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.
World Sales in 2016: Some Much Better than Others
20. January 2017
The Global Light Vehicle market—as in cars and crossovers and trucks and utes—had a solid performance last year according to initial assessments form LMC Automotive.
That is, the firm calculates that the growth was on the order of 4.6 percent compared to 2015 to a total of some 93,248,682 units.
The U.S. certainly contributed to the growth, which, with about 17,539,088 units sold, was an increase of 0.5 percent compared with 2015 sales.
In West Europe, while the selling rate was lower, at 15,762,991 units, the year-over-year increase was much higher than in the U.S.: 6.3 percent. According to LMC that part of the world hasn’t been this robust in nine years.
Some places showed declines. Like Russia, down 11 percent, Japan down 1.9 percent, and Brazil off nearly 20 percent.
Meanwhile, over in China, things were nothing short of astonishing.
LMC calculates that 27,951,086 light vehicles were sold in China in 2016, which is a 12.3 percent increase compared with 2015.
That is 10,411,998 more vehicles than were sold in the U.S.
Want to know why China is so very popular with every major OEM?
Mustang Changes for 2018
20. January 2017
On Tuesday Ford unveiled—using the social media channels of actor Dwayne Johnson (this has got to unnerve some of the auto buff book editors)—the 2018 Mustang, which has undergone some modifications: under the hood (the 3.7-liter V6 is giving way to a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four, and a 10-speed automatic is available), on the dash (a 12-inch, all-digital LCD screen is available for the dashboard), at the tires (12 wheel choices), on the chassis (MagneRide damper technology is being offered with the Mustang Performance Package), and on the exterior (three new paint colors).
And while on the subject of the exterior, there are some notable changes—a lower, remodeled hood, repositioned hood vents, new upper and lower front grilles, LED front lights, revised LED taillamps, new rear bumper and fascia.
So we’re taking this opportunity to share some sketches of the new version of what Ford claims is “the world’s best-selling sports coupe”:
EVs for the Trades
19. January 2017
One of the limitations of most electric vehicles (EVs) is that of range: for the typical driver who is used to having at least 200 miles of range thanks to the efficiency of gasoline as a fuel being faced with about 100 miles of range is unsatisfactory, especially given (1) long recharge times compared with the amount of time it takes to put a few gallons in the tank and (2) the idea that it may be necessary to drive >200 miles at a moment’s notice.
One area where these problems are not so much of a problem is in commercial fleet applications, at least those where there is a more or less deterministic amount of travel on any given day.
One OEM that recognizes this and so has developed EVs to meet commercial requirements is Renault.
The French company, through its Renault Pro+ commercial channel, is now offering four electric light commercial vehicles.
There are the Twizy Cargo and the New Commercial ZOE. Added to that quadracycle and compact car are the New Kangoo Z.E. and the Master Z.E., both of which are commercial vans.
The New Kangoo Z.E. has a 33-kWh battery. While the NEDC range is 270 km, Renault suggests that in a real-use delivery cycle, the range is more along the lines of 200 km.
Recharging to full change is about six hours through a 7-kW charger. About 35 km-worth of charge can be attained in an hour.
The Master Z.E. is engineered to meet the requirements of fleets that are running urban last-mile distribution services. It features the same battery and recharge requirements as the New Kangoo Z.E.
Given that commercial vehicles tend to have either prescribed routes or limited service areas, it seems that electric vehicles would be ideal in these applications.
At least the French think so.
Ford GT Display Development
18. January 2017
As you are unlikely to ever be in one of these:
(and I’m not implying my odds for getting there are much better), you’re unlikely to ever see this, the 10-inch wide all-digital display in the Ford GT:
Speaking to the development of TFT LCD display, Jamal Hameedi, chief engineer, Ford Performance, said, “Driver focus and attention are key with such high performance. We’ve designed the GT with a sleek digital instrument display that changes depending on driving mode in ways that are important and usable to the driver.”
There are five modes the screen can go into; modes are selected via controls on the steering wheel. The primary difference between the modes is the way that the information is presented on the screens, as different driving conditions require different informational priorities.
That is, in Normal, the speedometer is centered, the gear selection is on the right and the fuel and temperature displays on the upper left. There is a hockey-stick shaped tachometer, with an emphasis on the range from 3,000 to 7,000 rpm, because the engine revs so fast, below that is quickly passed.
Wet mode is more of a cosmetic change, with the layout being like Normal, but the graphics are meant to evoke wet conditions.
Sport mode puts the gear selection in the center and the speedometer to the right. Here the graphic theme is orange.
Track mode has a black background and a red theme. The key information are gear selection and engine speed. Coolant temperature, oil pressure and temperature, and fuel level are at the bottom right.
Then V-Max has a large centered speedometer, with other information being subordinated and minimized (e.g., the tachometer is simply a line with an indicator dot). After all, when the goal is nothing but high speed. . .
And even in the event that we ever get behind the wheel of a Ford GT, few of us will ever go fast enough see this:
Lexus on Land and at Sea
17. January 2017
Last week in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, Lexus debuted the 2018 Lexus LS 500, the fifth-generation of company’s flagship sedan:
This is an all-new car, based on the Lexus GA-L architecture, which, according to the company, is the stiffest in its history, providing a basis for handling, smoothness and quietness. The vehicle is powered by a new 415-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
A development theme that was used for the development of the LS 500 is omotenashi, the Japanese concept of hospitality. This is evident in the cabin that includes such things as 28-way front power seats. There’s ambient lighting that is inspired by Japanese lanterns; there is an abundance of natural woodwork in distinctive patterns.
(We were remiss in not noting last week that the LS 500 received an EyesOn Design Award for Interior design.)
Meanwhile, also last week, down in Miami at Di Lido Island on Biscayne Bay, this Lexus was revealed:
Yes, an open sport yacht that was developed by the Lexus Design Center in Toyota City.
This Lexus is a concept. A one-off. One interesting aspect is the way the yacht is assembled. The upper deck and outer hull are bonded around the inner structure. The deck and hull are both hand-laid composite components (two-part polyurethane epoxy resin reinforced with woven carbon fiber cloth). These CFRP parts are said to contribute to a weight savings of some 2,200 pounds as compared with a yacht based on fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
(It may be interesting to note that through the use of materials like ultra-high-strength steels and aluminum the LS 500 engineers were able to reduce the mass of the sedan by about 200 pounds.)
And when it comes to powertrain, whereas the new sedan has a V6, the Lexus Sport Yacht has a V8—actually, it has two 5.0-liter V8s, which provide a total of 885 hp.
Of course, given that it has amenities that the LS 500 lacks—like a two-burner stove, refrigerator and shower—it needs a little more power.