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."

JLR edges closer to electric drives

JaguarLandRover (JLR) is taking the lead role in an advanced powertrain research and development programme for state-of-the-art, next-generation hybrid and battery-electric powertrain technologies based on the Range Rover Evoque platform.

The ‘Evoque_e’ is a two-year £16.3m UK government Technology Strategy Board (TSB) project of which JLR will contribute £4m to the project and will lead a consortium of 12 selected partners – eight from industry and three universities.

The project brings together Zytek Automotive, GKN Driveline, Motor Design Limited, AVL, Drive System Design, Williams Advanced Engineering, Delta Motorsport, Tata Steel, Bristol University, Cranfield University and Newcastle University.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Chrysler to re-engine its big Rams?

As Nissan and Cummins Inc. prepare the ground for the launch of the Japanese company’s Titan pick-up truck, questions arise as to whether Chrysler will seize the opportunity to re-engine its Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pick-up trucks with the Cummins new V8 engine.

Chrysler’s Ram pick-up truck operation shows both the Ram 2500 and the Ram 3500 pick-up trucks as being available with the Cummins 6.7-litre I6 diesel engine.

Senior managers, sales staff and engineers will need to weigh up the potential gains of offering the new Cummins V8 Turbo Diesel against the costs of re-engineering the vehicle to accommodate the more compact V8 configuration.