Feature

The Corvette Goes Aluminum

For the high-performance Corvette Z06 GM defied tradition and switched from a steel to an aluminum frame.

The Chinese Question

According to Bosch Rexroth (Lohr, Germany; www.boschrexroth.com) chairman Manfred Grundke, the factory automation company must establish an R&D base in China to meet the needs of the indigenous market, protect the company from theft of its intellectual property, and prepare for the day when Chinese suppliers develop products better able to compete with those sold in the developed markets. "They have stolen from us in the past," he says with an air of almost defiant resignation, "so we must keep our top-of-the-line products to ourselves and not share them with the Chinese." Far from isolating the Chinese or belittling their ingenuity, Grundke sees them as able and skilled competitors that are quickly learning their craft.

Honda Re-Thinks The Pickup

The Ridgeline comes closer to merging the virtues of both cars and pickup trucks than any other vehicle. Honda calls it the first next generation pickup, but will others follow its lead?

Interiors: Craftsmanship And Innovation: Low-Cost Craftsmanship

Expanding the capabilities of standard injection molding machines is key to JCI's CrafTec process

Saab's Broadening Appeal

"We're proud to say that Saab today, in 2005, is engaged in the most aggressive product expansion in its entire history," proclaims Debra Kelly-Ennis, president and COO of Saab Cars U.S.A., of the small Swedish car company that's part of the world's largest automotive company.

Chip Foose: Humble Genius

Scene 1After speaking at Detroit's Cobo Hall during the North American International Auto Show, Chip Foose seems genuinely taken with the evident adulation of the audience, and takes the time to answer every question and sign autographs.The second oldest child and only male in a family with four kids, Chip Foose was born in Santa Barbara, California, on October 6, 1963.

Improving Analysis With Better Physical Fidelity

A Look At The Latest LMS Virtual.Lab

Lexus GS: Talking Performance And Technology

Lexus is redescribing and redefining itself—or, said another way, it is launching vehicles that will be distinctively, visually "Lexus." The first articulation is with the GS sport sedan.

How CFD ACCELERATED the development of the WILLIAMS BMW FW27

"We've really made a big change in the way we're doing the aerodynamic design," says Alex Burns, general manager, Williams Grand Prix Engineering (Grove, England), speaking of the development program undertaken to create the FW27, the vehicle that the BMW WilliamsF1 team is campaigning in the 2005 Formula One season.

MSC.Software Invokes Consistency

Although it has historically been considered a provider of "analysis" software, msc is going well beyond that.

2005 Chicago Auto Show

NAME: HONDA CIVIC SI CONCEPTVehicle Type: 2-door coupeReason for Being: Honda must regain street cred with the tuner community.Engineering Aspects: Under the black hood sits a 200-hp, DOHC i-VTEC four-cylinder that spins to 8,000 rpm.

Notable

Back to the Future (Past)

Although a certain designer held forth about Retrofuturism, which was arguably an excuse to bring out some updated versions of vehicles of yore, if you're interested in what designers including Harley Earl, Norman Bel Geddes, John Tjaarda, and others did back when sheet metal was far more extreme and exotic than it tends to be nowadays, check out “Driving Through Futures Past,” an exhibit that is being shown at the Peterson Automotive Museum (Los Angeles; www.petersen.org) between April 16 and September 11, 2005.

Looking Toward the Hydrogen Horizon

A trip to California to tour the Sandia National Lab in Livermore and HRL Laboratories in Malibu proved two things about the state and the state of the so-called hydrogen economy: (1) hybrid vehicles have a long way to go before they outnumber SUVs on the roadways, and (2) hydrogen storage breakthroughs are still on the horizon.

The ITP2 Control Strategy

The Indiana Transmission Plant II (ITP2; Kokomo, IN) of the Chrysler Group is where the W5A580 rear-drive transmission is produced for vehicles including the Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Weight Sensor

Texas Instruments Sensors and Controls (www.tisensors.com; Attleboro, MA) has developed a force-based occupant weight sensor targeted at the advanced air bag deployment systems now mandated by federal law.

LEARNING TO SWIM

One of the greatest automotive successes in recent years is MINI.

Creating and Understanding Value

Value Propositioning: Book One: Perception and Misperception in Decision Making By Rick Dove Iceni Books; $15.00 (available at Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com)One of the more important books that you'll ever have the opportunity to put to good use in your professional (and even recreational) life is this slim (96-page) but dense text by thinker and consultant Rick Dove.

Really Helpful Software-Really

"The goal was to create a product that didn't add any more burden to the already software-overburdened end user." That's John Alpine, chief technology officer at CoCreate Software (www.cocreate.com; Fort Collins, CO), talking about, oddly enough, software that the company developed called "OneSpace.net2005." (Yes, it is built on Microsoft's .NET framework.) Not only did they work toward developing a product that wouldn't be burdensome (there is a version that runs in a hosted environment, which means that CoCreate handles the IT lifting; users just deal with the simplicity of a browser and then engage in the hard work of developing products), but they also developed something that, he says, is an answer to a problem that many people within a product development organization don't know there is a software solution for. (And as they don't know that there is a solution, it is something that may not be budgeted for.)It is a software solution primarily for the supply chain.

Unconventional Variable Valve Timing

Oil pressure actuation of variable valve timing units is pretty commonplace—despite the intricacy of the actuation units—and most are found on overhead cam engines.

The Chinese Question

According to Bosch Rexroth (Lohr, Germany; www.boschrexroth.com) chairman Manfred Grundke, the factory automation company must establish an R&D base in China to meet the needs of the indigenous market, protect the company from theft of its intellectual property, and prepare for the day when Chinese suppliers develop products better able to compete with those sold in the developed markets. "They have stolen from us in the past," he says with an air of almost defiant resignation, "so we must keep our top-of-the-line products to ourselves and not share them with the Chinese." Far from isolating the Chinese or belittling their ingenuity, Grundke sees them as able and skilled competitors that are quickly learning their craft.

Visteon's Custom Clusters

"Consumers tell us they want more customization in the instrument cluster," says Brian Trudeau, product manager, instrument clusters, Visteon Corp. (www.visteon.com; Van Buren Township, MI), while standing amid various glowing displays at the '05 Consumer Electronics Show.

Columns

EuroAuto: LuK: An Abundance of Transmission Options

Considering that one in every four cars that rolls off assembly lines around the world is fitted with one of its clutches, very little is known about LuK, part of the Schaeffler Group, Germany's largest family owned business.

Dudder: What Should Be Done

The industrial blueprint has changed as markets and industries have advanced.

Marginal: A Lesson from Bill Gates

"One thing that I like about the Microsoft culture is that we wake up every day thinking about companies like Wang or Digital Equipment or Compaq, that were huge companies that did very well and they literally have disappeared.

On the Management Side: Promote Creativity Among Your People

What can you do to stimulate the dormant creativity in your organization?IDENTIFY YOUR PROBLEM.

On Strategy: Implementing a Modularization Strategy

In the automotive industry, modularization strategies are essential for achieving profitable growth and managing the growing complexities associated with product portfolios, costs, time and quality.

Insight: Auto's Top 10 Issues for 2005

2005 may end up being a watershed year for the North American market, so assessing the key issues is particularly important.