State of Suppliers
Nissan inspired by high-end fashionSun, 02, Aug 2015
Nissan wanted some European fashion to move its American-made Maxima sedan further upscale for 2016. It turned to Alcantara, the Italian producer of material used in high-end apparel and automotive seating, to give the Maxima SR sport package the look of some exotic European sport coupes.
GM powertrain plan calls for advancing on many frontsSat, 01, Aug 2015
When you ask Dan Nicholson about a certain powertrain or technology, he doesn't tell you why it can't be done. Chances are, he'll tell you where it fits in General Motors' ambitious global powertrain portfolio. Nicholson, 51, who took over as GM's vice president of global powertrain late last year.
A new breed of software engineerMon, 03, Aug 2015
As auto suppliers beef up their software development, the hunt for software talent has taken on the urgency of a gold rush.
Former Toyota exec leads supplier into new eraMon, 03, Aug 2015
Toyota Motor Corp. sees high-tech braking as so critical to its next-generation vehicles, it has sent one of its highest-profile executives to run Advics, its brake-making affiliate.
Denso maps out two-pronged mpg driveMon, 03, Aug 2015
Yasushi Yamanaka, the newly appointed global r&d chief at Toyota Group mega supplier Denso Corp., is chasing two elusive methods to radically improve fuel efficiency by 2025. And neither involves sexy next-generation technologies such as electric-gasoline hybrids.
Today's Volvo XC90: A rolling computer chipMon, 03, Aug 2015
When the XC90 was introduced in 2002, it had as many as 38 electronic control units -- small computers that receive data from sensors and components and issue control instructions. Now, it has as many as 107.
JTEKT targets diversification and steer-by-wire technologyMon, 03, Aug 2015
JTEKT Corp. is not just the world's biggest supplier of steering systems, it is the world's 19th largest auto parts supplier, period. Yet to President Tetsuo Agata, his company is still not a “real global company.” Of JTEKT's 40 top executives, for example, only one is a non-Japanese.
Swift and secure vehicle software updates?Mon, 03, Aug 2015
When it comes to connected cars, Redbend, an Israeli software company, is sitting in a prime position. As automakers add software to vehicles, those systems will require updates, just as home computers and mobile devices do. And Redbend's specialty, first developed for the smartphone and personal computer markets, is to update software quickly and efficiently.
Performance rules -- despite the push for more mpgMon, 03, Aug 2015
Right now, we are in the golden age of high-performance cars, be they gasoline, electric or hybrid.
OESA zeros in on Mexico, new-tech suppliersMon, 03, Aug 2015
Tier 1 companies are struggling to build networks of Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers in Mexico because smaller vendors are reluctant to shoulder the financial risk, says Julie Fream, CEO of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association.
Diversity is Calsonic Kansei's top priorityMon, 03, Aug 2015
Hiroshi Moriya, CEO of Calsonic Kansei Corp., wants a bigger slice of sales from customers beside Nissan Motor Co., its top shareholder with a 42 percent stake. He also wants to internationalize Calsonic Kansei's management. Of its 23 top global executives, only three are non-Japanese. Finally, he wants to develop new products by mixing and matching the company's broad range of components.
Seeking N.A. niche, China's Minth expands in MexicoMon, 03, Aug 2015
Minth Group, a maker of roof racks, hopes to gain a niche in North America. The company supplies the Detroit 3 along with Audi, BMW, Honda and Nissan, and it already has three plants in Mexico and one in Michigan.
Suppliers may offer cameras to watch driversSat, 02, Aug 2014
Many of the cars on sale today carry as many cameras as a cluster of paparazzi, pointing five or more lenses at lane lines and blind spots to assist drivers. The next step, experts say, could be cameras that observe the driver instead of the road.
Electric turbocharger eliminates lag, Valeo saysSun, 03, Aug 2014
French supplier Valeo has developed an electric turbocharger that it says eliminates "turbo lag." The new turbocharger is powered by an electric motor instead of exhaust gases.
Toyota-affiliated Denso readies technology for other automakersMon, 04, Aug 2014
Denso Corp., the world's No. 2 parts supplier, is developing advanced radar sensors as it seeks to catch Robert Bosch and Continental in the market for parts that prevent accidents.
Toyota steps in to avert supply bottlenecksMon, 04, Aug 2014
As North American production rises to record levels, Toyota Motor Corp. is taking steps to prevent production glitches among its suppliers. Bob Young, the automaker's North American purchasing chief, is providing assistance to 50 suppliers that are struggling to keep up with Toyota's production needs.
Comau helps automakers meet changing mpg goalsMon, 04, Aug 2014
As fuel economy standards grow more stringent, automakers are turning to aluminum and other lightweight materials and more complex manufacturing methods to meet their goals. And they have turned to Comau Inc., a subsidiary of Fiat S.p.A., to make their designs buildable.
M-B, Infiniti engines get global inputMon, 04, Aug 2014
To source fuel-efficient engines for their new small, premium cars, competitors Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti joined forces to create the Infiniti Powertrain Plant. Its an engine plant that is a little bit German, a little bit Japanese, a little bit American and very much global.
Toyoda Gosei aims to be 'real global supplier'Mon, 04, Aug 2014
Toyoda Gosei Co., the Toyota Motor Corp.-affiliated Japanese auto parts supplier, boasts all the hallmarks of a global industrial giant. But to President Tadashi Arashima, it's just a small Japanese player. He wants to change that.
Tape emerges as go-to wonder bondMon, 04, Aug 2014
Time was, any vehicle worth its mettle was a lumbering construct of solid steel welded together by fiery robots. But increasingly, today's cars are being held together in ways other than hot-fused metal. Tape is the new go-to bonding agent.
Carmakers bet on big global platforms to cut costsMon, 04, Aug 2014
The auto industry's switch to global platforms is rapidly picking up momentum. In 2020, the top 10 platforms are expected to generate production of 27.8 million vehicles, according to IHS Automotive, a consulting firm based in suburban Detroit. That's up from 19.2 million units this year.
NSK: Electric power steering saves fuelMon, 04, Aug 2014
NSK Ltd., a Japanese auto supplier best known for its ball bearings, sees a big future in electric power steering as carmakers rush to boost fuel economy. But its engineers are avoiding steer-by-wire technology now coming to market.
Magna Steyr hunts acquisitions that will add expertiseMon, 04, Aug 2014
To compete in the hotly contested market for engineering services, Austrian supplier Magna Steyr is heading in new directions. Karl-Friedrich Stracke, head of contract manufacturing and engineering at the unit of Magna International Inc., is betting on targeted acquisitions and growth in China.
Supplier goal: 'Emperor of the electrical world'Mon, 04, Aug 2014
Kunihiko Ohnuma, CEO of Hitachi Automotive Systems, isn't shy about his quest to transform his company into the "emperor" of electric and hybrid powertrains. He wants to use the supplier's electronics strength to boost sales of electric motors and related parts. And he sees prime opportunities to grow in North America.
After investment, Aisin eyes N.A. profit surgeMon, 04, Aug 2014
After scrambling to improve its North American manufacturing base, Japanese supplier Aisin Seiki Co. targets a dramatic improvement of profit margin in the region. But its biggest challenge remains finding high-quality American subsuppliers.
Can transparency help GM mend supplier ties?Mon, 04, Aug 2014
GM's Strategic Supplier Engagement process was rolled out this spring in an effort to smooth contentious supplier relations that have kept GM from accessing the best of suppliers' technical innovations. It is gaining fans.