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Live from the SEMA Show

Horsepower, performance and, well, horsepower drive the show.

by on Nov.05, 2014

The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas is now in full swing. The city’s convention center is filled with vehicles that are the childhood dreams of muscled up, tweaked out cartoon drawings brought to life.

The show gives automakers, suppliers and specialty builders a chance to show what they can do with time, specialized parts and a bunch of money. The results are some of the most technologically advanced, most powerful and most creative cars, trucks and SUVs in the world.

The show isn’t open to the pubic, but is here, acting as your eyes and ears and bringing you all of the news from the show floor for the next few days in the “city that never sleeps.” Here are today’s stories, but check back often to get the latest news. (more…)

Global Auto Industry Expansion Expected to Continue

Makers, suppliers exploit growth using flexible platforms.

by on Aug.13, 2014

IHS Automotive predicts automakers and suppliers around the world will continue seeing growth for several years.

The expansion of the global automotive industry is expected to continue in the near term and automakers and their suppliers should be able exploit that growth using flexible vehicle platforms, according to a new study by IHS Automotive.

At the same time, manufacturers and their suppliers also are working to implement more complex vehicle and process technology for advanced safety, lighter weight materials, emissions reduction and fuel economy targets in tandem with a global convergence of emissions standards that will raise the efficiency of global platforms.

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The strong recovery of the industry brings a new energy to the global market, said Michael Robinet, managing director, IHS Automotive. (more…)

TDB Brings You the Chicago Auto Show

New vehicles, technology and concepts.

by on Feb.07, 2014

The Windy City is playing host to the latest set of automotive introductions, new technologies and industry executives.

The 106th Chicago Auto Show features plenty of the latest and greatest in the auto world, and plenty of breaking news. And continues to bring you more news and behind-the-scenes reports from the show at McCormick Place.

Here’s our handy guide to our complete coverage. Make sure to keep coming back as we add more!


Our 2014 North American International Auto Show Round-Up

Newest models display technology, style and power.

by on Jan.13, 2014

Over the past few days we’ve seen more than 50 cars, trucks, concepts and crossovers debuting at this year’s North American International Auto Show – plus plenty of other breaking news. And continues to bring you more news and behind-the-scenes reports from the year’s most important auto show.

Here’s our handy guide to our complete coverage. Make sure to keep coming back as we add more!


U.S. Auto Sales Surge in March

Vehicle sales outpacing the rest of the economy.

by on Apr.02, 2013

March car sales hit a five-year high led by compacts and trucks.

March U.S. auto sales surged to their highest level in more than five years – with several makers reporting all-time records for the month.

But the overall increase was smaller than the double-digit gains of recent months, raising concerns about whether the unexpectedly strong pace of the automotive recovery will continue – especially in the light of continuing concerns about the impact of Washington gridlock on the overall economy.

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Analysts noted that sales incentives have been declining in recent months, even as average transaction prices – what motorists actually pay after adding options and subtracting discounts – has continued rising. On the other hand, pent-up demand appears to be just one of the positive factors likely to keep momentum going after the industry’s worst downturn since the Great Recession.


March Auto Sales Tracking at Best Rate in Nearly Six Years

Incentives flat, transaction prices rise.

by on Apr.02, 2013

U.S. vehicle sales were up in March led by, in part, truck sales.

While a number of key automakers have yet to formally release their sales numbers, preliminary data suggest that March will see the highest level of U.S. car and truck sales in nearly six years.

Preliminary indications suggest that sales will average out to an annualized rate of as much as 15.6 million – well above current industry forecasts for all of 2013 – and the best total since December 2007, just before the U.S. auto market plunged into its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

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The strong March performance appears to reflect a variety of factors, including the availability of a number of new and well-reviewed products, pent-up demand, low interest rates and even tax-refund checks. At the same time, analysts suggest that makers continue reeling buyers into their showrooms despite cutting back on incentives and boosting prices on many models.


Virtual Reality Software Gives Engineers Inside View

Software allows designers to do more computer modeling and fewer physical prototypes.

by on Aug.19, 2010

Users of IC.IDO's virtual reality software wear strange glasses with antennae so the system can position them in the computer environment.

It’s users look like they were picked to be some weird bug in the school play.

But the antennae on the strange glasses actually allow the user of IC.IDO’s virtual reality program called Virtual Decision Platform to see the vehicle’s system in 3D.

During a demonstration, the German company’s Gary Brincat explained how the user can wear the special glasses and see an engine, for example, as if they were looking at the real thing. Step to the left side of the screen and you can see the front side of the motor. Step to the back and the view changes, first to the side, then the back of the engine. Kneel down and you can see the underside.

Virtually everything about cars!

Brincat, vice president of U.S. operations for IC.IDO – say “I see, I do,” said automakers are using the system to see what their designs will look like before they are built. But they also can use the system for training for the assembly line to show the method for installing a part. Conversely, it can be used to determine the difficulty of removing a part, such as an air conditioning compressor, when repairs are needed.

Toyota Suffering Setback With Suppliers

Ford gaining ground, according to new survey.

by on May.26, 2009

Building a solid relationship with suppliers can be as critical as building the right car, says a new study - which also found that Toyota's supplier relations have been suffering.

Building a solid relationship with suppliers can be as critical as building the right car. Toyota's supplier relations have been suffering.

After building a solid relationship with its suppliers that may have helped it, in turn, solidify its ties to American consumers, Toyota has slipped from the top spot in an annual study of carmaker supplier relations.

The decline, which could add to the list of recent woes facing the Japanese maker, was revealed in the ninth in a series of annual studies by the Detroit consulting firm, Planning Perspectives Inc.  The report shows that not only has Honda taken over the top spot, but that Ford is making fast and solid gains in building bridges with its suppliers.

Why does that matter?  “Because suppliers normally give a lot of benefits to their best customers,” explains Planning Perspectives’ President John Henke.  A supplier that feels it has a solid and long-lasting relationship to an automaker will not only accept “a premium in pricing,” but also bring that automaker the sort of cutting-edge features and technology that can provide a much-needed advantage in today’s highly-competitive auto market. (more…)

Arnold to Barack: Let My State Regulate Cars

Obama could find himself in a squeeze between "Ah-nold" and the auto industry.

by on Jan.22, 2009

Arnold to Obama: Don't Terminate CO2 Rules

Arnold to Obama: Don't Terminate CO2 Rules

The whole world is remarking on how the incoming Obama Administration is moving quickly to take charge. In spite of the president’s comments shortly after the election that “there’s only one President,” it became clear (with relief to many) that the transition team was moving quickly to advance its agenda even as Mr. Bush was counting the days until he could head home to his Texas ranch.
Doubtless numerous petitioners have items for the new team’s short list. One of the first to make a plea is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has requested that the Environmental Protection Agency rapidly reconsider its denial of permission for California to implement the “Pavley” standards to limit greenhouse gas emissions from cars. This measure is named for then state representative (now state senator) Fran Pavley of Santa Monica, who first introduced it.

Since the California law was passed in 2002, 13 other states and counting have signaled their intent to adopt the standards. If implemented, California rules would cover half the U.S. auto market, holding car and light truck sales in those states to CO2 emissions levels lower than those implied by Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.

The California Air Resources Board wrote to Lisa Jackson, the designated appointee for Administrator of EPA, asking the agency to reconsider its March 2008 denial of California’s original waiver petition. The governor’s accompanying letter to the president stated, “I ask that you direct the U.S. EPA to act promptly and favorably on California’s reconsideration request so that we may continue the critical work of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on global climate change.”

It certainly looks like the governor has a receptive audience. Obama officials had previously signaled willingness to moving forward with both federal and state greenhouse gas regulation, with or without new federal legislation. At her confirmation hearing last week, Jackson said, “I will review the waiver decision, if I’m confirmed, very, very aggressively very soon after confirmation,” during her response to questions before the committee headed up by Sen. Barbara Boxer.

This development is, of course, no surprise. Automakers have a dwindling number of friends in high places and their credibility remains low among green-leaning policymakers. Part of the problem is that the industry came around too slowly on supporting carbon control. After years of denying that it was a problem worth solving, the depth of their commitment still gets questioned. That’s particularly true when Maximum Bob calls global warming a “crock” even though the Detroit Three now all have official positions supporting a national cap on carbon.