Archives For auto industry

2012-07-24 16.00.52-1An interesting article about the future of car manufacturing and production following the Chicago Auto Show.

We may all soon be driving cars that are increasingly built on shared platforms.

This revolution of the car business is being spear-headed by Volkswagen — which invested some $70 billion in its MQB program.

Other automakers are studying this and may follow suit. That’s because of the cost savings and increased profits are too much to ignore.

For instance, VW is expected to report a record profit of $30 billion from last year in part as a result of their new mega-platform strategy. This is great news for all the major automotive companies — but there is a huge potential downside if/when there’s a vehicle recall.

And what about consumers buying various models of cars and basically getting the same one their neighbor got but with a different badge and perhaps a wildly higher price tag?

Read more about Volkswagen’s “Holy Grail” from the Chicago Tribune here.

Siri on the iPhone 4S.Credit: Wikipedia.

Siri on the iPhone 4S.
Credit: Wikipedia.

This is pretty cool news for Apple and Honda fans.

The latter’s 2013 vehicles will provide support for Siri Eyes Free.

Engadget reports that it will be a dealer-installed feature for the Accord, and the Acura RDX and ILX.

According to the carmaker this will enhance hands-free functionality while reducing driver distraction. Let’s hope Siri’s listening ability continues to improve.

It’s one thing for Siri to misunderstand you when you’re sitting at your desk or couch and quite another when you’re behind the wheel of a moving car.

Now if you wanted to start your car with Siri, that’s another matter. (For that, you’d probably want to look up this Viper SmartStart thing …)

Read more about Siri Eyes Free from Engadget here.

Title screen from British TV show Downton Abbey.Credit: Wikipedia.

Title screen from British TV show Downton Abbey.
Credit: Wikipedia.

One of the more interesting ideas we’ve encountered recently as relates to the car of the future.

It may resemble one from the past.

That is, as carmakers were once divided into engine/chassis builders and coachwork companies, they may well find themselves in a similar situation years from now.

According to a writer from Jalopnik, “massive platform simplification by automobile companies, the widespread adoption of full drive-by-wire systems, and the rise of large-scale rapid-prototyping technology” will provide the impetus for the birth of new coachwork enterprises. Or maybe it’s more likely that the big OEs will simply have new coachwork subsidiaries.

Of course, if this were to occur then you may see other automotive-related companies, perhaps even one like Directed or any other number of similarly positioned entities, launching their own cabin specialists with their specific technologies already embedded.

It would revolutionize the aftermarket.

A tantalizing thought!

Read more about the Downton Abbey-style predictions from Jalopnik here.

The 2013 Ford Mustang at CES.

The 2013 Ford Mustang at CES.

It’s possible that the automotive world has already bumped against the “peak car” wall.

Ford acknowledged as much with their statement that they are transitioning from automaker to “enablers of mobility”!

Whatever the heck that means. But statistics don’t lie.

The U.S. hit its high of total vehicle miles traveled in 2007 and that number has declined since then even though the population has increased.

It’s clear that in the developed world at least we’re probably going to do less driving (and less car buying as well), as we’re already mired in global gridlock.

The Chinese say, may you live in interesting times.

Well, this is definitely one of them!

Read more about the “peak car” idea from Quartz here.

YouTube footage of the first sneak peek at the 2013 Honda Accord.

With the intense competition in the mid-size category, we wonder if Honda can attain dominance again with its next Accord. If you look at what the other automakers have done or are planning, it seems to us that consumers’ eyes may stray, given the wealth of options they have available in this multimillion-dollar market.

Honda says the company “is back” with its 2013 Accord — but many experts say the automaker is playing it safe, hoping to capture buyers with the same design integrity that they have provided their consumers with for so long. Although some consumers may find that security appealing, Honda is being criticized for playing it safe considering the big changes that have occurred in the mid-sized market.

The changes that have been made to the new Accord are subtle, a more sculpted exterior that is smaller, and a more spacious interior. The 2013 Accord will also feature the Earth Dreams engine and transmission.

With many mid-sized competitors like Hyundai getting complete design overhauls, will Honda’s new design be able to compete for the top spot, or will they remain in the number two slot they are currently occupying?

So what do you prefer readers: A new, sleek and innovative design or the reliability associated with the brand?

Check out video of the new Honda Accord here.

Or for more in-depth coverage, you can see an AutoNews Now video report on the 2012 Accord and Honda’s new push for a comeback here.