Timken to Close Canton Bearing Operations
The Timken Co. has announced a plan to begin closing the Canton bearing manufacturing operations. The company expects most of the production to be shifted to its other U.S. plants. Current employment at the three Canton bearing plants is 1,300 people. The Cantonbased steel operations are unaffected by this decision. According to Timken, production at the Canton bearing plants has declined 27 percent over the last five years as the cost structure of the operations made it difficult to win new business.
Beijing to Receive Fuel Cell Buses
Commuters in Beijing will be able to ride in zero-emission fuel cell buses beginning next year thanks to an agreement signed between DaimlerChrysler and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology. These buses are part of a fleet of 30 fuel cell buses DaimlerChrysler has in operation in 10 European cities in order to gain real world experience in day-to-day operation in its pursuit of viable emission-free mobility solutions. This year, DaimlerChrysler will deliver 60 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles based on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, to customers in the U.S., Europe, Japan and Singapore. The first vehicles are already in operation in Japan and the U.S. By the end of the year, DaimlerChrysler will have more than 100 fuel cell vehicles on the road.
Mazda Commences Operations at Ujina Plant No. 2
Mazda Motor Corp. began operations at the company’s Ujina Plant No. 2 . known locally as U2. A ceremony was held at the plant to mark the occasion as the first car, a Mazda Demio, rolled off the final assembly line. U2 was first established in December 1972 and had been the production site for many of Mazda’s global mainstay models, such as the Familia/323/Protege. It was closed in September 2001 in line with the company’s production re-balancing measures. Re-opening operations at U2 is part of Mazda’s ongoing initiatives to support new product launches and further productled growth. With this action, and the closing of the painting and assembly line at Hiroshima Plant (known as F-Plant) in April, Mazda’s domestic production capacity has increased by 110,000 units (14 percent), expanding from 788,000 units to 898,000 units annually.
Toyota Increases its Production Capacity in Europe
Annual production capacity at Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK (TMUK) will increase from the current 220,000 to 285,000 Toyota Corolla and Avensis models. This will result in an additional investment of around ¡?50 million and the creation of 500 new jobs. In May, Toyota Motor Manufacturing France (TMMF) increased its annual production capacity from 184,000 to 210,000 Yaris models, adding 500 new employees. Depending on market demand, TMMF’s output could be increased to 240,000 units annually.
Last year, Toyota announced an increase to its annual production capacity to 270,000 units. Since then, in response to increasing demand, TMUK is strengthening its two-shift formula by accelerating and expanding its equipment investment program. This includes adding a second Global Body Line, with conveyorless transfer of vehicle bodies to increase flexibility, and installing the latest, highly efficient cartridge gun robots to replace existing automated spraying machines.
With a current annual capacity of 150,000 vehicles at its Turkish Adapazari plant (TMMT) and the planned increase at TMMF and TMUK, Toyota will have a total production capacity of 645,000 vehicles per year. In addition, Toyota and PSA Peugeot Citroen will start manufacturing 300,000 entry-level small passenger cars in the Czech Republic starting in 2005, of which 100,000 will be for the Toyota brand. In 2004, Toyota expects to build 565,000 vehicles, 466,000 engines and 198,000 transmissions.
Dana Corp. to Supply Fluid-Transfer Systems to Renault
Dana Corp. has been selected to supply four different fluid-transfer systems for a future Renault platform. The total value of the contract is an estimated $60 million. Over the duration of the multiyear agreement, Dana plans to provide fuel-line systems, brake-vacuum lines with integrated return valves, complete windscreen washingline systems and sunroof drain-hose systems. Dana’s facility in Barcelona, Spain, will provide the products for Renault plants in Spain and France, while a Dana facility in Bursa, Turkey, will produce components for Renault in that region of Europe.