GKN Driveline is the world’s largest producer of constant-velocity joints, which it pioneered for use in automobiles. Its other products include sideshafts, power transfer units, propshafts, couplings, disconnects, differentials, electric rear axles and electric drive transmissions.
The origin of GKN (Guest, Keen & Nettlefolds) goes back to 1759, and the founding of the Dowlais Ironworks by the industrialists Thomas Lewis andIsaac Wilkinson. It has changed shape and direction many times to hold its place in the engineering industry. The company took part in the railway boom in the early 1800s with its production of iron, then steel in the 1860s and, after the first world war, moved into the 20th century with the great new industry – the automotive industry. It was the start of the company Globalization. The GKN Group had to expand into the automotive industry not only because of the growth of this business, but also to move with these more sophisticated products in the Commonwealth – mainlandEurope and North America. GKN evolved geographically from its British base in the early nineteenth century to the USA and Western Europe.
In the 20th century expansion continued to Japan and the rest of Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Maintaining its technology leadership, GKN Driveline produced a new generation of CVJ Systems which were smaller, lighter and more efficient – and globally available. There is widespread recognition that GKN Driveline products are technically superior, manufactured and delivered throughout the world. GKN Driveline was one of the first companies to recognise the importance of the emerging Latin American and Asian markets and to understand that the cornerstone of competitiveness was the relentless, incremental enhancement of products and processes.With the Asian financial crisis GKN Driveline took the opportunity to accelerate its growth in the new rapidly emerging markets. As one of the first foreign owned automotive components company, GKN establish a manufacturing presence in China in 1988. At the same time GKN Driveline was investing in and growing its business in India, Brazil and Mexico.