Thursday, 16 May 2013

Ford aware of pending US diesel introductions

Terry Aldea, global executive, casting and forging operations, Ford Motor Company, speaking today at the annual general meeting of SinterCast, held in Stockholm, Sweden, said Ford was “well aware” of what is happening in the US diesel pick-up market.

Aldea, who provided the meeting with an overview of Ford’s international operations, highlighted Ford's success as the global leader for the application of Compacted Graphite Iron (CGI). He noted that Ford's CGI leadership began with the introduction of the first-ever high-volume CGI engine in 2003 and continues today with an industry leading seven CGI engines, with displacements ranging from 2.7 to 9.0 litres, used in Ford and partner vehicles sold in Europe, Australia and the Americas. 

Aldea stated that the engine design community within Ford has embraced CGI as an element of Ford's engine strategy.

SinterCast is the technology provider approved for the supply of CGI process control technology to Ford Motor Company.  

Regarding recent diesel developments in North America, where Chrysler has adopted the VM Motori 3-litre V6 diesel engine (with CGI components) in the Ram 1500 pickup, Aldea assured the audience that Ford was “well aware” of the pending diesel introductions in the SUV and light duty pick-up sectors.

Aldea said Ford will continue leadership on top of its continuous string of 36 years with the F-Series as North America's best-selling pick-up.

Dr Steve Dawson, SinterCast chief executive officer, noted that while the year-on-year volume had declined by 18%, series production increased by 8% during the first quarter of 2013 and, based on the announced passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle CGI engine introductions, it is reasonable to expect further recovery in the production volume.  

Indeed, he re-confirmed that the current production programmes have the potential to provide more than two million engine equivalents at mature volume.  

Beyond the current series production, Dawson highlighted the importance of the "follower reaction" to the new diesel introductions in the SUV and light duty pick-up sector in North America, and to the upcoming high-volume petrol engine that remains on schedule for the start of foundry production later this year.  

While the V-diesel and petrol waves provide growth opportunities, Dawson re-iterated SinterCast's confidence in commercial vehicles as the largest long-term opportunity for CGI.  

Recent installations at the Halberg foundry in Germany, at the University of Alabama for the Caterpillar projected funded by the US Department of Energy, and at an undisclosed European commercial vehicle manufacturer in February reinforce the growing demand for CGI in commercial vehicle applications.  

In closing, Dawson noted that the company is in the midst of one of its busiest periods ever, with the commissioning of five new installations between February and August, on-going discussions for new installation commitments, increasing series production, and the introduction of the ductile iron technology in June.                              

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