HOW UK IS HELPING SHAPE THE BRAND’S GLOBAL AMBITIONS
CHANGAN’S ultimate ambitions may be global, but a key component to delivering those aims is based in a business park close to Birmingham International Airport. The company’s powertrain research centre is based in the UK, and “creates the knowledge and products that eventually make it into production”, according to Martin Joyce, head of the engine department.
Any engine and transmission that makes its way to the Chinese production lines is first designed here in the UK. The process is fastmoving, because not only is the home car market known for its quick pace of change, but China’s rapid crackdown on air pollution also means the team faces a tougher challenge each year.
Joyce says: “In 2019, Chinese emissions standards will be equivalent to those in Europe, and by 2023 the Chinese ones will be a mix of the tougher California regulations and EU rules.”
David Stockton, head of the transmissions department, adds that the Chinese market also has “all of the weather extremes you’ll see in the world”. He tells us: “There are cities that sit below minus 30 for four months, scorching deserts and the world’s highest roads in the Himalayas.” This means the engines and transmissions have to be incredibly reliable and flexible.
This is partly why Changan placed its R&D centre in the UK; it not only has access to some of the world’s best engineering talent, but the country also has a great motorsport heritage.
“With many motorsport companies that can build engines in 10 to 20 batches, we have a great supply base of test engines,” Joyce says.
“China has all of the weather extremes you’ll see in the world” DAVID STOCKTON head of transmissions
David Stockton (right) explains to reporter Martin Saarinen why Changan gearboxes are so durable