Special Coverage

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DETROIT – Against the backdrop of the 2007 SAE International World Congress here, Aisin World Corp. of America highlights some of its newest advanced technologies.

Fresh off a 2006 fiscal year, which saw Aisin Group sales grow 9% globally to $20.6 billion (¥2.5 trillion) and jump nearly 13% in North America to $3.6 billion (¥431.3 billion), the company occupies an enviable position within the struggling automotive supplier community, Don Whitsitt, executive vice president, says.

Along with investments around the world for new operations and expansions of existing facilities, Aisin also is moving forward with a multitude of advanced developments in numerous sectors of the market.

In the area of transmissions, Aisin has garnered praise for its development of the advanced 8-speed automatic transmission in the all-new Lexus LS 460 sedan, as well as the 6-speed automatic in the new Toyota Tundra fullsize pickup.

Other highlights of Aisin’s portfolio on the Lexus LS include the first production applications of an intelligent parking assist system and pre-crash intelligent head restraint, along with advanced driver monitoring for combating inattentive motoring.

The company also provides the front-wheel-drive, 6-speed manual transmission for various Toyota Motor Corp. (RAV4 and Corolla) and Chrysler Group (Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass) vehicles, as well as the heavy-duty 6-speed automatic for the ’07 Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 trucks.

In addition, Aisin recently received acclaim from General Motors Corp. for its work on developing various sunroof systems.

The supplier also plans the release of its new Map on Demand navigation technology on select Toyota vehicles next month, Whitsitt says.

Unlike conventional navigation systems that operate with pre-loaded map data or limited real-time satellite updates, Map on Demand uses Bluetooth technology to update the navigation data every time the driver brings a cellular phone into the vehicle.

Meanwhile, in a show of corporate citizenship, Aisin uses the World Congress to announce a $100,000 donation to the Society of Automotive Engineers’ “Inspiring a New Generation” campaign, which supports initiatives to encourage student excellence in math and science curriculums.

Taking the education initiative a step further, Aisin also plans to host some 150 Detroit-area middle and high school students at the show this week for a “hands-on” look into SAE activities aimed at future engineers.

“These young people will eventually take on the mantle of leadership in our industry, and we believe that it is our responsibility to foster the education and resources needed to develop these (students),” Whitsitt says.

msutton@wardsauto.com