More than just bright, shiny cars and trucks—concepts and production vehicles—the North American International Auto Show afforded the opportunity to learn some things about product development from industry leaders. Here’s some of what we gleaned...
In the C-segment, there are plenty of products built in other parts of the world and brought to the U.S. and stickered with some exceedingly low MSRPs. Chrysler is putting its flexible manufacturing and clever design capabilities to work and answering with the Caliber, a car built in the U.S. that starts below $14K.
Although there are auto applications that steel once had to itself, several of those have given way to alternatives—for now.
TALKING SENTRAThe Sentra is the car that completes the first round of Nissan’s design revival, which restarts with the introduction of the revised 2007 Altima sedan in mid-‘06.
A design transformation is occurring at General Motors.
While the marque may have been blemished by recent quality problems, there is a dedication to making that badge shine with improved processes and new products.
Fast Company magazine is uncharacteristically smart and informative when it comes to the ways of work today, and so not surprisingly, its collection of business (and life) quotations, The Rules of Business, is in a class of its own.
Undoubtedly, from the point of view of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), the most important vehicle debuted is the 2007 Camry.
While the version numbers rarely change for Catia, new releases of this venerable solids modeler come out like clockwork. Now at V5R16, it’s time to see some of the latest updates.
Volvo C30 ConceptWHAT IT IS: Volvo’s first ever entry into the C-segment class slated to hit European showrooms late this year and arrive in the U.S. in early 2007.CLEVER FEATURES: Riding on the C1-platform shared with the European Ford Focus, Volvo S40 and Mazda3, the C30 is powered by an in-line 5-cylinder 2.4-liter turbocharged engine which delivers 260 hp at 5,500 rpm along with a 6-speed manual transmission, both of which help move the C30 from 0-60 mph in 6 seconds.IMPLICATIONS: The sporty two-door, four seater—the first vehicle to debut under the direction of Volvo’s new design boss Steve Mattin—features styling cues taken from the 2001 Volvo Safety Concept Car, including the glass tailgate and tail lamp design.
ICEM Ltd. (Southampton, UK; www.icem.com) recently announced ICEM Shape Design (ISD), a suite of software products for creating, modifying, and validating any type of surface, from freeform to complex mechanical shapes.
WHY NO EGG CRATE?Although Chrysler designers have been working hard the past several years to bring a family resemblance to the grilles, with the flying wings bold, prominent, and at the top, over an egg-crate air-inlet array beneath, that has been abandoned on the Imperial concept.
Can the Camry Save Toyota?That, of course, is one of the most stupid questions ever posed, because unlike some other vehicle manufacturers, (1) Toyota doesn’t need saving and (2) a large part of the reason why it doesn’t need saving is because of the Camry, which has been the best-selling car in America for eight of the last nine years, including the last four years running.
The results of the latest IRN biennial survey, The Dynamics of Price Reduction Requests, have been published, and there may be cause for faint optimism among suppliers that the inter-action with their customers is changing.
While it may be difficult to believe after the disgraceful episode at the 2005 U.S.
On February 1, 2006, it was announced that Eleanor M.
If there is a common refrain I am hearing in Detroit these days it’s “Woe is me.” Everyone seems to be crying in their beer as they wonder just what went wrong to make our beloved auto industry fall apart so fast.
The blood is on the walls, and the cuts have been publicized.
India’s economic progress pales when compared to China’s stellar growth.
Mark Hogan has been around the automotive industry for more than 30 years, most of it spent at General Motors, where he had assignments ranging from running the automaker’s Brazilian operations to heading its global e-business unit to being responsible for advance vehicle development.
Suppliers with the ability to (1) develop innovative products that command pricing power from OEMs and (2) have the ability to develop a global manufacturing footprint capable of optimizing production in low-cost regions will prevail in the long-run.
All of the wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the imminent demise of the Pontiac GTO is misplaced.
Fiat Auto (www.fiat.com), which has been working with Microsoft’s Automotive Business Unit (www.microsoft.com/automotive) since July 2004, has launched the first product to result from this collaboration: Blue&Me, a communications and entertainment system that’s primarily based on Windows Mobile for Automotive, rather than a hardware platform.
“Everyone wants to treat these materials just like other materials,” Dr.
Getting auto makers to agree on an industry-wide standard can be a challenging task.
The old saying “Where the rubber meets the road” may have to be modified at some point in the not-too-distant future to “Where the carbon fiber meets the road.” That’s because Goodyear is deploying a carbon fiber-based insert in the outboard sidewall of its Eagle tires with ResponseEdge Technology.
In 2002, Volvo executives tasked their designers to come up with a replacement for the venerable C70, which, over its six years in production, sold 50,000 units, a respectable number for a convertible.
A few years ago, former Chrysler boss Dieter Zetsche made a bold prediction: Chrysler would become among the most efficient auto manufacturers by 2010.
Ever looked under the hood of a hybrid vehicle?
It would be hard to underestimate the importance of wheels to vehicle design.
Imagine a world where every vehicle component—from manifolds to hinges—has an imbedded RFID chip, providing up-to-the-minute accuracy in line-side delivery.
Osram Sylvania (www.sylvania.com) is the first supplier to provide a completely mercury-free high intensity discharge lamp and ballast system.
In 1935, fictional industrialist Diet Smith, a friend of cartoon detective Dick Tracy, predicted that “the nation that controls magnetism will control the universe.” The Electrodyne Co. (Batavia, OH; www.edyne.com) doesn’t claim its high-energy (up to 5.0MGOe) Reance SF magnets will make dominating the universe a reality, but it does say the magnet can hold very tight radiuses without cracking, breaking, or losing any of its magnetic properties.
“The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.”—William Gibson, NeuromancerThe cyberpunk existence first posited by William Gibson in 1984 and then expanded by a number of other writers including Bruce Sterling has become more science (or factual) than fiction.
You’ve got one chance, so you’d better make it good.
For the past few years, “Diamond-Like Carbon” (DLC) coatings have been provided to racing engine developers—for Formula One, NASCAR, IndyCar and World Rally Championship vehicles—by the Sorevi Div. of Bekaert (Zulte, Belgium; www.bekaert.com). Now the company has launched a DLC coating called “Dylyn Plus” to reduce friction and increase the wear resistance for the camshafts of high-volume production engines.
In a single week’s time in January 2006, Ford announced that it will shed 30,000 people and 14 manufacturing plants by 2012; General Motors announced that it lost $8.5-billion in 2005.