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GKN AWD for Renegade an industry first

by Bill Cawthon on

GKN Driveline of Redditch, England, announced yesterday that it had become the first Tier One supplier to deliver a complete all-wheel-drive (AWD) system to an automaker

In just 24 months, GKN designed and began producing the intelligent AWD systems for the Jeep Renegade and the Fiat 500X. It supplies the complete driveline, including the disconnecting AWD setup and front-wheel-drive variants; every component of the system was designed by GKN and is made in their facilities.


Global program director Hannes Prenn noted, “This is the first time a supplier has been responsible for the design, development and production of a complete all wheel drive system.”

GKN said its global development centers, a streamlined change and approval processes, and having its own in-house software staff helped keep the design-to-delivery time down.


To meet the space requirements of the Jeep and Fiat, GKN uses a monobloc housing that integrates the propshaft’s constant velocity joint instead of a traditional power transfer unit.

By custom-tuning the system software, GKN says its hardware can be used for other vehicles from from city cars to compact off-roaders, which have different torque needs.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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