Gleanings From 2006 Naias

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...

Caliber: Locked and Loaded

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.

Steel Strikes Back

Although there are auto applications that steel once had to itself, several of those have given way to alternatives—for now.

Nissan: Refining Design, Taking Aim at the Entry Level

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.

Comments on Creating the Camaro Concept

A design transformation is occurring at General Motors.

Resurrecting Mercedes

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.

Think Fast

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.

The Toyota Approach

Undoubtedly, from the point of view of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), the most important vehicle debuted is the 2007 Camry.

Catia Enhancements Keep on Coming

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.

Conceptually Speaking: A Look at What's Likely to Come

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's New Class A Surface Model Considered

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.

Chrysler's Concepts: Design & Manufacturing Issues of the Imperial & Challenger

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.

Management Lessons of the '07 Toyota Camry

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.


Insight: Suppliers Finding Footing in Price Negotiations

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.

EuroAuto: World Champion Renault’s Preps for F1 in ‘06

While it may be difficult to believe after the disgraceful episode at the 2005 U.S.

Marginal: Where HOPE Is an Active Verb

On February 1, 2006, it was announced that Eleanor M.

Insider: Quit Crying!

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.

Dudder: Excitement? What’s That?

The blood is on the walls, and the cuts have been publicized.

On Strategy: India’s Tempting—But Tricky—Auto Market

India’s economic progress pales when compared to China’s stellar growth.


Hogan Speaks

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.

Innovation Separates Suppliers

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.

GTO Dies So Camaro Can Live

All of the wailing and gnashing of teeth regarding the imminent demise of the Pontiac GTO is misplaced.

Microsoft System Deployed by Fiat

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.

Advanced High Strength Steel Considerations

“Everyone wants to treat these materials just like other materials,” Dr.

JT Seeks Acceptance

Getting auto makers to agree on an industry-wide standard can be a challenging task.

Goodyear Goes Carbon Fiber

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.

C70 Story Starts @ the Top

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.

Belvidere Takes Chrysler Flexibility up a Notch

A few years ago, former Chrysler boss Dieter Zetsche made a bold prediction: Chrysler would become among the most efficient auto manufacturers by 2010.

Hybrid Brake-Throughs

Ever looked under the hood of a hybrid vehicle?

Turning the Wheels Faster

It would be hard to underestimate the importance of wheels to vehicle design.

Hitachi Develops Thin, Low-Cost RFID Chip

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.

Mercury-Free HID Lighting

Osram Sylvania (www.sylvania.com) is the first supplier to provide a completely mercury-free high intensity discharge lamp and ballast system.

Control the Universe?

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.

Designing the Future

“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.

Winning the Strategic Gamble

You’ve got one chance, so you’d better make it good.

Dylyn for Dollars

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.

Mistakes Matter

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.