The paper presents a methodology developed within the EURobust project (G1RD-CT-2002-00833 and IMS-Robust 97009, www.eurobust.net). Durability and robustness of components are combined effects of external loads, geometrical design, selected materials and manufacturing sequence. The influence of the manufacturing sequence has not yet been explored and implemented in the virtual product development process and this paper presents a new and unique method to help the engineer in invoking the effect of the manufacturing sequence on product properties. The methodology extracts and evaluates manufacturing parameters with a major influence on component durability. The method is a combination of engineering judgement, Variation Mode and Effect Analysis (VMEA), design of experiment plans for computer-based experiments, automatisation of Finite Element simulations and visualisation of results. The paper describes how to use the method when estimating the robustness of a forged steering knuckle where the deep rolling process was identified as the most important manufacturing process in the manufacturing sequence, using Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA). The impact on residual stresses, surface quality and deformation hardening from the deep rolling parameters such as tool diameter, hydrostatic pressure, circumferential spindle velocity, feed rate, etc was analysed using VMEA. A simulation model of the deep rolling process was developed and the variations of residual stresses as a function of the manufacturing parameters were simulated and analysed using graphical response surfaces. The method will help engineers to better control the design of components taking all aspects, including the manufacturing sequence, into consideration at the early design phase. The method will also increase the knowledge of how the manufacturing processes affect component durability.