Issue: Apr 2018


Global Manufacturing Powerhouse Linamar Enters Strategic Partnership with Israeli Wheel Innovator



by Jon Knox

Linamar (TSX: LNR; Linda Hasenfratz, CEO), a diversified manufacturing company and the second largest Canadian manufacturer of auto parts traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, valued at over $6 billion, has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with SoftWheel Ltd. to produce wheels for SoftWheel at one of its North American factories. Softwheel has developed a unique suspension technology where the suspension is mounted within the wheel itself. Their products are rapidly being adopted globally by a variety of sectors including wheelchairs and bicycles, notably for city bike programs growing quickly on a global basis.

Linamar has 59 factories and 6 product development centers operating in 15 countries around the world and manufactures parts for the global automotive industry and its major players, including Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, GM, ZF, and others. Linamar also has significant businesses in the access equipment and harvesting equipment markets. The cooperation between the companies will focus on considerably growing the supply for SoftWheel products by opening an automotive-scale production line and by supporting the engineering of SoftWheel current and future products. This capacity growth is derived from the growing demand for SoftWheel products worldwide. The cooperation between the companies will enable SoftWheel to leverage Linamar’s global development and production capabilities to significantly increase its position in the global market.

”We are thrilled to be working with Softwheel on their innovative in wheel suspension products,” said Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz, “Their products are making a difference for customers today in important markets such as wheelchair and city bike programs and has real potential for broader mobility applications in the future.”

“We are excited to announce yet another milestone in the rapid development of SoftWheel and its global collaborations. The tremendous demand for the company’s products in recent years has been so high that existing production lines in Israel cannot meet the demand. The cooperation we are announcing with Linamar enables us to increase our production capabilities by hundreds of times and reduce delivery time while allowing us to continue to develop our unique technology and constantly improve the quality of our products. We have searched the globe for the right partners to support our growth and we found everything we were looking for in Linamar. The new collaboration is testimony to the great trust of another giant in the automotive industry in SoftWheel and its unique technology, that has already changed the lives of thousands of people around the world. This strategic partnership with one of the fastest growing companies in the automotive industry in the world is a direct continuation of NSK’s strategic investment in SoftWheel in the previous quarter and constitutes further proof of the heightened interest in the Israeli automotive industry across the world” says Daniel Barel, CEO of SoftWheel.

About Linamar.

Linamar Corporation (TSX:LNR) is a diversified global manufacturing company of highly engineered products powering vehicles, motion, work and lives. The Company is made up of 2 operating segments – the Powertrain/Driveline segment and the Industrial segment, which are further divided into 5 operating groups – Machining & Assembly, Light Metal Casting, Forging, Skyjack and Agriculture, all world leaders in the design, development and production of highly engineered products. The Company’s Machining & Assembly, Light Metal Casting and Forging operating groups focus on precision metallic components, modules and systems for powertrain, driveline and body systems designed for global electrified and traditionally powered vehicle and industrial markets. The Company’s Skyjack and Macdon companies are noted for their innovative, high quality mobile industrial and harvesting equipment, notably class-leading aerial work platforms, telehandlers, draper headers and self-propelled windrowers. Linamar has more than 28,600 employees in 60 manufacturing locations, 8 R&D centers and 25 sales offices in 17 countries in North and South America, Europe and Asia which generated sales of $6.0 billion in 2016. For more information about Linamar Corporation and its industry leading products and services, visit www.linamar.com or follow us on Twitter at @LinamarCorp.

About SoftWheel Ltd.

SoftWheel was founded in 2011 with the task of reinventing the wheel. The company operates successfully throughout North America and Europe where it sells its products in the personal mobility sector. The company is currently focused on personal mobility and vehicle sharing solution platforms which are the building blocks of future transportation. Recently the company is engaging in transforming and utilizing its core technology for automotive applications. The company’s core technology includes the company’s novel In-wheel Suspension™ system, which was invented to improve personal transportation and to increase energy efficiency. The system absorbs shock only when it encounters obstacles such as potholes, stairs, or unpaved terrain. The technology promises a comfortable, smooth, and user friendly experience in wheelchairs, bicycles, and cars.



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