PARIS French engine specialist Le Moteur Moderne has played a major role in developing the engines for Tata's Indica - the small Indian hatchback that is being launched in selected European markets this year.
Located in Palaiseau, near Paris, Le Moteur Moderne remains the only significant French engine contractor. Employing 140 people - 70 percent of them engineers and technicians - the company posted revenues of FF75 million (A11.5 million) in 1999. Owned by its management, Le Moteur Moderne has a sister company, Sodemo, that specializes in the tuning of race car engines.
Half of Le Moteur Moderne's annual sales are with PSA/Peugeot-Citroen and Renault. But it also works with other carmakers such as Daewoo and Tata, and engine management suppliers such as Siemens Automotive and Sagem.
Le Moteur Moderne developed both gasoline and diesel engines for the Tata's Indica.
'We worked for Tata on the diesel engine, but we took complete charge of development of the gasoline version, including the final tuning,' said Michel Machabert, sales manager at Le Moteur Moderne.
Machabert said a dedicated team was organized to work on the Tata project from 1996 to 1999.
'We always do that to ensure confidentiality,' he said. 'Our advantage is that we include the constraints of mass production from the beginning of the projects, as soon as the technical requirements of a prototype are defined. We are very used to working with manufacturing people.'
Le Moteur Moderne also works on other types of vehicles such as trucks, farm equipment and construction machinery.
Machabert said: 'There is a growing demand from these off-road vehicle sectors because new emission regulations are now required for them just as they are for cars and trucks.'