Wednesday, 30 April 2014

EU truck market expands 10% in 2014

Demand in the EU for new commercial vehicles in March increased for the seventh consecutive month as total commercial vehicle registrations grew 11.1% to 185,520 units.

Growth was sustained across all segments of commercial vehicles. Out of the most significant markets, Spain recorded the highest upturn (+26.8%). Italy (+16.3%) and the UK (+11.0) also posted double-digit growth, while demand in Germany (+9.8%) and France (+0.3%) also increased. 

Cummins aims to be FIRST

Cummins of Darlington, County Durham, UK will lead a £4.9 million project in stop-start technology that aims to reduce engine noise and vibration, as well as cut fuel consumption.

The UK innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board has awarded the funding for a Cummins-led consortium to introduce this technology and effectively calling on the engine maker to help develop the next generation of greener bus and truck engines.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Aston to share Daimler V8 powertrains

Aston Martin, which has achieved a 13 per cent increase in revenue for 2013 to £519 million, is to share development of “world-class bespoke V8 powertrains” with Mercedes AMG.

Aston Martin Holdings (UK) Limited, in announcing its full year results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2013, also revealed full-year EBITDA up 22 per cent to £84.8 million.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Kia sees sales rise 5 per cent

Kia Motors Corporation of Seoul, South Korea, has reported improved business performance in Q1, 2014 - despite flat trading in the domestic market and a strong Korean Won-US Dollar exchange rate.

Kia saw its global sales rise 5.2 per cent to over 687,000 vehicles in the first three months, with China reporting a 13.3 per cent increase to 156,000 and Europe showing an uplift of 7.9 per cent to 89,000 units.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Mazda posts record operating profit

Mazda Motor Corporation has just posted the highest operating profit in its 94-year history for the fiscal year that ended on 31 March 2014.

The Japanese carmaker earned a global operating profit of ¥182.1 billion* (€1.36 billion), a 238 per cent year-on-year increase and 12 per cent higher than the previous record (¥162 billion) set in 2008.

Volvo Euro-6 FH16 to make UK public debut

Volvo Trucks is bringing its new Euro-6 FH16-750, in 6x2 tractor unit configuration, to the Truckfest event in Peterborough, UK from 4-5 May.

“We are very excited to be bringing the new FH16-750 Euro-6 to Truckfest”, said Volvo Trucks UK managing director Arne Knaben.

No more car washing?

Engineers at Nissan’s Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, UK will be testing a new self-cleaning paint process applied to the Nissan Note.

The work follows tests by the company on innovative paint technology that repels mud, rain and everyday dirt.

UK cars up, trucks and engines down

UK car production is being driven by demand from Europe, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT).

A total of 142,158 cars were manufactured in the UK in March - a 12 per cent rise on the March 2013 figure, the SMMT noted.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Nissan to make 200,000/y in Brazil

Nissan has opened its US$1 billion assembly plant in Resende, Brazil.

According to Nissan the plant will have a production rate capacity of 200,000 vehicles and engines a year, making it one of the largest investments by any manufacturer in Brazil.

Navistar to boost truck output in Mexico

Navistar International is to boost production rates in the second half of 2014 at its heavy truck assembly plant in Escobedo, Mexico, according to Transport Topics.

The company will also raise output at its bus assembly plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Peugeot to cut reliance on diesels

Peugeot is hoping a sales boost from two new small turbocharged petrol engines will reduce its traditional reliance on diesels.

The new PureTech petrol engines - 1.2-litre three-cylinder direct-injection units developing either 110bhp or 130bhp, with diesel-like torque figures of 205Nm and 230Nm respectively - debut in the new 308 and 308 SW and are destined for the 208 and 2008 later in the year.

CO2 boost for Ford Dunton

A new project at Ford's Dunton Technical Centre will help bring new generation low-CO2 engine technologies to market.

The ACTIVE (Advanced Combustion Turbocharge Inline Variable Valvetrain Engine) project is one of several initiatives supported by the APC (Advanced Propulsion Centre), which has been set up by the Automotive Council, as the focus of a joint industry and government strategy that will help the UK accelerate its leadership in advanced propulsion development and production.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

SinterCast “particularly busy” on three fronts

Following record installation revenue in 2013, SinterCast’s technical team is “particularly” busy supporting new installations and upgrades in Europe, Asia and the Americas. 
SinterCast, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden is instrumental through its process control technology in permitting foundries to produce, consistent high-quality compacted graphite iron (CGI); a production-ready material for today’s gasoline and diesel engines to power both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

Land Rover expands V6 diesel use

New uses continue to be found for the Ford V6 diesel engine built at Dagenham, UK, the latest being the Range Rover Hybrid Long Wheelbase unit launched at the Beijing motor show. 

Together with the Range Rover Sport Hybrid, this will be the first diesel hybrid model from any manufacturer to be offered in China.

Friday, 18 April 2014

EU first quarter car sales rise 8%

Demand for new passenger cars in the EU in March increased for the seventh consecutive month, with a rise of 10.6 per cent in registrations.

However, in absolute figures, the total of 1,449,148 units registered marked the second lowest result to date for a month of March since ACEA began the series in 2003 with the enlarged EU.

Major investment by Renault in Brazil

A new investment cycle has been implemented by Renault Group in Brazil worth R$ 500 million (£133 million) over the 2014-2019 period.

This investment will be channelled into the development of two new cars at Renault's plant in Curitiba.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Toyota fuel cells: here they come!

The next era in Toyota's technology development will see the introduction next year of its first hydrogen fuel cell-powered car.

“It's a major, but logical next step for the company, as it builds on the success it has achieved with hybrid over the past 15 year,” according to Karl Schlicht, executive vice president of Toyota Motor Europe.

New Disco Sport on sale in 2015

The first new member of the Discovery family will be the Land Rover Discovery Sport. The all-new premium compact SUV will go on sale in 2015

The Discovery Sport is the first production model to take its cues and features from the Discovery Vision Concept car that has been unveiled at New York International Auto Show

VW sees sales grow nearly 6%

Volkswagen Group delivered 2.4 million (January-March 2013: 2.27 million; +5.8 per cent) vehicles from January to March.

Deliveries in the month of March ran at 929,500 (March 2013: 864,100; +7.6 per cent)* units.

Musical chairs at Bentley Motors

Wolfgang Dürheimer returns to Bentley Motors this time as chairman and chief executive officer from 1 June.

Dürheimer, currently general representative of the Volkswagen Group, succeeds Dr Wolfgang Schreiber who is to “take up a leading position” within the Volkswagen Group. 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ricardo notches up two contracts

Ricardo plc has won two important contracts, one shared in the defence field and the other in motor racing.j

In the first, Morgan Advanced Materials, Ricardo and Ultra Electronics have won a £20 million contract to support and develop Ministry of Defence (MoD) Cougar patrol vehicles.

Monday, 14 April 2014

PSA: Looking for 5% margin by 2019-2023

Carlos Tavares, chairman of the PSA Peugeot Citroën managing board, says he wants a two per cent operating margin in the Automotive Division by 2018, with a target of five per cent during the next medium-term plan covering the period 2019-2023.

A major 2014-2018 “Back in the Race” roadmap unveiled today by Tavares is designed to accelerate the group’s recovery.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

EcoMotors boosts diesel R&D in China

EcoMotors Inc. has established a joint research and development centre with Hunan University (HNU) in Changsha, China to further develop and adapt opposed-piston diesel engine technology for the local market.

The new centre will be located at HNU’s Research Center for Advanced Powertrain Technology (RCAPT) and serve as a base for EcoMotors research and development in China.

EcoMotors Inc., of Allen Park, Michigan, USA, will provide funding to develop its opposed-piston two-stroke (opoc) diesel engines and associated technologies, and adapt them to the local market.

For its part, HNU will give EcoMotors use of the RCAPT’s engine testing and computational facilities, as well as other resources.

“As our first overseas R&D centre, this partnership is an important step in the commercialization of our advanced technology and a sign of the importance this market plays in our global strategy.” said Amit Soman, EcoMotors president and chief operating officer. “At this centre we will fine-tune products to meet the specific needs of the Chinese market and provide support for our other partners in China.”

Located in a province that serves as an industrial base for mechanical manufacturing, the centre also will provide EcoMotors with access to top local talent.

As part of the partnership, EcoMotors will give scholarships to graduate students at HNU’s research centre, funding their work on the opoc technology. The most promising students will be sent to work at EcoMotors Shanghai office or other EcoMotors facilities. 

“As a leading research institution, HNU is proud to give our full support to EcoMotors, a company that is redefining engine technology,” said Professor Liu Jingping, the director of the Joint Research Centre of EcoMotors and HNU. “This collaboration will enable us to play a pivotal role in creating more efficient engines and a cleaner future for China.”

The opoc engine is designed to be 15 to 45 percent more efficient, smaller, lighter, and less expensive to manufacture than conventional internal combustion engines. Its “dual-module” configurations give the engine the versatility to offer peak power while significantly lowering emissions and enhancing operating efficiency and fuel economy.

The reduced size and weight also allows automakers to fundamentally rethink the way they design vehicles, which holds the potential for further efficiencies through improved aerodynamics.

“HNU, with its advanced engine testing facilities, is the perfect partner to help tailor EcoMotors opoc technology to the China market,” said Professor Peter Hofbauer, founder, chairman and chief technical officer at EcoMotors. “With the talented individuals of both EcoMotors and HNU working together, this partnership is sure to produce revolutionary advancements to EM’s engine technology, applicable not only in China, but in the global market as well.”

Meanwhile, EcoMotors is expected to make a major statement outlining progess of its novel engine later this year. The company is also expected to reveal further detaails of its opposed-piston two-stroke diesel engine, including possible automotive applications.

                                       Achates paper

Meanwhile, at this year’s SAE World Congress in the US a new paper from David Johnson of Achates Power Inc. of San Diego, California, showed that an opposed-piston two-stroke diesel is capable of achieving 35 per cent CO2 emissions reduction and meeting the 2025 fuel efficiency and emissions regulations

Johnson joined Achates Power in August 2008 as president and chief executive officer. He is leveraging over 20 years of industry experience to accelerate development of “revolutionary internal combustion engines” that provide “superior fuel efficiency at lower cost” and ultimately further the company’s goal of enabling a more sustainable future.

Johnson was previously vice president of product operations for military and export markets at Navistar International.                                                     ∎

Bentley to launch hybrid in Beijing

Bentley Motors will launch its Hybrid Concept at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on Sunday, 20 April.

The hybrid will act as a technology showcase that previews Bentley’s first plug-in hybrid model, set to be a dedicated version of the all-new sports utility vehicle (SUV) available in 2017.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Hydrogen vehicles receive a boost

A pioneering £31 million deal could make hydrogen vehicles a “viable and environmentally friendly choice” for motorists across Europe.

Leading motor manufacturers, hydrogen fuel suppliers, the Mayor of London’s Office in the UK as well as energy consultancies from around the world have signed up to the HyFIVE project, the largest of its kind in Europe.

Daimler to build 9G-Tronic in Romania

Daimler AG’s Romanian subsidiary Star Transmission is to assemble the new Mercedes-Benz 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission from 2016.

The new assembly plant in Sebes, near Alba, following an investment of €300 million, will supplement the company’s production operations at the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant. Some 500 new jobs will be created.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ram 1500 gives The General a headache

General Motors’ product planners may be scratching their heads at the way the US market has moved in the direction of the Ram 1500 pick-up truck.

According to the latest US figures for March 2014, sales of the Ram 1500 tipped 42,532 units – a rise of 25.7 per cent over March 2013 – just beating sales of the Chevrolet Silverado at 42,247 units, a rise of only 6.8 per cent over March 2013.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Car parts maker set for expansion

Gestamp Tallent, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is improving its factory after receiving £3,750,000 backing from the UK Government's Regional Growth Fund. It will use the funds to improve its automotive components facility.
Formed initially as Tallent Engineering Ltd the company was taken over by the German steel giant Thyssen Krupp and became Tallent Automotive Ltd. Today it is better known as Gestamp Tallent.