The use of engine Variable Valve Technology (VVT) by North American vehicle manufacturers is set to rise sharply over the next five years according to a study by auto industry consultant and forecaster CSM Worldwide. The research concludes that the shift to VVT is being driven by pressure on manufacturers to have more Ultra Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV) in the production mix and increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) levels, while also offering a wide range of vehicle/powertrain packages.

The CSM forecast of high volume North American engine family programmes – those with production volumes of over 300,000 units per year – indicates that GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler will offer VVT on approximately 75% to 80% of their vehicles by 2006.

The North American ‘new domestics’ – which have the current lead in VVT applications – will place VVT systems on 60% of programmes.

CSM Worldwide says that many of the newer designed engines – such as the GM L850 and Ford Duratec – have VVT “designed-in” allowing its adoption in a cost-effective manner. Other engines – such as GM’s Gen IV and Ford’s Modular – would be more expensive to retrofit but VVT will be considered as a trade-off to meet emissions and CAFE requirements or become cost effective when packaged as an enabler for features such as cylinder deactivation.

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