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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

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