Jaguar XE marques’ success for Gates
Gates OE success switches to overdrive next month when the new Jaguar XE goes on sale (May 2015).
The XE is the first Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) model to include a JLR engine – designed and built by the prestigious vehicle manufacturer. It is also the first to include an Auxiliary Belt Drive System (ABDS) developed, tested and supplied by Gates.
Development of the 2.0 litre four-cylinder AJ200 (or Ingenium) engine marks a major step-change in the relationship between JLR and Gates, which previously had supplied belts but no metal parts for JLR drive systems.
‘Gates specialists in Germany designed the ABDS and a Gates OE team in the UK has been managing the project. A Gates plant in Izmir, Turkey, makes the tensioners and idlers, while the belts are produced at our plant in Balsareny, Spain. It is a major tale of international success by our European OE operation,’ says Casper Haenbeukers, Gates Manager for Metal Application and Development.
That success will see Gates share of JLR business surge from a position outside the list of Gates top ten customers in terms of sales revenue (2011), to a position inside its top five by the time the scheduled peak production level is reached (2018).
Nick Herbert, Gates OE global business manager (Europe) explains some of the challenges that had to be addressed by Gates when developing the ABDS for the new JLR Ingenium engine:
‘Petrol and diesel engine variants will be fitted to vehicles across the JLR range including the Range Rover brand, which is the world’s leading 4×4. It has a wading depth of 900mm, which means the ABDS has to be able to resist extreme exposure to contamination by dirt and ingress by water. Once you accept that and appreciate that in some models there will be less engine space to work with, the challenge is to design a multi-use ABDS system with parts that are appropriate for every application.’
Project development took three years, from the award of the contract to the launch of the first model with the new engine. Gates will maintain the contract by supplying new parts directly to four different JLR manufacturing plants, including the new purpose built JLR engine plant in Wolverhampton. Gates parts will also be supplied to JLR for later distribution to its dealer network.
Casper Haenbeukers added:
‘Gates has played a significant part in the development and successful introduction of a new engine in what is the most advanced, efficient and refined sports saloon car that Jaguar has ever produced. Our OE experience with JLR has been good for Gates and will increase confidence in the Gates product range at every level, from OE, to the distributors of parts to the independent aftermarket as well as the installers themselves.’