Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Rolls-Royce adopts CGI for engine heads

Further evidence of the growing acceptance of the transition towards compacted graphite iron (CGI) as a material of choice of engine makers can be found in the decision by Rolls-Royce AG subsidiary MTU Friedrichshafen to use CGI for the cylinder heads of an upgrade of its class-leading Series 2000 industrial engine.

The CGI cylinder head upgrade, compared to the previous generation head, was specified to enable increased power and to ensure durability in the demanding duty cycles experienced by marine, mining, construction and stationary power generating engines.

Volvo, Geely developing sub-compact

Volvo and Geely Automotive (Volvo’s owners in China since 2010) are developing a subcompact vehicle platform in the joint Swedish research and development centre the partners opened last year.

Reports say the small model will be used exclusively by Geely to compete against the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Yaris.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Volkswagen readies new Polo

Volkswagen’s Polo is set for an update with a range of new technologies and efficient engines, along with a makeover inside and out.

Chief among the changes for the Polo – over 14 million of which have been sold worldwide since its introduction in 1975 – is a range of new EU6-compliant engines offering fuel efficiency improvements of up to 21 per cent over the old units.

Efficiency key to 2014 F1 - Mercedes

For 2014 the F1 motor racing fraternity has probably the greatest change in regulations in its history, according to Paddy Low, technical chief of Mercedes AMG Petronas, as he unveiled the new engine today.

“The headline is 'efficiency',” he said. “The fact that we can run a full race on 100kg rather than 150kg of fuel sends a great message about the technology we can deliver for Formula One - and gives an important message to the automotive world in general. It's not simply about the fuel saved per car on a Sunday afternoon, it's about the technology itself.”

Tata Motors chief dies in fall

Karl Slym, 51, has been found dead after falling from his 22nd floor bedroom in the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok.

Slym is reported to have been responsible for the Tata Motors car-making operations in India as well as Tata’s interests in South Korea, Thailand and South Africa.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Nissan develops ‘engine in a suitcase’

The prospect of an ‘engine in a suitcase’ has become a reality with the latest 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine from Nissan that develops 400bhp.
The engine weighs only 40kg (88lb) and is only 500mm tall x 400mm long x 200mm wide (19.68” x 15.74” x 7.78”).

2013 car market in Australia

The first thing that is different from the UK is that most Aussies have this dream of either driving round Australia or going up north into the tropics in the winter. All this involves driving on dirt roads in the outback in a 4x4.

So, there is a big market for 4x4s and also for pick-up trucks which are used by trades people for work and family use - so there are four-door pick-up trucks. This means that a huge sector of the market is for 4x4s and pick-ups, many of which are 4x4s.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Navistar putting MWM up for sale?

According to US news agency Bloomberg, heavy duty truck maker Navistar Inc. is exploring its options for MWM, its South American truck-engine business. One option may be to sell the unit.

Last May, this newsletter posed the question: Navistar: has it too many engine plants? Clearly the issue of Navistar International’s engine overcapacity, coupled with a growing closeness to Cummins Inc., suggests the topic of conversation in Navistar’s board room has stretched beyond the fate of its three engine plants in the US.

Solihull revs up for 2015 aluminium Jaguar

 This year, JaguarLandRover’s UK Solihull manufacturing site will be the scene of much activity as advances are introduced in the aluminium process of building body-in-white (BIW).

Up until now, JLR’s two main centres of excellence for aluminium vehicle BIW manufacture have centred primarily on the company’s Castle Bromwich site and Solihull. Castle Bromwich, in particular, has seen a previously substantial investment (by Ford Motor Company) in equipment to stamp and handle aluminium body panels, primarily using a line of Schuler presses, provided the bedrock for the technology.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Scania introduces biodiesels

Scania is introducing two Euro 6-certified, 13-litre truck engines that can run on any diesel blend, right up to 100 percent biodiesel (EN

The versions certified for biodiesel operation are the mo­dular, six-cylinder, 13-litre 450 and 490bhp engines.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

UK leads EU charge in car sales growth

The UK is the blue-eyed boy of Europe as car registrations edge closer to those of Germany.

In 2013, the UK car industry registered 2.264 million vehicles, a rise of 10.8 per cent. Germany in comparison experienced a 4.2 per drop to 2.952 million vehicles.

Vauxhall built only 44,000 vans in 2013

The Vauxhall Van Plant in Luton, UK built over 44,000 vans last year, making it Britain’s number one van maker for the 12th year running, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The Bedfordshire-based Vauxhall celebrated 110 years of building and selling vehicles in 2013 and achieved 12 years of manufacturing dominance.

UK engine output tops 2.5 million

UK engine production rose 2.3 per cent in 2013 to 2,553,316 units, the highest since 2008. The figure for 2012 was 2,495,371.

The growth in engine production was boosted by a sales boost in the UK providing a rise of nine per cent. Exports however fell 1.7 per cent

The principal engine manufacturers in the UK are: BMW, Ford – Bridgend and Dagenham, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Nissan’s UK output to top 600,000

Nissan’s manufacturing plant in Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, has capacity to build over 600,000 vehicles, according to Trevor Mann, executive director of Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK, speaking today.

It is exactly 30 years since the agreement was signed by the Japanese vehicle builder and the UK Government to build the plant in the UK which has since become the biggest vehicle manufacturing plant in the country.

Last year the plant produced over 500,000 vehicles and has capacity to raise this by one-fifth.

The company employs over 6,500 people and this will to rise to over 7,000. The facility in Sunderland builds vehicles and engines.

A new Nissan model rolls off the production line today. The new vehicle, the second generation Qashqai, has helped create 500 new jobs at the Japanese car giant's UK plant in the coming months.

With this and other new models expected to be awarded to the UK plant, which is one of the jewels in Nissan’s worldwide manufacturing crown, will edge employment eventually to near the 8,000 mark.

Some 286,000 Qashqai cars were built last year, with production numbers expected to be similar in 2014. The car is Nissan's best-selling model in Europe.

Engineers at the Sunderland plant work closely with their counterparts at Nissan’s European Technical Centre (NETC) at Cranfield, Bedfordshire.

Eighty per cent of the output of the Sunderland plant is exported.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

China to get first purpose-built CGI foundry

One of China's largest automotive component conglomerates has entered into a long term technology supply agreement with the Swedish process control specialist SinterCast for the production of compacted graphite iron (CGI) engine components.  

Under the terms of the agreement, SinterCast will install a System 3000 Plus process control system at the company's new purpose-built CGI foundry in China.  

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

GM to revive 4.5-litre CGI diesel?

General Motors could be about to revive its shuttered 4.5-litre V8 diesel engine according to US sources.

Prompted by the upcoming launch of the latest Ram 1500 with a VM Motori 3-litre diesel and the Nissan Titan powered a brand new Cummins 5-litre ISX5 diesel engine, both with compacted graphite iron (CGI) vee cylinder blocks, and the latest Ford 2015 F-150 pick-up truck with a new 2.7-litre EcoBoost gasoline engine (also with a CGI vee block), GM is considering adding a small-displacement diesel engine to its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pick-ups to boost fuel economy.

First Golf1 rolls from VW’s Puebla plant

Production of the new Volkswagen Golf1 began today at the Volkswagen plant in Puebla, Mexico.

VW’s future plans call for further models from the Golf family for the North America region to be built at Puebla.

GKN set to drive into Russia

GKN Driveline is to open a 5,000 square metre plant in Togliatti in the Volga region of Russia, where a number of large car manufacturers are already based. 

GKN production of constant velocity jointed side-shafts for a number of automotive customers is expected to commence in early next year.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Lion roars again

Blog readers with a good memory will recall the arrival of the Lion diesel engine from Ford’s Dagenham Engine Plant – the first Ford production engine to use compacted graphite iron (CGI) for the cylinder block material.

Now Ford has repeated history with the arrival of the first gasoline engine with a CGI block. Ford, ever resourceful and expansive in its choice of words, uses the word first liberally. The new 2.7-litre gasoline engine is not the first gasoline engine with a CGI block, but it might just be the first ‘production’ gasoline engine with CGI.

Monday, 13 January 2014

New materials key to Ford’s 2015 F-150

Exactly one month ago today, on 13 December, we asked: “Will Ford respond before Ram wins 3 times?”

Now we have the answer. For while the tabloid media concentrate on the Ford F-150 pick-up truck’s LED lighting, something much more important is happening underneath this ground-breaking vehicle.

For Ford has responded to our question with an engine to knock out any power unit Chrysler has on its stocks; namely the new EcoBoost 2.7-litre gasoline engine with a string of new technology additions.

VW to invest $7 billion in US market

Volkswagen AG is to invest $7bn (£4bn) in North America over the next five years in a bid to boost its sales in the region.

VW has also reiterated its goal of selling one million Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in the US by 2018. By which time, VW has set its sights on becoming the world's biggest carmaker.
VW is currently the world's third-biggest manufacturer, behind Japan's Toyota and US carmaker General Motors.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

2-litre FSI powers new Audi Allroad

Audi has pooled the genes of its rugged allroad models and its forthcoming e-tron hybrids to create a striking and futuristic new crossover concept bound for this month‘s 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The car is powered by a 2-litre FSI gasoline engine giving nearly 150bhp/litre, highlighting the trend to down-sizing, a trend that is likely to be followed in the future by down-speeding to reduce friction losses etc.

“The show car combines sex appeal, highly efficient e-tron-quattro technology that produces 300 kW of power yet only consumes 1.9 l/100 km of fuel (equating to 149 UK mile/gal) and cutting-edge electronic applications,” claims Professor Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the board of AUDI AG, Technical Development. “We are offering very concrete glimpses of the near future in this show car.”

JLR 2013 sales rise by nearly one-fifth

JaguarLandRover (JLR) boosted sales in 2013 by nearly 20 per cent to 425,006 units, its strongest ever full-year global sales performance.
JLR, the UK's leading manufacturer of premium luxury vehicles, witnessed full year retail sales up 19%, with strong growth in all major regions. The company set new records in 38 markets, including Russia, Brazil, Korea and Canada.
Regional performance for the full year was: Asia Pacific and the China region up 30%, North America up 21%, the UK up 14%, Europe up 6%, and other overseas markets up 23%.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Flybrid’s Hilton now a Torotrak director

Torotrak plc, which has helped pioneer the continuously variable transmission (see also Forbes Perry – Obituary) has confirmed Jon Hilton as commercial director

Hilton’s appointment follows completion of the acquisition of Flybrid Automotive Limited, the placing, subscription and the open offer announced on 8 January 2014.

Torotrak, which describes itself as “a leading developer and supplier of emissions reduction and fuel efficiency technology for vehicles”, has confirmed also that Hilton has joined the board of directors.

VW commercial sales tread water

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles supplied 551,900 vehicles in the 2013 trading year, compared with 550,150 in 2012 a rise of 0.3 per cent.

South America was one of VW’s best markets with sales up 8.3 per cent to 160,400 light commercial vehicles and pick-ups against 148,100 in 2012.

Of these, 123,900 were accounted for by deliveries of vehicles to Brazil – up 9.1 per cent on 2012 to 113,600; and 24,200 vehicles sold to customers in Argentina (2012: 20,100; +20.5 per cent).

UK motorsport turns in over £9 billion

A review of UK motorsport industry reveals sales of £9 billion in 2012, making it one of the most crucial sectors to the UK economy.

Among the key figure revealed a total of 4,300 companies in “Motorsport valley” employ 41,000 people.

About 15 per cent of motorsport companies spend more than 25 per cent of annual sales on R&D while 87 per cent of their sales go for export.

Volkswagen sales rise only 3.4 per cent

Despite a difficult year in Europe, the Volkswagen passenger car brand closed 2013 with a 3.4 per cent rise in sales to a new record, delivering 5.93 million vehicles to customers. This compares with 5.74 million in 2012.

Christian Klingler, board member for sales and marketing for the Volkswagen Group commented. “We face new and difficult challenges in 2014, but we are very well prepared thanks to our young and sustainable product range.”

In the European market, where the situation remained difficult, VW delivered 1.64 million vehicles (1.70 million in 2012; or a drop of 3.7 per cent). Of these 263,300 (267,100; -1.4 per cent) went to customers in the Central and Eastern Europe region.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

All-electric bus fleet launched

The UK’s first all-electric bus route has been launched in Milton Keynes today.

The scheme is designed to test whether or not electric buses can perform on a par with their diesel counterparts in a real-world operational environment.

The buses will run for five years in a carefully monitored demonstration programme, which will objectively assess their technical and commercial viability.

BMW needs 160 apprentices in UK…

BMW Group requires 160 young people with a passion for the motor industry to take up apprenticeships available through its company and dealership schemes in 2014.
The new recruits will join over 400 existing apprentices currently undergoing training across the company's UK operations.  Some will rise beyond NVQ to degree qualifications.
Within its Mini UK production network, the business is looking for 49 new apprentices to take up places in August as the plants ramp up production of the next model generation. In addition, BMW and Mini dealerships need to recruit around 110 young people across the UK.

... As Bentley, Rolls-Royce also create more jobs

Bentley Motors claims to have reinforced its position as the leading manufacturer of luxury vehicles in the world with a 19 per cent increase in global deliveries in 2013.

The company delivered 10,120 cars, the highest figure in Bentley’s 95-year history, against 8,510 in 2012.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, owned by BMW, meanwhile also claims a record – 3,630 cars sold in 2013.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

JLR recruits for new Hotfire plant

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) today launches the first phase of its campaign to recruit 1,400 employees at its new state-of-the-art Hotfire engine manufacturing centre based at the i54 South Staffordshire business park near Wolverhampton.
This phase will see the creation of in the region of 600 manufacturing roles at the plant in the next four years.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Mazda3 production begins in Mexico

Mazda Motor Corporation has started production of the Mazda3 product at its new plant in Mexico.

The plant, named Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation (MMVO), is located in Salamanca, in the state of Guanajuato. The first model to be produced was the all-new Mazda3 sedan for the US market.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Forbes Perry - Obituary

We are grateful to Alan Perry, one of Forbes Perry’s sons, for kindly providing this obituary. John Mortimer’s close association with the inventor of the Perbury infinitely variable transmission began when Mortimer was editor of The Engineer in the 1960s.

Forbes Perry

The death has been announced of Forbes Perry, managing director of Perbury Engineering Ltd.

He died on 20 December and the funeral is being held at Banbury Crematorium on 8 January 2014 at 3pm.

Forbes will be best remembered for the pioneering work he undertook on continuously variable transmissions – traction drive transmissions which rely on the special friction characteristics of elastohydrodynamic fluids in the interface between two meeting surfaces carrying torque.