Currently the company builds electric power steering units mainly for smaller cars in Europe but wants to expand its offering to larger vehicles.
"It's clear that to fuel growth in Europe we have to be able to offer manufacturing of any kind of EPS [electric power steering]," Boyer said.
Nexteer is targeting vans, one of the few vehicle classes remaining that still use hydraulic steering. Nexteer calculates that switching to electric power steering improves fuel economy by 6 percent.
The company's new plant in Kenitra, Morcocco, will have the capacity to build 700,000 electric power steering racks annually, Boyer said. It will become the company's 25th plant globally once it is opened.
Nexteer began life as Saginaw Steering Gear and operated as General Motors' in-house supplier. It was spun off as a division of Delphi Automotive in 1999 but was brought back in-house when Delphi declared bankruptcy in 2005.
Nexteer was born in 2010 when GM sold the supplier to Pacific Century Motors, the investment arm for the city of Beijing. Nexteer was 59th in the Automotive News Europe ranking of top 100 suppliers based on 2016 sales.
Nexteer is developing steer-by-wire racks for use in autonomous cars, starting with Level 4, which will still require the car to be fitted with a steering wheel. The company showed a prototype rack that de-links the steering wheel in certain autonomous maneuvers, for example during collision avoidance, to prevent the driver from counter steering in panic.
Boyer estimated steer-by-wire could account for 30 percent to 50 percent of Nexteer's electric power steering business by 2030.