GKN Driveline has opened its expanded Newton facility in Catawba County, North Carolina, following a US$100m investment creating around a 25% increase in manufacturing floor space to accommodate anticipated increases in geared driveline technology production.

GKN Driveline Newton specialises in producing all-wheel drive (AWD) driveline technology, including Final Drive Units, Power Transfer Units and clutches.

The expansion creates capacity for anticipated programme wins with major automakers during the coming years, with AWD production in the US expected to grow significantly.

Forecasts indicate production will increase by 21% by model year 2020 to reach around 3m AWD vehicles a year in North America.

GKN's AWD driveline technology features on vehicles such as the Jeep Renegade, Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC90.

The GKN Driveline Newton expansion was made possible in part by the Catawba County Economic Development team, which facilitated an award from the state’s Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) Programme. GKN broke ground on the expansion in September, 2014.

“This expansion is a win for the local economy here in Catawba County, as it strengthens the manufacturing sector,” said GKN Driveline Americas, president, Robert Willig.

“It’s also a win for GKN Driveline and our customers as it will improve our ability to deliver driveline technology in the auto industry.”

GKN Driveline Newton employs more than 800 people, and GKN has an additional 1,700 people at facilities in other counties across North Carolina, including Conover, Roxboro, Mebane and Sanford.