Knorr-Bremse expands steering systems business

German braking technology company, Knorr-Bremse, has agreed to acquire the commercial vehicle steering business, Integral Power Steering (IPS), from Hitachi Automotive Systems in Japan and Thailand.

IPS will establish Knorr-Bremse as a relevant supplier of power steering parts for commercial vehicles.

With this transaction, Knorr-Bremse takes a further step towards supplying its customers with highly integrated systems, as well as new functionalities in the field of driver assistance and automated driving. The acquisition is subject to approval by the anti-trust authorities and is expected to be completed in the first quarter 2019.

“Knorr-Bremse has global experience with commercial vehicles in the fields of vehicle dynamics, driver assistance systems and the main related actuators, which means brakes and steering,” said Knorr-Bremse Member of the Executive Board responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Systems division, Dr Peter Laier.

“The take-over of the commercial vehicle steering business from Hitachi will expand Knorr-Bremse’s steering system portfolio and further enhance Knorr-Bremse’s future potential as a global supplier for driver assistance and highly automated driving solutions,” he said.

“With the expertise of Hitachi Automotive Systems on recirculating ball steering (RCB) gears and the torque overlay steering (TOS), Knorr-Bremse will strengthen the cooperation with Japanese commercial vehicle manufacturers through providing further support for their future highly automated driving vehicles,” said Knorr-Bremse Asia Pacific Member of the Board of Directors, BaoPing Xu.

Following this transaction, Knorr-Bremse expects to become the leading supplier of recirculating ball steering (RCB) gears for commercial vehicles in Japan and executes the next step to become a global supplier for commercial vehicle steering systems.

This will reportedly create a solid global basis for subsequent introduction of torque overlay systems (TOS) for automated driving functions. In addition, Knorr-Bremse will gain a better access to the Japanese and the Southeast Asian market and will have the opportunity to also provide further products of the business segment for commercial vehicles in these regions.

Hitachi Automotive Systems´ commercial vehicle steering business is one of the world leading developers and suppliers of competitive, high-performance steering technology and manufactures hydraulic power steering for commercial vehicles ranging from pickup to heavy trucks to heavy-duty trucks. In 2017, the IPS business generated a turnover close to €100 million and has strong business relationships to Japanese OEMs. The sites in Japan and Thailand comprising a workforce of around 350 employees.

(Image L-R: Knorr-Bremse Asia Pacific Member of the Board of Directors, BaoPing Xu, and Hitachi Automotive Systems Vice President, Executive Officer, General Manager – Corporate Strategy & Planning Division, Hiroshi Hasegawa.)

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