Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Mixed picture for Daimler Trucks in 2014

Daimler Trucks will sell almost 500,000 trucks in 2014, despite difficult market conditions.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Eaton and the challenge of vertical integration

In the heady world of North American Class 8 trucks, for the likes of Cummins, Eaton and Meritor, life is a constant battle (in engines, transmissions and axles) against the forces of vertical integration that are steadily being imposed by European-controlled OEMs.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Parts maker with an eye to the future

DPE-Automotive Ltd of Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, UK, expects turnover to increase by 30 per cent next year.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Car and truck applications drive CGI forward

In its year-end statement SinterCast has pointed to “the start of production of two undisclosed heavy duty engine programmes”, both of which use compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder blocks.

Hyundai eyes BMW's dynamics technology

Both Hyundai and Kia must have done some serious benchmarking exercises of European medium and upper-end passenger cars to be able to determine where the epicentre of ride and handling expertise can be found.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Schaeffler sets sights on 2025

Schaeffler will show its concept car that meets the 2025 CAFE requirements at next month’s Detroit auto show - NAIAS.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Honda goes for 8-speed DCT

First application of an eight-speed double-clutch transmission (DCT) with a torque converter takes place when Honda introduces the Acura ILX production car in North America.

Nissan halts UK sales to Russia

Nissan, after declaring Russia as one its top European area for sales, ahead of the UK, has frozen orders from the region..

Ford: No plans for two-cylinder engines

Ford Motor Company has no plans ‘right now’ for two-cylinder engines, according to Barb Samardzich, chief operations officer of Ford of Europe.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Turbocharger failures at Daf Trucks

Daf Trucks in the UK appears to have suffered a spate of problems with turbochargers fitted to its 12.9-litre MX commercial vehicle diesel engines.

Blue Diamond is set for a revamp

In the same way that production of castings at 5565 Brookville Road, Indianapolis, Indiana ends in 2015 (see next news story), so too will Ford Motor Company end its Blue Diamond truck-making joint venture with Navistar.

. . . As Troy Clarke shutters Indianapolis foundry

Navistar International’s chief executive officer, Troy Clarke, continues to comb through the beleaguered company’s business in search of any area where he can cut costs. And his latest move brings no Christmas cheer for some employees.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Hyundai extends CGI leadership in Asia

Hyundai Motor Company, the world’s fifth largest auto manufacturer, has begun series production of compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder heads for the company’s 12.7-litre heavy duty commercial vehicle engine.

Nissan just loves the Russian market

Nissan sold more cars to Russia than anywhere else in Europe last month, figures have revealed.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Mexican bank to work with automotive sector

The Mexican bank Banco Nacional de Comercio Exterior (Bancomext) is to begin offering automotive suppliers credit at preferential rates.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Ford puts new effort into performance

Ford will deliver over 12 new performance vehicles for global enthusiasts through to 2020, as the company announces  its new global Ford performance team.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

OEM optimises CGI block machining

Florida State University, University of Michigan and Coherix are collaborating with a major automotive OEM to optimize the machining parameters for the new compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine blocks going into their new trucks.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Nifco has plans for third UK plant

Nifco UK, a north-east UK automotive components manufacturing firm, is planning to expand and double its workforce.

Oerlikon bows torque infill transmission

Oerlikon Graziano’s OGeco torque infill hybrid transmission will be one of the main attractions at the 2014 CTI exhibition in Berlin from 8 to 11 December.

£40 million boost for Bentley

Bentley Motors has launched the latest phase in the biggest site development in the company’s history.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

UK set to have a driverless hub by 2017

Milton Keynes in the UK looks to be on a collision course with Gothenburg in Sweden as the first to introduce autonomous vehicles.

UK firm plays key role in Ford’s 2.7-litre EcoBoost

UK prototype development CGI castings foundry Grainger & Worrall (G&W) of Bridgnorth, Shropshire, played a vital role in bringing Ford’s 2.7-litre EcoBoost gasoline engine to market.

Nissan lifts some wraps off UK battery plant

Nissan’s ultra-clean battery plant, which been ‘off limits’ to prying eyes for so long, has opened its doors for the first time.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Mercedes-Benz reaches truck milestone

The Mercedes-Benz plant in Aksaray, 230km south-east from the Turkish capital of Ankara, has built its 200,000th truck.

. . . As Daimler boosts Li-ion battery output

Daimler looks to be taking electric vehicles seriously as it plans to complete a new building in 2015 to manufacture lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles.

Friday, 28 November 2014

JLR makes a bid to bolster vendor skills

Over 50 Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers attended an event this week staged by JaguarLandRover (JLR), the UK’s largest automotive employer, to share best practices around skills development and address recruitment challenges.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

A boost for women at Toyota

Toyota is launching a new foundation to give women support and opportunities to build careers in manufacturing.

SCR and traps can revitalise old buses - Ricardo

Latest research from Ricardo shows that “some of the oldest vehicles” can also be the cleanest, if retrofitted with SCR and regenerating particulate traps.

Torotrak: Deering, out; Hughes, in

Jeremy Deering is to step down as chief executive officer of Torotrak plc and Steve Hughes, formerly engineering director at JCB Transmissions, has joined the group as chief operating officer.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Russians set to buy more subcompacts

Russia will emerge as a top automotive market in Europe as consumers in the country are beginning to place emphasis on driving dynamics and are willing to pay more for advanced driveline technology features.     

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

F1-inspired bus tech scoops UK innovation award

Torotrak Group’s kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), originally devised by Flybrid Automotive, has taken first prize in the prestigious SMMT Award for Automotive Innovation 2014.

Ford F-150: A cost analysis of moving to aluminium

Ford has surely started a trend in a shift from steel to aluminium for its F-150 pick-up truck. But how does the cost-benefit stack up for Ford?

Kohler's diesels benefit from Ricardo know-how

The new Kohler KDI 3404 engine has been developed in partnership with Ricardo and features the revolutionary Ricardo Twin Vortex Combustion System.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Ford targets Middle East and Africa

Ford Motor Company underscored its growing ambitions in the Middle East and Africa last week when it introduced the all-new Mustang on the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Question: Is RVT the new CVT?

OEMs, seemingly, are taking an interest in the reversible variable transmission (RVT) but is it a better transmission than the toroidal continuously variable transmission (CVT)?

One man thinks so, but then he would, being the inventor. And inventors, by their nature, consider their own inventions far superior to those of other people

Tofas JV to invest $1 billion in Turkish plant

Fiat's Turkish joint venture, Tofas, plans to invest US$1 billion to produce its Linea replacement, adding different variants to the Tofas plant.

Tofas, a joint-venture (JV) between Turkey's Koc Holding and Italy's Fiat, is to expand its investment programme and spend a total of US$1 billion to produce three new cars in Turkey, mainly destined for export, according to the Zaman newspaper.

Friday, 21 November 2014

GM job changes for purchasing, powertrain

General Motors has announced a series of leadership changes affecting purchasing and powertrain.

GM invests $200m in two Michigan plants

General Motors will invest US$200 million in its Orion Assembly and Pontiac Metal Centre plants to prepare for a future vehicle programme – but there will be no new jobs.

Orion will receive $160 million for tooling and equipment, and Pontiac will receive $40 million for new dies.

GM boosts diesel use for pick-ups

Is The General’s dream of seriously stepping up to the pick-up truck diesel engine table to rival Chrysler and Ford be about to be realised?

Chevrolet introduced at the Los Angeles auto show this week the Colorado ZR2 concept – a vision of how The General's division could take the all-new midsize truck’s off-road capability to the next level. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Fuel cell: "engine" of the future?

Audi is calling the fuel cell “the power source of the future”.

In this “engine”, in which hydrogen and oxygen are combined to form pure water., the Powertrain of the future?  In the fuel cell, Energy is released in a "cold combustion" process to provide the drive energy for an electric motor that turns with zero emissions.

Mercedes-Benz boosts international buying

Mercedes-Benz Cars is expanding the international presence of its procurement organization with extended responsibility for supplier quality.

The aim is to safeguard the company’s Mercedes-Benz 2020 growth strategy from the perspective of procurement.

Friday, 14 November 2014

VW lays Crafter foundation stone

The foundation stone has been laid for Volkswagen’s new plant in Września, near Poznań where the next generation Volkswagen Crafter will be built, with production set to begin in the second half of 2016.

EcoMotors SOP now set for 2015

EcoMotors Inc. of Allen Park, Michigan, now expects production of its ground-breaking opposed-piston diesel engine to begin in 2015, according to company sources.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

BMW third-quarter sales grow 4.5 per cent

BMW Group revenues increased in the third quarter by 4.5 per cent on the back of higher sales volume to €19.6 billion compared with one year earlier (2013: €18.751 billion). 

Volkswagen sets emissions goal for 2018

Volkswagen AG has set the goal of becoming the world's most sustainable carmaker by the year 2018.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ford can make 700,000 F-150 pick-up trucks a year

The first production 2015 Ford F-150 pickup with its aluminium body rolled off the line today at Ford Motor Company’s Rouge Center, Dearborn, Michigan, truck plant after years of preparation.

The F-150 will be built at two plants – Dearborn and Kansas City givin a total output capacity of 700,000 a year.

Monday, 10 November 2014

BMW i8 is first with GKN’s eAxle

GKN has produced the industry’s first two-speed eAxle which has entered production on the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid.

Renault kicks off production in Algeria

Renault Algérie Production (RAP) has launched its new car manufacturing plant in Oued Tlelat in the Oran region of Algeria.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Prof. who teamed JLR with Tata

Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, who has created a business out of education and industrial R&D, was the “kingpin” in the deal to persuade Indian carmaker Tata to purchase JaguarLandRover from Ford, according to a magazine just published.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Fields swaps over top men in Ford Europe/global

Ford Motor Company has switched the jobs of two senior men as it seeks to deliver the company’s One Ford plan for profitable growth.

Ricardo makes bid to support Chinese University

Ricardo has teamed up with Harbin Engineering University, one of China’s leading higher education and research institutions, in a bid to provide engineering support.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Warwick University bolstered by £32 million

The University of Warwick, its relationship with Jaguar LandRover (JLR) and its commitment to the UK automotive industry appears to be going from strength to strength.

 A further £32 million of State funding has been declared for two new projects to research manufacturing technology for electric motors and develop cleaner internal combustion engines, during the official opening today of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) headquarters at the University of Warwick.

Jaguar to launch AWD F-Type in LA

Jaguar has introduced an all-wheel-drive (AWD) F-Type as one of a number of performance enhancements to the award-winning Jaguar range that will grow from six to 14 derivatives in 2015.

The full range will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on 19 November. 

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Daimler blooms as US truck sales rise

Daimler Trucks’ US subsidiary booked its highest level of incoming orders in October, as customers ordered a total of 31,304 Class 6 – 8 NAFTA and export vehicles of the Freightliner, Western Star, and Thomas Built Buses name plates.

According to the data collected by the Americas Commercial Transportation Research (ACT) organization, Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) achieved a new monthly order record for a single manufacturer in the North American truck business.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Nissan refines Infiniti Q30 prototypes

A team from the North-East car firm Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK has travelled to Japan to refine prototypes of the Infiniti Q30 hatchback.

Production trials start next February ahead of the launch of car making in August, according to the Northern Echo.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Daimler opens China R&D centre

Daimler Greater China has opened its new Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Centre in China and extended its local RD network.

In future 500 highly qualified engineer and designers will be working at the new R&D site.

An illusion: hybrids' gain over 'frugal diesels”

The advantage of hybrid vehicles over frugal diesels can be an illusion, if the judging criteria are based solely on fuel economy, according to Emissions Analytics – a leading provider of real-world emissions measurement.

Emissions Analytics has tested over 30 hybrids in the UK and US, and analysed thousands of data points to understand how such vehicles really perform in the real world, and compared them to vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) only.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Mystery still surrounds F1 Caterham

Mystery appears to continue to surround the future of F1 racing team Caterham. As the month of October closes, employees appear not to have been paid, and those with mortgages have  been forced to seek alternative employment

Employees who have tried to respond to company emails informing them of cancellation of flights to the US and Brazil have been thwarted – no replies have been forthcoming and they have been left in the dark. Some 200 employees have been affected by the lock-out.

Mazda heading for record profits?

Mazda Motor Corporation appears on course for another record year after reporting an exceptional first half.

The carmaker posted sales revenue of ¥1.45 trillion (€10.5 billion) between April and September, up 16 per cent compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Mercedes-AMG teams with MV Agusta

Motorcycles must be the “in thing”. Within days of Ricardo buying UK private enterprise motorcycle specialist Vepro Ltd, Mercedes-AMG has teamed with MV Agusta.

Daimler AG’s sports-car and performance brand has announced it has signed a long-term agreement on a long-term partnership with MV Agusta, including area of marketing and sales.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

UK engine output to rise by one-third

Revenue generated by engine manufacturing in the UK is expected to increase by up to £2.5 billion in two years, increasing turnover by nearly a third (31%).

“Flawless” standards for JLR’s Ingenium engines

As readers know, JaguarLandRover’s (JLR) Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC) will be home to the ‘Ingenium’ engine family, which will power a new generation of JLR products designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK. The company says flawless standards will be adopted in the plant that is "future proof".

Production begins with the 2-litre diesel engine in the Jaguar XE. JLR is transforming its business and brands through a programme of sustainable, strategic investments, it claims.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Disco Sport set for Brazil in 2016

JaguarLandRover (JLR) will build the Discovery Sport at its new local manufacturing facility in Brazil. Job 1 will be in 2016.

JLR is making a total investment of R$750million in the new facility in Itatiaia in the State of Rio de Janeiro. The Discovery sport will be one of several models built on site.

Nothing is secret

Nothing is secret. Eventually, everything has to spill out for the world to see. Even 144 years later, secrets can still emerge from darkness into bright sunlight. Truth has no hiding place.

Ricardo revs up its motorcycle business

Ricardo plc is forming a new motorcycle-focused business following the acquisition of Leicester-based UK consultancy Vepro Ltd in a bid to make it a global activity.

The formation of the new motorcycles business aims to build on the strengths of the company’s extensive existing in-house motorcycle engineering team, based at the company’s Schwäbisch Gmünd Technical Centre in southern Germany.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Kuga gets powerful 2-litre diesel

The latest Ford Kuga is now available with a 2-litre TDCi Duratorq four-cylinder diesel engine giving 180PS and 400Nm of torque.

According to Ford, the Kuga now has a significant range of upgrades that include the sports utility vehicle’s most powerful diesel powertrain to date.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Most vehicles in 2050 will need to be electric

By 2050, most vehicles will need to be electrically propelled, with a battery to store energy or an on-board hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity, if emission targets set by governments are to be met. 

That is the conclusion of a team responsible for penning Towards Sustainable Road Transport published by Elsevier. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ex Rover bosses to receive £1m hand-out

The demise of MG Rover refuses to go away. Five former MG Rover bosses are in line for around £1 million each from the proceeds of the collapsed MG Rover car factory – years after 6,500 redundant workers were deprived of a single penny, according to newspapers reports.

The following is a report taken from the UK's Birmingham Mail of 25 October 2014.

Friday, 24 October 2014

New materials win awards for Daimler

Mercedes-Benz, part of Daimler AG, has won two awards for the development of new materials in two different applications: pistons and struts.

Mercedes-Benz is claiming between 2 and 4 per cent improved fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from its passenger-car diesel engines resulting from "new" pistons. These are, according to Mercedes-Benz, the first engines worldwide to be equipped with "innovative" steel pistons in conjunction with a lightweight aluminium cylinder block.

Production of Mazda2 begins in Mexico

Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that production of the all-new Mazda2 has begun at Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation (MMVO), the company's new plant in Mexico.

Additionally, MMVO's engine machining plant, under construction since last year, has been completed and the plant began operating on October 21, 2014.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

JLR to make 130,000 cars a year in China by 2016

By 2016, JaguarLandRover (JLR) expects its new facility in China to be building three JLR models with total production capacity of 130,000 units a year.

Those vehicles will be manufactured in highly-automated press shops - including cutting-edge aluminium and steel technologies - along with a steel body shop comprising 306 ABB robots, an energy-efficient paint shop and an ergonomically-friendly final assembly line.  

Daimler sells stake in Tesla Motors

Daimler has reorganized its cooperation with Tesla Motors Inc.; terminated the share-price hedge it initiated in 2013 and sold its four per cent stake in Tesla.

Daimler adds that cooperation between the partners on the automotive projects is unaffected and, while development work for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is completed, “the partnership with Tesla remains in place”.

The Queen to open JLR’s Ingenium plant

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has confirmed that Her Majesty the Queen will officially open the company’s new, state-of-the-art Engine Manufacturing Centre on Thursday October 30th 2014. HM The Queen will be accompanied during the visit by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Daimler mulls plans for next Sprinter van

Daimler AG will invest a combined €450 million to produce the next generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in two plants at Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, but the German vehicle maker will build more vans in the US to increase its competitiveness.

Part of the new investment will be used to modernize the body shop, paint shop, and assembly line at Düsseldorf.

Toyota tops 9 million in Europe

Toyota vehicle production in Europe has passed nine million units. Local production has flourished so that two out of every three Toyota vehicles sold in Europe is built in the region

Toyota has six vehicle plants and three powertrain factories in Europe.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Is JLR paving the way for a US plant?

Is JaguarLandRover (JLR) mulling an ambitious plan to build a 200,000 cars-a-year assembly plant in the US? According to the London, UK-based Sunday Times it is.

The news comes as the company officially opens a new 130,000 vehicles-a-year plant in China and later this month is set to open its much-heralded i54 engine manufacturing facility in Wolverhampton, UK.

New diesels from Dagenham in 2015

Ford’s Dagenham Engine Plant, UK, which supplies half of the company’s global diesel demand, seems to be assured of its future thanks to an additional £190 million to produce the new Panther advanced technology 2-litre diesel engine for cars and commercial vehicles. 

This investment includes £8.9 million from UK Government's Regional Growth Fund. Ford is creating 318 new jobs connected with this investment.

Friday, 17 October 2014

FCA: now the real journey begins

Trading has begun in the shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker symbol “FCAU”.

The shares opened on 14 October at a price of $9. The price rose briefly before ending the day at $8.92. Considering the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 222 points late in the day, this was no mean achievement. The stock also trades on an exchange in Milan, Italy.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

BYD E-taxis spread to Brussels

BYD Auto has delivered 34 e6 taxis to the city of Brussels. BYD auto claims to be “the fastest growing car maker in China”.

The company’s proposal was accepted following a proposal seeking parties to operate 50 electric taxicabs. The use of these “environmentally-friendly” taxicabs is seen as an important “first step in bringing emission-free transport to Brussels’s roads”, replacing gasoline- and diesel-powered taxis with electric vehicles (EVs).

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Honda unveils F1 power unit

Honda has revealed a first look of the power unit currently in development for the 2015 Formula One (F1) World Championship.

Yasuhisa Arai, senior managing officer of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., who is heading the F1 Project, said: "Working toward Honda's F1 participation starting in the 2015 season, development of the power unit is entering its prime phase at our R&D facility in Sakura (Tochigi, Japan).”

Mercedes medium truck diesels set for the US

According to well-placed sources, Mercedes-Benz is planning to build medium-duty truck diesel engines in the US from 2018, given sufficient take-up of the new engines in the US and Canada.

The new engines, dubbed DD5 and DD8, could be manufactured at the Detroit Diesel plant in Detroit, Michigan if there is demand to justify the investment.

Nissan readies UK plant for Infiniti Q30

Work is on target to introduce a new vehicle at the UK, Sunderland plant of Nissan where production of the Infiniti Q30 will begin next year.

Nissan is extending the plant by 25,000 square metres to accommodate a new body shop and a new assembly line.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Daimler launches China's GLA SUV in 2015

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) will go into production in China next year as the company’s first locally produced compact car model.

The vehicle will be produced at the Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. – BBAC’s – brand-new compact car site, the cornerstone of which was laid in September 2012.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Real-time emission tests bring results

PEMS – portable emissions measurement systems – developed by Horiba Automotive has been used in trials in Brighton, UK in conjunction with Ricardo plc, to assess ‘real world’ emissions from three buses, including a diesel-electric hybrid.

PEMS was developed in response to new requirements for exhaust emissions measurement from vehicles being driven on public roads.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Volkswagen group tops 7 million

Volkswagen Group delivered 7.40 million vehicles from January to September - an increase of 5.3 per cent.
Group board member for sales Christian Klingler said in Wolfsburg today,"Even though markets remain challenging, we nevertheless have the chance to reach the ten million deliveries mark this year – four years earlier than originally planned."

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mercedes "chooses" F1 Lotus for 2015

Lotus F1 Team and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains have a long-term supply agreement that will see Lotus F1 Team use the Mercedes-Benz Power Unit from the start of the 2015 season until the end of the current Power Unit generation.

Lotus F1 Team will be supplied with Mercedes-Benz Power Units by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) based in Brixworth, UK. The Power Unit will use Fluid Technology Solutions developed by PETRONAS, the technology partner of Mercedes-Benz.

GKN unveils first 'disconnect' AWD

GKN has developed the world’s first 'disconnect' All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system for A-, B- and C-segment vehicle platforms. The company claims the system improves fuel economy during steady state cruising by up to four per cent.

The innovative 'disconnect' function enables vehicles to combine the enhanced traction, dynamics and stability of all-wheel drive with improved on-highway fuel efficiency.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Chrysler Hellcat: grey iron block

Chrysler's V8 gasoline engine that powers the 2-door Dodge Challeger SRT and the 4-door Charger carries a grey iron cylinder block.

The vee block engine is based on the 6.4-litre naturally aspirated Hemi engine but the stroke has been shortened from 3.72in (94.6mm) to 3.57in (90.9mm). This gives a swept volume of 6.141 litres.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Volkswagen to boost its robot numbers

Volkswagen is about to place an order for a large number of industrial robots offering a lucrative prize to the successful robot vendor.  Increasingly, these robots will be used for assembly work and one robot builder may not be able to cope with all of VW's needs.

The move is likely to be repeated several times over the coming 15 years as 32,000 people are expected to leave the German vehicle builder.

Mercedes-Benz: best quarter sales

Mercedes-Benz has returned the best month's sales in the company's history, and the first month with sales over 160,000 units.

In the third quarter Mercedes-Benz has reported sales up 11.9 per cent at 412,018 units, thanks to sales in September of 162,746 units, a rise of 13.8 per cent.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Where now for Volvo and Dongfeng?

Observers are watching with interest, now that Volvo's 45 per cent stakeholding in Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles Co. Ltd. is official, to what extent the Swedish company will be able to influence senior executives in the Chinese truck maker, which has been in business since 1969.

The more so since Cummins Inc. of the US and Dongfeng have a 50-50 joint venture company, Dongfeng Cummins Engine Co. Ltd. Also Knorr-Bremse Commercial Vehicle Systems is expanding in China by taking a 51 per cent stake in Dongfeng Electronic & Technology Co. Ltd to make parts for commercial braking systems.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Hyundai unveils Euro three-cylinder

Hyundai Motor Europe has confirmed the 2015 New Generation i20 engine line-up will be enhanced with a new downsized 1-litre turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine.

The new Kappa 1-litre T-GDI is the first of a new generation of small turbocharged petrol engines, offering enhanced performance.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Production of new Smarts gets under way

Production is now under way of the next generation Smart fortwo and the Smart forfour in readiness for the vehicles going on sale in November.

The two new vehicles are built on a new four-wheel-drive architecture that has involved teams from Daimler and Renault which have been working together for the last four years.

The Smart fortwo is being built at Smart's plant in Hambach whereas the forfour and the Renault Twingo are being assembled at the French company's plant in Novo Mesto in Slovenia.

Meanwhile, production of the jointly developed 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine has begun at a joint Daimler-Nissan plant, namely the Infiniti Decherd Plant in Decherd, Tennessee.

Interestingly, this new engine will appear, according to sources, in Infinity Q50 vehicles as well as the Mercedes C-Class, which may open a few eyes!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Ducati V2 powers VW's XL Sport

Volkswagen's engineers have melded a Ducati V2 1.199-litre 90-degree twin of 200PS (147kW) with a carbon fibre body to produce the show-stopping XL Sport.

The Ducati Superleggera twin-cylinder engine can rotate up to 11,000rev/min and has the legendary desmodromic valves as well as titanium connecting rods. The engine drives through as seven-speed double-clutch (DSG) gear box. The engine also makes extensive use of magnesium.

As for the body shell of the XL Sport, VW engineers have adopted resin transfer moulding (RTM), a technology first developed in the UK in the1960s by Lotus, for the carbon fibre composite material (CFRP).

The aerodynamic profile of the XL Sport is sufficient to require no more than a drag coefficient of 0.258.

China set for 30 million cars by 2015

China is forecast to make 30 million cars by 2015 and account for 30 per cent of the world market.

This is the view of Liu Jincheng of SinterCast Trading (Beijing) Co. Ltd who notes that in 2013, car production and sales amounted to 22,116,800 and 21,984,100 vehicles respectively. The figures show an increase of 14.8 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively compared to the previous year and account for 25 per cent of the world share.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Audi TT uses EA888 family engine

The new Audi TT Sportback five-door concept car that will appear at the Paris Motor Show is powered by a 2-litre TFSI engine developing 400PS and 450Nm of torque.

Audi claims that as a member of the EA888 family, the engine in the four-wheel-drive Quattro concept car uses a comprehensive "package of high-end technologies".

In order to generate the high power, Audi notes that the engine has undergone extensive modifications. The camshaft adjustment on the intake and exhaust sides and the Audi valvelft system, which varies the stroke of the exhaust valve in two stages, ensures good filling of the combustion chambers.

Audi notes that the crankcase consists of "a new high-strength casting alloy" and the crankshaft has enforced iaultrahigh-strength steel.

The redeveloped turbocharger has been configured to provide a boost pressure of 1.8 bar.

The gasoline engine has been teamed with a seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox.

Palmer heads up Aston Martin

Andy Palmer is the new chief executive officer of Aston Martin. He has spent the last 24 years with Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK where latterly he has been chief planning officer and executive vice president.

Palmer, 51, assumes operational responsibility for all aspects of Aston Martin business and thus one of his prime interests no doubt will be to turn the company round and put it on a long-term profitable footing.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

ABB robots power Mini output at VDL Nedcar

Just as ABB robots provide the backbone of automation at BMW’s Plant Oxford in the UK, which has just started to build the Mini 5-door Hatch, so it is at VDL Nedcar in Born, Holland where ABB robots form the backbone of automation in the body-in-white shop.

According to sources, VDL Nedcar has nearly 1,000 robots on site, with most of them provided by the Swedish robot maker ABB. However, some robots have been shipped in by German automation specialist KUKA of Augsburg.

Go-ahead given for Millbrook extension

Planning consent has been given by Bedfordfordshire Council for nearly 25,000 square metres of offices, and research and development space at the Millbrook Proving Ground at Lidlington, Bedforshire.

This is in addition to consent for three new building offering 6,000 square metres of space as the business seeks to establish a technology park on the site.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Navistar chooses Tremec ‘box for ProStar

In an unusual move, Navistar International is to offer the Tremec light-weight 10-speed manual transmission teamed with the 13-litre MaxxForce diesel in its International ProStar model.

Navistar will also offer Tremec  transmissions as an option in ProStar units powered by the Cummins ISX15 engine.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Chrysler uses benchmarking to lift truck output

Chrysler’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant has used benchmarking to boost throughput of  pick- up vehicles at the plant.

With sales of the Ram 1500 on a 52-month sales streak, Chrysler Group’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant, has used benchmarking and other techniques to increase production.

MAN and Scana to co-develop truck gearbox

MAN and Scania, heavy truck makers under the Volkswagen AG umbrella, link arms to develop a new transmission for their joint use, but how will ZF react?

The first fruits of their joint endeavours are likely to appear in 2016 and it is understood that vehicles carrying prototype components are already under evaluation.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

AVL pushes water-cooled electric turbos

Water-cooled electric superchargers, developed as a hybrid system for commercial vehicle applications, and designed to reduce NOx and CO2 emissions, are proposed at the 19th Supercharging Conference in Dresden this week.

Delegates to the conference have heard a technical paper on electric supercharging from AVL.

MAN 15-litre CGI diesel cuts weight

As German truck maker MAN establishes closer ties with fellow VW stablemate Scania through shareholding and heavy truck transmission technology, it also appears to have moved the goalposts with its newly-developed 15.2-litre, six-cylinder in-line D3876, the latest of the company’s Euro 6 range of engines.

With torque figures of 2500 to 3000Nm and power outputs of 520 and 560bhp for long distance and towing vehicles, or 640bhp for heavy goods vehicles, the D3876 is the company’s top model and offers a 160kg weight-saving over a Euro 5 unit.

Jaguar's XE diesel: its most efficient yet

Jaguar claims the USP of its new Ingenium diesel engine makes the rear-wheel drive XE the most fuel-efficient Jaguar yet, with CO2 emissions from just 99g/km.

The Ingenium range is produced at the new £500 million, 100,000 square metres UK Engine Manufacturing Centre in the West Midlands.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Audi/VW engines share power, torque

On the same day Audi announced its revised TT Roadster and TTS Roadster, Volkswagen unveiled its new Golf Alltrack – a crossover between estate and SUV (sport utility vehicle). Both will debut at the Paris Motor Show next month.

One striking feature of their specifications is in the choice of powertrain.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Mini launches 5-Door Hatch

Six months after introducing the new Mini 3-Door Hatch to the UK, BMW has launched the Mini 5-Door Hatch.

This second body variant, made at Plant Oxford, features a characteristically sporty profile with a wheelbase is 72mm longer than the 3-Door Hatch. The extra length has been used to create more cabin space. The 3-Door Hatch is made at the Born plant in The Netherlands of VDL NedCar. Production began on 17 July of this year.

VW launches “the perfect” pick-up

 Volkswagen claims its new Tristar beefy pick-up is the “transporter of the future”.

The company suggests it is “The best for your business, whatever it may be,” which is stretching a point, and may certainly draw a wry smile from Ford which claims to be the best at producing pick-up trucks.

Monday, 22 September 2014

BMW lifts 2-litre diesel power/torque

BMW claims a new 2-litre engine has joined its 2 Series Coupé line-up

BMW claims its 2 Series Coupé has again raised the bar in efficiency and dynamics with the introduction of its new four-cylinder diesel.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

And Daimler’s Vito makes it three

An interesting situation will materialise when three Renault-powered vans line up in Europe’s marketplace.

Renault’s 1.6-litre diesel already powers both the Renault Trafic and the Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro in front-wheel drive configuration.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Daimler invests €3 billion in German car plants

Mercedes-Benz is realigning global passenger car lines, imposing top job changes and investing in its German passenger car plants.

“We want to continue to grow and will significantly increase our production capacities in the coming years. At the same time we want to permanently and sustainably strengthen our competitiveness with a high-performance organization,” declared Markus Schäfer, member of the divisional board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, production and supply chain management.

Fuso heavy trucks for Indonesia

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC), part of global leader Daimler Trucks, has launched its new Fuso “FJ” and “FI” truck range.

The introduction of the Fuso FJ 2523 and 2528 heavy-duty trucks will expand the brand’s product line-up in a segment previously not served by Fuso in Indonesia.

Electric Fuso Canter now with customers

 Eight Fuso Canter E-Cell 6-tonne GVW trucks have been put into “real-life testing” with customers in Portugal for a year

Mitsubishi Fuso, Daimler’s partner in Japan, claims to be a pioneer of "green" drive systems for the commercial vehicle sector. The subsidiary in Japan is Daimler Trucks' centre of competence for hybrid technology.