GKN Driveline, famed for its ubiquitous constant velocity joints, has extended its product capability to the car industry following the development of a range of class-leading, all-wheel-drive technology systems. The latest example to be revealed is the compact Fiat Panda 4x4 due to reach the UK market in early Spring, 2005.
Fiat has broadened the appeal of its diminutive Car of the Year 2004 winner by introducing an all-wheel-drive option engineered in partnership with GKN Driveline. Even before its launch, the car has been greeted internally and externally as a major success.
To secure such an important Fiat contract, GKN Driveline’s design team had first to compete with the world’s leading transmissions suppliers. At stake was not just a major components supply opportunity, but also the responsibility of managing the engineering development programme on behalf of the client.
Fiat’s brief was to endow the Panda with traction capability to tackle challenging winter roads, but to achieve this with minimal compromise to the car’s refinement and having the least impact on both technical complication and cost. GKN Driveline met this challenge by developing a simple but effective 4x4 installation comprising a front power transfer unit (PTU), a two- piece propshaft a viscous coupling in front of the rear differential, a rear differential module (RDM) as well as front and rear sideshafts. GKN Driveline supplies all these components, partnering Getrag for the PTU and Dana for the RDM respectively.
The key to the system’s efficiency is the viscous coupling. On a homogeneous grip road surface, where there is negligible front wheelspin, the front and rear wheels rotate at almost the same speed. As a result the viscous coupling, which provides a locking action proportional to the difference in speed between its input and output shafts, directs only a small proportion of engine torque to the rear wheels. On mixed-grip surfaces the front wheelspin can increase, causing the viscous coupling to pass more torque to the rear wheels, apportioning torque delivery according to the available grip at either end of the car.
In addition to its simplicity, this arrangement has many other advantages. The system is entirely automatic, requiring no input from the driver; it is entirely mechanical, requiring no electronic control; it has a benign impact on driving dynamics; and it provides good compatibility with anti-lock braking and stability control systems – a key requirement of any modern 4x4 transmission.
GKN Driveline’s meticulous design and careful selection of joints for the sideshafts and propshaft also ensure that the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) penalty is minimised, despite a significant increase in the number of driveline components compared to two-wheel-drive models.
The extensive research and development effort undertaken for Fiat on the management of the Panda’s 4x4 development places GKN Driveline in a strong position to extend its engineering and supply service to car makers in this growing market sector. With a variety of all-wheel-drive systems available including the most sophisticated intelligent 4x4 traction control applications, GKN Driveline has much to offer vehicle manufacturers world-wide.
GKN Driveline is one of the world’s leading suppliers of vehicle driveline products and systems commanding 42 percent share of the market for constant velocity jointed (CVJ) sideshafts. The company is a global enterprise, headquartered in the United Kingdom. It recorded total sales of £1.9 billion in 2003. The company currently has 21,000 people working at 49 locations in 31 countries.
After Gordon Brown announced that there was going to be a fresh price rise, he must have expected some sort of backlash from the general public.
We pay over 75% tax on our petrol in the UK and if that is not enough David Blunkett has announced that there will be an added 1.28p a litre rise in fuel prices.
Andrew Spence of the People's Fuel Lobby, said angry hauliers, farmers and ordinary motorists would be meeting an a secret location on Sunday, somewhere in Birmingham to plan a response to the 1.28p a litre price rise announced by David Blunkett.
Oil giant BP has announced that it has contingency plans in place at their Grangemouth refinery, which was the scene of a mass protest and blockade in 2000, amid fears that there could be a repeat of the chaos which saw supermarkets run out of food and gridlock hit the UK road network.
Initial anger was slow to materialise when the price hike was originally announced a week ago, and it was thought that the Blair government may have got away with yet another stealth tax increase on the entire nation.
Family's with an average size Mondeo estate who do an average 20,000 miles a year are expected to pay an extra £50.00 a year in tax. Now considering that there are 26.5 million motorists in the UK, that means that they are set to make a tidy sum of money out of us motorists.
Spence, a County Durham farmer who led the protests three years ago, said: "Feelings are running very high. There is a lot of support out there for action again and this time they won’t know what hit them.
"Last time we gave them 60 days. This time they won’t get six hours. They’re not going to be prepared for us, and if we start we won’t be going away.
"People just aren’t going to stand for this. There is so much anger out there among farmers, hauliers and just ordinary people. When you couple it with the council tax rises, enough is enough. I think Mr Blair is going to be looking for another job."
The protest held in 2000 broght large parts of Britain to a standstill when activists pucketed fuel distribution depots, which left thousands of petrol stations starved of their supplies.
This not only affected normal people and businesses, but the medical services too. Ambulances would only go to emrgencies and nurses were given priority when filling their cars up.
LPG is still an option for drivers who are looking to save a little bit of money. This possible stricke may be an added incentive to get it fitted to your vehicle.
Gaydon, Warwickshire, 1 October 2004 – Land Rover UK has started the sale of its '54' plate vehicles with a blitz so strong this September, that the out-going Discovery has completely sold out – a whole month before the all-new Discovery 3 is introduced.
Pre-sales of the Discovery 3 are also keeping the UK dealer network busy, with over 3,000 already sold to eagerly waiting customers.
The Freelander continues to lead the compact SUV sales chart, selling 3,898 vehicles in September, taking this year's total Freelander sales to 18,720, which is some 200 vehicles ahead of the position this time last year. Range Rover's UK sales success also continues with 1,303 sold in September, making 2004 the third September of growth since the introduction of the latest generation Range Rover in March 2002. Land Rover UK managing director,
Phil Popham commented: "September clearly is one of the most important sales months on the calendar in the UK, and with results like these we can be very encouraged by the confidence in Land Rover's new breed of vehicles. The current Discovery's run-out sales have been amazing, and the equity in the Discovery name is very evident with the numbers of the all-new Discovery 3 already sold, many of which were made before we even announced the pricing."
At the end of September 2004, 38,724 Land Rovers have been sold in the UK, and with the Discovery 3 going on sale from 1 November with an impressive sales head-start, 2004 is looking very promising for Land Rover UK.