Monday, 31 March 2014

€1 billion boosts Daimler/BAIC output in China

Daimler AG and its Chinese partner Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC Group) have signed an agreement on the further expansion of the production capacities of their joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. (BBAC).

With this agreement, Daimler is boosting its business activities in China as well as its strategic partnership with BAIC. Of the €4 billion currently being invested in BBAC, the €1 billion specified in the agreement is to be used solely for the expansion of local car and engine production capacity until 2015.

Friday, 28 March 2014

BMW to invest US$1 billion in Spartanburg

The BMW Group is investing US$1 billion to expand capacity at its US plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina to meet demand for X models.

The company plans to make the investment by 2016 and annual production capacity by 50 per cent from 300,000 currently to 450,000 vehicles. This is according to BMW AG chairman of the board of management Norbert Reithofer at a ceremony in Spartanburg today to commemorate 20 years of BMW production in the US.

Lima wins 2.7-litre EcoBoost CGI engine bid

Ford Motor Company’s Lima Engine Plant, Ohio, has won the bid to upgrade facilities to build the all-new 2.7-Liter EcoBoost gasoline engine for the 2015 F-150 pick-up trucks.

Ford will invest US$500 million to support production facilities in the plant and create 300 jobs. The plant will be the first to manufacture a gasoline vee engine with a compacted graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block.

LEAF more popular in UK than Japan

THE Sunderland-built Nissan LEAF is more popular with owners than the version built in Japan, the car maker's electric vehicle boss has told The Northern Echo in the UK on the anniversary of the hatchbacks debut.  

More than 13,000 LEAFs have been built at Nissan's North-East factory in the 12 months since the UK Prime Minister formally set the production line rolling.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Envisage touts private client work

The £3 million investment in new manufacturing technologies has enabled the return of the bespoke automotive coachbuilder, it is claimed.

Envisage Group, which builds show cars for many of the most prestigious European vehicle manufacturers, will launch the new private client service at the Top Marques show in Monaco next month.

Renault-Nissan head for more ‘convergence’

The Renault-Nissan alliance is about to embark on its next significant wave of integration: the convergence of engineering, manufacturing and supply chain management, purchasing and human resources from 1 April.

Renault and Nissan joined forces in 1999, when Renault invested 643 billion yen (approximately €5 billion or US$ 5.4 billion at the time) for a 36.8% stake in Nissan, which at the time was close to bankruptcy.

Drive-E powertrains available on Volvo cars

From May 2014, all new Volvo models will have the option to be built with engines from the new Drive-E powertrain family – offering a blend of drivability and low CO2 emissions.

However, while the D4 and T5 are available to order now, production of the D4 does not start until after the summer shutdown in September.

World premiere of all-new Trafic

Having claimed to have sold 1.6 million Trafic vans and derivatives since 1980, including ‘the first-generation developed solely by Renault’, the French company will reveal its third-generation design at the forthcoming commercial vehicle exhibition in Birmingham, UK on 29 April.

Observers will be able to make comparisons in detail between Renault’s Trafic and the Opel/Vauxhall Vivaro made only in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK. The Trafic is built in Sandouville, France.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

SEAT to manufacture SUVs

Soon there will be another SUV (sports utility vehicle) in the market place.

Confirmation of the production of a SEAT SUV is a clear sign of the Volkswagen Group's commitment to the Spanish brand.

Volvo road tests KERS in UK

Volvo Car Group and Flybrid Automotive, part of Torotrak Group, have been conducting UK tests of lightweight Flybrid flywheel KERS technology to boost performance and cut fuel consumption and emissions.

The four-year partnership, using real-world driving data from tests on public roads and  test tracks in both Sweden and the UK, has shown that the flywheel-based hybrid technology can deliver an 80bhp performance boost, together with fuel savings of up to 25 per cent.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Truck diesel with CGI in development

CGI or compacted graphite iron remains a significant part of Grainger & Worrall’s ferrous business, according to Edward Grainger, co-director of the company in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, UK.

Indeed it is understood the company played an important part in the development of Ford Motor Company’s Nano project which led to the announcement earlier this year of the 2.7-litre EcoBoost gasoline engine in the US.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Honda’s F1 dyno running by June

Honda expects to have its dynamometer and engine assembly facilities up and running this summer at its Formula 1 new base in Milton Keynes, UK.

Up to now it has been developing its new V6 turbocharged engine for the 2015 season at a new facility in Sakura City, Japan.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

GM and Cosworth heading for F1?

Is it possible General Motors of the US and Cosworth of Northampton UK could be heading for Formula 1?

On a day when Infiniti Red Bull Racing was given the freedom of the borough of Milton Keynes, UK, the rumour mill is in overdrive. The mill suggests GM could be set to join F1. But the rumour mill could be wrong. It also thinks that Ford could be heading in the same direction.

SCOOP: New press line for baby Jag

A new stamping press line, identical to the new line at JaguarLandRover’s Halewood facility will be installed in November at the company’s Castle Bromwich facility in the UK.

The new press line, by Aida Engineering S.r.l. Ltd of Derby will be identical to the Halewood line with the exception that the controls will be mounted on a mezzanine floor whereas at Halewood they are underground.

. . . As JLR invests £45m in Aida press line

JaguarLandRover (JLR) has invested £45million in a new state-of-the-art Japanese Aida servo press line at its Halewood Operations, near Liverpool.

The new servo stamping line, the first of its kind to be built in the UK, is 13m tall and over 85m long. It has a combined press stamping capacity of 7,900 tonnes, making it the fastest and one of the biggest and most powerful press lines across JLR, stamping both steel and aluminum panels.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Mini on target to roll at VDL Nedcar

BMW Group is to begin production of the Mini hatch this summer at VDL Nedcar, according to board chairman Norbert Reithofer.

He added that the parent company is expecting even more from the brand this year with the launch of the new generation model this spring and additional volume from the Netherlands in the summer.

Bentley to be sole W12 engine source

Bentley Motors is to become the centre of excellence for the Volkswagen Group for all W12 engine production from the end of 2014 onwards.

Bentley has thus reinforced its position as the world’s largest producer of 12 cylinder engines. With this decision, Bentley will export engines for the first time in its history, creating around 100 jobs across the business.

VW to build Crafter van in Poland

The new Volkswagen Crafter will be manufactured in Poland from a new plant being built in Września, in the Voivodeship Wielkopolska region. The van will enter production in the second half of 2016 as VW decides to 'go it alone'.

With the new plant in the Voivodeship Wielkopolska region of Poland VW will be creating at least 2,300 new jobs.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Vivaro vans to get new engines

The new Vauxhall Vivaro, which comes to market this summer and is the second generation of the company’s panel van, has been subjected to engine downsizing. It will be powered by new engines from Renault.

The new Vivaro is described as “an all-round, heavy-duty workhorse thanks to its modern powertrain technology”. It comes with two all-new turbo diesel engines: a 1.6 CDTi, as well as an advanced 1.6 BiTurbo CDTi with sequential turbocharging and a twin-cooler system. Previously versions of Vivaro used a 2-litre diesel.

Delphi to move into natural gas

Delphi Automotive PLC in the UK has won an important contract to work with Westport Innovations Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia to co-develop and manufacture high-pressure natural gas (NG) fuel injectors designed for multiple engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

This important contract takes Delphi into new territory, up to now it has been manufacturing heavy-duty truck diesel fuelling systems for Daf in The Netherlands and Volvo in Sweden at its state-of-the-art, sub-micro machining facility at Stonehouse, Glos.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Electric and not-so-electric.

It has been an extraordinary and confusing week in the UK. Liberal Democrats have vowed to ban diesel and gasoline cars from 2040, yet Ford of Britain is pledged to continue making gasoline and diesel engines.

The Lib Dem policy paper – Green growth and green jobs – sets outs the political party’s ideal manifesto. In it the party’s activists suggest ‘Liberal democrats would specify that by 2040, only ultra-low carbon vehicles will be permitted on UK roads for non-freight purposes. If technology permitted, we would bring forward this date.’

Friday, 14 March 2014

VW results reveal winners and losers

2013 was an extremely challenging year for European automakers in particular, including the Volkswagen Group.

“We were not helped by our home market or by exchange rates. Nevertheless, Volkswagen Group not only met but beat its targets for 2013 despite the challenging competitive environment." said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of management of Volkswagen AG.

Three-cylinder engines for new Mini

The new Mini Hatch is completely new from the ground up, according to BMW. Every component has been back to the drawing board in an effort to optimise function, performance and style.

The car features improvements in technology, engine efficiency and power delivery, driving dynamics, quality and personalisation. It is also quieter than the outgoing model, with improvements to acoustic refinement inside the cabin.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

BMW aims for 2 million car sales in 2014

BMW Group's strong performance continued during the past year despite a challenging economic environment worldwide. The company claims it maintained its position as the world's leading premium manufacturer.
"In 2013 we achieved new highs for sales volume and profit and have thereby reached the targets we set ourselves for the full year", stated Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG in Munich today.

Audi sales to top 2million by 2020?

Audi will increase its model range from 50 to 60 by 2020 and raise output from 1.57 million last year to two million.

An increasing proportion will be made outside Germany – this year for the first time external production will outstrip the number of cars built in the company's homeland.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Caterpillar bolsters Peterlee production

Caterpillar, based in Peterlee, east Durham, has bolstered its production line with new articulated dump trucks and bare-chassis models.

Although the vehicles are additions to the existing range of heavy industry trucks it is understood no new jobs have been created in the work.

Monday, 10 March 2014

“Tens of thousands” Humvees to be left behind

According to a new book, tens of thousands of AM General Humvees  – one of the most recognisable combat vehicles – are expected to be left behind as UK and US troops leave Afghanistan before the year is out.

Pat Ware, author of Haynes’ new AM General Humvee Manual, believes that the end of US involvement in Afghanistan will mean the end of the Humvee's combat role and the “beginning of the end” of its military career.

JCB unveils new Fastrac

GKN Structures and TATA Steel have joined forces with JCB Landpower to create the next generation version of JCB’s Fastrac tractor unit which will use an engine from Agco/Sisu.

Two British firms have helped JCB Landpower develop a new vehicle the aim of which is to create an even more productive machine by reducing its weight.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Cummins feels the Scorpion’s sting

Executives at Cummins Inc. must have known it would happen. Now it has. Ford has dumped Cummins in its medium-duty trucks in favour of its own diesel, as revealed this week at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The new F-650/F-750 trucks are the latest Ford commercial trucks to have a revamp. And they will have the second-generation 6.7-litre Power Stroke V8 diesel engine built at the company’s Chihuahua Engine Plant, Mexico, and which during development carried the code name Scorpion.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Bentley: Even big boys get it wrong

Bentley's controversially-styled SUV concept has been made ‘more Bentley and less Range Rover' and has been signed off for production.

Winter testing begins next week following hot weather tests in the southern hemisphere, said Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors Ltd., part of Volkswagen AG.

Europe: Chevy out but Caddy stays

General Motors does not seem to know what to do in Europe: it is kicking out the Chevrolet brand, but giving Cadillac some extra shine. Why not dump Cadillac too? And why go to the expense of developing a new diesel for the brand?

The decision to withdraw Chevrolet from Europe was made to "clear the runway for Opel and Vauxhall," claims Dan Ammann, president of General Motors and chairman of Opel's supervisory board.

For Hotfire read Ingenium

Hotfire, JaguarLandRover’s new engine range to be made in Wolverhampton, UK, and revealed at long last, is to be called Ingenium and will power the company’s new all-aluminium Jaguar XE saloon.

Speaking at the Geneva Auto Show Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive officer, JaguarLandRover, confirmed: "We announced just a few weeks ago that our new Engine Manufacturing Centre would produce a new family of premium, lightweight, low-friction, low emission four-cylinder petrol and diesel units. The first of our Ingenium engine range will be used in our all-new mid-sized Jaguar sports sedan. That car will be called the Jaguar XE, and it will be unveiled in production form later this year."