Blogs from the Traverse City conference

Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars

Posted 9:27 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
blogs Dustin Walsh covers suppliers for Crain's Detroit Business, an affiliate of Automotive News.
 
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A year after opening an office in Ann Arbor, Mich., computer processor maker Nvidia Corp. continues its quest to bring modern computer power to the automobile. For good reason. The connected car market is estimated to be worth $132 billion by 2019, according to a recent study by Transparency Market Research. Nvidia is positioned to benefit as the ...
     Continue reading "Nvidia continues quest to bring computer power to cars" » Aug 7, 2014 9:27 am U.S. ET
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Why GM is re-engineering its 'political punching bag'

Posted 2:30 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 7
The next-generation Chevrolet Volt will have a trunk and the word “Volt” on the back of it, according to the teaser photo that General Motors released today. I assume -- but can’t confirm from the photo -- that it also will have approximately four wheels, multiple doors and possibly an interior. The redesigned Volt will be fully unveiled at the Detroit a ...
     Continue reading "Why GM is re-engineering its 'political punching bag'" » Aug 7, 2014 2:30 pm U.S. ET
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Self-driving cars will still need human help

Posted 10:33 am U.S. ET, Aug. 7
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- On the way to dinner one night this week here, my wife and I spotted a large deer standing by the side of a lonely two-lane country road. It was warily watching traffic, perhaps wondering when it could try to cross. What would a vehicle with an automated driving system do if a deer suddenly appeared out of nowhere? Ask suppliers if the technology ...
     Continue reading "Self-driving cars will still need human help" » Aug 7, 2014 10:33 am U.S. ET
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Will Marchionne's profits grab come up empty?

Posted 5:16 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 6
Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne today seemed like a grizzly bear standing amid a stream of happily swimming salmon. In comments to analysts, the enigmatic Chrysler boss said he was "envious" of the profit margins of his suppliers, and vowed to seek a share of their newfound wealth. Have no doubt: Profitable suppliers are the salmon in this scenario, and Marchionne i ...
     Continue reading "Will Marchionne's profits grab come up empty?" » Aug 6, 2014 5:16 pm U.S. ET
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ZF-TRW talks mean industry megadeals are possible

Posted 3:44 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 6
Somehow, it always seems like a good time for mergers and acquisitions, at least as far as Wall Street is concerned. In times of recession, companies are on the lookout for bargains: wounded suppliers that are struggling to maintain cash flow as vehicle production plunges. And in times of plenty -- like now -- profitable suppliers want to put their cash to work, perhaps ...
     Continue reading "ZF-TRW talks mean industry megadeals are possible" » Aug 6, 2014 3:44 pm U.S. ET
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How suppliers can gain from fuel efficiency push

Posted 11:55 am U.S. ET, Aug. 6
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- In the era of regulation, fuel efficiency is king. Automakers, more than ever, are relying on suppliers to innovate fuel saving technology -- even incrementally. Here is one example.  Active grille shutters are among the latest development in the industry on its quest to meet the CAFE fleet standard of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Chrome-plating suppli ...
     Continue reading "How suppliers can gain from fuel efficiency push" » Aug 6, 2014 11:55 am U.S. ET
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Automakers to get rude wake-up call on voice recognition

Posted 11:41 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Check your pride at the door Wednesday afternoon when J.D. Power plans to lay into the auto industry for one of the most poorly executed technologies it peddles to consumers -- voice recognition. In brief, vehicle voice recognition technology is awful. It was lousy when it first emerged in the early 1990s. And after 15 years of inclusion in vehicle ...
     Continue reading "Automakers to get rude wake-up call on voice recognition" » Aug 5, 2014 11:41 am U.S. ET
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How GM missed the truck fuel economy race, and how it will return

Posted 11:17 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The pickup truck fuel economy race is between Chrysler’s Ram 1500 and the upcoming aluminum-bodied F-150 coming late this year. But the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra should’ve been contenders. Six years ago, GM was installing production machinery in its Tonowanda, N.Y., engine plant to build an advanced, 4.5-liter Duramax diesel V ...
     Continue reading "How GM missed the truck fuel economy race, and how it will return" » Aug 5, 2014 11:17 am U.S. ET
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Why a squeeze is coming to auto dealers

Posted 10:28 am U.S. ET, Aug. 5
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Take note: there is a squeeze coming to an auto dealer near you. Two important factors to new automotive sales -- low interest rates and relatively high values for used automobiles – are forecast to move in unwelcome directions that soon will make it more expensive to buy a new car, SUV or pickup. The forecasts, delivered at the 2014 Managem ...
     Continue reading "Why a squeeze is coming to auto dealers" » Aug 5, 2014 10:28 am U.S. ET
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Why automakers can't beat up suppliers any more

Posted 2:00 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 5
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- Remember the old days when automotive purchasing czars such as General Motors’ Inaki Lopez and Ford’s Carlos Mazzorin threw their weight around with suppliers? Those days are gone. At a time when suppliers are developing systems for cutting-edge features such as collision avoidance, infotainment and augmented reality, those vendors expe ...
     Continue reading "Why automakers can't beat up suppliers any more" » Aug 5, 2014 2:00 pm U.S. ET
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Why the supplier price-fixing investigation looms large

Posted 9:40 am U.S. ET, Aug. 4
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- There's three dozen people in the auto supply chain who should be on the mind of everyone attending the Management Briefing Seminars here this year.  For more than three years, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division and its counterparts in Europe and Japan have been working over automotive suppliers like a boxer on a heavy b ...
     Continue reading "Why the supplier price-fixing investigation looms large" » Aug 4, 2014 9:40 am U.S. ET
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How researcher quantifies the value of good supplier relations

Posted 10:30 am U.S. ET, Aug. 4
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- What is it worth for an automaker to have good relations with its suppliers? For Honda and Toyota, quite a lot, according to a study published today by researcher John Henke. Henke, who does an annual survey of supplier relations of major automakers in North America, even took a whack at quantifying the contribution suppliers made to automakers&rs ...
     Continue reading "How researcher quantifies the value of good supplier relations" » Aug 4, 2014 10:30 am U.S. ET
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JLR still tops when it comes to aluminum

Posted 1:25 pm U.S. ET, Aug. 4
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- With total global sales of 425,000 vehicles last year, Britain’s Jaguar Land Rover is well behind German rivals BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. But there is an asterisk next to the sales figures for luxury car companies. Today, no one makes more aluminum-bodied vehicles than JLR. Its latest, the Jaguar F-Type sports car, is a global hit, as are ...
     Continue reading "JLR still tops when it comes to aluminum" » Aug 4, 2014 1:25 pm U.S. ET
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Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

Canadian dealer buries a Jeep, hires an ambassador and puts on the Ritz

At Bay King Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram in Hamilton, Ontario, dealer Jamie Richter has put luxury-hotel touches in his new showroom. They include concierges who see to the needs of service customers. Mon., December 15
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