TRW doubles ZF's market in U.S.

Sept. 24, 2014
New steering gear, DTNA supply agreement underline acquisition strategy.

HANNOVER, GERMANY. The acquisiton of TRW Automotive earlier this year was prompted by its new owner's desire to build sizeable footprints in the world's two hottest markets -- China and North America. 

"Their products and markets complement us," said ZF Friedrichshafan CEO Stefan Sommer. The acquisition, when finalized, will allow ZF "to address the most significant countries in the world -- the U.S. and China, and at the same time will help us meet the increasing demand from OEMs for integrated solutions from their suppliers," he said at a press briefing. Adding TRW, he pointed out, will double ZF's sales volumes in both of those markets and "move us into the front ranks of suppliers."

While ZF is still wrapping up the acquisition's final legal loose ends, it used the global stage of the IAA commercial vehcile show to unveil the first new TRW products being released under the new ownership -- a new steering system for trucks that can be used with semi-autonomous driving systems and a more efficient hydraulic steering pump. TRW also announced a seven-year agreement to provide the standard steering systems for all Daimler Trucks North America brands, including Freightliner, Western Star, Thomas Built Bus and Freightliner Custom Chassis. 

The ReAX steering system combines TRW's hydraulic power steering (HPS) for commercial vehicles and electrically powered steering (EPS) belt drive for passenger cars. The HS component provides the torque needed to steer a commercial vehicle, while the belt drive offers more precise control and feel, according to the company.

 "In addition, ReAX can enable semi-automated driving functions and advanced driver assist systems including lane departure warning and lane keeping assist which can further enhance safety and comfort," said Andreas Weller, VP and general manager of global commercial steering systems.

The new ActivMode hydraulic power steering pump is said to reduce system energy consumption by up to 50% compared with traditional pumps. It employs a dual mode flow that provides full power at low engine speed but disengages one circuit at highway speeds to reduce energy use.

About the Author

Jim Mele

Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

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