Marginal: Or Else

A headline on the July 20 combined Detroit News/Free Press jumped out at me: "At Ford: Cut costs or else." The story, written by Jamie Butters of the Free Press, was based on an interview that he'd conducted with Allan Gilmour, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Ford.

Vauxhall Ups Its Flexibility in Ellesmere Port

For all its long history–it celebrates its centenary next year–it is all too easy to dismiss Vauxhall as a bit player in the General Motors empire. The brand is, after all, only to be found in the UK–even the right-hand cars bound for the Republic of Ireland are Opels–and it seems to be on the fringes when it comes to GM Europe.

Coping With Change

It's hard to adjust to change, for we are the willing victims of inertia. We feel comfortable with the status quo because we're used to it. If something new (technologies, government regulations, reorganizations, etc.) comes along that threatens to rock the boat, we view it with suspicion and, sometimes, hostility

Cool Under Pressure

Federal-Mogul's all-steel piston is designed for the increased heat and pressure new heavy duty diesel engines will be generating. Poised to replace aluminum units, it eventually may find its way into passenger vehicles.

Mitsubishi Rolls into the Small SUV Space

The answer to the missing entry-level SUV, the 2003 Outlander, is not likely to see much in the way of off-road use unless the driver goes onto the shoulder of a highway and hits the gravel. Of course, if you've seen—and heard—any of the TV commercials for Mitsubishi vehicles (and if you haven't, you're not watching enough TV), you know that the company is focused on a young demographic, but people who are, by and large, more likely to go clubbing than camping. Thus, the car-based Outlander.

The Next Big Thing: Wi-Fi

Wireless connectivity for personal computers is exploding. More than 300,000 PCs are now being added every month to wireless local area networks (WLANs). It is only a matter of time before Wi-Fi ("Wireless Fidelity") sweeps through vehicles, as well.

Random Thoughts

Who do the Japanese car makers fear? The Koreans. Ten years down the road at the present rate of improvement, the Koreans will be banging on their doors. American OEMs think they can ignore this threat. After all, with a couple of "world class" small cars the domestic OEMs will drive the Koreans back to the shores, just like they did the Japanese and Volkswagen's silly Hitler-era Beetle before that.


The Power of Focus And GM Romulus

A decade ago, GM's Romulus Engine Plant was chosen to build the Gen III V8 that powers the Corvette. A three-year delay in that vehicle program gave employees time to realign operations, improve quality, and implement GM's then-nascent Global Manufacturing System. The results of their work speak for themselves.

Mazda's Three Layer Bake

Mazda has developed a new solvent-based painting process and low-solvent paints that together reduce the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) to levels usually associated with a waterborne system.

A Manager's Guide to FlexRay

Here's what you need to know about the new communications protocol that will make X-by-Wire more pervasive.

A Clearer Clear Coat for Durango

The overall length, width and height of the Dodge Durango are 193.5, 71.3 and 70.5 in., respectively. If you do a bit of simple multiplication to determine the overall volume of the vehicle, you can figure that it is sizable. And much of that exterior volume consists of sheet metal. That sheet metal must be painted. And so the folks at the DaimlerChrysler Newark (New Jersey) Assembly Plant were concerned with the amount of paint—and the related volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions—that are involved in putting a coat on the sport utility vehicle.

The Colleges of Hard Knocks

Behind the environmental hype and "changing the world" rhetoric, the 2002 FutureTruck competition had a real purpose: giving engineering students the opportunity to shepherd a project from start to finish, and live or die on the decisions made along the way.

Keeping Solvent

Taking charge of the used, contaminated solvents that are the result of automotive painting is not exactly a dream job. But Gage Products Company (Ferndale, MI) has made a thriving business out of managing the waste streams of Ford, GM and DaimlerChrysler and saves the automakers a bundle in the bargain.

A Shot of Hydrogen, Please

That's the theory behind Delphi's proposed hydrogen enrichment system. Primarily a device designed to help reduce start-up emissions, it also can be used to increase fuel efficiency and improve dynamic emissions performance by expanding an engine's tolerance for lean-burn running.

The '03 Accord: Why Smart Designers Make All The Difference

Sure, the '03 Accord (sedan and coupe) will undoubtedly raise eyebrows when people see them (pictures—even the good ones here—don't do the vehicles justices). What is all the more remarkable, however, is that these all-new vehicles are rolling out with their content levels not only intact from the '02 models, but improved. That's due, in large part, to designers who understand what it takes to make things. Like solid cars.

Twinkle, Twinkle, PermaStar

Goodrich Technology Corp has developed a method for chroming parts that it claims eliminates hazardous chemicals, reduces process costs and provides a superior corrosion-resistant finish. It's a claim backed up by a patent, a test plant and hundreds of chrome wheels already on the road.