DETROIT -- Denso Corp. is in advanced talks to supply a new, high-pressure diesel common rail fuel system to a European automaker. It would be Denso's first such contract for a European automaker.
Denso board member Hiromi Tokuda confirmed the high-level talks in an interview Tuesday at the SAE World Congress.
"We are in negotiations with a new customer in Europe, a European automaker," said Tokuda, chief of Denso's diesel and gasoline injection products divisions. He declined to name the automaker but said talks could be completed before summer.
Winning the contract could help Denso CEO Hiromu Okabe meet his recently stated goal of becoming the world's third-largest Tier 1 auto supplier, up from fourth place.
Denso is facing stiff competition to equip hot-selling diesels in Europe, where it is the fourth largest common rail supplier. Robert Bosch GmbH is the dominant diesel player, followed by Siemens VDO Automotive and Delphi Corp., which acquired TRW Inc.'s LucasVariety diesel operations.
Denso is counting on its new 1,800-bar common rail system, which the company contends provides the highest injection pressure system yet available. The pressure rating is equivalent to 26,107 pounds per square inch.
The system helps diesels reduce emissions and noise even at low speeds and has cleared Euro IV emissions regulations, according to the company.
The 1,800-bar system appears to be the one Tokuda is prepared to offer to the undisclosed European automaker. The system delivers five injections during each combustion stroke.
Denso's common rail system is comprised of a supply pump, a common rail with a high-pressure sensor, solenoid injectors and a high-speed 32-bit engine electronic control unit with an electronic injector driver.
If Denso wins the contract, the company is expected to expand its common rail diesel injection manufacturing operations in Hungary. That plant currently supplies Toyota Motor Corp. and Isuzu Motors Ltd. operations in Europe. Denso supplies Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. in Europe with units built in Japan.
Denso is expected to start full-scale production of the 1,800-bar system in Hungary in 2003 and in Thailand in 2004.
The 1,800-bar system was installed on the Mazda MPV minivan sold in Europe in June 2002. The Mazda 6, launched in September 2002, was also equipped with the system.
Denso executives also unveiled plans at the SAE show to build a 2,000-bar system, equivalent to 29,000 psi, slated to be launched sometime in 2005 or 2006.