In a year of turmoil and turbulence, engineering know-how was still king.
Dodge unveiled the RamBox, a lockable box on its redesigned 2009 Ram pickup that can store anything from shovels to 240 12-ounce beverage cans with enough ice to keep them ready for a party.
Toyota showed off its trumpet-playing robot, named Toyota Partner Robot, at the SAE World Congress in Detroit in April. TPR blew out a jazz version of When You Wish Upon a Star.
Automotive News reporter Hans Greimel tested seat belt technology that Nissan hopes will keep people safer in rollovers. The technology is available on several models.
Several automakers made incremental changes to improve fuel economy. Here, Honda engineer Kohei Hitomi shows where slivers of steel were shaved off between welding points to save weight on the redesigned Fit subcompact.
Executive Vice President Takeshi Uchiyamada took a two-wheeled spin on a Winglet, a new personal-mobility gizmo from Toyota.
In April, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued its first safety ratings for the Smart ForTwo. Out of five stars, the Smart got four for driver front impact, three for passenger front impact, three for rollover resistance and five for driver-side impact. The scores generally were at the upper end of the rating system.
Brake manufacturer Brembo, famous for equipping exotic sports cars and European racers, wants to move into the mass market in North America. The Italian suppliers orange brake calipers gave the brand visibility on a Nissan GT-R sports car.
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