Tier one supplier delivers complete all-wheel drive system for city and off-road

GKN Driveline has become the first Tier one supplier to deliver a complete all-wheel drive (AWD) system for a vehicle manufacturer.

The company designed, developed and now manufactures the intelligent AWD systems for a platform launched by FCA US LLC (FCA) which is the basis for the Fist 500X and the Jeep Renegade.

Demand for AWD is growing as consumers want smaller, more fuel-efficient cars that can do everything larger vehicles can. GKN Driveline president of engineering, Peter Moelgg, said: "Automakers need responsive suppliers who can overcome the tight packaging and cost constraints . . . We are delivering on our strategy of developing intelligent driveline systems that enhance both efficiency and drivability".

Global programme director, GKN Driveline, Hannes Prenn, said: "This is a milestone programme for GKN in our evolution as a driveline system integrator. This is the first time a supplier has been responsible for the design, development and production of a complete all-wheel drive system. With all manufacturing, engineering and software development in-house, GKN Driveline is the only Tier One that could take such a tightly integrated all-wheel drive system from concept to production – and in just 24 months."

The FCA platform sources the complete driveline, from transmission to wheel, from GKN, including AWD, AWD Disconnect and front-wheel drive variants.

To meet the tight packaging targets of compact vehicles, features of the driveline system were integrated to save space, for example, instead of a standard power transfer unit (PTU), a monobloc housing was developed that fully integrates the propshaft's constant velocity joint.

The same hardware is able to fulfill requirements for different brands and classes of vehicle, from city cars to off-roaders. Software tuning experts ensure the system is able to meet different brands' specific requirements. For example, a city car version may require low drag torques and torque biasing, while an off-road vehicle requires high traction and torques.