Gary S. Vasilash
Gary S. Vasilash is the founding editor of Automotive Design & Production (AD&P) magazine, a publication established in 1997 by Gardner Publications with the cooperation of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). He is responsible for the editorial management and direction of the monthly magazine. Vasilash continues to write a monthly column for AD&P and contributes several stories to each issue.
Vasilash has more than 20 years of experience writing about the automotive industry, best practices and new technologies. His work has appeared in a variety of venues, ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Lightworks, a journal of contemporary art. He has made numerous presentations at a variety of venues ranging from the annual meeting of the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) to the Center for Constructive alternatives at Hillsdale College.
Prior to his present position, Vasilash was editor-in-chief of both Automotive Production and Production magazines—predecessors to AD&P. He joined Cincinnati, Ohio-based Gardner Publications in 1987 as executive editor of Production magazine.
Prior to that, Vasilash had editorial positions with the Rockford Institute and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism and a Master of Arts degree from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. He is a member of the Automotive Press Association.
Bugatti for the Rumpus Room
27. April 2016
Obviously, when the price tag for the Bugatti Chiron is on the order of $2.6-million, chances are good that there aren’t going to be a whole lot of garages that have the supercar in their garages.
So to, perhaps, address an unmet, unattainable need, Etienne Salome, head of Bugatti Interior Design, in consultation with Italian architecture Carlo Colombo, created a suite of products. . .for the Bugatti Home Collection.
That’s right, stationary objects like tables and chairs, not something that has 1500-hp and a top speed of 261-mph.
According to Massimiliano Ferrari, Head of Bugatti Brand Lifestyle for Bugatti Automobiles, “Our distinctive character is increasing moving towards a Bugatti global lifestyle.”
Which, of course, means furniture.
So to encapsulate the Bugatti-ness, they’ve incorporated elements of the vehicles’ designs into the various pieces of furniture, such as a take on the horseshoe-shaped grille.
One of the more-fascinating pieces is the Royale Sofa. Of course, the front surface is rich, luxurious leather:
But it’s what’s in the back that’s most fascinating:
The arms and the back are molded from a single, blue carbon fiber component.
Of course it is.
Major Manufacturing Money for Michigan (well, Ohio, too)
26. April 2016
The Ford Livonia Transmission Plant is about four miles due east of the AD&P Plymouth office, so we are delighted to learn that the vehicle manufacturer is making a $1.4-billion investment in the plant, where a six-speed automatic is presently being produced for a variety of hot-selling vehicles such as the Mustang and the F-150, and which will be starting production of a 10-speed automatic in June, which will be used in such vehicles as the new F-150 Raptor.
This investment, according to Ford, creates or retains 500 hourly jobs at the plant.
Inside Livonia Transmission
In addition to which, Ford announced that it is investing $200-million in its Ohio Assembly Plant, which produces the big brothers to the F-150, including the 350, 450, 550, 650, and 750 (the last two were brought back to the U.S. from Mexico last year, in case a certain politician is interested). The plant in Avon Lake also produces the E-Series cutaway vans and stripped chassis. The investment, which also means 150 hourly jobs, will be for Super Duty chassis cab production.
And today FCA US announced that it is investing $74.7-million in its Trenton Engine Complex, which is about 37 miles southeast of AD&P Plymouth.
(We can’t help it if we’re happy about some serious production investments around here.)
FCA is going to use the cash to retool a flexible production line, installed in 2012, at the Trenton North plant to produce a next-generation four-cylinder engine.
The engine, about which details are, well, nil (well, there’s increased power, improved fuel economy and reduced CO2 emissions, but compared to what?), will go into production in Q3 2017. Some 245 jobs will be retained.
The new engine will replace production of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 at Trenton North. The Pentastar will continue to be manufactured at Trenton South, Mack Avenue Engine, and Saltillo South.
A Million Miatas
26. April 2016
Production of the Mazda Miata—officially known as the “MX-5”—started in the Ujina Plat No. 1 in Hiroshima in April 1989, 27 years ago.
The car is now in its fourth generation.
And there have been, as of last Friday (April 22), one million of the cars produced.
The Miata has been holding the Guinness World record for the “best-selling open-top two-seater sports car” (admittedly a somewhat narrow category, but there are records that are even narrower, like the largest Spam musubi) since May 2000, when 531,890 were produced.
Award recalibration occurred in January 2002 (600,000), April 2005 (700,000) and February 2011 (900,000).
What’s interesting about the MX-5 is that it is one of the handful of cars in the world that can truly be considered to be not only appreciated by fans, but also sufficiently affordable so that they can be purchased by fans.
Let’s face it: we may really, really admire the Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4, but chances are there aren’t a whole lot of us who can afford one. (Lambo: from $237,250; Miata: from $24,915.)
Volvo Trucks for Serious Hauling
26. April 2016
Chances are, no one is going to ever haul 20 trailers connected together to form a 300-meter long chain, trailers that are carrying 40 containers full of Volvo spare parts. Along with the truck itself—a Volvo FH16—the whole thing weighs 827 tons. (A weight conversion would have it: four Boeing 747s or 57 Volvo FH16s.)
Yet to show that it could be done, Volvo Trucks took one of its standard 750-hp FH16s, fitted it with the strongest axles available in the product catalog, loaded the trailers in the Port of Gothenburg, then gave it a go.
The truck started from a stop. It needed to cover a distance of 328 feet (100 meters).
Clearly because we know about it, it accomplished the task.
A key is the crawler gears in the I-Shift automatic transmission. The crawler ratios facilitate hauling under difficult start-off conditions. It allows driving at speeds as low as 0.3 mph.
Noted Peter Hardin, product manager for the FM and FMX models at Volvo Trucks, “Specially built trucks are normally used for exceptionally heavy loads, but here we’re using a Volvo FH16 with a driveline that has come straight from the factory.”
Of course, ordinarily the distance hauled is somewhat longer than the approximate length of a football field.
The Kia Sportage Inside and Out
25. April 2016
Kia Motors America has a lot riding on the 2017 Sportage. (As do other Kia companies in various other countries around the world, as the Sportage is a global vehicle, and while it might be considered a compact crossover in the U.S. market, the vehicle is just the right size pretty much everywhere else.)
This version is the fourth generation of the vehicle. It is the longest-running name plate for Kia in the U.S. market. And while it isn’t the biggest-selling vehicle in Kia’s lineup, in the first quarter of this year its sales are up 50 percent compared to the same period in 2015, and there is no other vehicle in the Kia lineup with such a gain.
The compact crossover segment is hot, and so the Sportage is essential for the company.
To find out about this all-new vehicle, which is bigger inside and out, which has a much stiffer structure than the previous model due to a proliferation of advanced high strength steels, and which has a spirited Euro-style appearance (which can be explained by the facts that (1) it was designed in the Kia Frankfurt design studio and (2) it was designed under the direction of Peter Schreyer, who is himself German), we have Orth Hedrick, Kia Motors America vice president of Product Planning, join us in the studio for this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”
Brinley, Sullivan and I also talk about some recent developments, like the Faraday Future groundbreaking for a $1-billion plant for electric vehicles in North Las Vegas, the 42 mpg highway that the new Chevy Cruze is rated at and whether that will have an effect on the sales of its kin the Volt and the Malibu, and whether it is going to be game on between Cadillac and Lincoln in terms of sales in the U.S. market as the sales of the former are presently lagging while those of the latter are strengthening.
And there’s more, which you can see here: