AACHEN, Germany - The number of different engines being developed by the world auto industry will fall over the next decade as carmakers merge and model ranges share technology - but demand for specialist engine consultants is likely to remain high, according to FEV of Aachen.
FEV is one of Europe's largest engine contractors. It was founded in 1978 by Franz Pischlinger, a professor at Aachen technical university. Today, it employs 940 engineering specialists - 140 of them working in FEV's US offices near Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA.
'As a result of the recent mergers and takeovers, the number of basic engines applied by carmakers will be reduced as they seek synergies,' said Peter Walzer, executive vice president of FEV. 'But the need for specific engine variants as well stricter legal requirements will mean that a lot of work will need to be done.'
Engine consultants in particular will be concentrating on reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for gasoline engines, and reducing diesel particulates, Walzer predicts.
FEV is similar in size to the UK's Ricardo and AVL's Austrian operations, but Walzer says FEV is not always in direct competition with them.
'Since our specializations differ from other European engine consultancies, we cannot always be compared to them,' he said. 'Internal combustion engine research and development is our core business. But we increasingly work on complete automotive powertrain and related projects as well, including testing and industrialization.
'We can fulfill the complete process from feasibility studies to industrialization. Around 15 percent of our activities is accounted for by research and development from early studies up to the feasibility stage,' said Walzer.
FEV also develops naval and railroad engines, and is also involved in fuel cell technology.
Its clients come from Europe, North and South America, and Asia. 'Our portfolio of clients is well balanced between these three worlds, and no client contributes to more than 10 percent of our total workload,' said Walzer.