GKN enters Japan’s driveshaft market

GKN, the engineering and industrial services group, has bought Nissan’s Japanese transmissions factory in Togichi for £56m. This automatically gives GKN 15% of the constant velocity joint (CVJ) market in Japan.

The sale is another step in Nissan’s strategy to pay off its huge debts and is seen as further evidence that Japanese car manufacturers are outsourcing non-core manufacturing activities.

GKN was in competition with American CVJ manufacturer Delphi and Japan’s NTN to buy the Nissan plant. The deal makes GKN one of only a handful of Western automotive component manufacturers with manufacturing facilities in Japan.

A GKN spokesman said: `This new company will further establish GKN’s presence in the Asia Pacific region, following our new production facility in Thailand.’

Annual sales from the Togichi factory, which produces about 1.4m sets of CVJ driveshafts a year, are expected to be £100m. This will take GKN’s total sales to Nissan up to 2.2m vehicle sets, some of which are supplied by GKN from its UK subsidiaries.

The deal strengthens GKN’s relations with Nissan at a time when Japanese component suppliers are starting to consider building their own CVJ manufacturing operations in the UK.

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