Blogs from the Traverse City conference

Sergio is right, but industry avoids consolidation

Posted 2:07 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
blogs Bradford Wernle is a supplier reporter for Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set the industry on its ear recently when he said it has a dangerous problem: a chronic addiction to burning capital at an unsustainable rate. A panel of analysts at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars here wouldn’t argue with Marchionne’s assertion. But they’re not so sure the industry can cha ...
     Continue reading "Sergio is right, but industry avoids consolidation" » Aug 5, 2015 2:07 pm U.S. ET
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Back when Detroit had to learn efficiency from Japan

Posted 9:26 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Here at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars, people are talking about the urgency to embrace new information technologies to run better factories, reduce wasteful practices and empower workers to make processes work better. I’d like to point out how easy these ideas and tools are to come by today. Especially in contrast to a moment 30 years ...
     Continue reading "Back when Detroit had to learn efficiency from Japan" » Aug 5, 2015 9:26 am U.S. ET
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Chris Grundler and the EPA hot seat

Posted 11:25 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- You think your job is tough? Try walking in Chris Grundler’s shoes. As director of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, nothing his department proposes goes unopposed by an assortment of well-funded trade groups who don’t want their business models disrupted. Dramatically reducing the sulfur content, first in diese ...
     Continue reading "Chris Grundler and the EPA hot seat" » Aug 5, 2015 11:25 am U.S. ET
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Why standard batteries are a tough sell for automakers

Posted 11:23 am U.S. ET, Aug. 4
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There's a simple way to reduce EV battery costs without using any exotic new technologies, but it’s a tough sell for automakers. If automakers decided to use the same basic battery cell, they could enjoy economies of scale that now elude the industry. Consider the battery cell produced by South Korea's LG Chem for the Chevrolet Volt. The sec ...
     Continue reading "Why standard batteries are a tough sell for automakers" » Aug 4, 2015 11:23 am U.S. ET
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Honda's formula for recruiting assembly workers

Posted 10:46 am U.S. ET, Aug. 4
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Jeff Tomko is one of the CAR Management Briefing Seminars speakers who got deleted from the program by the chaos of the local power outage. That’s too bad, because he would have been a good counter-point to some of the comments heard here about the difficulty of recruiting manufacturing workers. Tomko is president of Honda’s light-truck ...
     Continue reading "Honda's formula for recruiting assembly workers" » Aug 4, 2015 10:46 am U.S. ET
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Dodge Challenger needs more internet horsepower

Posted 7:44 am U.S. ET, Aug. 4
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- We all know the Dodge Challenger can be ordered with an asphalt peeling 707-horsepower Hellcat Hemi V-8 engine. But Monday I found one area where the Challenger’s performance can be greatly improved: The Uconnect system. Here’s the story: I borrowed a 2015 Challenger for the trip up to the Management Briefing Seminars. We got here jus ...
     Continue reading "Dodge Challenger needs more internet horsepower" » Aug 4, 2015 7:44 am U.S. ET
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Conti's Cruising Chauffeur: The beauty of 2 of everything

Posted 3:58 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 4
If Continental AG is right about driverless cars, the trick to the technology is to have at least two of everything. Two electronic control units, two brake actuators, two sets of cameras and two sets of radar. Just in case. The German supplier tried this system - dubbed Cruising Chauffeur - in a refitted Chrysler 300 that has logged 40,000 miles. The vehicle was on disp ...
     Continue reading "Conti's Cruising Chauffeur: The beauty of 2 of everything" » Aug 4, 2015 3:58 pm U.S. ET
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Why Conti has the inside track on automated maps

Posted 12:46 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 3
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Now that Mercedes, BMW and Audi are buying Nokia's HERE navigation map unit for $3.1 billion, the big winner could be Continental AG. In 2013, Continental formed a partnership with HERE to develop high-resolution road maps for autonomous vehicles. The maps are supposed to supplement the array of radars, cameras and lidar that help autonomous vehicl ...
     Continue reading "Why Conti has the inside track on automated maps" » Aug 3, 2015 12:46 pm U.S. ET
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Nissan wants you to know that size matters

Posted 10:26 am U.S. ET, Aug. 3
TRAVERSE CITY -- Nissan executives have grown fond of telling audiences that their vehicle assembly plant in Smyrna, Tenn., is now North America’s largest. Last year’s output: 648,000 cars and SUVs. But it’s not mere bragging. Maybe it is a little. What it really is is strategic messaging. Nissan keeps repeating it because it needs the auto industry t ...
     Continue reading "Nissan wants you to know that size matters" » Aug 3, 2015 10:26 am U.S. ET
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GM's fuel cell ideas take on new relevance

Posted 10:11 am U.S. ET, Aug. 3
TRAVERSE CITY -- When General Motors decided to own fuel cell technology about 15 years ago, one of the ways the company used to justify the massive investment in the technology was that the stacks could be used to generate electricity in emergencies. Too bad that goal was never met. If it had, chances are that the 2015 CAR Management Briefing Seminars would not be held h ...
     Continue reading "GM's fuel cell ideas take on new relevance" » Aug 3, 2015 10:11 am U.S. ET
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