Detroit’s American Axle and Manufacturing to Supply Power Transfer Units to Ford Crossovers


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American Axle and Manufacturing will supply power transfer units for Ford Motor Co.'s crossover vehicles with all-wheel drive. Pictured: Ford's Lincoln Nautilus.

Photo courtesy of the Lincoln Motor Co.

Detroit’s American Axle and Manufacturing (AAM) Monday announced it will supply power transfer units (PTU) for Ford Motor Co.’s crossover vehicles with all-wheel drive, starting with the 2019 Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus.

“Sales of crossover vehicles continue to significantly grow in markets around the globe,” says David C. Dauch, chairman and CEO of AAM. “Crossover buyers want a vehicle that is fuel-efficient and safe. AAM's PTU helps deliver power while increasing efficiency.”

The PTU is the heart of the vehicles’ intelligent all-wheel drive, which uses sensors to constantly monitor traction and assist the driver through difficult weather and challenging road conditions. It balances torque between the front and rear wheels to enhance handling and maximizes traction before wheel slip can occur.

The PTU is located on the vehicle’s transmission and directs power to the rear-drive module via the driveshaft when torque is needed. When only front-wheel drive is required, the PTU disconnects and stops spinning the driveshaft, no longer sending power to the rear-drive module. Less spinning helps increase efficiency and reduces emissions.

AAM’s family of EcoTrac Disconnecting all-wheel drive solutions include disconnecting PTUs, multi-piece driveshafts, rear drive modules with electronic control units, and torque transfer devices.

AAM introduced the industry’s first disconnecting all-wheel drive system in late 2013, and has since supplied more than 600,000 disconnecting all-wheel drive units. AAM will manufacture EcoTrac in several facilities around the globe, including those in Three Rivers, Mich.; Guanajuato, Mexico; Changshu, China; and Świdnica, Poland. 

By the end of 2020, EcoTrac is expected represent about $800 million of annual revenue for AAM in global markets.

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