March/April 2011

MarchApril11 Cover


Checking Part Changes During Temp Testing

One of the more annoying causes of squeaks and rattles in a vehicle has a lot to do with climactic conditions.

Simulation for Steel Stamping

During the development of a forthcoming vehicle, Tata Motors engineers determined that a major source of NVH (noise-vibration-harshness) from the engine was caused by the oil sump.

Laser Cutting & Welding: Done with One

While laser cutting and laser welding are typically separate processes, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT; have developed a “combi” head that permits both cutting and welding; capacitance sensors not only perform distance control but component measurement.In all, the combi-head addresses various processing issues ranging from equipment foot-print on the factory floor to clamping, storage and transport.

2011 Nissan Quest: Dialing Back the Design

Nissan introduces its 4th-generation Quest minivan.


“Rather than building factories or hiring a huge sales force, you just license your crucial piece of intellectual property to others . . . Let another company, or many other companies, do all the hard work of making it, selling it, servicing it, and so on.” --Andy Kessler

Fewer Layers for Fuel Tanks

Although the approval from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. EPA for the barrier material from Solvay Advanced Polymers for three-layer fuel tank systems specifies applicability for lawnmowers, snow blowers, weed trimmers, generators, and other small off-road equipment, it is probably worth noting that Ixef BXT 2000-0203 polyarylamide (PARA) blow molding resin has gotten the OK.


Steel Study Shows How To Lighten Up

A two-year study by this international steel company has come up with a specific array of parts—including the materials and processes needed to transform them into parts—that can achieve significant weight savings without an increase in cost.

VW Jetta Gen Six

Focusing on the American market: The compact sedan gets bigger—and more stylish.

Engineering the Camaro Convertible

Since its relaunch, the Camaro has had a single body style. And now the Convertible is on the street. According to the chief engineer, that’s been the plan all along.

Developing the Nissan NV

If you are an American, you probably don’t consider Nissan when you think “commercial vehicles,” even though it has a 75-year history in that segment.

Ten Things To Know About the 2011 Chrysler 300

Given the unprecedented success of the first-generation 300, which was launched as a 2005 model, Chrysler designers and engineers had a lot to live up to. And with the 2011, they overachieved on this new rendition of the E-class sedan.

The Method of Mini Design

Marcus Syring has been in the MINI design studio since the project moved from England to Germany.

Powertrain Technology: Acknowledging Advances

There is a lot going on in the powertrain arena, both in terms of new transmission technology that is being developed for not only the race tracks of the world, but for the street, as well as in the process and technology realm, where creating better performing product is paramount. Here’s a look at a slice of some of what’s been happening of late.


Re: Research

Recycling exhaust heat; photocatalysts for hydrogen production; and biofuels from bovine guts?

Substance Over Style

Kia’s KV7 concept at the North American International Auto Show looked like a Sedona minivan replacement in all but name, although its goofy gullwing doors and trendy office-style seating won’t make it into production.

Which Customers Should You Keep?

Over the years that IRN has been surveying suppliers on their interactions with customers around the issue of price reductions, there has always been a wide range of responses.

The Recovery: Bright Signs But Lingering Issues

Calendar year 2010 and the first couple months of 2011 have certainly been interesting in the automotive business.

On Electronics - March 2011

Networking VehiclesThe Fraunhofer Institute for Communications Systems ESK ( has developed a car-to-x (C2X) communication system that networks between vehicles and infrastructure to keep drivers more in-tune with their surroundings.

Ghosn's Plan

Not all that long ago—but it seems like a lifetime in this industry, which has undergone changes at a rate that’s been uncharacteristic since the early days of the 20th century, when there were similar technology developments and challenges and organizational flux—Carlos Ghosn was the go-to guy who could not only turn companies around, but propel them into the future.


How To Make a 42-mpg Compact

“We left no stone unturned or piece of sheet metal unweighed,” said Chuck Russell, General Motors vehicle line director whose responsibility includes the Chevrolet Cruze compact car.

Five Things About the Fiat 500

Five things about the Fiat 500.