen said: “The increasing acceptance of our EPS products is another milestone in our path to become a leader in the large global steering market and demonstrates our growing R&D capabilities. EPS technology is environmentally safer and more fuel efficient than standard hydraulic units and we believe it will be a growth driver over the next few years.”