Friday, 28 June 2013

Volvo reveals next generation platform

Volvo Car has revealed first details of the platform which will underpin its next-generation mid-sized and large cars and allow the integration of its latest safety technology.

Scaleable Product Architecture (SPA) will appear for the first time on the next XC90 SUV at the end of 2014, but will be used also for the replacement 60 and 70 series models.

It allows petrol, diesel, hybrid and all-electric powertrains to be mounted identically in a fixed location, leaving engineers with flexibility in the shape and size of the rest of the car.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Challenges ahead for Stadler

When Wolfgang Stadler arrives at JaguarLandRover to begin work full time for his new employer he will find much with which to familiarise himself.

Recently, JaguarLandRover (JLR) appointed Wolfgang Stadler its new director of manufacturing. Stadler will be responsible for JLR’s global manufacturing operations and will report directly to Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive officer.

Stadler will join the company from BMW Group where he has held the position of senior vice president, BMW Plant Dingolfing. Prior to this he has held a number of senior positions at BMW Group internationally, including the post of managing director, BMW South Africa.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Flybrid success surprises Torotrak

Torotrak has been surprised by the speed with which developments have taken place since it took a 20 per cent stake in Flybrid Automotive in March 2013.

“Our work with Flybrid’s flywheel technology has given us access to the passenger car market,” said Jeremy Deering, Torotrak’s; chief executive. “Things have moved much more quickly than we had first thought when making our decision to invest in Flybrid.”

“Our M-KERS prototype installed in a Volvo S60 has delivered results that impressed the customer, who announced that testing had demonstrated fuel savings of up to 25 per cent,” he added.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Audi wins Le Mans for the twelfth time

For the second time in succession, Audi has won the Le Mans 24 Hours with a hybrid race car and quattro drive, thus continuing its unique success story at the world's most important endurance race. Victory was clinched by Loïc Duval (F), Tom Kristensen (DK) and Allan McNish (GB).
The twelfth triumph for Audi at Le Mans was one of the most difficult and hardest-fought ones. Following a change in the regulations that was made at short notice, the three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars on average were able to do two laps less on one tank filling than their main rival Toyota.
The Audi drivers had to compensate for the additional pit stops by faster lap times on track - and did so in weather conditions that at times were extremely difficult.

Ricardo highlights next-generation diesels

In its latest quarterly magazine, RQ, Ricardo has picked up the news that both Volkswagen and Volvo have ‘new generation diesels’ in prospect.

The journal says that both firms are ‘set to raise the game in engine efficiency’ with the next generation diesels boasting significant increases in injection pressures and much closer control of the combustion process. This blog, autoindustrynewsletter, has already highlighted these developments

Ricardo noted that VW will introduce high-performance diesels with 3,000bar common rail systems and specific power outputs of 100kW (134bhp) per litre, promising a 15 per cent improvement in efficiency by 2020. This compares with around 2,000bar today.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Volvo Cars appoints new finance chief

Jan Gurander, chief financial officer of Volvo Car Group (Volvo Cars) since 2011, has elected to leave Volvo Cars.

Hans Oscarsson has been appointed as his successor, effective August 1. Hans Oscarsson is currently Deputy CFO and Operation Controller at Volvo Cars.

This is the second time in the space of a few weeks that Volvo Cars has made major changes in its top management – see our story of 28 May 2013: Volvo Car joins up manufacturing and purchasing.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Navistar’s Clarke: Three into one is a must

Troy Clarke, Navistar International’s chief executive officer has let it be known the company has still not finalised its engine strategy.

Clarke, announcing second quarter results, now admits the company will decide by “the end of the year” how to deal with a situation where the company has three engine facilities but only needs one.

Many expected this month that Clarke would spell out in detail how engine overcapacity could be resolved, but clearly more time is needed to deal with what is a very sensitive issue.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

JLR taps BMW for manufacturing supremo

JaguarLandRover (JLR) is appointing Wolfgang Stadler as its new director of manufacturing. In this high profile role, Stadler will be responsible for JLR’s global manufacturing operations and will report directly to Dr Ralf Speth, chief executive officer.

Stadler will join the company from BMW Group where he has held the position of senior vice president, BMW Plant Dingolfing. Prior to this he has held a number of senior positions at BMW Group internationally, including being managing director, BMW South Africa.

Commenting on the new appointment, Dr Ralf Speth said: “We look forward to welcoming Wolfgang to Jaguar Land Rover. He brings a wealth of experience at this exciting time when jaguar land Rover is restructuring and going for sustainable and profitable growth simultaneously.”

Monday, 17 June 2013

Flybrid and a very secret client

Next year will be particularly busy for Flybrid Automotive Ltd, the Silverstone-based company that has pioneered flywheel-based kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) for use in road vehicles.

The first production application of a KERS-based hybrid is likely to appear in the Wrightbus StreetLite product range that appears in 2014.

This activity will mark a breakthrough for Flybrid Automotive Ltd of Silverstone which has developed mechanical flywheel kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) using either clutched flywheel transmissions (CFT) or continuously variable transmissions (CVT) of the type designed and developed by Torotrak Ltd.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

KERS in Volvos by 2017?

According to MSN Cars, which has published the first official report on the driving experience of a flywheel hybrid car, kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) could feature in a Volvo car by 2017.

Driving the Volvo S60 demonstrator car (below) on a test track in Sweden, contributor Sean Carson gives his appraisal of the vehicle performance and concludes with the following verdict:

‘The Swedish firm’s flywheel KERS system is not the saviour of the automobile, but it is another form of technology that will prolong the life of the combustion-engined car. It’s not too far from being production ready, either – expect to see it on road-going Volvo’s as early as 2017.’

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Volvo: KERS gives economy, performance gains

Volvo Cars has achieved an acceleration of 0 to 60 mile/h in 5.5 seconds with an S60 passenger car fitted with a downsized 2-litre engine - in place of the conventional V6 engine - and a KERS unit developed by Flybrid Automotive Ltd of Silverstone, UK.

According to Jon Hilton, managing director of Flybrid Automotive Ltd, Volvo Cars in Sweden has been working with the British company on the development for over two years.

“We have been working with Volvo Cars for more than two years," admitted Hilton. “They have had the vehicle both for test and for demonstration. They have had the car, based on an S60 saloon, on test for over a year. They have been working on calibration and control of the vehicle at their test centre in Gothenburg.”

Friday, 14 June 2013

Audi aims for twelfth Le Mans victory

One week before the Le Mans 24 Hours race in France celebrates its 90th anniversary, it is worth noting that some 15 years of engine development have been shaping Audi's prototype racing commitment. Through intensive development work the engineers have repeatedly compensated for the restrictions imposed by the regulations while consistently enhancing efficiency of the engines fielded.

Two major eras have shaped Audi's commitment at Le Mans from the perspective of Ulrich Baretzky, head of engine development at Audi Sport: Until 2005, gasoline engines powered Audi's LMP race cars, since 2006 the engines have been diesel units. For Audi, this is linked to numerous innovations.

The Le Mans project began with a 3.6-litre gasoline engine that delivered around 400 kW (544 bhp), but growing to over 449 kW (610 bhp) only a year later.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Ford begins ‘full electric’ vehicle production

Ford Motor Company has begun a ‘new chapter’ in its vehicle manufacturing history with the start of production of the all-new Ford Focus Electric – the first full-electric vehicle to be built by Ford in Europe.
The zero-emission Focus Electric is spearheading Ford's line-up of electrified and ‘highly fuel-efficient vehicles’. It will be joined in Europe by the Ford C‑MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle next year, followed by the all-new Ford Mondeo Hybrid soon after.

Developed as a "One Ford" global vehicle, the Focus Electric is said to feature an advanced electric motor and lithium-ion battery powertrain that produces 145PS and achieves a top speed of 84 mile/h.

SAIC doubles size of UK design centre

The European Design centre (EDC) of SAIC Motor at the MG Birmingham site was officially opened today. It has more than doubled in size just three years after the original design studio opened.

The latest investment from SAIC Motor, MG's parent company, follows one of over £500 million invested in the development of new models for Europe.

Staff in the newly expanded EDC are already working on a range of future MG models, including the new MG3. The latest investment allows the studio, now the fifth largest in Britain, to carry out even more advanced design work. The original studio was part of a £5 million investment programme.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Mazda not given up on Wankel

Despite being notoriously well known for its heavy fuel consumption, Mazda claims it has not given up on its unique rotary engine despite the car industry's drive towards alternative fuels and powertrains.
Often criticised in the past for its poor fuel economy, the gasoline rotary engine remains very much in the minds of the Japanese company's engineers, according to Jeremy Thomson, managing director of Mazda UK.
He said: "The engineers still talk about it a lot and it could come back. We don't want to lose the technology."

Friday, 7 June 2013

ABB wins prestige Mini robot contract

Swedish robotics vendor ABB has won a contract to supply robots and factory automation equipment to produce the next generation of Mini at the car maker’s UK plant.

The UK plant at Oxford, which is the company’s main stay for the production of the Mini range of cars, is set to install 1,000 robots as part of its next phase of expansion to raise output from 200,000 to 280,000 in the near term.

Hyundai to switch i10 production to Turkey

 Hyundai will introduce an all-new i10 towards the end of this year and at the same time transfer production of Europe-bound versions of its smallest model from India to Turkey.

Cars destined for the UK and Ireland will continue to be built in India alongside those for other right-hand-drive markets, however.

The arrival of the new i10 will mean that 90% of the cars Hyundai sells in Europe, and 70% of those sold in the EU, will be made west of the Bosphorus. Only one Hyundai in every 10 sold in Europe is made in Korea.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Toyota launches Auris estate car in UK

Toyota today marked the official start of production of the new Auris Touring Sports at Toyota Manufacturing UK's (TMUK) Burnaston car plant.

The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, UK Secretary of State for Transport, joined Didier Leroy, president and chief executive officer of Toyota Motor Europe, at a ceremony to see the new car off the line at the Derbyshire factory.

Welcoming Toyota's continued investment in British jobs and manufacturing, McLoughlin said: "Toyota's on-going investment in Burnaston is a huge vote of confidence in our thriving car manufacturing industry, proving again Britain's ability to make world class cars that appeal to a global customer base. It is thanks to the support of manufacturers like Toyota that we are encouraging more young people to pursue an engineering career. This is an industry that is helping generate the jobs and wealth we need to secure the UK's place in the global economic race."

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Post 100: Ford to boost plant output

Ford Motor Company is boosting its production capacity by 200,000 units this year in North America. For the second year in a row, the automaker has increased its production capacity to meet the rising demand for cars, utilities and trucks. Last year, Ford raised capacity by 400,000 units. 

Plants affected by capacity expansion include Chicago Assembly Plant, Flat Rock Assembly Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant.  Vehicles produced include Ford Explorer, Ford Fusion and Ford F-Series. 

Ford also plans to reduce summer shutdowns to one week in order to increase production by 40,000 units. Summer shutdowns will be reduced in 20 plants, including six assembly plants. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Who will react first to VW’s CGI engine?

The decision by Volkswagen to use compacted graphite iron (CGI) for the cylinder block of the latest EA888 Gen 111 is being eagerly watched by other automakers in Europe and North America.

It is significant that VW has chosen North America as the launch region for this ground-breaking engine. Here the engine will be put under minute scrutiny by discerning customers.

The market too is close to Mexico where not only the engine will be manufactured but also the CGI cylinder block will be precision cast at Tupy’s foundry in Saltillo.

Monday, 3 June 2013

VW confirms EA888 has CGI cylinder block

Volkswagen AG has confirmed that the latest version of the EA888 engine, production of which has just started at the company’s which new engine factory in Silao, Mexico, does have a cylinder block cast in compacted graphite iron (CGI).

Wolfsburg officials decline to name the foundry but most likely it is Tupy SA, in Joinville, Brazil, the world’s leading supplier of CGI cylinder blocks. Tupy already sources CGI blocks to Audi, a VW subsidiary. Tupy SA uses SinterCast's CGI process control technology to achieve high standards of materials consistency and quality. For this contract, Tupy will source the CGI castings from its foundry in Saltillo, Mexico where SinterCast installed two of its lines earlier this year.

Officials at the German automaker also remain tight-lipped as to just how many of the engines it is currently building at the brand new plant.