GREAT Wall Motors (GWM) Group is planning to become China’s largest powertrain producer and one of the world’s heavyweights with a new strategy that will supply other manufacturers with off-the-shelf drivetrain packages.
The Chinese car giant has invested significant funds into its powertrain development projects, resulting in a range of engines and transmissions stamped only with the its guard tower insignia, but the new plan is set to boost its return on investment and secure domestic market dominance.
Speaking at Great Wall’s SUV brand Haval headquarters, chief drivetrain engineer Gerhard Henning said other manufacturers were already lining up for its engine and gearbox value packs.
“One target is to sell the power pack – engine and transmission together,” he said. “We have already OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) who are asking and we are in the early process of doing this.”
If the company succeeds in selling complete units to a large number of its rivals, Great Wall’s presence as a major supplier will climb another rung on the global ladder, enabling increased investment and development of home-grown technology.
When asked if the company’s goal is to be the leading Chinese drivetrain producer, Henning answered yes and explained that many other brands don’t have the resources to develop such complex and costly technology.
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“Many OEMs in China have difficulty developing transmissions. It looks easy especially the calibration (stage) with engine and transmission together.”
According to the ex-Daimler driveline engineer, calibration is one of the hardest elements of the development process, and one of the most critical for maximising fuel efficiency and, of particular importance for its next new engine model, which will accommodate hybridisation.
“Now a new engine is coming I think the calibration is a key point also for the fuel consumption.
“For the conventional automatic transmission, together with hybrid, it will be a good package, but it is difficult to package. So with our next-generation we worked very hard to package a 2.0-litre turbo engine with a DCT and the P2 hybrid.”
With a focus on electrification and small capacity turbocharged engines, Haval is following a global trend of downsizing to boost efficiency, reduce emissions and align with dominant brands outside its native Chinese market.
In line with the strategy and concerns over volume potential, the company dumped plans to introduce a six-cylinder, twin-turbo engine destined for its larger models.
“This is only for in-line, not for transversal and it can only be used in the H8 and H9. It was stopped because the volume was not enough.
“We are focusing on four-cylinders that have more power. We think we can cover everything with four-cylinders”.
In addition to its own range of engines and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the car giant also produces in-house designed turbochargers, clutches, controllers and hybrid systems, but the tech inventory will soon be added to with an eight-speed DCT, twin motor electric drivetrains and 48-volt electrical sub systems.