Friday, 31 October 2014

Mystery still surrounds F1 Caterham

Mystery appears to continue to surround the future of F1 racing team Caterham. As the month of October closes, employees appear not to have been paid, and those with mortgages have  been forced to seek alternative employment

Employees who have tried to respond to company emails informing them of cancellation of flights to the US and Brazil have been thwarted – no replies have been forthcoming and they have been left in the dark. Some 200 employees have been affected by the lock-out.

Mazda heading for record profits?

Mazda Motor Corporation appears on course for another record year after reporting an exceptional first half.

The carmaker posted sales revenue of ¥1.45 trillion (€10.5 billion) between April and September, up 16 per cent compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Mercedes-AMG teams with MV Agusta

Motorcycles must be the “in thing”. Within days of Ricardo buying UK private enterprise motorcycle specialist Vepro Ltd, Mercedes-AMG has teamed with MV Agusta.

Daimler AG’s sports-car and performance brand has announced it has signed a long-term agreement on a long-term partnership with MV Agusta, including area of marketing and sales.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

UK engine output to rise by one-third

Revenue generated by engine manufacturing in the UK is expected to increase by up to £2.5 billion in two years, increasing turnover by nearly a third (31%).

“Flawless” standards for JLR’s Ingenium engines

As readers know, JaguarLandRover’s (JLR) Engine Manufacturing Centre (EMC) will be home to the ‘Ingenium’ engine family, which will power a new generation of JLR products designed, engineered and manufactured in the UK. The company says flawless standards will be adopted in the plant that is "future proof".

Production begins with the 2-litre diesel engine in the Jaguar XE. JLR is transforming its business and brands through a programme of sustainable, strategic investments, it claims.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Disco Sport set for Brazil in 2016

JaguarLandRover (JLR) will build the Discovery Sport at its new local manufacturing facility in Brazil. Job 1 will be in 2016.

JLR is making a total investment of R$750million in the new facility in Itatiaia in the State of Rio de Janeiro. The Discovery sport will be one of several models built on site.

Nothing is secret

Nothing is secret. Eventually, everything has to spill out for the world to see. Even 144 years later, secrets can still emerge from darkness into bright sunlight. Truth has no hiding place.

Ricardo revs up its motorcycle business

Ricardo plc is forming a new motorcycle-focused business following the acquisition of Leicester-based UK consultancy Vepro Ltd in a bid to make it a global activity.

The formation of the new motorcycles business aims to build on the strengths of the company’s extensive existing in-house motorcycle engineering team, based at the company’s Schwäbisch Gmünd Technical Centre in southern Germany.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Kuga gets powerful 2-litre diesel

The latest Ford Kuga is now available with a 2-litre TDCi Duratorq four-cylinder diesel engine giving 180PS and 400Nm of torque.

According to Ford, the Kuga now has a significant range of upgrades that include the sports utility vehicle’s most powerful diesel powertrain to date.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Most vehicles in 2050 will need to be electric

By 2050, most vehicles will need to be electrically propelled, with a battery to store energy or an on-board hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity, if emission targets set by governments are to be met. 

That is the conclusion of a team responsible for penning Towards Sustainable Road Transport published by Elsevier. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Ex Rover bosses to receive £1m hand-out

The demise of MG Rover refuses to go away. Five former MG Rover bosses are in line for around £1 million each from the proceeds of the collapsed MG Rover car factory – years after 6,500 redundant workers were deprived of a single penny, according to newspapers reports.

The following is a report taken from the UK's Birmingham Mail of 25 October 2014.

Friday, 24 October 2014

New materials win awards for Daimler

Mercedes-Benz, part of Daimler AG, has won two awards for the development of new materials in two different applications: pistons and struts.

Mercedes-Benz is claiming between 2 and 4 per cent improved fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from its passenger-car diesel engines resulting from "new" pistons. These are, according to Mercedes-Benz, the first engines worldwide to be equipped with "innovative" steel pistons in conjunction with a lightweight aluminium cylinder block.

Production of Mazda2 begins in Mexico

Mazda Motor Corporation today announced that production of the all-new Mazda2 has begun at Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation (MMVO), the company's new plant in Mexico.

Additionally, MMVO's engine machining plant, under construction since last year, has been completed and the plant began operating on October 21, 2014.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

JLR to make 130,000 cars a year in China by 2016

By 2016, JaguarLandRover (JLR) expects its new facility in China to be building three JLR models with total production capacity of 130,000 units a year.

Those vehicles will be manufactured in highly-automated press shops - including cutting-edge aluminium and steel technologies - along with a steel body shop comprising 306 ABB robots, an energy-efficient paint shop and an ergonomically-friendly final assembly line.  

Daimler sells stake in Tesla Motors

Daimler has reorganized its cooperation with Tesla Motors Inc.; terminated the share-price hedge it initiated in 2013 and sold its four per cent stake in Tesla.

Daimler adds that cooperation between the partners on the automotive projects is unaffected and, while development work for the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive is completed, “the partnership with Tesla remains in place”.

The Queen to open JLR’s Ingenium plant

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has confirmed that Her Majesty the Queen will officially open the company’s new, state-of-the-art Engine Manufacturing Centre on Thursday October 30th 2014. HM The Queen will be accompanied during the visit by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Daimler mulls plans for next Sprinter van

Daimler AG will invest a combined €450 million to produce the next generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in two plants at Düsseldorf and Ludwigsfelde, but the German vehicle maker will build more vans in the US to increase its competitiveness.

Part of the new investment will be used to modernize the body shop, paint shop, and assembly line at Düsseldorf.

Toyota tops 9 million in Europe

Toyota vehicle production in Europe has passed nine million units. Local production has flourished so that two out of every three Toyota vehicles sold in Europe is built in the region

Toyota has six vehicle plants and three powertrain factories in Europe.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Is JLR paving the way for a US plant?

Is JaguarLandRover (JLR) mulling an ambitious plan to build a 200,000 cars-a-year assembly plant in the US? According to the London, UK-based Sunday Times it is.

The news comes as the company officially opens a new 130,000 vehicles-a-year plant in China and later this month is set to open its much-heralded i54 engine manufacturing facility in Wolverhampton, UK.

New diesels from Dagenham in 2015

Ford’s Dagenham Engine Plant, UK, which supplies half of the company’s global diesel demand, seems to be assured of its future thanks to an additional £190 million to produce the new Panther advanced technology 2-litre diesel engine for cars and commercial vehicles. 

This investment includes £8.9 million from UK Government's Regional Growth Fund. Ford is creating 318 new jobs connected with this investment.

Friday, 17 October 2014

FCA: now the real journey begins

Trading has begun in the shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the stock ticker symbol “FCAU”.

The shares opened on 14 October at a price of $9. The price rose briefly before ending the day at $8.92. Considering the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 222 points late in the day, this was no mean achievement. The stock also trades on an exchange in Milan, Italy.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

BYD E-taxis spread to Brussels

BYD Auto has delivered 34 e6 taxis to the city of Brussels. BYD auto claims to be “the fastest growing car maker in China”.

The company’s proposal was accepted following a proposal seeking parties to operate 50 electric taxicabs. The use of these “environmentally-friendly” taxicabs is seen as an important “first step in bringing emission-free transport to Brussels’s roads”, replacing gasoline- and diesel-powered taxis with electric vehicles (EVs).

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Honda unveils F1 power unit

Honda has revealed a first look of the power unit currently in development for the 2015 Formula One (F1) World Championship.

Yasuhisa Arai, senior managing officer of Honda R&D Co., Ltd., who is heading the F1 Project, said: "Working toward Honda's F1 participation starting in the 2015 season, development of the power unit is entering its prime phase at our R&D facility in Sakura (Tochigi, Japan).”

Mercedes medium truck diesels set for the US

According to well-placed sources, Mercedes-Benz is planning to build medium-duty truck diesel engines in the US from 2018, given sufficient take-up of the new engines in the US and Canada.

The new engines, dubbed DD5 and DD8, could be manufactured at the Detroit Diesel plant in Detroit, Michigan if there is demand to justify the investment.

Nissan readies UK plant for Infiniti Q30

Work is on target to introduce a new vehicle at the UK, Sunderland plant of Nissan where production of the Infiniti Q30 will begin next year.

Nissan is extending the plant by 25,000 square metres to accommodate a new body shop and a new assembly line.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Daimler launches China's GLA SUV in 2015

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) will go into production in China next year as the company’s first locally produced compact car model.

The vehicle will be produced at the Beijing Benz Automotive Co., Ltd. – BBAC’s – brand-new compact car site, the cornerstone of which was laid in September 2012.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Real-time emission tests bring results

PEMS – portable emissions measurement systems – developed by Horiba Automotive has been used in trials in Brighton, UK in conjunction with Ricardo plc, to assess ‘real world’ emissions from three buses, including a diesel-electric hybrid.

PEMS was developed in response to new requirements for exhaust emissions measurement from vehicles being driven on public roads.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Volkswagen group tops 7 million

Volkswagen Group delivered 7.40 million vehicles from January to September - an increase of 5.3 per cent.
Group board member for sales Christian Klingler said in Wolfsburg today,"Even though markets remain challenging, we nevertheless have the chance to reach the ten million deliveries mark this year – four years earlier than originally planned."

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mercedes "chooses" F1 Lotus for 2015

Lotus F1 Team and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains have a long-term supply agreement that will see Lotus F1 Team use the Mercedes-Benz Power Unit from the start of the 2015 season until the end of the current Power Unit generation.

Lotus F1 Team will be supplied with Mercedes-Benz Power Units by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) based in Brixworth, UK. The Power Unit will use Fluid Technology Solutions developed by PETRONAS, the technology partner of Mercedes-Benz.

GKN unveils first 'disconnect' AWD

GKN has developed the world’s first 'disconnect' All-Wheel Drive (AWD) system for A-, B- and C-segment vehicle platforms. The company claims the system improves fuel economy during steady state cruising by up to four per cent.

The innovative 'disconnect' function enables vehicles to combine the enhanced traction, dynamics and stability of all-wheel drive with improved on-highway fuel efficiency.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Chrysler Hellcat: grey iron block

Chrysler's V8 gasoline engine that powers the 2-door Dodge Challeger SRT and the 4-door Charger carries a grey iron cylinder block.

The vee block engine is based on the 6.4-litre naturally aspirated Hemi engine but the stroke has been shortened from 3.72in (94.6mm) to 3.57in (90.9mm). This gives a swept volume of 6.141 litres.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Volkswagen to boost its robot numbers

Volkswagen is about to place an order for a large number of industrial robots offering a lucrative prize to the successful robot vendor.  Increasingly, these robots will be used for assembly work and one robot builder may not be able to cope with all of VW's needs.

The move is likely to be repeated several times over the coming 15 years as 32,000 people are expected to leave the German vehicle builder.

Mercedes-Benz: best quarter sales

Mercedes-Benz has returned the best month's sales in the company's history, and the first month with sales over 160,000 units.

In the third quarter Mercedes-Benz has reported sales up 11.9 per cent at 412,018 units, thanks to sales in September of 162,746 units, a rise of 13.8 per cent.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Where now for Volvo and Dongfeng?

Observers are watching with interest, now that Volvo's 45 per cent stakeholding in Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles Co. Ltd. is official, to what extent the Swedish company will be able to influence senior executives in the Chinese truck maker, which has been in business since 1969.

The more so since Cummins Inc. of the US and Dongfeng have a 50-50 joint venture company, Dongfeng Cummins Engine Co. Ltd. Also Knorr-Bremse Commercial Vehicle Systems is expanding in China by taking a 51 per cent stake in Dongfeng Electronic & Technology Co. Ltd to make parts for commercial braking systems.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Hyundai unveils Euro three-cylinder

Hyundai Motor Europe has confirmed the 2015 New Generation i20 engine line-up will be enhanced with a new downsized 1-litre turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engine.

The new Kappa 1-litre T-GDI is the first of a new generation of small turbocharged petrol engines, offering enhanced performance.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Production of new Smarts gets under way

Production is now under way of the next generation Smart fortwo and the Smart forfour in readiness for the vehicles going on sale in November.

The two new vehicles are built on a new four-wheel-drive architecture that has involved teams from Daimler and Renault which have been working together for the last four years.

The Smart fortwo is being built at Smart's plant in Hambach whereas the forfour and the Renault Twingo are being assembled at the French company's plant in Novo Mesto in Slovenia.

Meanwhile, production of the jointly developed 2-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine has begun at a joint Daimler-Nissan plant, namely the Infiniti Decherd Plant in Decherd, Tennessee.

Interestingly, this new engine will appear, according to sources, in Infinity Q50 vehicles as well as the Mercedes C-Class, which may open a few eyes!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Ducati V2 powers VW's XL Sport

Volkswagen's engineers have melded a Ducati V2 1.199-litre 90-degree twin of 200PS (147kW) with a carbon fibre body to produce the show-stopping XL Sport.

The Ducati Superleggera twin-cylinder engine can rotate up to 11,000rev/min and has the legendary desmodromic valves as well as titanium connecting rods. The engine drives through as seven-speed double-clutch (DSG) gear box. The engine also makes extensive use of magnesium.

As for the body shell of the XL Sport, VW engineers have adopted resin transfer moulding (RTM), a technology first developed in the UK in the1960s by Lotus, for the carbon fibre composite material (CFRP).

The aerodynamic profile of the XL Sport is sufficient to require no more than a drag coefficient of 0.258.

China set for 30 million cars by 2015

China is forecast to make 30 million cars by 2015 and account for 30 per cent of the world market.

This is the view of Liu Jincheng of SinterCast Trading (Beijing) Co. Ltd who notes that in 2013, car production and sales amounted to 22,116,800 and 21,984,100 vehicles respectively. The figures show an increase of 14.8 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively compared to the previous year and account for 25 per cent of the world share.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Audi TT uses EA888 family engine

The new Audi TT Sportback five-door concept car that will appear at the Paris Motor Show is powered by a 2-litre TFSI engine developing 400PS and 450Nm of torque.

Audi claims that as a member of the EA888 family, the engine in the four-wheel-drive Quattro concept car uses a comprehensive "package of high-end technologies".

In order to generate the high power, Audi notes that the engine has undergone extensive modifications. The camshaft adjustment on the intake and exhaust sides and the Audi valvelft system, which varies the stroke of the exhaust valve in two stages, ensures good filling of the combustion chambers.

Audi notes that the crankcase consists of "a new high-strength casting alloy" and the crankshaft has enforced iaultrahigh-strength steel.

The redeveloped turbocharger has been configured to provide a boost pressure of 1.8 bar.

The gasoline engine has been teamed with a seven-speed S-Tronic gearbox.

Palmer heads up Aston Martin

Andy Palmer is the new chief executive officer of Aston Martin. He has spent the last 24 years with Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK where latterly he has been chief planning officer and executive vice president.

Palmer, 51, assumes operational responsibility for all aspects of Aston Martin business and thus one of his prime interests no doubt will be to turn the company round and put it on a long-term profitable footing.