Japan's Yamaha is building engines for Ford's new European-market Puma sports car.
Yamaha cooperated on the development of the 1.7-liter engine. In addition to applying a specialized NiCaSil bore-plating process to aluminum cylinder blocks, Yamaha will assemble the engines.
Ford and Yamaha have cooperated on engines in the past, most notably on the high-power engine for the US Ford Taurus SHO.
Some parts, such as the forged crankshaft, will be sourced in Japan. Others are shipped from Europe. Rough-machined 1.7-liter cylinder blocks from Ford's Valencia plant in Spain are shipped to Yamaha in Japan for NiCaSil plating.
The bore-plating process allows very close tolerances. The plated cylinders allow the pistons to operate directly in the aluminum block without wear. The 1.4-liter engine uses the same casting. Boring the casting to 1.7 liters left no room for cylinder liners.
The process takes 20-25 minutes per block. Puma chief project engineer Phil McGuire said the bore-plating process takes too long to fit in with mainstream engine plants, where the longest cycle time is six minutes.
Completed engines are shipped from Japan to Ford's Cologne plant where the Puma is assembled.
'This low-volume assembly operation would not be practical within one of Ford's own conventional engine plants,' says the company's Puma press documentation.
Planned volume for the Puma is 20,000 units a year. The car will be launched in the UK in July and by late September in the rest of Europe.