When it comes to automobiles, North America is a world of its own. “MAHLE is very successful here because we meet the exact requirements of this market,” Ferriman proudly emphasizes. “Although our products are global, we were able to adapt perfectly to local conditions.” Indeed, there is a lot of MAHLE technology in the Chrysler Pacifica: the power cell unit, intake manifold, air cleaner module, carbon canister, and last but not least, the HVAC module including compressor. Numerous MAHLE products can also be found in the pickups. For Ferriman, precisely these vehicles, which are primarily used across the length and breadth of America, are evidence that the combustion engine will still play a very influential role for a long time to come. And what may at first come as a surprise in view of the current debate: the pickup manufacturers are increasingly opting for diesel technology.
MAHLE is already working closely with customers on the development phase of new models. In Plymouth/Michigan, about half an hour’s drive from Detroit, MAHLE Powertrain is working on new solutions. We are not talking about individual components here, but rather complete systems and engines. “Customers come to us because they appreciate our flexibility and expertise,” Hugh Blaxill confirms with satisfaction. He is Head of Engineering at the powertrain branch in Plymouth. This is where MAHLE develops solutions specifically for the American customers. “One of the reasons is the particular consumer expectations in this region. The legal requirements and other technical standards are also different to those in Europe or Asia, for example.” The customers also appreciate the special software knowledge of the MAHLE experts in Plymouth, confirms Rob Vischer, Sales Manager of MAHLE Powertrain North America: “For instance, we are currently working intensively on solutions to further protect the complex systems of modern vehicles against cyberattacks.”
Large engines and big car bodies should not obscure the fact that the automotive industry in North America is also in transition. “The Chrysler Pacifica is a good example of this. It is the first in its class to be equipped with a plug-in hybrid drive. Electrification is also in full swing here,” asserts Scott Ferriman during a tour of the Motor Show. An e-drive in conjunction with a combustion engine: here he sees a strong trend for his market. All the manufacturers exhibiting their products in Detroit are presenting appropriate solutions: European, Asian, and even all the major American suppliers.