Saturday, 21 December 2013

Ricardo to power McLaren to 2020

Ricardo plc of Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, has won a contract to supply engines for its supercars in a contract worth £40 million a year.

The deal will allow Ricardo to continue building the engines for the P1 and the 12C spider as well as the McLaren GT.

Mike Flewitt, chief executive of McLaren Automotive said “Ricardo is a leading name in the development and assembly of world-beating engines, pushing the boundaries of performance and efficiency, and sharing the core values and objectives of McLaren.”

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Bentley confirms SUV

Bentley Motors has confirmed it will build the world's fastest and most luxurious SUV at its Crewe headquarters, creating a further 1,000 jobs at the company and its suppliers, as well as taking Bentley drivers ‘off-road' for the first time in the marque's history.
This marks the start of an £800 million investment programme.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Post BRIC market growth identified

Ricardo has assessed 150-plus nations and picked out the elite 15-strong nations with the best qualifications to power the growth of the automotive industry post 2020, once BRIC nations – Brazil, Russia, India and China – level off.

Ricardo has identified three rising market regions: Promising, Up-and-coming, and Top flight. Promising markets are assigned a low Ricardo personal mobility index (and a low Ricardo commercial transport index) while those at the other end have a high mobility index – three times higher – and a higher commercial transport index (twice as high).

In the first flight (promising) are: Vietnam, the Philippines and South Africa and Nigeria. In the second flight, (Up-and-coming) are Morocco, Egypt, Peru, Argentina and Ukraine. In the last flight (top flight) are Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia and Turkey.

Hotfire gets a boost from Ricardo

Ricardo’s Syner-D programme gives a pointer to how JaguarLandRover’s next-generation Hotfire engine could progress towards meeting Euro 6 emissions requirements and CO2 reductions of over 30 per cent.

The Syner-D project, partly funded by the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, had as its main aim: to deliver a premium vehicle demonstration vehicle offering a CO2 reduction of 30 per cent, Euro 6 tailpipe emissions and suffering no compromise in transient variability and overall performance.

The three-year programme included input from JLR, Valeo, SKF, Shell and Lontra.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Holset plans new turbo facility

Plans for an all-new purpose-built multi-million pound manufacturing facility and technical centre in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,  UK have been revealed by Cummins Inc.

The plant will be operated by Cummins Turbo Technologies which is part of the engine maker’s components group.

The company began life over 60 years ago and became known as Holset Ltd. Cummins acquired the company in 1973 and changed its name to Cummins Turbo Technologies in 2006.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Will Ford respond before Ram wins 3 times?

How will Ford Motor Company respond to the mounting accolades being heaped upon Chrysler’s Ram 1500 pick-up truck in the US?

One has to think the Dearborn, Michigan based automaker will not take too long before it making an important announcement. Most likely this will come in 2014.

Ford has made plain in the past that it will vigorously defend its position as Number One pick-up truck builder in North America – a position it has held for 37 straight years.

Flybrid set to launch refuse truck KERS

As forecast here on 8 December, Torotrak plc is to buy the remaining shares of Flybrid Automotive, but the purchase requires a share issue.

Torotrak plc, of Leyland Lancashire, a leading developer and supplier of emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology for vehicles, has announced formally today that it has entered into an acquisition agreement to acquire the remaining 80 per cent of the issued ordinary shares in Flybrid Automotive for a maximum consideration of up to £23 million, of which £15 million is subject to performance targets.

The deal is subject to shareholder approval but is a foregone formality.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Torotrak to acquire Flybrid

Expect to read that Torotrak plc has taken up its option to purchase the outstanding share stock of Flybrid Automotive Ltd.
Flybrid Automotive Limited is a privately-owned award winning, innovative engineering company at the forefront of low carbon vehicle technology. Based in Silverstone, the company's core product is a high-speed flywheel based Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which is described as a superior alternative to electric hybrid systems for cars.
The move secures Flybrid range of patents, protecting them from predatory competitors. It also puts a halt on any other company making a bid for the shares. This is particularly important as Torotrak and Flybrid have built up a close working relationship, both in terms of technology and from a personnel point of view.
The link-up has further importance. The directors of Flybrid Automotive are now assured of further long-term funding to develop the range of technologies they initiated. This not only includes the flywheel-based KERS but also the cogged clutch technology which could be a cheaper alternative for some applications to the toroidal continuously variable transmissions (CVT) that Torotrak has been working on for some many years.
Torotrak’s funding could help to speed up the process of bringing Flybrid’s technology to the market-place. Flybrid could also benefit from Torotrak's extensive patenting know-how and its plans for further extending its manufacturing base. As to whether there is a merger of facilities remains to be seen. Flybrid, however, is based adjacent to Silverstone and the local area of active F1 motor racing fraternity; motor sport is an area which has shown keen interest in Flybrid's technology.

It was only in March of this year that Torotrak acquired a 20% stake in Flybrid Automotive Ltd (formerly Flybrid Systems LLP) with an option to acquire the remaining shares before the end of the calendar year.

At the time, Torotrak said the transaction strengthened Torotrak’s ability to provide turnkey development and manufacture of complete flywheel hybrid systems for buses, trucks, passenger cars, commercial and off-highway vehicles. The company expected the deal would accelerate the adoption of its technology, which it said would be in fleet trials with bus operators “later this year” through an agreement with bus constructor Wrightbus.

It is known that Flybrid Automotive has been working closely with JaguarLandRover and Volvo, as well as a number of other un-named companies.

Flybrid Automotive, a UK company owned by its founders Jon Hilton and Doug Cross, already has a successful long-term relationship with Torotrak, which uses Flybrid’s proven flywheel module in its Mechanical Kinetic Energy Recovery System (M-KERS).

Widely considered to be the world-leader in flywheel hybrid technologies, which can recover up to 70% of braking energy for around a third the cost of battery electric hybrids, Flybrid has evaluation or development programmes with a wide range of vehicle manufacturers worldwide.

Through the purchase of the remaining 80 per cent shareholding, Torotrak is also assured that, as part of the deal, it has the full-hearted support of the founders of Flybrid Automotive for a number of years to come; the two founders will be keen to see their technologies given much wider acceptance. Torotrak has already built up a rapport with a number of international companies and these could prove a valuable opportunity for Flybrid technologies.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

JLR to build vehicles in Brazil

JaguarLandRover (JLR) is to open a manufacturing facility in Brazil following a landmark agreement between the company and state authorities to build a plant in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

An agreement paving the way for construction of the plant, the first by a British company, has been signed by Phil Hodgkinson, JLR’s global business expansion director, and Sergio Cabral, state governor of Rio de Janeiro.

Based in the City of Itatiaia, the new facility requires an investment of £240 million by 2020.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Audi to launch Q1 in 2016

Audi is to launch a new compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) in 2016 to slot in below Q3. It will be produced at Audi’s plant in Ingolstadt.

"The Q1 is a key component of our growth strategy," claimed Rupert Stadler, Audi’s chief executive officer.

"It is designed on the basis of the modular transverse engine concept and will round off our Q series at the bottom end," said Stadler who is also chairman of the board of management of Audi AG.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

New blanking press feeds JLR shops

A new blanking press shop erected at JaguarLandRover’s Chester Road facility in Castle Bromwich will produce parts for future models.

The blanking process involves the making of blank panels which is the first stage of creating automotive body panels. This takes rolled coils of steel or aluminium and cuts (using a hydraulic press) outline body panel shapes ready for second pressing to create finished body panels for assembly.

This process is currently only undertaken at Halewood for JLR and the purpose of the new line is to produce panels for Castle Bromwich and Solihull. The new blanker line was required to support JLR’s projected production volumes at the site.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Halewood strikes production milestone

The former Ford Halewood plant on Merseyside, now the facility of Jaguar Land Rover, today produced the 1,000,000th Jaguar Land Rover vehicle.

The 1,000,000 vehicle is a Range Rover Evoque, painted in a special one-off colour combination and donated to Cancer Research UK.

Global demand for Range Rover Evoque has exceeded expectations with 18,000 advanced orders before job 1 on 4 July 2011. With continued demand for Evoque and growing sales of Land Rover Freelander 2, this production milestone was achieved earlier than predicted.

Friday, 22 November 2013

VW boosts five-year investment

Volkswagen Group is to invest €84.2 billion in its Automotive Division over the coming five years. Over two-thirds of the total investment amount will continue to flow into increasingly efficient vehicles, drives and technologies, as well as environmentally friendly production.

This is the result of the group’s investment planning for 2014 to 2018 discussed by the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft at its meeting today.

“We will continue to invest strongly in our innovation and technology leadership, despite the uncertain economic environment. This will once again significantly boost the Group’s competitiveness and safeguard its future. I am convinced that this will give us extra power on our way to the top,” said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft.

Volvo launches new ‘small’ engines in Europe

Volvo Group has started to use 5.1-litre and 7.7-litre diesel engines derived from the group’s wholly-owned Japanese division UD Trucks.

The engines will be used in Volvo buses and coaches as well as in Volvo and Renault commercial vehicles.

Interestingly, the Japanese-derived engines have an Indian connection. Volvo's Indian dimension stems from its joint venture (JV) with Eicher Motors, known as VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV). The JV started five years ago and is wholly Volvo owned.

Scania breaks new ground in ISB6.7 purchase

For the first time in its long history, Swedish truck and bus maker Scania has had to resort to using another manufacturer’s diesel engines in its vehicles.

Scania’s top brass have elected to equip the company’s Citywide single deck bus with the Euro 6 version of Cummins 6.7-litre six-cylinder ISB6.7 diesel engine.

This has not been an easy decision to make and could be a sign of the times. Could this be the precursor for further use of the US company’s engines in Scania’s product line-up? And why didn't Scania use an engine from MAN, for example? MAN has a 6.9-litre I6 diesel engine which is used in mid-range trucks. The MAN engine could be heavier and maybe more costly than the Cummins ISB6.7 - the latter aspect of cost may depend on whether the comparison is made between MAN engines made in Germany and Cummins units engines made in Darlington, or Cummins engines made in Darlington and the US

Ubisense wins another Smart order

Ubisense plc of Cambridge, UK, a market leader in real time location intelligence solutions, has announced that a ‘large European automotive manufacturer’ has deployed its Smart Factory System to another of its production lines.

Ubisense declines to name the customer but it acknowledges that Aston Martin, BMW, Cummins and Fiat are key amongst its customer base. On the basis of this the new order could be from BMW.

The order, valued at approximately €700,000 is part of a global framework agreement with the manufacturer that covers more than 100 sites and this represents the fourth installation since production acceptance was granted in July this year.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

‘Breakthrough’ CGI gasoline engine to bow soon

The world’s first ‘breakthrough’ gasoline passenger car engine with a compacted graphite iron (CGI) vee cylinder block will bow in the first quarter of 2014.

The first hint of the exciting new engine came a year ago at the annual general meeting in Sweden of process control specialist SinterCast when chief executive officer Dr Steve Dawson said: “We are happy to announce that we have achieved our first high volume commitment for a CGI cylinder block in a passenger car gasoline engine.”

He added: “The engine programme has been approved. We know the start of production (SOP), the production volumes and the applications. Breakthrough would not be too strong a word to use for this. This is an exciting development and a milestone for SinterCast.”

Friday, 25 October 2013

VW opens fifth plant in China

Volkswagen has inaugurated its Shanghai-Volkswagen plant in Ningbo, south eastern China. The plant is designed for an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles.

The Ningbo plant is located some 150 km south of Anting (greater Shanghai area) and will create 5,700 new jobs. The facility has its own press, body and paint shops and final assembly unit.

Production begins with the new ŠKODA Superb. Volkswagen and ŠKODA models based on the MQB platform will follow in the next stage.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Ricardo brings new life to CryoPower…

Ricardo’s CryoPower cryogenic split-cycle engine concept is predicted to have a thermal efficiency of 60 per cent – significantly more fuel efficient than current engine technology.

Now a new progress feasibility prove-out of this concept through design, analysis and rig-based testing of critical sub-systems has been initiated funding from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB).

If successful, according to Ricardo, the research “will help ultimately” to deliver an engine with the potential to transform the environmental performance of long haul trucks and other heavy vehicles

As it backs dual-fuel with CAP

Clean Air Power (CAP) of Aston Way, Leyland, Lancs., UK, is hoping that by teaming with Ricardo the two companies can develop new products to serve the growing market for dual-fuel powered commercial vehicles.

CAP, a global leader in dual-fuel technology, has signed up with Ricardo Inc. in the US to further develop the dual-fuel engine technology business.

The agreement aims to bring together CAP's dual-fuel technology of compression ignited diesel engines that use natural gas with diesel pilot ignition and Ricardo’s systems integration expertise. Ricardo is headquartered at Shoreham, UK.

Scania mounts Euro 6 roadshow

Scania has mounted a roadshow in its home country of Sweden to demonstrate its new line of Euro 6 trucks

The trucks being demonstrated in the roadshow all meet Euro 6. Scania claims it has 15 truck models that meet  Euro 6.

With its latest roadshow Scania is not only offering Euro 6 diesel engines, but also Euro 6 engines for alternative fuels, such as 100 per cent biodiesel or gas.

Combine harvesters in Brazil for example use Scania V8 engines whereas PMC pea harvesters made in the UK use 12.7-litre engines. Scania is making overtures to Claas in Germany in a bid to get it use its V8 engines in combine harvesters .

Monday, 21 October 2013

Aston Martin follows Bentley with SUV

Aston Martin’s Lagonda’s sport utility vehicle (SUV) has moved a step closer to reality and will be a joint development with Mercedes AMG.

The idea, first mooted with the Lagonda concept vehicle launched at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009, must have been hastened with the news last March that Bentley would develop an SUV, taking that marquee into unchartered waters.

Volkswagen AG has set the pace in developing SUVs in Europe, not only through its own brands but through links with Porsche.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Honda F1 base to be in Milton Keynes

Honda is to base its European Formula 1 racing operation in Milton Keynes, UK from June next year in order to continue work on its 2015 season F1 engine.
The company is developing the new engine under a joint programme with McLaren. McLaren currently uses engines from Mercedes-benz. Honda claims it has just fired up the new engine. Red Bull racing is also located in Milton Keynes.
Manabu Nishimae, president of Honda Motor Europe Ltd, commented, "It's exciting to hear the cry of our new born Formula One engine for the first time. Our engineers are working hard to develop the engine and we are all looking forward to the start of the 2015 season."

Charles Morgan has ‘no role’ in Morgan

Charles Morgan no longer has a role as ‘ambassador’ of UK sports car maker Morgan Motor Company according to news reports.

Morgan, 62, stepped down as managing director of the sports car company seven months ago but retained the title of ‘ambassador’. But the current managing director Steve Morris has said that Morgan has ‘no role at all’.

Speaking at a conference in London this week, Morgan said: “I ought to say a few words of explanation. I have a 30 per cent shareholding. I am also one of the beneficiaries of a trust whose two trustees share 48 per cent of the company.”

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

GM disappoints with its 2015 SUVs

Anyone expecting General Motors (GM) to slot in its ‘stillborn’ 4.5-litre V8 turbodiesel into the 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade full-size sports utility vehicles (SUVs) is disappointed.

Instead, The General took the low road and announced these vehicles would carry the well-tried 5.3-litre and 6.2-litre EcoTec3 V8 engines and six-speed transmissions. This is the same line-up the company introduced in the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

But this may not be the end of the story. For surely GM cannot afford to write off all the engineering expertise it poured over a number of years into the compact V8 diesel it shelved just prior to its 2009 bankruptcy and reorganization.

Smart Ubisense scores in the US

Ubisense Group plc, a market leader in real time location intelligence solutions, has been selected as preferred supplier to a global automotive OEM for its factories in North America.

Initial orders valued at more than $500,000 have been placed for implementations in the first two plants while the full project contract is estimated to have a multi-million dollar value over the length of its three-year rollout programme.

The scope of supply includes the recently launched Smart Factory System installed across multiple facilities. Applications ranging from tool and assembly line control to process tracking and yard management are to be deployed in a project roll-out across multiple production lines including vehicle assembly as well as engine build.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Columbus readies for the new ISV5.0

Journalists have been guided through Cummins’ first engine plant, the Columbus Engine Plant, otherwise known as CEP, where the new ISV5.0 will be built. Pilot engines are going down the line.

The last engine built at CEP was the N14 line. At one time the N14 accounted for more than half the heavy-duty road-going engines sold in America, and it developed an enviable reputation for being “bulletproof” according to .

Cummins no doubt hopes the new ISV5.0 (which it has been developing for the last 13 years according to sources) will prove just as robust as the N14. The plant still does machining on ISX blocks and heads but has been under-utilized since that engine assembly was moved to Jamestown, New York in 2001.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

SCOOP: CGI set for four-cylinder engine blocks

Confirmation that four-cylinder engines with compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder blocks are now not far away from volume production comes with the revelation that Grainger & Worrall (G&W) has been casting prototype blocks for some time.

According to sources, the company has been casting four-cylinder blocks for over 12 months. Typical batch sizes range from 50 units, plus or minus 10 or 20 units.

It is understood the engines are destined for a European passenger car. The cylinder blocks are small, compact four-cylinder units, according to well-placed sources.

Centre for next-generation vehicle testing

Next year will see completion of Ricardo’s £10 million Vehicle Emissions Research Centre (VERC) the company is building in conjunction with Horiba UK.

With its new facility Ricardo will be able to offer companies such as JaguarLandRover (JLR) and other vehicle builders the capability to test new vehicles for a global market to far more extreme limits than would previously have been possible.

Ironically, Ricardo, Horiba and JLR already have a close working harmony. Horiba UK is one of JLR’s principal suppliers of emissions testing equipment with Solihull and Whitley being recent recipients of equipment; Ricardo is JLRs’ preferred supplier for bespoke powertrain assignments and Horiba UK and Ricardo are now united in this ground-breaking research facility that is expected to be compete in the second half of 2014.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Renault-Nissan plant biggest in Africa

The second production line at Renault-Nissan’s plant in Tangier, opened today, will make it the biggest plant in Africa, allowing the facility to produce 340,000 vehicles a year.

The public-private partnership between Kingdom of Morocco and Renault-Nissan Alliance enhances the international reputation of the "Made in Morocco" label.

The inauguration of the line was presided over by Abdelkader Amara, Moroccan Minister of Industry, Trade and New Technologies, and in the presence of Jacques Prost, managing director of the Renault Morocco group, and a number of key figures in politics and economics.

Monday, 7 October 2013

‘Breakthrough’ rotary engine to run in six weeks

The Libralato rotary engine now under development at Loughborough University, UK, is expected to conduct its first fired trials under its own power within the next ‘five or six weeks’ according to sources.

Described as ‘breakthrough technology’ and ‘an eco-engine for the 21st century’ the engine runs on gasoline but its inventor claims diesel-like efficiency and a 50 per cent mass reduction.

Invented by Dr Ruggero Libralato, the rotary engine has an asymmetrical geometry of expansion and compression volumes and does not need to convert the liner motion of a piston engine into rotary motion.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

G&W completes £1.25 million investment

World-leading castings, machining and up-front engineering services business, Grainger & Worrall (G&W), has expanded its portfolio of manufacturing capabilities by investing in a second twin pallet five-axis CNC machine.

The machine’s arrival marks the culmination of a £1.25 million investment in equipment and infrastructure at the company’s facility in Telford, Shropshire. This expenditure has been part of an on-going programme over the last two years which has seen G&W spend more than £6 million at its Shropshire premises.

The company is well known in the automotive industry both for its casting supply technology – especially in the area of compacted graphite iron (CGI) prototype components – and its importance of its role in the component supply chain. It now employs some 400 members of staff, operates six foundries, precision machining facilities and an extensive engineering resource. This blogspot estimates its turnover is in the region of £40 million per year.

GM to bank-roll Millbrook’s pension scheme

It is rumoured that the cost to Rutland Partners of buying Millbrook Proving Ground Ltd is just under £15 million; a figure somewhat lower than some people expected. As part of the consideration, Rutland will not have to fund the employees’ pension scheme. It has not been disclosed how Rutland will finance the deal.

Also as part of the deal, there is a continued agreement from General Motors (GM) and Vauxhall Motors for Millbrook to maintain production of ‘blue light’ vehicles and other conversions. In this event, Millbrook will be a sub-contractor to Vauxhall.

GM will continue to provide durability, testing and engineering design work to Millbrook for a range of Vauxhall/Opel vehicles.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Millbrook acquired by Rutland Partners

As exclusively reported in this blogspot on 25 September, Rutland Partners of Regent Street, London has now confirmed it has acquired Millbrook Proving Ground Limited. The wait is over - this blogspot first revealed Millbrook being placed 'for sale' a year ago in October 2012!

The venture capitalist company exchanged contracts with General Motors (on 2 October) for the acquisition of Millbrook Proving Ground Limited for an undisclosed amount with additional funds being made available for the development of new facilities.

The nature of the ‘new money’ and new investments has not at this stage been disclosed. The consideration could be a multiple of Millbrook’s trading profits. For example, Rutland acquired Pizza Hut UK Restaurants for £20 million and the renowned test centre might seem a strange bedfellow alongside the Edinburgh Woollen Mill business which Rutland acquired for £80 million.

Friday, 27 September 2013

MG3 begins ‘batch’ production

Production of the MG3 ‘supermini’ has begun at MG Motors in Longbridge, Birmingham, UK.

However, as with the MG6, the company prefers to describe production as ‘final assembly’ rather than a full production process, although design and engineering of the cars is carried out in Birmingham. Final quality control is carried out at the UK plant and the car has a UK VIN plate.

“We do batch production rather than continuous production while are market builds,” said a spokesman.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Ford gives praise for CGI V8 diesels

The 500,000th 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 turbo diesel engine has just been installed into a new 2014 Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat at the company’s Louisville Truck Assembly Plant in Kentucky.

Introduced in 2011, the 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 turbocharged diesel delivers 400 bhp and 800 lbft torque with best-in-class fuel economy. The V8 has a compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block cast by Tupy SA in Joinville, Brazil; the engine is machined and assembled at Ford’s Chihuahua Engine Plant (CEP), Mexico.

"This is a significant milestone for an engine that was introduced just a few years ago," said Doug Scott, Ford Truck group marketing manager. "Demand for the engine has outpaced our expectations; our customers love the combination of performance, towing capability, and fuel economy."

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Venture capitalist in the frame for Millbrook

The latest word on the street suggests a venture capital company has moved into first place as the most likely business to acquire the assets of Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

These rumours come at a time when JaguarLandRover (JLR), once a strong candidate tipped to take over Millbrook, is now enmeshed with its own new state-of-the-art research facility where it is the lead partner in the project to invest £50m, along with Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), WMG and the UK Government's Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE).

With the new National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC) as JLR’s first focus, the prospect of an investment in Millbrook inevitably takes a back seat, paving the way for other possibilities.

WMG features big in JLR’s R&D plans

It is no surprise that JaguarLandRover’s (JLR) plans for advanced research and development in the UK that will focus on new cutting-edge technology, innovation and education will rely heavily on the Warwick Manufacturing group of which Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya is chairman.

Professor Bhattacharyya has close links with Tata Motors and JLR. This deal is a triumph for him and demonsstrates the power of perseverence.

The new National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC), designed to create a large-scale collaborative research environment, will bring academics from the UK's leading universities together with researchers and engineers from JLR and its supply chain, in a single, multi-purpose, state-of-the-art research facility.

Monday, 23 September 2013

China’s JMC signs up for CGI technology

Jiangling Motors Corporation, Ltd (JMC), China's leading producer of diesel engined vans, light buses and light duty trucks, has entered into a technology supply agreement with the Swedish process control specialist SinterCast for compacted graphite iron (CGI) product development.  

Under the terms of the agreement, a SinterCast Mini-System 3000 will be installed at the JMC foundry located in Nanchang, China.  

The Mini-System 3000, which is planned to be shipped this month and commissioned in October, will enable JMC to independently develop high quality CGI cylinder blocks and heads for its own diesel engines and for engines produced as part of its joint venture with Ford Motor Company.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Millbrook sale edges closer

Those expecting news of the sale of Millbrook proving ground in Lidlington, Bedfordshire, will have to wait a little while longer for the details to emerge.

Insiders note that while a signing could be ‘close’ the actual public release of contractual details regarding the new owner and its plans for the extensive proving grounds to the north of London will not emerge until ‘late November or early December’.

The process of due diligence, always a problem in the sale of any business, has proved to be unusually lengthy considering the relatively small size of the business.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Daimler and Renault in new van tie-up

Mercedes-Benz has created an air of some confusion over its future van strategy with Renault.

While on the one hand, Daimler AG and Renault SA continue to identify new projects together as they expand their global cooperation to include commercial vans made in Japan, in Europe the picture for Daimler’s large vans is less clear.

Renault's alliance partner Nissan Motor Corporation will supply Daimler with the NV350 Urvan which will be sold under its Mitsubishi Fuso brand in selected export markets.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Vauxhall Motors on a roll

Vauxhall Motors is set to overtake take Ford Motor Company in the UK car retail business, according to a report in the Mail on Sunday.

Duncan Aldred, chairman and managing director of Vauxhall Motors, is reported as saying: We will be overtaking Ford by 2016. Just after the middle of the decade I expect us to be number one. So I have very high hopes for the Vauxhall brand in the UK. Our mission is to get Vauxhall right to the very top.”

Ford appears undaunted by the claims, noting “Vauxhall has always been feisty, but it’s been saying this kind of thing for 10 years.”

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Taxicabs roll again in Coventry

The production line at the London Taxi Company (LTC) in Coventry of the distinctive ‘black cab’ has begun to roll again following the ‘rescue’  from administration by Chinese company Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd.
The business plan calls for the company to sell 2,000 taxicabs in the first year, after winning contracts to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Last month, it was reported that Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, whose parent owns Volvo Cars, plans to export cars it has developed with the Swedish brand to the US beginning tear 2016 – a decade after founder Li Shufu set the goal.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Hotfire engine to power new JLR light alloy cars

Jaguar Land Rover has announced an investment approaching £1.5 billion to introduce an all-new technically-advanced aluminium vehicle architecture in forthcoming models to be powered by the Hotfire family of engines.

To support this strengthening of the Jaguar product portfolio 1,700 new jobs will be created in the UK at its advanced manufacturing facility in Solihull.  

Dr. Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover chief executive officer, announced the major strategy at the Frankfurt Motor Show to deliver an enhanced range of models for both the Jaguar and Land Rover brands in new segments and markets.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Navistar set for more bought-in engines?

The latest twist in developments at Navistar International (see Navistar ditches DT 466 in Class6/7 trucks) suggests the North American truck maker is moving away from vertical integration.

At a time when Class 8 rivals Freightliner, Paccar and Volvo are trying to encourage customers to buy in-house engines, Navistar appears to be edging in the other direction when it began to specify the ISX 15-litre engine from Cummins Inc.

There was a time not so long ago when Navistar was embracing Caterpillar’s 15-litre engine as the way forward towards creating the MaxxForce 15. But this adventure had to be scrapped when it became clear that an EGR-only strategy for the company’s engines was a ‘no go’ area as a means of meeting emissions requirements.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Navistar ditches DT466 in Class 6/7 trucks

Behind the news that Navistar International has had to endure a third quarter loss of $247 million and the subsequent loss of 500 jobs, is the admission the company is blaming much of the financial loss on its transition to the use of Selective Catalytic Converters (SCR) for engines powering its medium and heavy duty trucks.

Navistar president and chief executive officer Troy Clarke admitted: “This includes resizing our company to match our current business environment.”

He added: "We still face a few significant challenges, but we have laid the groundwork to solve them, and obviously, we want to accelerate our rate of progress."