Thursday, 31 January 2013

Volvo seeks slice of China

Volvo Corporation has paid about £570 million (about US$1 billion) for a 45 per cent stake in Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles Company (DCVC).

Dongfeng Motor Corporation (DMC) is already the largest producer of heavy-duty trucks in China while Volvo is the world’s third largest truck maker.

The market in China for such vehicles is said to be larger than the combined markets of the USA and Europe. China is reputed to account for 50 per cent of the world truck market.

Last year, the market for trucks in China totalled 636,000 for which Dongfeng is reputed to have taken a 16 per cent share. The medium-sized truck market accounted for some 290,000 units of which Dongfeng again accounted for 16 per cent.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Volvo readies engines for FH truck launch

Volvo Powertrain is making final preparations for the launch soon of the new FH series trucks. Nowhere is this more evident than in D-hall at Skõvde, where test runs are being conducted on the extended engine parts machining line.

     Volvo has invested heavily in the FH product line, and this includes an improved foundry built in 2009 at a cost of SEK 1 billion. Investment at the Skõvda facility in 2012 is believed to be between SEK 650 million and SEK 800 million.

     Skõvde is Volvo’s production biggest site; indeed it is one of the largest industrial facilities in Sweden. It effectively has three factories on one site – foundry, machining and assembly, with D-hall for machining one of the oldest buildings on the site.

     The site employs 2,900 of which 450 are employed in the foundry, 700 in machining and 700 in assembly. Assembly of the ‘long block’ is highly automated, according to sources.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Ubisense wins Mercedes S-Class job

Following extensive proof-of-concept at the Daimler plant in Rastatt, Ubisense has been was awarded a contract to equip the Mercedes S-Class premium car assembly line in the Sindelfingen plant.
The project was divided into two phases: the pilot phase covered two-line segments and the associated DC tools provided the means to integrate and test the solution; the system will now be installed at the remaining stations and all the DC tools will be integrated.
The Ubisense Smart Factory System automates the process of matching a particular tool with a vehicle on the production line, eliminating the need for the operator to scan vehicle bar code ID numbers. In this way, the system ensures that the correct tool program is being used for the particular vehicle at the station.
In addition, the exact location of each vehicle is tracked continuously and matched to the vehicle ID which is then supplied to external worker assistance systems as the vehicle arrives at each station. This is particularly useful on line segments where traditional vehicle sensing technologies are not available.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

JLR sales at global high

As China’s economy cools, can jaguar Land Rover maintain its new-found momentum? That is the question company executives face as they adjust their strategy to maintain a healthy cash flow.

Last year, Jaguar Land Rover sold 357,773 vehicles in 177 markets, a rise of 30 per cent on the previous year.

China is now the largest single market, delivering its best ever sales performance with sales of 71,940 units, a rise of 71 per cent. China is followed by the UK (68,333 - up 19 per cent), the US (55,675 - up 11 per cent), Russia (20,549 - up 43 per cent) and Germany (16,722 - up 41 per cent).

Sales of the Range Rover Evoque in its first full year reached 108,598 units.

Land Rover has seen sales of the Land Rover Discovery 4/LR4 rose 3 per cent, while sales of Range Rover Sport went up 4 per cent. Jaguar sales rose 6 per cent. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Mini destined for VDL Nedcar

At least one variant of BMW’s Mini will be built at the VDL Nedcar plant in Born, production home of the Mitsubishi Charisma and the Volvo S40. The site is the only large-scale car-making facility in Holland.

Founded in 1967 as Van Doorn’s Automobiel Fabriek (DAF) the facility built Daf passenger cars, noted for their belt transmission – Daf 33, 44, 55, and 66. Van Doorne also developed a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Production continued after its takeover by Volvo in 1972 (with the Volvo 340/360, 440/460 and S40/V40), but in August 1991 a joint venture was established between the Dutch government, Volvo and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation of Tokyo, Japan.  

Not until 1999 did the name change from Volvo Car BV to Netherlands Car BV or NedCar BV. In 2001, the business became 100 per cent owned by Mitsubishi Motors. Production since then has included Carisma and Colt, Space Star and Outlander. But last year, Mitsubishi announced it would shutter production of the Colt (which it has made since 2004) and Outlander (made since 2008) at the end of the year, when Dutch bus and coach building group VDL Greop declared it would take over the plant for a nominal sum. The plant produced its millionth vehicle on 4 October 2000.