Dump mpg, say Toyota and HondaToyota and Honda want to turn America's method of measuring fuel economy upside down. Instead of mpg, they want to measure gallons per mile. KEITH CRAIN: What happened to partnership?The theme of this year's conference in Traverse City, Mich., was "The Perfect Storm." Anyone who has seen that horrific film remembers it was about a bunch of storms intersecting, with a catastrophic result. It sounds like the North American automobile industry might be adopting the same scenario. Miss. plant is Nissan's modelDespite quality glitches, Canton plant serves as benchmarkNissan Motor Co. will model its entry into new manufacturing locations after its Canton, Miss., project - even though that plant has had quality problems. "Overall, in spite of everything else, we did quite well," said Nissan Senior Vice President for manufacturing Hidetoshi Imazu. DCX expects savings on engine projectDaimlerChrysler AG expects to save about $100 million annually by sharing information with Hyundai Motor Co. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. on the parts sourcing for a new family of global engines. Metaldyne pushes old plant into the futureThe death of the Chrysler group's century-old chassis parts plant in New Castle, Ind., could have been slow and painful. Instead, it is winning business from new customers under a new owner - Metaldyne Corp. Ford's flexibility reaps rich rewardFord Motor Co.'s flexible manufacturing system used in five plants is on track to yield savings in the range of $2.5 billion, said Bill Russo, Ford's director of manufacturing, vehicle operations. Jaguar wants to decrease XJ8 costsJaguar is working to take the cost out of its aluminum-bodied XJ8 luxury sports sedan. Mark White, body structures senior manager for Jaguar and Land Rover, said the automaker has created a way to reduce the manufacturing costs of the British-built $65,000 luxury sedan. JCI exec stresses early design collaborationConsumers have learned that lesson at department stores such as Kmart and Target that push designer brands. The industry can create the same styling cachet for its products by putting extra emphasis on aesthetics in the pre-production phase for cars and trucks. Battenberg focuses on slashing r&d costs at DelphiTo make Delphi Corp. more competitive, its CEO is focusing on what he calls the five Ps. J.T. Battenberg III said last week at the Management Briefing Seminars that he is concentrating on product, process, people, place and public policy. Audi TTs will be made of aluminumThe next-generation Audi TT coupe and roadster will be made of aluminum. The redesigned TT won't go into production until 2007, but when it does arrive, it will be the second aluminum vehicle that Audi sells in the United States.
Toyota, Honda: change mpg to gpmToyota and Honda - two industry leaders in fuel economy - want to turn America's method of measuring fuel economy upside down. Pressure on suppliers won't let up - analysts For suppliers, there will be no kindler, gentler Big 3 again this year. Key plant shows supplier moving aheadA planned $18 million auto parts plant in Slovakia by Key Plastics LLC is further evidence that the company has transitioned from its financial problems and is moving forward. Panelists see trouble if CARB is killed California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering doing away with the California Air Resources Board, but representatives of some automakers aren't so sure. NORTHERN EXPOSURES 8/6/2004: It's time to dress up this joint This conference needs a better dress code. It can be tough to figure out what to wear at any off-site conference but especially in Traverse City. That's because we're right in the middle of summer vacation and many of us take advantage of northern Michigan's recreational activities while we're here. Padilla: Toledo shows UAW is receptive to changeFord Motor Co. COO Jim Padilla said on Thursday that the Chrysler group's plan to give some suppliers ownership in a key new assembly plant provides a new approach for the industry - one that requires UAW help. Health care a hurting problem, Devine says When it comes to addressing competitive disadvantages, health care is General Motors' top priority. At the Management Briefing Seminars on Thursday, GM CFO John Devine also pointed to three other key competitive disadvantages for U.S.-based car companies. Halos help, says ASC Forget about the raw sales numbers for high-end halo vehicles. The real value of those cars and trucks is in their ability to boost the sales of their lower end brand name siblings, Paul Wilbur, CEO of ASC Inc., said during Thursday's Management Briefing Seminars. Honda puts more responsibility on Alabama Honda Motor Co. will shift all global production of Odyssey minivans this month to its 3 year-old plant in Lincoln, Ala., phasing the vehicle out of its factory in Alliston, Ontario. Common seat frame lets Lear meet pricing demandsSix years after Lear Corp. set out to reduce the cost of automotive seating, the interiors supplier has orders for 3.6 million seats annually based on a single architecture, a Lear vice president says. Q&A: U.S. manufacturing 'can beat anybody'If there's one phrase that captures American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. CEO Richard E. Dauch's manufacturing outlook, it is, "America can make it." Dauch believes that smarter labor agreements, close cooperation with unions and investing in equipment as well as training employees can restore America's manufacturing base. He spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett.
Suppliers to the 2004 Honda Pilot The 2004 Honda Pilot SUV is derived from the Acura MDX. Honda began building the all-wheel-drive Pilot in April 2002 at its plant in Alliston, Ontario. This year, production expanded to a second site.
Bosch's fuel injection transformed modern engineSupplier perfected the technologyIt's the last thing you'd think about in the summer, but the industry can thank a German supplier for the technology that changed the way people start their vehicles. On a wintry morning, you no longer have to pump your gas pedal or pull a choke knob to get fuel to the engine.
LaSorda: Toledo plant is a prototypeChrysler considers model at other plants The Chrysler group's planned $1.2 billion plant in Toledo, Ohio, -- where suppliers will finance, own and run the body, paint and chassis shops - is a "prototype" that the automaker will consider applying to some of its other plants. OnStar to provide visual real-time traffic info OnStar will have real-time traffic information available to subscribers with onboard navigation screens beginning with mid-2005 model year vehicles. Toyota 'stretched thin,' says Cho Toyota Motor Corp. may be growing fast in North America, but the automaker is worried that its U.S. team is not entirely up to the challenge. Toyota President Fujio Cho said the company's management ranks are being stretched thin and the North American company in general is slipping into complacency.
Expect adaptive cruise control to grow, sensor maker says In the next three years, adaptive cruise control will be on as many as 14 vehicle models in North America, said Jerry Bricker, vice president and general sales manager for Omron Automotive Electronics Inc.
Delphi looks for ways to cut r&d costsTo make Delphi Corp. more competitive, its CEO is focusing on what he calls the five Ps. J.T. Battenberg III said yesterday at the Management Briefing Seminars that he is concentrating on product, process, people, place and public policy.
Customers shape Delphi's strategies in emerging marketsCustomer needs are forcing Delphi Corp. to take a closer look at its competitiveness. The supplier's senior leadership must identify where it should invest globally and where the company can be most competitive.
Lear reusing more of its parts Information technology is helping Lear Corp. reuse more than 10 percent of its parts.
Suppliers to the 2005 Cadillac STSThe Cadillac STS, redesigned for 2005, shares General Motors' rear-wheel-drive Sigma architecture, the same architecture GM uses on the Cadillac CTS and CTS-V sedans and the SRX sport wagon.
Q&A: Reliability in electronics is improvingWilliam Mattingly is DaimlerChrysler AG's engineering vice president in charge of electrical and electronics systems. It's his job to oversee the selection and integration of components and systems on all Chrysler group vehicles. He spoke to Staff Reporter Richard Truett.
Alternators handle heavier workloadsAs electronics take over a greater number of mechanical functions, the performance of the alternator, the device that produces electricity to power accessories at engine speeds as low as idle, will become even more critical.
Jeep deal surprises suppliers The Chrysler group's announcement yesterday that three suppliers will shoulder $300 million of the cost of its new Jeep project in Toledo, Ohio, surprised and intrigued industry executives here on Tuesday.
Next TTs to use aluminum The next-generation Audi TT Coupe and Roadster will be made of aluminum. The redesigned TT won't go into production until 2007, but when it does arrive, it will be Audi's second aluminum vehicle that it sells in the United States.
Microsoft, CAR team up to study industryRemember the multi-volume Delphi Forecast studies that would come out every other year? They featured experts and decision makers offering the automotive industry useful benchmarks and guideposts for the future. Though the studies are no longer done, Microsoft Automotive and the Center for Automotive Research are launching a joint project to conduct similar industry research - but with two big differences.
GM to boost XLR productionGeneral Motors is looking to slightly increase production of the Cadillac XLR roadster in the face of overwhelming demand, said David Leone, chief engineer for the Cadillac Sigma prestige vehicle architecture team.
Michigan chases Alabama to faster permitsAfter having its nose tweaked by faster government regulators in Alabama, Michigan has vowed to speed the process of approving air quality permits for new factories.
NORTHERN EXPOSURES 8/4/2004: China takes a holidayBy lunchtime Tuesday it was apparent that something was missing in Traverse City. In the first day and a half of this year's Management Briefing Seminars there wasn't any substantive discussion about China.
Jaguar looks to take cost out of XJ Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar luxury car division is working to take the cost out of its aluminum-bodied XJ luxury sports sedan.
Suppliers to the 2005 Dodge DakotaThe redesigned 2005 Dodge Dakota, which will arrive in U.S. showrooms in the fall, is 3.7 inches longer and 2.7 inches wider than the current generation pickup. The added length is primarily ahead of the front axle.
Early collaboration improves design, designer saysLooking good doesnt have to cost a fortune. Consumers have learned that lesson at department stores such as Kmart and Target that push new designer brands. The auto industry can create the same styling cachet for its products by putting extra considerations to aesthetics in the pre-production phase for cars and trucks.
Dundee engine gets key parts overseasImported parts will make up about 20 percent of the new engines that DaimlerChrysler Corp. will build in Dundee, Mich., next year.
Portals have shortcomings Automakers have taken the first step in electronic collaboration with their suppliers by developing portals, but so far these Web-based communication tools are mostly used to push information out to the supply base.
Q&A: Expect lithium batteries in hybridsJean Botti is the chief technologist at Delphi Corp.'s Innovation Sector for Dynamics and Propulsion. He oversees future powertrain technology for the giant supplier. That research ranges from present-day gasoline and diesel engines to tomorrow's hybrids and fuel cells. He spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett.
Tire innovations balloon over timeConsider the lowly pneumatic tire. It's out there in freezing cold and burning heat. It travels in rain, snow, mud, gravel sand and asphalt. And its performance absolutely characterizes a car - after all, it is the tire that puts the car in contact with the road.
DCX expects $100 million savings on engine projectDaimlerChrysler AG expects to save about $100 million annually by sharing information with Hyundai and Mitsubishi on the parts sourcing for a new family of global engines.
Suppliers to the 2005 Chevrolet CorvetteThe 2005 Chevrolet Corvette enters its sixth generation 5 inches smaller than the 2004 model. General Motors boasts that the 2005 is the most aerodynamically efficient Corvette.
Nowak pushing old DC plant into new future The death of Chrysler's century-old chassis parts plant in New Castle, Ind., could have been slow and painful. Instead, it is winning new business from new customers under a new owner - Metaldyne Corp.
NORTHERN EXPOSURES 8/3/2004: Why Big 3-supplier relations are in the toiletThere was a little bit of grumbling that Monday's traditional hospitality reception was pushed indoors by warnings of a major thunderstorm, which someone quickly dubbed the Perfect Storm. But some of the first-day chatter between sessions and over lunch was about the latest study of supplier relations.
Lean principles can eliminate waste in IT There's a good chance that you will hear about lean manufacturing and its tenets during the 2004 Management Briefing Seminars. Those same principles, such as ruthlessly attacking waste, can be applied to the information technology, said Sharon Ward, Oracle Corp.'s senior industry director for manufacturing.
Nissan to repeat Canton model, despite glitches Nissan Motor Co. will model its entry into new manufacturing locations after its Canton, Miss., project - even though that plant has been dogged by quality problems.
Labor costs drop with lean at TI Automotive For companies looking to adopt lean manufacturing principles, the key is to find workers who are "early adopters" and make their efforts to lead the change highly visible.
Tooling industry feels pain of outsouring National Tooling & Machining Association president Matt Coffey attends the Management Briefing Seminar each year from the group's base in Fort Washington, Md., to better advise the small business on strategies. The vast majority of these companies have fewer than 100 employees. He spoke Monday with Plastics News Staff Reporter Rhoda Miel.
Ford sees big savings from flexible manufacturing Ford Motor Co.'s flexible manufacturing system in use in five plants is on track to yield savings in the range of $2.5 billion, said Bill Russo, Ford's director of manufacturing, vehicle operations.
GM begins using Covisint data messaging General Motors this month begins exchanging shipping notices and other critical data with its Tier 1 suppliers using the new Covisint Connect messaging service. By the end of this year, 6,500 supplier manufacturing sites will exchange data electronically with GM's North American assembly plants through Covisint.
At the halfEach issue of the Traverse City Daily features sales and production highlights for the first half of 2004 Download U.S. sales and North American production figures for the first half in PDF format
Q&A: Issues are similar, but the decade's differentDavid Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research, a consulting firm in Ann Arbor, Mich., has been involved in the Management Briefing Seminars for 30 years - first as a presenter and then a moderator. Cole recently spoke with Staff Reporter Richard Truett.
GM's airbag concept inflated slowlyGeneral Motors lays claim to manufacturing the first commercial automotive airbag. But GM couldn't have done so without ideas and solutions that surfaced far from the r&d offices.