For many years, the Columbus Engine Plant (CEP) was at the center of nearly everything that happened at Cummins. Co-founder Clessie Cummins and legendary CEO J. Irwin Miller were among the luminaries who walked its halls.
Cummins officials announced this afternoon that the 64-acre facility in the Company’s headquarters city of Columbus, Ind., is about to make history again. The plant, which dates back to the 1920s, is being readied to build the Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel for Nissan’s next generation Titan pickup truck and for commercial vehicles, too.
“For the people at the Columbus Engine Plant this is very exciting,” said Jeff Caldwell, General Manager of Cummins’ pickup truck business and a 31-year employee of the Company who started at the plant. “For the first time in a little over a decade, we’ll be shipping engines from this place which has played such an important role in our history.
“It’s also exciting to think that within the next two years both our Columbus engine assembly plants – CEP and CMEP (the Columbus MidRange Engine Plant) – will both be at full strength again,” Caldwell added.
At a showcase of its product and technology portfolio in California, Nissan said it is not releasing any launch dates, although the automaker said engineering prototype trucks powered by the Cummins engine are undergoing extensive testing on public highways.
The automaker is counting on the Cummins diesel to provide light truck customers with a combination of towing capacity and fuel mileage that will give the Titan a key advantage in the highly competitive U.S. pickup truck market.
“There is no question that the new Titan will turn heads, and with the available Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel we expect to win new fans and attract buyers looking for this unique configuration,” said Fred Diaz, Divisional Vice President, Nissan Sales & Marketing, Service & Parts, Nissan U.S.A.
Caldwell said today’s announcement is a testament to the Company’s determination and commitment to innovation. Cummins first announced it was building a light duty diesel engine in Columbus in 2006 but a global economic downturn delayed the project.
Cummins’ leaders never wavered in their belief that the engine would be a success with customers. Many people want great fuel economy with hauling or towing capability but they don’t need a larger three-quarter or one-ton truck with the massive capability these trucks deliver. Cummins V8 fits this segment well.
Caldwell said the V8 team continued making refinements to the engine during the economic downturn, and once an agreement was reached with Nissan, began to incorporate more specific customer needs.
The engine was developed to meet the latest federal emissions regulations, drawing on the best of innovation at Cummins, including turbo technology, filters from the Company’s filtration business, SCR technology from the Cummins Emission Solutions and more.
The Columbus Engine Plant was originally built around a two-story Civil War-era house purchased by Cummins co-founders Clessie Cummins and W.G. Irwin. Used as the Company’s headquarters in the 1920s, the plant has been expanded 26 times, including extensive work in the 1940s during World War II.
The V8 team will add to its 300 person workforce over the next several years and at maturity the V8 program will have more than 800 people working. People interested in applying for externally posted professional, shop and office roles should do so through careers.cummins.com.
Integrity is one of Cummins’ six corporate values, defined as striving to do “what is right and what we say we will do.” When plans for the 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel encountered trouble, Caldwell said the Company lived that value, never giving up on the engine or Columbus.
“We knew we made a commitment to bring engine manufacturing back to Southern Indiana and we were not going to go back on that promise,” he said.
To learn more about today’s announcement, go to cumminsengines.com.