VWSA’s engine export milestone

24 October 2008

Volkswagen South Africa has manufactured its 200 000th five-cylinder TDI engine for export from its plant in Uitenhage outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape.

Volkswagen SA (VWSA) announced a R12-billion export contract to supply engines to the Volkswagen Group in 2004. The contract, initially set to run until 2010, has been extended through 2013.

VWSA communications GM Bill Stephens said the contract’s required volumes had steadily increased, from the first shipment of 27 500 units in 2004 to an anticipated 60 500 units to be shipped in 2008.

“The engines were first used in the range of Volkswagen LT vans, a medium commercial vehicle, which has since been replaced by the Volkswagen Crafter model range, and is part of the Volkswagen SA commercial vehicles range,” Stephens said in a statement this week.

“The five-cylinder TDI engine has evolved with changes in the model range. The latest engines are manufactured in four derivatives ranging from 65kW to 120kW.”

Euro 5 emissions standards

According to Stephens, the engines presently comply with Euro 4 emission standards and will be upgraded to comply with Euro 5 standards from 2009.

The engines are unique, as the cylinder bores are polished with an extremely high-pressure water jet. According to the auto maker, this is to the advantage of the customer as it leads to lower running costs and extends the lifespan of the engine.

Volkswagen SA has invested R240-million in its facilities to successfully manage the contract, which has enabled the automotive manufacturer to secure an additional 250 jobs over the period in its engine manufacturing facility in Uitenhage.

Indirectly, an additional 130 jobs have been created at the suppliers involved, which include Halberg Guss South Africa, Halberg Aluminium, LuK Africa, Sentech Industries, First Pro Engineering, Smiths Plastics and Zealous Automotive.

“Volkswagen SA is currently developing a new engine export strategy which will result in additional export opportunities to major overseas markets,” Stephens said. “The engine manufacturing plant in Uitenhage is a key factor in the company’s future export strategy.”

SAinfo reporter

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