Mobility and Comfort for the most Populous Country in the World
[ Published in HOERBIGER@MOTION 01/2012 ]
In August 2008, Volkswagen Group began construction of its most modern transmission plant in the world in Dalian in China's northeast. Almost 17 months later, in January 2010, series production for the DSG® DQ200 Direct-Shift Gearbox started at Volkswagen Automatic Transmission (Dalian) Co. Ltd. In 2011, annual production output has already reached 350,000 transmissions, and the second expansion phase for a capacity of approximately 600,000 transmissions is scheduled for 2012. It was a masterful performance of Volkswagen project management—and a challenge for globally operating suppliers such as HOERBIGER.
Until January 2010, the DSG® DQ 200 was built only at Volkswagen in Kassel, Germany. Dalian is the second plant worldwide in the Volkswagen Group to produce the direct-shift gearbox. And the figures speak for themselves. In September 2007, Volkswagen corporate management in Wolfsburg, Germany, approved the new transmission plant project. The objective was to exclusively manufacture the DSG® DQ200 direct-shift gearbox for the Chinese market. By the end of 2011, Volkswagen is already producing as many as 350,000 transmissions a year in Dalian. The capacity of the site is scheduled to balloon to 900,000 transmissions by the end of 2014.
The DSG® DQ200 transmission is an advancement of the DSG® DQ250 double clutch transmission launched in Germany in August 2003 with the Golf IV R32. The innovative transmission was designed with a dry seven-speed double clutch for a torque of 250 Newton meters (Nm) and engine power output of up to 125 kilowatts. It has a front-transverse design. In August 2008, the DSG® DQ200 transmission celebrated its premiere in Germany in the Golf V and the Touran. Its specification make the direct-shift gearbox suited for a variety of vehicle types – from the compact Polo to the Passat, a mid-range sedan. Because of its broad application spectrum, the DSG® DQ200 transmission is truly a global transmission for Volkswagen: the diversity of the new direct-shift gearbox satisfies the market requirements in Asia, and particularly in China.
China is a sales market that poses special challenges in many respects. When designing a Volkswagen for the most populous country in the world, consideration must be given, for example, to the regionally severely fluctuating temperatures and frequently extremely high humidity as compared to Europe. The greatest difference in comparison with Europe, however, is the driving style: customers in China move about at low torque in the lower speed ranges. When Europeans are still in second gear, the Chinese are already in fifth. The goal is to minimize fuel consumption.
This is where the DSG® DQ200 transmission from Volkswagen can score points. In conjunction with the EA 111 1.4-liter TSI engine, fuel savings of approximately 25 percent over a regular automatic transmission can be achieved. This is a compelling argument, notably in China, a country that since the 2010 World Expo would like to raise its international profile when it comes to the protection of the environment. Vehicles equipped with the 1.4-liter TSI engine and the DSG® DQ200 transmission are therefore in great demand.
A look at the current model range of Volkswagen reveals that the market in the largest and most populous automobile nation of the world is changing. So far, Volkswagen’s classics – the Santana and Jetta – remain the most widely driven passenger cars in China. However, in the near future customization will be increasingly in demand. Volkswagen has anticipated these changing customer expectations and in China is offering a suitable vehicle for every customer's desire. The majority of these vehicles will likely not be equipped with classic manual transmissions in the future, but rather with modern direct-shift gearboxes.
By constructing the Dalian transmission plant, Volkswagen has set the course for satisfying the growing demand for these economical and comfortable transmissions, in which Volkswagen is supported by efficient, local suppliers such as HOERBIGER Drive Technology (Changzhou) Co., Ltd.. The second location of HOERBIGER Drive Technology in China opened in October 2010 was designed and constructed in conjunction with the Volkswagen transmission plant in Dalian. This facility produces the sliding sleeves for the DSG® DQ 200 gearbox, which is a performance- and comfort-defining key component of the transmission.