USA: ZF Lemforder to supply axle systems to Ford CrossTrainer and Ford Five-Hundred

ZF Lemforder – a division of ZF Friedrichshafen AG – will supply front and rear axle chassis systems for the new Ford CrossTrainer and Ford Five-Hundred from the recently announced Ford Chicago Manufacturing Campus, located near Chicago, beginning in 2004.

ZF has secured a 100,000 square-foot facility in the campus to meet the automaker’s production schedule.

The facility will be ready for occupancy in March 2003, with delivery of equipment and manufacturing set-up taking place later in the year. ZF Group facilities in Brewer, Maine, Hebron, Ky., Duncan, S.C. and Guadalajara, Mexico will supply suspension components for the project.

ZF Lemforder is undergoing a global expansion of its chassis system business.

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“We will announce several other significant contracts with other OEMs in North America, Europe, South Africa and Asia soon,” said Bernd Habersack, President and CEO of ZF Lemforder. “We believe this will triple our sales in chassis system business — $550 million during 2001 — within the next four years.

“The Ford contract demonstrates our capability in chassis engineering, supplier handling, program management and lean assembly concepts,” Habersack added.

The Ford axle program is ZF Lemforder’s first in North America with a non- German automotive manufacturer — as the division also supplies BMW’s and Mercedes-Benz’s US facilities. ZF Lemforder’s first contract in North America was in 1996, when it started supplying BMW with the Z3 front axle system.

In addition, the Ford CrossTrainer will feature a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that will provide up to 10 percent fuel economy improvement over a traditional powertrain. The CVT in the CrossTrainer is the first North American application of the new, technologically advanced transmission developed and produced under a joint venture with Ford at ZF Batavia in Batavia, Ohio.