GKN Driveline Company History Timeline

1807
The Dowlais Ironworks developed rapidly to meet the thirst for iron as Britain charged through the process of industrialisation, particularly under Josiah John Guest later Sir John Guest who took over the running of the company in 1807.
1834
In 1834, in Birmingham, John Nettlefold had opened a woodscrew mill.
1844
Lady Charlotte Guest described a contract made in 1844 to supply 50,000 tons of rail to Russia as, the largest contract of the kind ever made.
1848
Their venture involved constructing only the second coke-fired furnace in South Wales and took over land leased until 1848.
1851
When Guest died, his son Thomas succeeded him and he was followed in turn by his son Sir Josiah 'John' Guest, an able entrepreneur, who raised the renamed Dowlais Iron Company to prominence and became its sole owner in 1851.
1854
1854 John Sutton Nettlefold enters into a partnership to make custom woodscrews.
1856
And in 1856, just down the road, Arthur Keen had founded the Patent Nut Bolt Company PNB with his American partner, Francis Watkins, and which had become a major manufacturer of fasteners.
1864
In 1864, the business went public as the Patent Nut Bolt Company.
1888
With steel production supplanting iron, Dowlais continued to grow through the second half of the century and, in 1888, built a second steelworks in South Wales, this time in Cardiff.
1900
1900 Dowlais Iron Company and the Patent Nut Bolt Company merge to create Guest, Keen and Co.
1902
In 1902, Guest, Keen and Co. acquired Nettlefolds, linking companies with diverse activities in a bid to exploit the benefits of horizontal integration.
1905
In 1905, GKN was the 15th largest British company with assets of 4.54m and the largest iron, steel and coal group in the country.
1919
In 1919, they bought a controlling interest in the steel-making group John Lysaght Ltd and then acquired Joseph Sankey Sons, which was established as a supplier of wheels, chassis frames and bodies to Britain s new motor industry.
1920
The group continued on the acquisition trail with the takeover in 1920 of John Lysaght, which had subsidiaries involved in steelmaking and rerolling in the United Kingdom and Australia.
1928
After Berry's death following a riding accident in 1928, Sir John Field Beale headed the company.
1929
In 1929 the steel industry was hit by the Great Depression, which resulted in a new wave of mergers.
1930
In 1930 the group took over Exors. of James Mills, one of the world's largest manufacturers of bright steel bars, and entered the Swedish market with the acquisition of Aug.
1934
Also in 1934, the iron and steel operations of the Dowlais works, which had once stood at the forefront of the iron and steel industry, were transferred within the group to the Cardiff, Margam, and Port Talbot works of Guest Keen Baldwins Iron and Steel Company.
1947
In 1947, Pakistan and India became independent countries to be followed over the next 20 years by most colonies, particularly after Macmillan s Wind of change speech prompted withdrawal from Africa.
1948
The arrival of the ship Empire Windrush, in 1948, carrying 492 West Indians provided the iconic image of a process that would help rebuild the economy and create a new multicultural society.
1951
Then in 1951 came the much heralded and controversial Iron and Steel Act under which the three steelmaking companies, Brymbo, G.K. Baldwin, and John Lysaght, together with GKN South Wales , were nationalized.
Labour first nationalised the steel industry in 1951 paying GKN compensation of 18.7m for its assets.
1957
Sir Samuel Beale led GKN through World War II, and was to remain a director until 1957.
1961
Restructuring, which began in 1961 and was aimed at streamlining the businesses to make them more competitive, resulted in a series of subdivisions.
1962
The group entered the defense-equipment market, winning an order for the FV432 armored personnel carrier for the British Army in 1962.
1963
In 1963 GKN bought three suppliers of forgings to the motor industry Ambrose Shardlow, in partnership with United Steel, Smethwick Drop Forgings, and Smith's Stampings.
1966
1966 Company acquires Birfield and its minority stake in Uni-Carden, maker of constant velocity joints.
In 1966, Raymond Brookes who had become chairman of GKN the previous year completed the takeover of the Birfield automotive components group.
1967
The steel operations were the first to be restructured, with the creation of GKN Steel Company, which was nationalized in 1967.
1969
In 1969 GKN unveiled a joint venture with Broken Hill Proprietary BHP of Australia to build a new steel complex at Westernpoint, Australia.
1973
The years 1973 74 were a nightmare, with the first oil price shock quadrupling oil prices while a three-day working week was introduced in Britain to save power when the miners went on strike.
1974
In 1974, the group and the Australian company Brambles formed the GKN Chep pallet pool in the UK. Four years later, the venture expanded into mainland Europe and the group s most successful industrial services business was on the road to international growth.
1976
GKN had bid for Fitchell and Sachs, the largest supplier of car parts in West Germany, after taking a minority stake in 1976.
1977
In 1977, the group was still stepping up investment in steel-making and rerolling with the opening of a new rod mill and steel works in Cardiff, costing 52 million.
1979
The group s United States involvement was enhanced in 1979 with the acquisition of Parts Industries Corporation of Memphis, Tennessee, the fourth-largest vehicle parts and accessories distributor in the United States.
1980
Nevertheless, in 1980 the group made the first loss in its history.
1981
1981 GKN and Brambles join forces again to take over waste disposal firm Redland Purle, which is later known as Cleanaway.
1983
In 1983, another strand of the business took shape with GKN and Costain of the United Kingdom merging their scaffolding and building-services operations to create GKN Kwikform, now a market leader in the United Kingdom.
1986
1986 Company adopts the name GKN plc most of its remaining steel operations are divested.
1987
During 1987 it became a market leader in vending services following several acquisitions, and sold Allied Steel and Wire, which did not fit in with its strategy.
1988
1988 A minority stake in Westland, a U.K. helicopter maker, is acquired.
GKN established a manufacturing presence in China in 1988.
1989
A wave of global investments followed in Brazil, Mexico, India, Australia, South Africa, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan and, in 1989, China as the driveline business created a global network and cemented its market leadership.
In 1989 the group reported record pre-tax profits of 214.8 million, a far cry from the beginning of the decade.
1990
In 1990 the group also began looking at possible ventures in East European countries.
, A History of GKN Volume Two The Growth of a Business, London Macmillan, 1990.
1994
GKN had recovered sufficiently by 1994 to take the bold--if widely criticized at the time mdashtion of a hostile takeover of Westland, completed for approximately 557 million.
1996
By 1996 Westland had orders totaling 4 billion US 6.2 billion for its Lynx, SuperLynx, and EH101 helicopters.
1997
Meanwhile, in January 1997, Lees, in a possibly unprecedented move for GKN, ventured outside the company to find the person he hired that month as chief executive, Chung Kong Chow.
In March 1997 a federal judge set the damage award at US 591 million but this was reduced two months later to US 390 million.
In late 1997 Chow set a goal of increasing annual sales, which then stood at 3.38 billion US 5.61 billion , by 40 percent over the next five years.
1999
Smith was a relative newcomer, having joined GKN only in 1999 as head of the aerospace business.
2000
Then in October 2000 GKN announced that it had agreed to acquire from Boeing a factory in St Louis, Missouri, where fuselage and wing parts for certain Boeing military aircraft were made.
2001
Donnan, Shawn, and Gautam Malkani, Decoupled GKN Starts Search for Purchases, Financial Times, April 20, 2001.
GKN in particular felt the effects of the precipitous decline in civil aviation following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
In another key development from 2001, GKN divested one of its three main areas of operation.
2002
2002 Nissan Cube launched with a GKN Automotive e4WD system.
2003
Kevin Smith took over as chief executive at the beginning of 2003.
2004
Proceeds from the divestment, which closed in November 2004, totaled 1.06 billion 2.03 billion and were earmarked for repayment of debt and acquisitions in both the automotive and aerospace sectors.
In early 2004 Lees stepped down from the company board after 16 years as chairman.
In 2004 GKN completed one key purchase, increasing its stake in Tochigi Fuji Sangyo KK TFS from 33 percent to 84 percent.
2005
GKN purchased full control of TFS in 2005, when the subsidiary was renamed GKN Driveline Torque Technology KK.
2006
In September 2006 GKN acquired Stellex Aerostructures, Inc., for 93 million.
2007
GKN secured its first orders for these new products in early 2007.
2007 Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid features the world s first dedicated hybrid transmission, an eTransmission built by GKN Automotive.
2009
GKN s aerospace business was built into the world s leading independent producer of aerostructures, the purchase in 2009 of the Airbus wing manufacturing and assembly plant at Filton near Bristol in the UK a key milestone.
2011
2011 Acquisition of Getrag s all-wheel drive operations recognized key strategic role all-wheel drive would play in driving experiences and future hybridization strategies.
2012
2012 Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4, the world's first mass production diesel-electric hybrid, uses a GKN Automotive eDrive.
2013
2013 GKN Automotive named Official Porsche Technology Partner in recognition of its contribution to groundbreaking 2013 Porsche 918 eSpyder plug-in hybrid supercar.
2013 Fiat 500e, sold in limited numbers in key US cities, emerged as one of the most critically acclaimed vehicles in the segment.
2014
2014 BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car features the world s first two-speed eDrive system, another game-changing innovation from GKN Automotive.
2014 Volvo XC90 launches as the first of a new generation of Volvos built on the company s Scalable Product Architecture, with all-wheel drive and eDrive modules developed in partnership with GKN Automotive.
2016
2016 Ford Focus RS features world s first Drift Mode, a function and an innovative all-wheel drive system.
2018
In 2018 Melrose Industries acquired GKN.
Founded
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Company Founded

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