Issue: Jul 2004


Supply and Demand



by AI Staff

North America

Toyo Rubber to Build Tire Manufacturing Plant in Georgia

Toyo initially will employ approximately 350 workers at the Bartow plant, and expects to increase employment based on future demand in the North American market. The plant, which will be located on a 150-acre tract of land near Cartersville, Ga., will initially produce approximately two million passenger car and light truck tires annually. Construction is planned to begin this October, with the first U.S.-manufactured Toyo passenger vehicle and light truck tires expected to roll off the manufacturing line in 2006.

Toyo will initially invest $150 million in the facility, which will consist of manufacturing and warehousing operations. The manufacturing plant will occupy less space than a conventional tire plant, due to the advanced technology that Toyo will utilize to produce several product lines under the Toyo and Nitto brands. This technology allows Toyo to produce large rim diameter high performance tires for passenger and light truck applications.

Visteon Contributes to Ford Escape Hybrid

Visteon's contributions to the Escape Hybrid include the front-end cooling module, which integrates three heat exchangers within existing package space. A low temperature radiator assures motor electronics are kept cool. A hi-capacity condenser, along with the latest in thin radiators, assures all cooling functions: engine cooling, electronics cooling and battery cooling. A battery chiller maintains optimum battery cell temperature to maximize efficiency and life.

The powertrain control module analyzes sensor signals to make instantaneous decisions to optimize powertrain performance, fuel economy and emissions. Visteon also supplies the navigation head unit. Visteon's Navigation Radio integrates an audiophile radio with a navigation system in a single box with a 3.8-inch by 5-inch screen. Navigation Radio provides accurate route guidance with graphic and voice directions.

The Escape Hybrid's Navigation Radio has special screens for monitoring energy flow and fuel economy. They allow the driver to see the energy direction and intensity through easy-to-understand icons for the engine, battery and electric motor.




Europe

ArvinMeritor Receives Grant from the Welsh Assembly

ArvinMeritor Inc. has received a Regional Selective Assistance grant from the Welsh Assembly Government. The award is for up to ?1.75 million, and is intended to facilitate improvements to ArvinMeritor's Commercial Vehicle Systems facility in Cwmbran. The grant C to be paid in installments over at least two years C is contingent on a number of factors. They include requiring ArvinMeritor to upgrade its existing, 750,000-sq.ft. Heavy-Vehicle Braking Systems manufacturing facility, and adapt it to accommodate additional air brake assembly capability.

The award will play a role in growing the Cwmbran facility's manufacturing capacity, as it launches production of a contract with the Volvo Group to supply next-generation air disc brakes for both Renault and Volvo heavy trucks. That four-year contract, which began this year, is valued at more than $250 million.




Asia

GM to Build China's Largest Professional Proving Ground

General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group unveiled plans to invest about $250 million to upgrade their Shanghai-based Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) joint venture. The new investment will be used to build several world-class facilities, including the largest professional proving ground in China.

PATAC's proving ground will cover an area of more than seven square kilometers. Working with SAIC and GM's global Proving Ground and Test Laboratory Council, PATAC is in the final stage of selecting a site. The facility will be the most comprehensive of its kind in the country, with straightaways, a ride and handling track, a dynamics pad, low-coefficient straight-aways, a highspeed bowl and a durability road system.

Among similar GM facilities, only the Milford Proving Ground in Michigan will be equal in functionality. Additional facilities, including a safety-impact testing lab, are expected to be added later.

GM-Suzuki Partnership Grows

General Motors Corp. and Suzuki Motor Corp. have reached an agreement that will allow Suzuki to produce variants of the new GM-designed global V-6 engine for use in future Suzuki cars and trucks. As part of the agreement, Suzuki will build both 3.2L and 3.6L engine variants at its Sagara engine plant in Shizuoka, Japan. Suzuki engineers will tailor the engines to meet the packaging requirements and brand characteristics of Suzuki vehicles. Production is scheduled to begin in 2006. The new global V-6 engine features allaluminum construction, 60-degree, dual overhead cam and 4-valve-per-cylinder design. With variants ranging from 2.8L to 3.6L, the new engines incorporate the latest technology, including continuously variable valve timing. GM introduced the global V-6 engine in its 2004 model year vehicles and builds the engine family at its St. Catharines, Canada, and Holden Port Melbourne, Australia, engine plants.

Mazda, China FAW to Expand Alliance

Mazda Motor plans to expand its alliance with China FAW Group by cooperating in the development of a remodeled compact luxury car and outsourcing production of a minivan.

The Japanese automaker, owned 33.4 percent by Ford Motor, is also planning to jointly produce passenger vehicles in China with Ford and Changan Automotive Group. Strengthening ties with China FAW as well will allow the Japanese automaker to pursue a two-pronged strategy in the fastgrowing local market, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday.

China FAW developed its current compact luxury sedan with the aid of Audi AG and Mazda will replace the German automaker as the development partner for the remodeled version.


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