10 May 1996

Big three back diesel range

Three major manufacturers are to combine resources and expertise to produce a new generation of tractor engines. Peter Hill reports

A EUROPEAN Engine Alliance is being formed by New Holland, Cummins and Iveco, with each company taking an equal interest in the business.

More than $300m is being committed to the project to fund development of a new range of diesel engines. These will share a common one litre-a-cylinder displacement, with three- to six-cylinder configurations covering power outputs from 50hp to 275hp.

The three partners have been brought together by a need for new engines which can meet increasingly tough emissions legislation, the opportunity to share expensive development costs, and the attraction of greater economies of scale in manufacture.

It is a logical move for New Holland, says chief executive, Riccardo Ruggeri, since 90% of engines in the companys products are made by New Holland itself or by Iveco or Cummins.

But it does herald a relatively short lifespan for the Basildon-built four- and six-cylinder PowerStar engines currently powering New Hollands Ford Series 40, Series 60 and Series 70 tractors and Fiatagris M- and G-Series machines.

Manufacture of major components for the new engines will be centred on an existing Iveco plant in Turin, but Basildon will assemble New Hollands share of production, which is expected to account for half the planned annual output of 200,000 engines.

The other partners will also assemble and brand their own engines – Iveco will take 50,000 for installation in its trucks and buses while Cummins will assemble a similar number at its Darlington plant in Durham for sale to customers in the truck, off-highway and construction equipment sectors.

Development of the new engine range, which will draw on technology proven in the Cummins B-series, will be centred in Britain at a facility yet to be chosen.

While Iveco and New Holland will gain lower cost, state-of-the-art engines for its own vehicles, US manufacturer Cummins hopes the alliance will lead to more European OEM business. Though strong in six-cylinder, high horsepower markets, it is weak in the four-cylinder sector. The new range should provide competitive power units to sell to European construction and agricultural vehicle manufacturers.

At present, JCB Landpower is its principle European agricultural customer, taking a handful of 170hp B-series six-cylinder engines for the Fastrac 185.

But in the US both New Holland and Case use Cummins engines to power big horsepower, four-wheel-drive articulated tractors. The Case Magnum and AGCO-built MF9240 are Cummins powered, while John Deere fits 14-litre Cummins engines to its two biggest self-propelled forage harvesters.

Cummins does not expect its US-based joint manufacturing agreement with Case for Maxxum tractor engines to be affected by the new deal. Indeed, suggests Roberto Corado of Cummins, Case may be interested in the new engine range when it becomes available.

The new alliance is intended to be a long-term venture but the partners do not envisage producing other engine families and each will retain its own independent design and manufacturing capabilities. &#42

New Holland, Iveco and Cummins are set to jointly develop a new engine range.