Connecting With the Past

Consider: Ford Motor Company announces a not-significant loss.

Fluid Facilitates Diesel

With its third-generation diesel-fuel based additive, says Olivier Touret, vice president of Rhodia Electronics & Catalysis (; La Rochelle, France), the additive tank needs to be filled after 155,000 miles, up from 87,500 miles for the second-gen product.

Film, Don’t Paint

Although many injection molded parts for fascias and rockers are painted after they’re molded, there is another alternative.

Dual-Clutch Transition

In less than a decade, automakers have gone from four-speed automatic transmis-sions to seven- and eight-speed units.

Dodge Revamps Sprinter

Long and lanky may best describe the Dodge Sprinter van, which has been embraced by commercial users—FedEx and DHL come to mind—since its introduction into the U.S. market in 2003.

2007 Chrysler Sebring Convertable

When the Sebring convertible development program began, there was little thought given to adding a hardtop variant to the lineup, according to insiders.

Be The Best—Or Forget It

What’s the difference between people who make it big in any undertaking and those who merely do well?

The Lithium-Ion Challenge

While the fuel cell development continues apace, the development of the lithium-ion batteries that are essential to the E-Flex architecture remains a challenge.

Every Picture Tells a Story

According to Peter Schmitt, VP, Marketing and Business Development, DELMIA, Dassault Systemes (Auburn Hills, MI;, “If I tell you what I mean, it doesn’t follow that you will get the meaning whereas, if I show you what I’m talking about, you have a higher probability of grasping the meaning.” In a nutshell, it is a simple explanation of the thinking behind parent company Dassault Systemes’ “3D Live” software suite, a web-enabled application that allows users to collaborate on projects through a common interface based on a defined product structure. “The idea is to take the information a company creates that is locked away inside of the engineering function, and make it available throughout the organization in an intuitive graphical format,” says Robert Brincheck, director, Automotive Business Unit, Dassault Systemes (Auburn Hills, MI; of the software—which includes desktop connectors for the Smart Team, Enovia, MFG Hub, and 3D XML—navigate through the interface via a standardized compass-like control that gives access to 3D search, navigation, contextual buddy list, and an alert/dialog box at every level.

Off Road Enclave

Buick’s Enclave is the latest, but not last, member of GM’s Lambda crossover family to hit the market. (Chevrolet will get a version to replace the Trailblazer, which has suffered at the hands of high gas prices and buyers looking for utility vehicles with more refinement than body-on-frame entries can muster.) It is not, however, just a lightly modified clone of its siblings.“We used two-piece doors on the Enclave as it was the only way to get the thin upper section that would give the look and flush fit we wanted,” says Todd Pawlik, manager, Program Engineering on the Enclave program. “The doors are totally different than those on the (Saturn) Outlook and (GMC) Acadia, and we added a seal at the seam so that no ‘skunk stripe’ would appear between the front and rear doors.” Tight panel fits between panels also were a priority for the Enclave team as the design did away with ditches at major mating areas normally used to hide seams. “The front and rear fascias are two-piece designs with flush seams all around,” says Pawlik, and the lower side trim fits flush in a cavity designed into the body.” He says this means parts have to be straight out of the tool, and this required much greater attention to detail to get everything to work. “The designers didn’t make it easy,” he says.According to Ed Welburn, GM’s v.p.

Something Big About Smart

Although the smart fortwo vehicle, which will be available in the U.S. early in ’08, is a comparatively small car—wheelbase: 73.5 in.; length: 106.1 in.; width: 61.4 in.; height: 60.7 in.—it has something that not even the biggest Maybach offers. “With an area of around 1.2 square meters, this is to date the largest polycarbonate roof module fitted in a production-line vehicle anywhere in the world,” claims Dr.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Powers Latest GM E-Flex

Although the General Motors E-Flex pro-pulsion concept unveiled at the 2007 North American International Auto Show used an internal combustion engine (ICE) to charge the battery system, GM promised it would use the architecture to support a number of electric-driven powertrain systems besides the internal combustion-electric drive configuration that powered the Chevrolet Volt ( GM Goes for Tech Power ). True to its word, GM unveils the latest E-Flex system combining fuel cell propulsion technology with a lithium-ion battery, producing up to a 300 mile range.

Working for a Living (Not)

When you see a book titled The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich (Crown Publishers; $19.95), you’ve got to be interested.

PDF for 3D CAD

There are certain things that people need to do that they really don’t want to have to do.

Polyscope Seeks to Revolutionize Interior Manufacturing

Providing interior materials that are lighter, more cost-effective and efficient to produce are the goals of Polyscope Polymers (Geleen, Netherlands; The company is banking on its Xiran styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) co-polymers to become commonplace in A-, B- and C-pillar cover, sunroof frame and knee bolster structure applications.


On Strategy: Low-Cost-Country Sourcing

In-house resistance can undermine sourcing from low-cost countries. Here is some advice from our experts on how to clear this hurdle.

Competitive Challenges: The Secret of Success

While plenty of Tier One suppliers complain about OEMs, how many of them listen to their suppliers?

Marginal: Grassoline

Why cutting your lawn may help U.S. energy security

Objects of Interest - July 2007

Zinc Plating Process Cookson Electronics ( has developed a bright acid zinc plating process—ENTHOBRITE CLZ-970—that provides the high-productivity of a water-soluble process, while maintaining superior distribution and deposit properties at any chloride level, resulting in increased productivity and lower zinc plating costs.

Insight: Supplying the New Domestics: What You Need To Know

A quick look at market share data is enough to explain why the task of increasing business with the New Domestics is on the “to-do” list of so many automotive suppliers.

Insider: Let Cooler Heads Prevail

This month, leaders from the United Auto Workers union and the U.S.

Dudder: It’s All About You

Vehicles and features don’t win the respect—and money—of car buyers. First, you have to make them care about you.

EuroAuto: ZF Group’s Approach to Product Development

ZF Group is working to implement its version of the Toyota Production System to assure timely launches and production quality.

Profiles: Reinvigorating GM Design

According to global design chief Ed Welburn, design and engineering must work together with a clear and common vision.


Reinvigorating GM Design

According to global design chief Ed Welburn, design and engineering must work together with a clear and common vision.

2008 Toyota Highlander By the Numbers Because You Can Learn So Much From What’s Quantified

It was engineered as the first vehicle that was conducted under the “Customer First” initiative. And it all adds up to an impressive mid-size SUV.

The Altima Coupe: More Than the Doors Are Changed

Trying to stay ahead of the competition, Nissan embarks on a mission to get its piece of the growing coupe market

Managing Risk

You can take risks or shape them. Adrian Slywotzky thinks that the former choice tends to lead to failure while the latter increases odds for project success. Here’s why.

Factory Control Developments

Nothing revolutionary per se, but just the sorts of “tweaks” that can help make factory operations all the more productive. Here are a few of the more recent developments.

Bonding Buses & Other Adhesive Issues

“Any structural application”—wherein two pieces of metal are joined—“would be enhanced by the use of adhesives.” Not entirely surprisingly, the person making that statement works for Henkel Technologies ( Chris Liddiard, director of Marketing and Technology, Parts & Foams, within Henkel Corp. (, which owns arguably one of the most famous names in adhesives, Loctite, explains his point quite simply.

Powering the BMW 5-Series

Although there are some moderate changes to the model, the bigger differences are under the hood.