Great Wall emerging as global powerhouse

MEDIA NEWS

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By Andrea Matthews

Chinese car-maker will become one of world’s top powertrain suppliers.

Great Wall Motors (GWM) is set to become one of the world’s leading producers of powertrains as it grows its own engineering and component manufacturing capabilities.

Speaking at Haval’s Vehicle Engineering Research and Development Centre in Baoding, China, chief engineer Gerhard Henning said that the company had successfully brought the manufacturing of its own seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in-house.

Great Wall Steed

Henning also said GWM is in discussions with manufacturers who are interested in purchasing engine and transmission packages from the growing automotive powerhouse.

“One target is to sell the whole package, engine and transmission together,” he said.

“We have already OEMs who are asking, and we are in the early process of doing this.”

In addition to building its own range of turbocharged petrol engines, GWM also started production of own seven-speed dual-clutch transmission in April 2017.

In a fast-tracked program which commenced in 2014, the company has grown its own capabilities sufficiently enough to manufacture its own transmission, transitioning from using components initially insourced from leading automotive suppliers.

“The DCT from the beginning was a strategic project under very big management attention,” said Henning. “From the very beginning we chose excellent suppliers, not just cheap suppliers.

“We wanted to have very good quality from the very beginning, so we chose Conti (Continental) for the software for the calibration, for the electronic hardware.

“We chose Borg Warner for the clutch and the hydraulics. We used existing suppliers who have experience in this field, for example Borg Warner has been working with VW for many years.”

To ensure the longevity of its transmissions, GWM’s in-house transmissions have been tested up to 300,000km and have shown no durability issues.

Its wet-clutch system uses both a mechanical and electric oil pump, and the lowest viscosity oil of any manufacturer to cool the clutch, the electric pump supplementing the mechanical system only when the clutch is under load.

Cold-weather testing sees the transmission tested at temperatures as low as -40° Celsius and the country’s largest bench testing facility, which includes 13 test benches, run transmissions for 70,000km.

Further validation includes driving the vehicles at 240km/h for 50,000km on Great Wall’s own test track.

Henning confirmed that in addition to the work already underway for the company’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, development is continuing with the seven-speed unit to support more powerful engines.

He also said the company’s hybrid powertrain with electric rear axle — technology which is under consideration for the Australian market — will debut in the Wey P8 SUV.

The new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission will be fitted to the new Haval H6 that goes on sale here in 2019.

Great Wall Steed

Henning knows plenty about German transmissions as he is a 25-year veteran of the German auto industry, having previously worked on Daimler’s nine-speed automatic transmission as well as spending 15 years in Volkswagen’s transmission division.

A key driver of the dual-clutch system’s fast-track status was the 2017 launch of Great Wall Motor’s premium SUV brand Wey, which has been introduced with the company’s own 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines.

The sister brand to Haval has been positioned alongside Lexus in the Chinese market, where it has already seen sales success with 100,000 new Wey vehicles sold in China in the first 12 months.

 

Despite being in the market for only a year, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has already been fitted to more than 250,000 group vehicles, reflecting the sheer scale of the company’s manufacturing efforts.

GWM built and sold more than one million vehicles in 2017.

Henning said cost and flexibility were two key drivers for the in-house development of Haval’s own transmission and there are already plans for an eight-speed version.

“We are already developing the next generation and we are in the very, very early stage of discussing with the vehicle department about the package,” he said.

“We can make special arrangements for the ratios, for the dimensions, for the number of gears with hybrid, without hybrid so we are more flexible.

“We can manage the technology and also the volume. We can manage our demand much better when we do it ourselves. And last but not least of course, our costs as well.

“After four years we can do the innovation by ourselves, we can do the software by ourselves and we can also now for the next generation make the clutch and the control unit for ourselves.

“That was our strategy. In the beginning we don’t take over too much risk, but we have good quality. But later we must develop by ourselves to have better cost and better flexibility.”

Supporting its quality strategy, GWM has brought in equipment from the best suppliers in the world to produce its own components.

Gears are manufactured on machinery sourced from specialist suppliers in Switzerland and Germany, while the company has opted for a wet-clutch system which it believes will more reliable that previous dry-clutch systems.

Continuing the obvious link with German engineering and given Henning’s background with both Daimler and Volkswagen, GWM is benchmarking its transmissions against the best that Germany has to offer.

Henning is convinced the Chinese-made solution will outperform those world-class transmissions.

“Our benchmarks are mainly the German OEMs like Mercedes-Benz, like VW. These were our benchmarks for this transmission. We have benchmark vehicles and we always compare.

“We are not using all mechatronics, we are using wet clutch, which is very reliable. Volkswagen and others have big problems with the dry clutch. The dry clutch has almost disappeared from the market because of long-term durability.”

Henning knows plenty about German transmissions as he is a 25-year veteran of the German auto industry, having previously worked on Daimler’s nine-speed automatic transmission as well as spending 15 years in Volkswagen’s transmission division.

A key driver of the dual-clutch system’s fast-track status was the 2017 launch of Great Wall Motor’s premium SUV brand Wey, which has been introduced with the company’s own 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines.

The sister brand to Haval has been positioned alongside Lexus in the Chinese market, where it has already seen sales success with 100,000 new Wey vehicles sold in China in the first 12 months.

 

Great Wall Steed

Despite being in the market for only a year, the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission has already been fitted to more than 250,000 group vehicles, reflecting the sheer scale of the company’s manufacturing efforts.

GWM built and sold more than one million vehicles in 2017.

Henning said cost and flexibility were two key drivers for the in-house development of Haval’s own transmission and there are already plans for an eight-speed version.

“We are already developing the next generation and we are in the very, very early stage of discussing with the vehicle department about the package,” he said.

“We can make special arrangements for the ratios, for the dimensions, for the number of gears with hybrid, without hybrid so we are more flexible.

“We can manage the technology and also the volume. We can manage our demand much better when we do it ourselves. And last but not least of course, our costs as well.

“After four years we can do the innovation by ourselves, we can do the software by ourselves and we can also now for the next generation make the clutch and the control unit for ourselves.

“That was our strategy. In the beginning we don’t take over too much risk, but we have good quality. But later we must develop by ourselves to have better cost and better flexibility.”

Supporting its quality strategy, GWM has brought in equipment from the best suppliers in the world to produce its own components.

Gears are manufactured on machinery sourced from specialist suppliers in Switzerland and Germany, while the company has opted for a wet-clutch system which it believes will more reliable that previous dry-clutch systems.

Continuing the obvious link with German engineering and given Henning’s background with both Daimler and Volkswagen, GWM is benchmarking its transmissions against the best that Germany has to offer.

Henning is convinced the Chinese-made solution will outperform those world-class transmissions.

“Our benchmarks are mainly the German OEMs like Mercedes-Benz, like VW. These were our benchmarks for this transmission. We have benchmark vehicles and we always compare.

“We are not using all mechatronics, we are using wet clutch, which is very reliable. Volkswagen and others have big problems with the dry clutch. The dry clutch has almost disappeared from the market because of long-term durability.”

Article excerpt from Car Advice. Read full article on Motoring.com.au

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