mtu expands Drive Shaft Business in North American Market
Posted on December 05, 2002
mtu Drive Shafts, a DaimlerChrysler company and the world's largest manufacturer of passenger-car drive shafts, is expanding its business in the North American market with the creation of a new U.S. subsidiary and manufacturing operation, "mtu Drive Shafts LLC," based in Charleston, South Carolina.
- New subsidiary and assembly plant at existing DaimlerChrysler location in Charleston, South Carolina
- Capacity of one-million passenger-car drive shafts annually
- mtu is world's largest manufacturer of passenger-car drive shafts
Friedrichshafen, Germany / Charleston, SC, USA - mtu Drive Shafts, a DaimlerChrysler company and the world's largest manufacturer of passenger-car drive shafts, is expanding its business in the North American market with the creation of a new U.S. subsidiary and manufacturing operation, "mtu Drive Shafts LLC," based in Charleston, South Carolina.
"The US plant will further increase our competitive edge in the growing NAFTA market," said Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen, President and CEO of mtu and Head of the DaimlerChrysler Off-Highway business unit.
Systems competence of service organization strengthened
The new training center has 14 experienced instructors who are responsible for the training and supervision of service mechanics and who give them the required technical maintenance skills for the company's engines and drive systems. The center is equipped for intensive training in small groups in five languages of up to 90 participants at any given time and has a capacity to train a total of over 2000 service employees per year. The courses last between three days and six weeks, depending on content. All servicing levels are covered, from the routine checks to the complete overhauling of an engine (W1 to W6). In contrast to other engine manufacturers, mtu develops and manufactures the key components for low emission high-economy engines - injection systems, engine electronics and turbochargers - itself. Correspondingly important is the integral training of the customer service employees in these components. For the first time, the training courses for electronics and mechanics are unified under one roof in the training center. In this way the mechanics learn to work with wrench and laptop in equal measures. Today the laptop is part of the standard kit of every mtu mechanic, since it is required for checking and adjusting the engine's electronic system.
However, the training concept extends even further, because in contrast to its competitors, alongside the engines themselves, mtu also offers complete drive and propulsion systems which, as in the case of ships, include other components in addition to the engines, such as the electronic propulsion control, transmission, cooling and exhaust systems. Franz Stadelmann underlines the importance of the training center for the successful use of this competitive advantage: "With the new training center we will strengthen our system competence in the service area. The systems know-how cultivated in the development and project planning departments can now be passed on to customer service even more effectively than before." An example of this is the electronic drive system "Blue Line", which is available to participants in the training courses. The system, which consists of shift levers, displays, buttons, cables and various electronics modules, cannot be serviced without competent knowledge.
"Today, we are market leader for passenger car drive shafts worldwide, and already No. 2 for drive shafts for light trucks in Europe", said Dr. Rolf A. Hanssen. The drive shaft business of MTU Friedrichshafen accounts for eleven percent of the company's overall sales. "Drive shafts are a substantial part of the mtu product portfolio. Sales increases result from the DaimlerChrysler car business as well as, increasingly, from business with other manufacturers," he added.
mtu has a worldwide market share of 26 percent for passenger-car drive shafts. About one quarter of all manufactured cars worldwide which are equipped with rear or all-wheel drive, use drive shafts from Friedrichshafen.
Drive shafts are an essential part of a vehicle's power train: in vehicles with rear-wheel drive, they transmit the power of the engine from the transmission to the rear axle; and in all-wheel drives, from the transmission to the front and rear axles.
Since 1970, MTU Friedrichshafen has produced drive shafts for passenger cars and light trucks with rear and all-wheel drive. mtu drive shafts are renowned for their high quality, low weight and very smooth running even at high speeds. Therefore, they are used primarily in the luxury and premium classes. The largest customer is DaimlerChrysler with its Mercedes-Benz brand, of which all passenger cars with rear and all-wheel drive have mtu drive shafts installed: from the C- and E-Class to the S-Class. Also the new Maybach uses drive shafts from mtu. For several years now, the primary sales performer in the commercial vehicle range has been drive shafts for the "Sprinter", worldwide a bestseller in the van segment.
MTU Friedrichshafen, a DaimlerChrysler company, is one of the worldwide leading manufacturers of large diesel engines and complete propulsion systems. With 6200 employees, mtu reaches an annual turnover of over 1.1 bn Euros (2001). The company manufactures diesel and gas engines for propulsion systems in ships, distributed power plants, heavy vehicles and rail in the power range between 20 and 9,000 kW (30 to 12,250 hp) and drive shafts for cars and light trucks. With twelve subsidiaries on all continents, the company is present worldwide. Together with the off-highway business of Detroit Diesel Corporation, MTU Friedrichshafen forms the DaimlerChrysler business unit DaimlerChrysler Off-Highway.