Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘car news automotive news’

GM Moving Fuel Cell Center Back to Michigan

One of several signs of reviving Detroit-area auto business.

by on Oct.08, 2012

Engineers are shown testing a fuel cell stack at GM's Honeoye operations.

General Motors Co. is moving its fuel-cell development headquarters from upstate New York to the company’s engine research and development center in Pontiac, Michigan which is responsible for integrating new technology into the automaker’s products.

GM has been one of many makers exploring applications of hydrogen-powered fuel cells which some believe could provide a true zero-emissions alternative to both conventional gasoline engines and limited-range electric vehicles

Your News Source!

GM spokeswoman Kimberly Carpenter confirmed GM plans to move 220 salaried engineers and other staff to Michigan by the end of the first quarter of 2013. Virtually all of the employees assigned to the GM fuel cell research center in Honeoye, N.Y. near Rochester, N.Y. are being offered jobs in Pontiac, she said.


Recalls Rising Fast; Over 400,000 Vehicles Added to 2012 Tally

Latest Targets: Mazda, Hyundai.

by on Jul.30, 2012

Hyundai's 2012-2013 Sonata is just one of the latest models facing a recall.

Taking its lead from Ford Motor Co., Mazda plans to recall more than 200,000 of its Tribute SUVs due to potentially sticky throttle cables that could cause the vehicles to race out of control.  Ford last week recalled the virtually identical Escape to deal with the same problem.

Meanwhile, Hyundai will recall another 200,000 Santa Fe and Sonata models to correct problems with their airbags that could make it difficult to react properly if a small adult is seated up front. The Korean carmaker also is recalling about 20,000 other vehicles due to a separate airbag problem.

Your Automotive Source!

While year-over-year comparisons are not yet available, industry observers are noting a sharp run-up in recalls this year – even as various studies suggest the industry is producing its highest-quality vehicles ever.  But manufacturers have come under increasing pressure from regulators and consumer watchdogs to act fast when they discover potential safety problems that might have once been ignored or dealt with on a case-by-case basis.


3 Million Miles in a Volvo

“I have a feeling I’ll be dead long before the car.”

by on Jul.09, 2012

Irvin Gordon in his 1966 Volvo, still running after all these years - and 3 million miles.

While buying a new car is a status symbol for many folks, Irvin Gordon takes pride in keeping his old jalopy going.  And going…and going.

The Bay Shore, New York retiree expects to hit 3 million miles in his 1966 Volvo P1800S sometime next year.  He’s already driven it enough to make 1,200 trips around the globe at the Equator.  And he has held a solid lock on the Guinness Book of World Records since 2002 when an entry for High Mileage Vehicle was created for him after passing the 1.6 million mile mark.

Subscribe Now! Free!

“It’s just a car I enjoy driving,” the 72-year-old former teacher told The Associated Press.

Before his retirement Irvin clocked 125 miles a day commuting.  But he is an inveterate road-tripper.  Before his divorce he would routinely pack up the family and head off to Canada, the Midwest, Texas.  Even today, divorced and with his children grown, he continues to pile on the mile traveling alone.


Turbocharging Turbo Sales

Makers get a boost while downsizing engines.

by on Jun.01, 2012

Porsche focuses on performance, rather than fuel economy, with the Panamera Turbo.

With an engine of just 1.4 liters in displacement under the hood one might expect the Dodge Dart Limited to fall into the “stone pony category.”  But while the maker clearly wanted to downsize the new sedan’s powertrain in order to improve mileage it was clear there wouldn’t be much demand from consumers if that also meant a serious sacrifice in the performance column.

And there isn’t, the so-called Tigershark engine turning 0 to 60 times in the mid 7 second range, comparable to some compacts using much larger – and decidedly less fuel-efficient V-6s.  Chrysler engineers recognized early on that there was one cost-effective way to deliver great mileage under routine driving conditions yet still maintain performance when the demand was there: with a device known as a turbocharger.

And the smallest of the Detroit makers isn’t alone.  From some of the smallest models on the market, like the new Chevrolet Sonic, all the way up to ultimate performance machines like the Porsche Panamera Turbo S, turbochargers are coming into increasingly high demand across the auto industry.

The Last Word!

“With fuel prices being a significant concern for consumers and businesses, turbochargers are a smart choice for getting more miles to the gallon,” says Tony Schultz, Honeywell Turbo Technologies’ vice president for the Americas.

Tubochargers are expected to show up on an estimated 3.2 million commercial and passenger vehicles sold in North America this year, a 1 million unit jump from 2011, according to Honeywell.


Shake-Up at Lotus

CEO Dany Bahar ousted over alleged misconduct.

by on May.29, 2012

Lotus's now suspended CEO Dany Bahar.

Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has been ousted due to alleged irregularities connected to a lavish expense account that he reportedly used, among other things, to bill two homes in Norwich, UK to the sports carmaker.

The oft-controversial Turkish-Swiss Bahar is the man behind an aggressive product development program intended to transform Lotus into a major player in the global exotic car market.  It’s unclear what his suspension will mean to that effort.

In the Know!

Lotus has confirmed that, Bahar was “temporarily suspended from his role, to facilitate an investigation into a complaint about his conduct.”

The Swiss-born executive was reportedly playing fast and loose with his expenses, according to reports in the British press.  Bahar was already involved in a legal dispute involving one of the two Norwich homes.


Steve Jobs and the Lesson for Detroit

The indispensable man helped transform the car as much as the computer.

by on Oct.06, 2011

When he was once asked who he most admired, Steve Jobs pointed to Henry Ford and Walt Disney.  No surprise.  They both had the ability to give people what they wanted, often before they knew it.  And perhaps that was what we’ll remember Jobs for most, rather than any individual technological breakthrough.

Not that he didn’t have plenty of those, starting with the original Apple I computer and working up to the new iPhone 4S, released just days before the 56-year-old executive’s death after years of battling pancreatic cancer.

Jobs hadn’t even been born yet when the founder of IBM famously declared that there would likely be a market for no more than a handful of computers in the entire world.  Working out of his adopted parents’ garage with a high school chum, Steve Wozniak, Jobs set in motion a transformation that rivaled the one launched by Henry Ford.  Today, it’s difficult to find a household that doesn’t own several cars – or several computers, if you include desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

It's Free!

Moreover, we have seen the grand integration of those two machines that changed the world.  As recently as the 1970s, when Jobs was just tinkering with his first primitive computer design, the typical automobile was a truly mechanical device.  The only electronics onboard could be found in those tinny transistor radios.  Today, however, the typical car contains thousands of dollars in silicon technology.  Microprocessors operate everything from the engine to the airbags.


Chrysler Disbanding ENVI But Maintaining EVs

U.S. maker will lead EV development for Fiat, too.

by on Nov.09, 2009

Chrysler is shutting down its ENVI battery car unit, though the maker insists it will "absorb" the project into its conventional sales divisions.

Chrysler is shutting down its ENVI battery car unit, though the maker insists it will "absorb" the project into its conventional sales divisions.

Despite taking more than eight hours to brief the news media on its plans for the future, Chrysler and its new masters, Fiat, left some gaping holes, last week – notable among them, the company’s intentions, post-bankruptcy, for electric vehicles.

Now, it seems, that question has been answered, Chrysler is eliminating its ENVI electric vehicle unit, though well-placed company sources tells that despite some news reports, this morning, it is not eliminating battery car development.

Plug In for a Free Subscription!

Plug In for a Free Subscription!

Quite the contrary.  The U.S. maker will become the “center of excellence” for all electric vehicle development for both its own product programs and those of its Italian parent, Fiat.