Nexteer Automotive has shipped its 20 millionth electric power steering (EPS) unit, saving more than two billion gallons of fuel globally since it sold its first EPS unit in 1999. The 20 millionth EPS unit was produced at Nexteer’s manufacturing plant in Tychy, Poland.

“As fuel economy standards have become increasingly more stringent, Nexteer’s expanding global footprint has helped us meet the growing demand for electronic power steering systems around the world, which in turn has allowed us to reach this milestone quickly,” said Laurent Bresson, president and chief operating officer of Nexteer. “We have the vehicle system expertise and in-house electronics capabilities to personalize EPS systems for each automaker, making Nexteer a leading EPS supplier globally.”

In December, Nexteer announced plans for a US$70m investment and 325 new jobs at its world headquarters in Saginaw as a result of a major EPS contract with a North American automaker. This announcement was on the heels of more than $220m invested globally in 2011 to expand and updates its EPS manufacturing capacity.

“Nexteer’s commitment to listening and understanding unique customer needs and our ability to deliver products that are personalised to each automakers’ brand DNA is certainly paying off,” said Frank Lubischer, vice president of global engineering and chief operating officer European operations.

“We predict that within the next ten years, more than 90% of the global steering market will transition to EPS.”

Nexteer’s high precision mechanical design is enabling global vehicle manufacturers to create custom steering calibrations to suit different local market requirements. The company’s ride and handling experts and software engineers have provided the first customers with electric power steering systems tuned to provide certain markets with different levels of feel, feedback and refinement.

“Our customers have noticed a significant reduction in warranty issues due to functions such as pull compensation, which keep the steering straight on crowned roads, and wheel imbalance rejection, which filters uncomfortable wheel vibrations,” added Lubischer. “Nexteer’s innovative electronic architecture for its EPS systems provides the processing power, functional safety, robust vehicle communication and standardised software required to introduce more complex driver assist and safety functions.”

In 2013, the company will launch single pinion EPS in Brazil and China and will launch brush column EPS for emerging markets. While these markets have traditionally used hydraulic steering systems, they are adopting the EPS technology to improve fuel economy.

Additionally, 90% of newly produced full-size trucks in North America will be equipped with Nexteer’s 12-volt EPS by the end of 2013; by the end of 2016, Nexteer will have the largest share of the North American electronic power steering market.