American Axle/Saab Venture Will Offer Electric AWD, Hybrid Drivelines

Sept. 26, 2010
Will use existing designs, manufacturing centers to offer supply systems with minimal change to vehicle architecture

American Axle & Manufacturing is forming a joint venture with Saab Automobile AB to design and manufacture driveline systems for electric all-wheel drive and hybrid driveline systems, for passenger cars and crossover vehicles. The venture, e-AAM Driveline Systems AB, will begin operations October 1, using existing Saab and AAM technology, engineering centers and labs, and testing equipment to expedite development with minimal cost.

The new venture aims to provide a full-service capability for electric all-wheel drive systems that can be integrated into existing platforms with minimal change to vehicle architecture. In a release, American Axle stated the systems will be designed “to improve fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and provide all-wheel-drive capability utilizing torque vectoring for vehicle stability.”

e-AAM’s driveline systems will be featured in Saab vehicles beginning in 2012, American Axle reported, and it intends to offer the products to other automakers, too. Its headquarters will be in Trollhattan, Sweden, and though the partners have not indicated its capitalization value the venture will be majority controlled by American Axle.

With several forging operations, American Axle is an integrated global supplier of driveline and drivetrain systems, and related components and modules, and chassis systems, for trucks, sport utility vehicles, passenger cars and crossover utility vehicles. It has plants in Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio, as well as Mexico, Brazil, England, Poland, Scotland, and Thailand, and joint venture manufacturing plants in India and China.

"AAM is pleased to be launching this exciting new business opportunity with Saab," said AAM co-founder, chairman & CEO Richard E. Dauch. "e-AAM will leverage the outstanding competencies of both our companies in the development of state-of-the-art electric and hybrid driveline systems needed by global OEMs to improve the fuel efficiency, ride and handling performance and overall capability of their products."

Saab Automobile AB is the longtime Swedish automaker and former General Motors subsidiary acquired earlier this year by Netherlands-based Spyker Cars N.V.

"For Saab, the announcement of this partnership is a major step towards a successful future as an independent company," stated Jan Ake Jonsson. "Saab is currently class-leading with its innovative Cross Wheel Drive system (XWD). The new electric all-wheel-drive system will secure a leadership position in its next generation Saabs. This joint venture will bring together Saab's world-class vehicle engineering expertise and AAM's extensive engineering, production and marketing capabilities, which leads to a powerful combination."