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March 21, 2003

USA: TRW Automotive secures new components supply contracts

TRW Automotive will launch production later this year for a number of advanced stability control, electric steering and occupant safety systems for late 2003 and 2004 model year platforms in both North America and Europe.

By bcusack

TRW Automotive will launch production later this year for a number of advanced stability control, electric steering and occupant safety systems for late 2003 and 2004 model year platforms in both North America and Europe.

TRW will launch Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) production this autumn on five 2004 model year vehicles in Europe and a 2004 model year North American minivan. Annual VSC production for these vehicles is projected at 280,000 units per year.

Standard TRW VSC components include an electro-hydraulic control unit and a stability sensing inertial module. New features include “panic brake assist” and “hill hold,” which are being introduced in Europe. Panic brake assist recognises a panic stop by monitoring the speed and force the driver uses to apply the brakes, and augments that braking force to ensure ABS braking in the event of an emergency situation. The hill hold feature uses the Vehicle Stability Control System to maintain driver-generated brake pressure to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards on a hill during the transition between releasing the brake and driving away – an automatic transmission-style driving feature for manual transmission vehicles.

TRW Automotive will also launche production of its Electrically Powered Hydraulic Steering (EPHS) later this spring as standard equipment on a major 2004 model year European car. The company will add production of a new Electrically Powered Steering (EPS) system for an additional European vehicle later in the year.

Anticipated volumes for the two new EPHS and EPS programs are 110,000 and 240,000 units, respectively. TRW Automotive claims to lead all automotive suppliers with sales and orders of more than US$4.5 billion in EAS systems and also claims to be the dominant supplier in the European EPS arena, with more than a third of an estimated US$1.5 billion market.

In total, in Europe, TRW Automotive has EPS contracts with three automakers for 11 platforms and EPS contracts with two automakers for three platforms in Asia Pacific. TRW’s sales for these products in 2003 are expected to more than double from 2002.

TRW is also launching a number of innovative passive safety technologies in 2003, including the North American debut of the TRW Active Control Retractor, now available on the Mercedes S-Class, and the introduction of an occupant classification system later this year.

Another new product from the occupant safety systems business addresses the safety of front-seat passengers of different sizes, belted and unbelted. TRW’s occupant classification system uses four sensors in the front passenger seat frame (one in each corner) to measure weight – similar in concept to a bathroom scale. When occupants sit in the front passenger seat, they exert a downward force in the seat, resulting in a change of the sensor signals mounted in the seat frame. Ultimately, the sensor signals are converted electronically into a weight and occupant classification and the airbag is automatically enabled or suppressed accordingly. Production of the occupant classification system begins in September for a North American 2004 model year truck. Three additional platforms from the same automaker will be fitted with the occupant classification system beginning in mid-2004. TRW Automotive recently signed additional contracts with a German automaker for model year 2004 and Japanese and Korean automakers for model year 2006.

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