May 17, 2007 — American Axle & Manufacturing has inaugurated its new Chinese manufacturing plant in Changsu, and marked the event with the announcement that it has been contracted to supply rear-drive modules to Chery Automobile Co. Ltd., the largest domestic automaker in China. The contract begins with Chery's 2009 model year.
The 175,000-ft2 plant, near Shanghai, was announced in January 2006. The plant is owned outright by American Axle, which acquired land-use rights to approximately 30 acres.
According to American Axle, the new rear-drive module design was developed for a front-wheel drive crossover vehicle, with an all-wheel drive option. It includes an aluminum rear axle (AAM PowerLite), with the company's PowerDense gear technology. American Axle states that the module offers " greater torque capacity than similar-sized competitor products, which allows for weight, packaging, and durability improvements that maximize performance and improve fuel economy."
Expressing satisfaction with the new business, American Axle chairman and CEO Richard E. Dauch pointed to a "market shift toward all-wheel drive passenger cars," adding that "crossover vehicles (play) right to AAM's strength in developing highly engineered, advanced technology driveline products and systems for the global marketplace."