BorgWarner Inc. (Auburn Hills)

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Borg Warner is a company known mainly for its manufacture of powertrain products, including automatic and manual transmissions, transmission components such as transmission control units, electro-hydraulic control components, one-way clutches, friction material, turbochargers, and four-wheel drive system components. The Engine Group of Borg Warner creates products and strategies for managing the fuel efficiency of engines, reducing their emissions, and enhancing their performance, while their Drivetrain Group focuses on developing control systems and strategies that are interactive for the traditional mechanical products of Borg Warner.

The Borg Warner Company began in 1928, the result of a merger of Warner Gear and Borg and Beck, which was established in 1904. Both of these merged in addition to Marvel-Schebler and Mechanics Universal Joint. In 1909, Warner Gear manufactured the first manual transmission. Borg Warner was known as the source of Warner Gear overdrive units for 1930’s through 1970’s cars. It was also known as the company that developed Ford’s three-speed automatic transmission, called the Ford-O-Matic, which was put on the market in 1950. Throughout the decades, Borg Warner invented many new automotive products, such as transfer cases, paper-based wet friction materials, the Sprag Clutch, advanced 5-speed manual transmissions, and aluminum automatic transmissions.

In 1987, Borg-Warner Corporation underwent a leveraged buy-out and ceased to exist as a result of multiple complex transactions. Borg Warner Automotive, Inc. subsequently was created to be a subsidiary of the new corporation known as Borg Warner Corporation, later to be named Borg Warner Security Corporation. The automotive division became an independent company in 1993, when it was spun off of Borg Warner Security Corporation. This company grew continuously into the new millennium.

During the 20th century’s first three quarters, many automotive products were manufactured with asbestos. Because asbestos possessed excellent fire and heat resistant properties and was very durable, it was useful and ideal to be used in the manufacture of automotive products, especially in friction components like brake pads and clutches. Up through the late 1970s, Borg Warner employees, auto mechanics, and others who worked around these products were exposed to asbestos regularly. Commonly, asbestos fibers were inhaled by the workers, leading to the eventual development of critical pulmonary diseases, such as the cancer mesothelioma.

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