TRW Steering Systems Slovakia has announced plans today (20 October) to expand its Nove Mesto and Vahom plant to support the growth of TRW's Electrically Powered Steering (EPS) systems business, with a potential to create up to 250 jobs across a three-year period.

The TRW Automotive's Nove Mesto facility currently manufactures precision motors for vehicle steering systems and employs 400 people.

The company launched its column drive EPS system in 2001 and last year started production of Belt Drive EPS with Ford in North America, which will launch with Ford of Europe later this year and a second global manufacturer in 2012.

"TRW is committed to its presence in Slovakia to support the growing automotive activities there," said plant manager Chris Moorhouse.

"This facility expansion represents an important investment for the next generation of TRW's steering technology and demonstrates the achievements of our dedicated workforce here in Nove Mesto and Vahom."

The company will expand the existing manufacturing plant to support the introduction of EPS sensors and EPS Belt Drive steering systems manufacturing. TRW plans to start construction before the end of the year and intends to begin production from the extended facility early in 2011.

"Electric Steering can offer significant fuel efficiency improvements - of up to 4% - compared with hydraulic systems as it draws power only when needed," said VP European steering operations Michael Degen.

"With an increased focus on reducing harmful carbon dioxide emissions, we see increased interest in this technology globally. EPS also enables tunable steering feel characteristics and integration opportunities with driver assist systems such as park assist or lane departure warning."

The fuel efficiency benefits of EPS systems equate to a fuel savings of 0.3 to 0.4 L/100km, with a corresponding reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of approximately 7-8g/km, claims TRW.

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