TRW in March signed a joint-venture agreement with Xi'an Dong Fang Group Co., Ltd, a division of China North Industries Group Corp., to set up an airbag inflator and seatbelt pretensioner manufacturing facility in Xi'an, Shanxi Province, China. The intention is to start production before the end of the year. The new joint venture with the Dong Fang Group expands TRW's manufacturing footprint of advanced occupant safety into Northwest China. Through its six joint ventures and three wholly owned plants, TRW manufactures all elements of its safety system portfolio of airbags, seatbelts, steering wheels, braking, steering, and suspension products in China. The company has its Asia Pacific research and development center and a winter test track in the country. "We also have plans to expand the product range to include side and curtain airbag inflators next year,” said Frank Mueller, Vice President and General Manager, Global Occupant Safety Systems, TRW Automotive.