Notable

Mercedes R-Class Seems Familiar

While the official line from Mercedes-Benz is that the '06 R-Class is a "segment buster," not an SUV, wagon, or a minivan, that may be more spin that anything because stylistically, it looks like a wagon, albeit more aggressive than the E-Class or the BMW 5-Series wagons.

STRONGER, QUIETER INTERIOR PANELS

Owens Corning's (Toledo, OH; www.owenscorning.com) new lightweight glass-mat composite substrate, AcoustiMax, promises improved structural and acoustic properties for vehicle interior panels—headliners, trunk liners, door modules, seat backs, and package trays—when compared to competing materials.

LOOKING @ THE 2005 MAZDA5

Let's say you're the folks at Mazda, where global demand for the Mazda3 outstrips supply by approximately 100,000 units per year.

Cowboy in name only

Located just above the automotive troposphere but below the stratosphere, the $164,990 Bentley Continental Flying Spur appeals to buyers looking for a sporting—yet reserved—luxury vehicle.

Laser Labeling for vins

One clever way of producing VIN labels is being offered by Schreiner Label Tech (Livonia, MI). Rather than engraving the information, the system uses what the company has named its "Color Laser Film," which is said to have a patented structure such that an Nd:YAG laser inscribes the required information onto the material in such a way that it is actually under a protective laminate surface.

Caliber Foundation for New Chrysler Powertrains

Chrysler will roll out its new small-car powertrain platform in early 2006, with the introduction of the Dodge Caliber.

THE HAVE-IT-ALL HYBRID

The mile-long straight is bordered by a turn-around at either end.

Ford's New Expeditionary force

What's an "Expedition Max"? It's the coming replacement for the Excursion in Ford's full-size SUV stable, and a competitor for GM's Suburban.

THE UNDERVALUED RESOURCE

"It is astounding how many smart, well-educated, and well-paid people are underutilized by their companies," writes Susan Annunzio, chairman and CEO of the Hudson Highland Center for High Performance, and an adjunct professor of management at the University of Chicago School of Business in Contagious Success.

Looking @ the 2006 Cadillac DTS

"We looked at building a DTS-V during the early stages of the program," says Cadillac DTS chief engineer Ed Zellner, "but it would have required all-wheel-drive, and that would have been hard to package.

TAKE AWAY: SEVEN HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL SUPPLIERS

What does it take to be a supplier that can make it?

Columns

EuroAuto: Engineering Engine Advances

FEV Motorentechnik was founded in Aachen, Germany, in 1978 by Prof.

Insider: Mixing Government and Manufacturing

Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm is talking with me about her recent mission to Japan to woo that nation's auto suppliers and OEMs.

Insight: European Suppliers—Under the Microscope and Under the Knife

Relations between automakers in Europe and their suppliers are prey to the same stress points felt by their North American counterparts.

Dudder: Me Too!

I started putting together a list of SUVs and crossovers that are scheduled to arrive in the coming years, and I began to get scared.

Marginal: The Summer of Toyota

During this summer's Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City, directed by the Center for Automotive Research, more of the buzz was centered on the sale of the two Detroit dailies than on the plight of many of the OEMs and, by extension, their suppliers.

On Strategy: Beyond the Keiretsu

OEMs are changing the rules by which they select suppliers.

Feature

Pontiac's Bright Light Creating the Solstice

The executives at General Motors have been talking about building "gotta have" products for the past few years. The Pontiac Solstice is among the few that actually deserves that appellation.

TAKE AWAY: HOW TO GO 'HI-PO'

According to Peter M.

Rapid Prototyping: Rapid, Colorful, Real, and coming to a desk near you

When stereolithography and rapid prototyping (RP) were introduced at Autofact in 1986, a seat for 3D CAD software and a high-end workstation was $40,000 to $50,000. Now, 3D CAD software, the source for RP data, goes for $500 to $5,000 a seat. And so there's now 3D printing for office applications in addition to machines for the factory floor.

Executing GM's Massive IT Updates

The facts are fairly astonishing.

HAU THAI-TANG - Searching for Synergy

As the 2005 Mustang's chief engineer he hit the Automotive Radar screen. In his new job, he has to merge the needs of advanced product creation and SVT.

Peter Horbury - Changing the Face of Ford

As the executive director of design for Ford's North American marques, Peter Horbury is working to provide a distinctively American look to the Ford, Lincoln & Mercury brands. And he happens to be a Brit.