GKN Driveline opened new cold-weather proving grounds in Northern Michigan, at the Smithers Winter Test Center in Brimley, MI, giving the group testing capabilities in Asia, Europe, and North America. The 10,000-sq.ft. test center will evaluate performance for all parts under harsh winter conditions.

GKN Driveline designs and manufactures a variety of automotive driveline components and systems, including constant-velocity joint (CVJ) systems, all-wheel drive (AWD) systems, trans-axle systems, and eDrive systems. It is one of four business units of the British engineering group GKN plc.

In December, GKN Driveline revealed a five-year, $179-million expansion of five plants in North Carolina, where it is producing AWD and eDrive systems.

The Smithers Winter Test Center a 750-acre campus in Brimley, MI, where automakers and their systems and parts suppliers conduct performance evaluations on vehicles, tires, and components in extreme cold and under hazardous road conditions

GKN Driveline’s test centers is adjacent to the main SWTC track. It includes a central workshop bay with four vehicle hoists, and three private garages to offer confidentiality and security for GKN’s customers.

“All-wheel-drive technology continues to grow in overall consumer acceptance and demand and has emerged as a key product differentiator for vehicle manufacturers,” according to Gavin Streather, senior director for Global Engineering Processes and Systems at GKN Driveline. Streather will oversee the Michigan operation.

“The private facility will allow our engineers to collaborate with customer engineering teams to develop and tune all-wheel-drive systems that meet unique brand characteristics for a variety of vehicles,” he said.