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DC, Hyundai and MMC in engine deal

DaimlerChrysler, Hyundai Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation have formed a joint venture to develop a family of in-line four cylinder petrol engines. The range of aluminium units -1.8, 2.0 and 2.4-litres - will be used in Hyundai models from 2004 and Chrysler/Mitsubishi cars by 2005. The aluminium design is expected to enhance fuel efficiency and provide improved performance.

DaimlerChrysler, which has a 37 per cent holding in Mitsubishi Motors and a 10.5 per cent stake in Hyundai, says the new venture will be owned equally by the three carmakers. It will be based in the US, with production also in Asia, but there is a possibility for European output in the longer term.

The carmakers will make their own engines, with total volume expected to be around 1.5m units a year. Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group president and chief executive officer, calls it a “critical element” in the company's growth strategy. “This project represents tangible fruits of the alliance with Mitsubishi and Hyundai - it could lead to even greater co-operation,” he adds.

Takashi Sonobe, Mitsubishi Motors president and chief executive officer, says sharing a common design offers synergies based on economies of scale that would benefit each company.

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