Thursday, 25 July 2013

Aston and Mercedes in technical link-up

Mercedes-AMG GmbH, a 100% subsidiary and the high performance brand of Daimler AG, and Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd. intend to enter a technical partnership.

A corresponding Letter of Intent has been signed today. Essential elements of the planned partnership are supply agreements between Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Benz Cars and Aston Martin.

Mercedes-AMG will supply Aston Martin with engines, while Mercedes-Benz Cars will provide the British luxury sports car manufacturer with e/e (electric/ electronic) components for Aston Martin’s future models.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Bentley SUV will be made in Britain

Bentley Motors has confirmed that it will continue with the development of the Bentley SUV, the company’s fourth model line, and build the vehicle in Crewe with anticipated production reaching 4,000 a year. It will go on sale in 2016.

Bentley Motors claims the new programme will create over 1,000 jobs in the UK. Over the next three years Bentley will invest more than £800 million in its headquarters at Crewe and continued development of new models.

The car will be based on the Bentley EXP 9F unveiled at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Powered by a 6-litre V12 gasoline engine the new sports utility vehicle (SUV) will also offer possibilities for a diesel option in times to come.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

EA888 to replace VW’s five-cylinder engine

According to it is the end of the road in the US for Volkswagen's venerable 2.5-liter five-cylinder gasoline engine as the German carmaker has announced it will gradually replace it with a new 1.8-litre turbocharged and direct-injection gasoline four-cylinder TSI in Jetta, Beetle, and Passat madels.
As already reported in these pages, the EA888 is being ramped up in a new VW assembly plant in Silao, Mexico.

The engine delivers the same output as the 2.5-litre unit at 170hp, though peak torque is improved slightly by 7 lbft to 184 lbft. However, this torque is delivered much lower in the rev range. The German automaker says the engine also offers significant fuel mileage gains - up to 17 per cent on the highway in the Beetle application, for example.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

VW group sales rise five per cent

Volkswagen Group vehicle deliveries in the first half of 2013 reached 4.7 million (against 4.45 million in January – June 2012); a rise of 5.5 per cent.

Deliveries in June were slightly up at 827,800 (June 2012: 798,500); a rise of 3.7 per cent).

Group brands suffered a drop of 3.5 per cent with a total of 1.87 million vehicles sold on the overall European market in the first half year, against 1.93 million in the first six months of 2012.

£1bn for UK auto industry growth

A joint UK motor industry and government automotive strategy has today committed to invest well over £1bn in additional funds over the next 10 years to secure the growth and development of its vehicle and component manufacturing sector. 

This new funding supports multi-billion pound investments announced in the last few years by global automotive companies to boost production levels and develop new technologies and models.

Developed under the guidance of the Automotive Council guidance, both industry and government will fund and resource investments in a range of projects including the creation of an Advanced Propulsion Centre, thousands of new motor industry apprenticeships and the creation of an Automotive Investment Organisation.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

MAG wins JLR’s Hotfire engine job

Global machine tool supplier MAG IAS has won an important contract to supply machine tools and other equipment for the manufacture of JaguarLandRover’s Hotfire four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engine family at the automaker’s i54 site near Wolverhampton. There is the potential to make three-, six- and eight-cylinder versions based on 0.5-litre/cylinder modularity.

This confirms earlier reports in this newsletter that the site would be the location of what sources in the machine tool industry describe as a ‘cut and paste’ job, whereby similar arrangements and cell layouts of MAG’s machine tool equipment it has supplied previously and might found in other engine manufacturing plants around the world could be used as the basis of the new machining and other production processes in Wolverhampton.

The contract is another important benchmark for MAG which has become a major supplier of engine component manufacturing equipment to some segments of the world’s automotive industry. MAG is, for example, a premier supplier to Ford Motor Company. However, MAG seldom announces its contracts with OEMs in the automotive industry.

GM to build Mokka in Zaragoza

General Motors’ plant in Zaragoza (Spain) will start producing Mokka, a small sports utility vehicle (SUV) in the second half of 2014.

The combined GM and Opel/Vauxhall leadership made the joint decision because of the high demand for the vehicle in Europe. Also, additional capacity for small SUVs will be created at the plant in Bupyeong (Korea) that has been the sole source of production so far.

Opel chief executive officer Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann said: “The decision for Zaragoza follows our company's strategy of building vehicles where we sell them. The enormous demand for the Mokka underlines the attractiveness of our vehicles, adds momentum to our product offensive and secures jobs in Europe. The decision will help address the under-utilisation of available production capacity in Europe and therefore is good news for the entire organisation.”

CGI gasoline engine on schedule

Production will begin in the second half of this year of the world’s first production gasoline engine with a compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block.

This has been confirmed by Sintercast in its latest statement which notes that with increasing contributions from all automotive engine sectors, it has posted record annualised series production of 1.65 million engine equivalents in the second quarter of 2013.  

The production surpasses the previous record of 1.6 million engine equivalents set in the first quarter of 2012 and represents an increase of more than 35% since the end of 2012.  

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Record worldwide sales for BMW

BMW Group achieved its highest sales for the first six months of the year, with a total of 954,521 vehicles delivered worldwide, an increase of six per cent over the same period last year (previous year 900,566).

Sales in June also reached an all-time high with 184,489 vehicles sold worldwide last month, an increase of 6.9% over the previous year (172,528).

Worldwide sales in June of BMW brand vehicles climbed 9.4% to 153,075 units (previous year 139,879). A total of 804,248 BMW brand vehicles (previous year 747,089) have been delivered to customers worldwide since the start of the year – an increase of 7.7 per cent.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Car and van records flow at Vauxhall

Vauxhall’s two UK manufacturing plants have both reached production milestones. The 250,000th Astra Sports Tourer rolled off the production line at Ellesmere Port and the Luton facility built its 900,000th Vivaro-type van.

Yesterday, workers at Ellesmere Port, Britain’s number one manufacturer of estate cars, held a celebration at the end of the production line as the quarter of a millionth Astra Sports Tourer, the UK’s best-selling estate car, was driven off the production line. Over 2.8 million Astra vehicles have been sold since it went on sale in 1980 with 30,000 sold alone this year.

The Sports Tourer is assembled solely at Ellesmere Port for export across Europe; this reflects the depth of Vauxhall’s engineering and manufacturing excellence in the UK.

GM diesel pick-up trucks set to appear?

Reports are filtering through that General Motors has a new ‘kid on the block’ in the form of a new generation of diesel powered pick-up trucks.

According to Auto Guide, The General has been dropping hints concerning a new generation of diesel pick-up trucks for some time, and an engineer from Chevrolet has now confirmed to AutoGuide that a diesel will arrive in a non-heavy duty pickup truck in the near future. 

If true, that suggests the brand’s half-ton Silverado could receive the new diesel, or it could fall to the smaller Colorado, which is set to return to the North American market in 2014 as a 2015 model-year vehicle.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Navistar appoints GM heavyweight as CFO

Walter G. Borst joins Navistar international Corporation on 1 August in the ‘hot seat’ of executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO). He succeeds Andrew J. Cederoth who has left the company.

Borst, 51, joins Navistar from General Motors, where most recently he was the chairman, chief executive officer (CEO) and president of GM Asset Management. He was responsible for managing approximately $85 billion in assets, predominantly for the GM benefits plans.

Prior to that, he spent seven years as GM's treasurer and more than two years as CFO of Adam Opel AG.