Issue: Jan 2007


Next Phase in Ricardo Collaboration With SAIC



by Rob White

Following a highly successful twenty month period of development by Ricardo 2010 Consultants Ltd (a Ricardo subsidiary set up solely for this purpose), both of new products for SAIC Motor Company as well as of a world-class engineering organisation, SAIC is now ready to take ownership of this venture as planned and has advised Ricardo of its intention to do so over the coming months.

The Ricardo subsidiary Ricardo 2010 Consultants Ltd was formed in 2005 to act as the overseas engineering centre of SAIC Motor that would assist SAIC Motor in the development of its own in-house new product R&D capability. It was intended from the start that if Ricardo 2010 was successful in this task, it was would be transferred at a nominal sum of 1 pound Sterling to the Chinese group as a going concern after a period of time. Through its links with the wider Ricardo group it has enjoyed ready-made access to advanced automotive technology and state-of-the-art design, test and development facilities.

The period since the formation of Ricardo 2010 has been enormously successful both for Ricardo plc and for SAIC Motor Co Ltd, and has included the launch of the first vehicles under the new Roewe brand, the recently announced start of manufacture of the KV6 engine in China, and the ongoing development of a completely new family of Roewe brand products. The transferred business will continue both to be based at offices at the Ricardo Midlands Technical and have strong operational links with Ricardo UK Ltd.

"This is an extremely positive outcome for Ricardo 2010 Consultants Ltd and its employees as well as for Ricardo plc and SAIC Motor Company", said Ricardo plc CEO, Dave Shemmans. "Ricardo established this business as a means of creating a world-class automotive product development capability for SAIC and the exercise of the option to acquire the business demonstrates our success in this endeavour. This is due in no small part to the hard work and innovative skills of the Ricardo 2010's employees as well as their colleagues at SAIC Motor and Ricardo UK Ltd. We look forward to a continued close and mutually beneficial relationship with SAIC Motor both on the existing programmes on which we are already collaborating as well as on future products."

The transfer of ownership of Ricardo 2010 Consultants Ltd will have no commercial impact for Ricardo plc in the financial year ending June 30, 2007.

Ricardo plc: With technical centres in the UK, USA, Germany and the Czech Republic, and offices in Shanghai and Tokyo, Ricardo is a leading independent technology provider and strategic consultant to the world's automotive industries. The company's engineering expertise ranges from vehicle systems integration, controls, electronics and software development, to the latest driveline and transmission systems and gasoline, diesel, hybrid and fuel cell powertrain technologies. Its customers include the world's major vehicle, engine and transmission manufacturers, tier 1 suppliers and leading motorsport teams. Ricardo is committed to excellence and industry leadership in people, technology and knowledge; approximately 70 per cent of its employees are highly qualified multi-disciplined professional engineers and technicians. A public company, Ricardo plc posted sales of 178 million pounds in financial year 2006 and is a constituent of the FTSE techMark 100 index - a group of innovative technology companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd. (SAIC) is one of China's leading automakers. In 2006, it sold out more than 1,340,000 vehicles, including 915,000 passenger cars with international quality standards through its manufacturing joint ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen AG as well as through its overseas operation Ssangyong Motor in Korea. As such, SAIC was growing rapidly in 2006 and its sales volume was up 27 per cent on the previous year. Yet as a major element of its forward strategy the company aspires to acquire the capability to develop world-class automotive products under its own brand. In 2004 SAIC purchased the intellectual property rights of the Rover 75 and 25 products of former UK automaker MG Rover, as well as the K series gasoline and G series diesel engine families. In Oct. 2006, SAIC's first own-brand car Roewe 750 made its debut in Shanghai.

Ricardo 2010 Consultants Ltd was formed in 2005 as an operating subsidiary of Ricardo plc to act as the overseas engineering centre of SAIC Motor. Through its links with the wider Ricardo group it has enjoyed ready-made access to specialist technology, design, test and development facilities - assets that are invaluable for state-of-the-art automotive product development. On formation of Ricardo 2010, some of the most talented and highly skilled engineering staff of the former MG Rover organisation were recruited and the UK engineering team rapidly grew to approximately 150 staff, representing some of the best talent available from the former MG Rover and other automotive organisations, assisted by fellow engineers and resources as necessary from other Ricardo divisions.

In addition to its role in developing the first new products for SAIC, Ricardo 2010 Consultants has from the outset assisted in the development of processes and systems for SAIC's growing in-house engineering organisation, the Shanghai Automotive Engineering Academy (SAEA). It has always been envisaged that Ricardo 2010 Consultants would ultimately form the European development centre of SAEA, focusing on advanced research and development and product adaptation for European markets. The exercise by SAIC Motor of the option to acquire Ricardo 2010 Consultants serves to demonstrate the achievement of this mission

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