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GKN Driveline Provides Affordable All-Wheel-Drive in New Fiat Panda

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Oct. 20, 2004 -- GKN Driveline has extended its product line with a new range of class-leading, all-wheel-drive technology systems for small and midsize vehicles.

The new GKN technology debuted in Europe on the Fiat Panda 4x4 that went on sale in Italy in September.

The new Fiat Panda 4x4 broadens the appeal of a car line that was recognized as 2004 European Car of the Year. The vehicle's all-wheel-drive system was engineered in partnership with GKN Driveline.

GKN Driveline's design team managed the engineering development program for Fiat's all-wheel-drive system.

"Our extensive research and development effort for Fiat places us in a strong position to extend our engineering and supply service to other automakers in this growing market sector," notes Graeme Wolford, managing director of GKN Driveline's Torque Technology Group. "With a variety of all- wheel-drive systems available, including the most sophisticated, intelligent 4x4 traction-control applications, GKN Driveline has a wide range of options for automakers worldwide."

The key to the system's efficiency is the viscous coupling. The system is entirely automatic, requiring no input from the driver. The mechanical all- wheel-drive system requires no electronic control, helping to keep system costs low. It also is compatible with anti-lock braking and stability-control systems -- a key requirement of any modern 4x4 drivetrain.

Fiat's goal was to provide an affordable, all-wheel-drive system for the all-new compact vehicle. GKN Driveline developed a simple but effective 4x4 installation that includes a power transfer unit (PTU), a two-piece propshaft, a viscous coupling in front of the rear differential, a rear differential module (RDM) as well as front and rear sideshafts. GKN Driveline will supply all of the components in partnership with Getrag for the power transfer unit and Dana for the rear differential module.

GKN Driveline is one of the world's leading suppliers of vehicle driveline products and systems commanding 42 percent share of the market for constant velocity jointed (CVJ) sideshafts. The company is a global enterprise, headquartered in the United Kingdom. It recorded total sales of $3.2 billion in 2003. The company currently has 21,000 people working at 49 locations in 31 countries.

Additional information is available at http://www.gkndriveline.com/ .