Borg-Warner Automotive, Inc. Company History
Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, BorgWarner Inc. is a worldwide leader in the development and production of highly engineered engine and drivetrain components and systems for nearly every major automaker. BorgWarner’s technological advances in the automotive industry span over a century. Originating in 1880 as the Morse Equalizing Spring Company, Borg-Warner Corporation was later formed in 1928 by a collection of companies including Borg & Beck, Marvel-Schebler, Warner Gear, and Mechanics Universal Joint. A spin off from Borg-Warner Security Corporation, Borg-Warner Automotive Inc. became an independent company in 1993. Now known as BorgWarner Inc., the company currently employs 16,000 individuals at 60 locations in 18 countries and cited combined worldwide sales exceeding $4 billion in 2009. To date, BorgWarner has approximately 2,800 active patents and patent applications pending or under preparation.
Products Manufactured by Borg-Warner Automotive, Inc. that Contained Asbestos
Exposure to asbestos as a “causative factor” in the development of mesothelioma has been recognized by several organizations including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A documented court case identified Borg-Warner disk brake pads to have contained chrysotile asbestos fibers, of which such fibers comprised seven to twenty-eight percent of the pad’s weight dependent upon the type of pad.
In another documented court case, Borg-Warner was identified as the manufacturer of automotive parts, including disc-type clutches, composed of chrysotile asbestos. Of note was that there were no warnings contained on the product itself or its packaging indicating the potential danger to an individual as a result of asbestos exposure.
A 1972 study conducted by Borg-Warner indicated that its clutch manufacturing operations produced levels of airborne asbestos fibers that were in excess of OSHA standards. From the early 1960's to the early 1980's, Borg-Warner supplied the aforementioned clutches to General Motors for installation on new vehicles until the company made the decision to dispose of its clutch operation.
Among the products produced by Borg-Warner Automotive, Inc. that may have contained parts with asbestos fibers are:
- Borg-Warner disk brake pads
- Borg-Warner disc-type clutches
Occupations at Risk for Asbestos Exposure
Brake mechanics, auto mechanics and any individuals exposed to an environment where brake repair and/or any work with asbestos-containing friction products, including clutches, occurred could be at risk for developing an asbestos-related illness. Often a mechanic’s job involved grinding the disk brake pads which in turn generated dust that would be inhaled within the confines of the workspace. As a result, it is alleged that exposure to this dust may result in a range of life threatening illnesses from asbestosis to mesothelioma. Since the fibers cannot be expelled once inhaled, there are no known cures for the resulting illness.
Family members of automotive workers exposed to asbestos may also be at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related illness as a result of asbestos-contaminated garments entering the home environment and the asbestos fibers being released and inhaled.
Since there is an extended latency period with the development of mesothelioma cancer or other asbestos related illness, it can take decades (approximately 3) for an individual to show symptoms from the time of initial exposure. Learn more about whether you or someone you know may have encountered exposure to airborne asbestos in the workplace by visiting our asbestos exposure page.
As of the year ending December 31, 2009, BorgWarner had been named as a defendant in 23,000 asbestos cases with estimated asbestos liabilities at $49.9 million. Plaintiffs in these cases maintain that the asbestos-containing components of Borg-Warner disk brake pads and Borg-Warner disc-type clutches exposed employees to dangerous levels of airborne asbestos fiber that resulted in illness and death. Borg-Warner Automotive Inc. remains in operation today as BorgWarner Inc. As a result of the demand for the company’s current environmentally friendly technologies aimed at improving fuel efficiency, air quality and vehicle performance, BorgWarner anticipates $2.3 billion of net new powertrain business for 2011-2013—a 28% increase over its previous three-year net new business.Sources