BMW AG's sale of its Rover vehicle line has prompted Tritec Motors Ltd. to postpone production at its engine plant in Brazil.
Tritec will make motors for BMW's Mini and the European version of the Chrysler Neon. Tritec is a 50-50 joint venture of DaimlerChrysler and BMW.
Tritec production was scheduled to start in the first quarter of this year. But with BMW's reorganization, initial production of the Mini has been pushed back a year to the summer of 2001.
As a result, Tritec's inauguration ceremony and start of full production, originally scheduled for July 2000, have been canceled, said Tritec spokeswoman Angela Halat.
A new official production date has not been set.
BMW retained the Mini when it sold off Rover. But as part of its restructuring efforts, BMW is moving Mini production from Longbridge, England, to Oxford, England.
The Tritec plant is to manufacture two different engines. A 1.6-liter engine is designed for use in both the Mini and in the Neon. A 1.4-liter engine will be built exclusively for the Mini.
The plant now is turning out three engines a day in a pilot program, Halat said.
Its factory, in Campo Largo, Brazil, can produce 400,000 combined engines yearly.
Another problem with Tritec's start-up is that Rover staff had been responsible for some procurement, engineering and research functions at the plant.
BMW now is reassigning those duties, Halat said.
Tritec suppliers now must adjust to the delay.
'It's never good to see any project slip, but our belief is that the plant is chugging along,' said Dana Corp. spokesman Chuck Van Rens.
Dana is supplying the complete sealing system for the engine, along with fluid handling pumps and piston rings.