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Govt needs hand in steering automotive industry

Problems associated with booming car market deserve official attention

Industry experts, business executives and government officials gathered Saturday at the 12th Annual China Automotive Industry Forum 2014 to discuss major trends and challenges facing the country’s urban transportation and auto sector. One hot topic was the government’s future role in steering the sustainable development of China’s automotive industry amid the ongoing urbanization push.

China has been the world’s largest producer and consumer of automobiles for five consecutive years. In 2013, nearly 22 million vehicles were sold in the country, making it the first and (so far) the only nation in the world to sell more than 20 million cars in a single year. Moreover, industry experts believe that China’s automobile output and sales are set to continue gaining traction over the coming decade, since car ownership in China remains relatively low: around 100 vehicles per 1,000 people. That compares to 500 vehicles, 700 vehicles and 300 vehicles per 1,000 people in Europe, the US and Russia respectively.

Unfortunately, a fast-growing auto industry has done more than just fuel economic development. Increasing rates of automobile ownership have made severe traffic congestion and poor air quality a fact of life in urban China. Moreover, a growing contingent of motorists is putting pressure on domestic energy resources and increasing reliance on oil imports.

If not handled properly, these problems will only become more prominent over the coming decade, as the country’s urbanization strategy picks up speed. China is already home to the largest concentration of cities in the world, with 88 cities with more than 5 million residents and 6 super-cities with over 15 million residents. By 2020, China’s urban population is expected to reach 800 million, up from a present total of 600 million. By that same year, the country will also be home to an estimated 300 million vehicles.

Against such a backdrop, experts at the forum pointed out that efforts are required from all parties – including industry players, government officials and drivers – to deal with the problems mentioned above. Among them, the government should play a fundamental role in guiding the direction and development for the industry.

For starters, the government should set clear and specific targets for the automotive industry. So far there is no agreement as to the scale of China’s auto market from a long-term perspective. Officials from various departments often discuss the possibility of imposing industry targets, although these vague pronouncements have done little more than confuse and misguide the public and the industry.

The first and foremost issue should be setting vehicle production targets. Such a goal should take into account economic growth expectations while also minimizing energy consumption, traffic congestion and emissions.

Building strong domestic auto brands is another important consideration. Achievements in this regard seem quite limited on the whole, yet the government will likely attach much importance to this area over the years ahead. As Dong Yang, executive vice chairman and secretary-general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, explained at the forum, compared with foreign auto brands, Chinese brands play a totally different role when it comes to distributing wealth, stimulating the economy and spurring scientific and technological advances. Many believe that countries across Latin America, for example, have fallen into the so-called “middle-income trap” because pillar industries like automobile manufacturing are controlled by foreign companies. To avoid such an outcome, China needs to have its own locally-held brands.

The government needs to specify how China’s auto industry should develop as well. The question of whether domestic automobile producers should introduce foreign technologies or do their own research should be answered more definitively. Also, what sorts of technology deserve the industry’s focus? Chinese authorities have showed strong support for the development of electric vehicles, yet little attention has been paid to in-car connectivity systems, for example. Finally, a complete production chain is necessary for the country with such a high output, with manufacturers focused on basic materials, core components and high-end equipment.

Lastly, the government should also work out a set of regulations and laws specifically for the automotive industry. A comprehensive legal system can provide a stabile environment suited to achieving the industry’s long-term goals.

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Growth Opportunities for Adhesives in the Global Construction Industry 2014-2019

NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –


Growth in the production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicle, and increasing penetration of lightweight materials and plastics in automotive are likely to boost the global automotive adhesives industry. Global automotive adhesives industry is expected to reach $9.4 billion in 2019 promising huge opportunity for the firms operating in the automotive industry.
Lucintel, a leading global management consulting and market research firm, has conducted a detailed analysis on this market and presents its findings in “Opportunities for Adhesive in Global Automotive Industry 2014-2019: Trend, Forecast, and Opportunity Analysis.” This report studies global automotive adhesives industry with an in-depth analysis of all the four regions such as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of World (ROW). It includes segment breakdown by applications and chemical product type. Applications include adhesive consumption in passenger car, buses, heavy trucks, and light commercial vehicle. Chemical product type segmentation includes epoxy adhesive, polyurethane adhesive, and acrylics and other adhesives.

The growth of adhesives is dependent on the production of automotive and increasing penetration of lightweight materials and plastics in automotives. Light commercial vehicle production is expected to grow with a CAGR of approximately 3% during 2014-2019. These two are the major factors which increased the consumption of automotive adhesives.
Asia Pacific (APAC) has been the top region in terms of total adhesive consumption, due to increase in the production of passenger car and light commercial vehicles in China and India. Presence of key manufactures such as Toyota Motor Corporation and Nissan Motor Company Limited and other top players increased the epoxy, polyurethane, and acrylic adhesives consumption in this region.
Lucintel highlights key challenges faced by the automotive adhesives industry. Government regulations for Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) control and raw materials price pressure are the major challenges for the industry. Increased focus on weight reduction, cost reduction, and fuel economy by the automotive manufacturers still promises significant growth opportunities for automotive adhesives as compared to mechanical fasteners.

This report covers in depth analysis of global automotive adhesives industry covering each region and stating the emerging trend of the industry which will reflect growth in the forecast period.
This unique report from Lucintel will provide you with valuable information, insights, and tools needed to identify new growth opportunities and operate your business successfully in this market. This report will save hundreds of hours of your own personal research time and will significantly benefit you in expanding your business in this market. In today’s stringent economy, you need every advantage that you can find.

Features of This Report:

To make business, investment, and strategic decisions, you need timely, useful information. This market report fulfills this core need and is an indispensable reference guide for multinational materials suppliers, product manufacturers, investors, executives, distributors, and many more that operate in this market.

Some of the features of “Opportunities for Adhesive in Global Automotive Industry 2014-2019: Trend, Forecast, and Opportunity Analysis” include:
- Market size estimates: Adhesive in global automotive industry size estimation in terms of volume (M lbs) and value ($ M) shipment.
- Trend and forecast analysis: Adhesive in global automotive industry trend (2008-2013) and forecast (2014-2019) by regions and by segments.
- Segmentation analysis: Adhesive in global automotive industry size by various application segments such as epoxy, polyurethane acrylics and others
- Regional analysis: Adhesive in global automotive industry breakdown by key regions such as North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of World.
- Growth opportunities: Analysis on growth opportunities in different applications and regions.
- Strategic analysis: This includes MA, new product development, competitive landscape, and expansion strategies of adhesive in global automotive industry suppliers.
- Emerging applications: Emerging applications of adhesive in global automotive industry in various markets.
- Analysis of competitive intensity of the industry based on Porter’s Five Forces model.
Read the full report:

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Automotive Industry’s Accessories Leader AddOnAuto to Showcase Products …

DAYTON, Ohio, Oct. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –


  • AddOnAuto will showcase its most recent products at the 2014 SEMA show.
  • Sidney Haider, founder of AddOnAuto, to participate in SEMA panel discussion on accessory trends.
  • AddOnAuto (booth #12055) to demonstrate its industry-leading accessories point-of-sale solution, with features unique to dealers, suppliers, and manufacturers.

AddOnAuto, the automotive industry leader in accessories selling and marketing in dealerships, announced today that founder and general manager Sidney Haider will participate in a panel discussion at the 2014 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas.

Haider will take part in “Accessory Trends That Will Boost Your Business,” on Wednesday, Nov. 5, from 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. PST, in the Las Vegas Convention Center, Upper North Hall, Room N252.

“This panel is a great opportunity to talk to experts in the automotive industry about how accessories can improve a dealership’s business results at a time when new vehicle sales are strong, but yielding less profit per unit,” said Haider.

Haider, who previously served in several leadership roles at automobile retailers, founded AddOnAuto in 2008 in response to a need for better tools to help automotive retailers sell vehicle accessories. Since then, AddOnAuto’s web-based technology has redefined the vehicle personalization process and become the leading digital platform for dealerships to market and sell vehicle accessories.

Annual sales in the accessories marketplace are estimated at nearly $40 billion.

“We’ve seen the trend for customizing and personalizing vehicles go mainstream, and the accessories market continues to grow and flourish because of it,” Haider added. “It’s an exciting time to be in the accessories business for dealers, suppliers, and manufacturers.”

In addition to Haider’s panel appearance, attendees of the 2014 SEMA Show are invited to booth #12055, where they can experience firsthand AddOnAuto’s industry-leading accessories point-of-sale solution.

About AddOnAuto

AddOnAuto, a Reynolds and Reynolds company, is the automotive industry’s leading accessories point-of-sale solution and the world’s first digital automotive dealer-supplier network for real-time catalog, pricing, and product updates on one platform. AddOnAuto is a complete business and technology ecosystem connecting retailers, consumers, manufacturers, and dealers. AddOnAuto makes buying and selling accessories more efficient, more effective, and more profitable for everyone involved. Visit AddOnAuto online at



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Open Mobile Alliance Partners With Automotive Industry Experts as the Car … – SYS

SAN DIEGO, CA — (Marketwired) — 10/24/14 — The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) has announced that they will be moderating a panel at this year’s Telematics West Coast conference; the panel titled ‘The car steps out into the connected world’ will be comprised of industry leaders and moderated by senior OMA representative, Dr. Eshwar Pittampalli.

The panel is set to cover the latest developments and predictions in the In-Vehicle-Infotainment (IVI) market and give visitors to the conference a detailed insight into whether the content providers, software architects, tier 1s or OEMs will take ownership of the in-car experience as the industry moves further into the connected world.

Panel member Scott Burnell of Ford will be giving visitors an insight into his argument for the need for a single connectivity platform in the auto industry as well as why he thinks the industry’s main quest should be to deliver an in-vehicle experience and not just a range of apps. “The panel is a great way to discuss the developments in the industry and what is next in the telematics space,” commented Burnell. Furthermore Zach Brand of NPR will discuss on the panel the growing demand for in-vehicle-infotainment as well as the need for a re-fresh on automobiles as opportunities for the connected car grow and grow.

Dr. Eshwar Pittampalli, Director Market Development for the OMA, said, “As the gap between automobiles and Smartphones closes, we continue to see evidence that OMA Enablers are now more applicable than ever within the telematics space. We have already worked with OMA members to highlight the applicability of our enablers for automotive applications.”

Products and services based on OMA Enablers can be used to manage head units, in-vehicle infotainment systems and engine control units. The OEM benefits from production efficiencies and reduced recalls and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) can offer services using existing OMA-based infrastructure.

The panel will take place on Thursday 30th October at 14:00-14:45 as part of the Telematics West Coast Conference, held at Hilton San Diego, CA. The panel will be compromised of Scott Burnell – Global Lead, Business Development Partner Management – Ford, Steffen Neumann – Portfolio Manager, App Development Group – Mercedes-Benz Research Development Silicon Valley, Ted Cardenas – Vice President, Car Electronics Division-Pioneer Electronics, Zach Brand – VP for Digital Media-NPR and Bret Scott- Future Technologies Lead – Chrysler. Dr. Eshwar Pittampalli, Director Market Development, Open Mobile Alliance will moderate the panel.

About Open Mobile Alliance (OMA)

OMA is the wireless industry’s focal point for the development of mobile service enabler specifications, which support the creation of interoperable end-to-end mobile services. OMA drives service enabler architectures and open enabler interfaces that are independent of the underlying wireless networks and platforms and that work across devices, service providers, operators, networks and geographies. More information at

To talk more with Eshwar Pittampalli of the Open Mobile Alliance at the Telematics West Coast conference please email [email protected] to arrange a meeting.

Press contact:
Beth Dyson
[email protected]

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BCG study finds innovation in auto industry lagging

Tesla's strong showing in the poll may reflect its new approach to mobility (Photo: Tesla)

Tesla’s strong showing in the poll may reflect its new approach to mobility (Photo: Tesla)

Automotive companies aren’t as innovative as they used to be, according to a survey of 1,500 senior executives who were asked about the state of innovation in global business by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The survey ranks the 50 most innovative companies in the world in the eyes of these executives. The list is led by technology groups, with Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft and IBM in spots 1 to 5, respectively. They are followed by Amazon, Tesla Motors, Toyota, Facebook and Sony in positions 6 to 10.

Tesla is the most innovative carmaker, jumping 34 places from a year earlier, followed by Toyota in 8th position. BMW stood at 18, Ford Motor at 19 and Volkswagen at 21.  They were followed by Daimler at 25, Audi at 28 and Fiat at 32.

BCG noted that the decline in the number of car companies in the Top 50 – and in the top 20 in particular – was the biggest change in the 2014 list compared with 2013. There were only nine carmakers among the top 50 this year, down sharply from 14 in 2013.

Top 10 carmakers went from 3 to 2 and the number of automakers included among the 20 most innovative companies plunged to 4 from 9.

BCG said automakers reported a 26 pc decline in innovation priority, which measures how important companies consider innovation to be. Only 62 percent of carmakers assigned innovation a top-three priority, down from 84 pc last year.

BCG said Tesla’s strong performance in the ranking could reflect the relative newness of its mobility approach. “Perhaps Tesla’s more disruptive, breakthrough entrance has raised the innovation bar for automakers and thus changed respondents’ perceptions of what constitutes innovation in the automotive space,” the report said.

Fiat jumped 11 places in the rankings, which, according to BCG, is because it may be “benefiting from its reemergence as a global brand and its bold acquisition of Chrysler.”





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Insights on China’s auto industry

<!–enpproperty 2014-10-27 07:45:33.0Insights on China’s auto industry
China’s automotive industry1811063205Industries2@usa/enpproperty–>

Editor’s Note: The Global Automotive Forum 2014 held from Oct 16 to 17 in Wuhan, Hubei province, discussed the theme of transformation in China’s automotive industry as leaders shared their insights on a series of topics.

China is the world’s largest auto market yet Chinese brands and technology remain weak. Our traditional auto industry and businesses have to make up their mind because comprehensive transformation is the only way forward.

It is widely agreed that the transformation has entered a critical period and I am convinced that the auto industry will see changes that go beyond our imagination in the next five to 10 years.

Wang Xia, president of the Automotive Committee of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade

We have tried online sales of smart models but online sales cannot replace brick-and-mortar shops at least for the time being.

We have many registered users but they do not pay deposits online. Also, the customers want to test drive and experience our models so they need traditional stores. I don’t think that online sales will prevail soon.

Of course, we have our online platforms and we will go forward with the actual conditions.

Nicholas Speeks, president and CEO of Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service Co Ltd

Vehicles in the future will be composed of four wheels, power and a computer. They will be as smart as humans.

Vehicles have gone through the mechanical era and the electronic era. Self-driving, smart ones will bring about a revolution by emancipating us from having to hold the steering wheel and put on the brake. This has long been my dream.

Li Shufu, chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd

Technological strength and brand awareness are two crucial aspects for automakers. If an automaker is not technologically competitive worldwide, it is not qualified to serve mainstream customers. Even harder is to how to build a brand after it has acquired technological competitiveness.

When you buy a BMW, you don’t have to examine every single detail. You trust its quality. But when a new company produces a BMW-level product, it takes time for the product to win customer trust because they will understand it piecemeal.

Qoros has now seen progress in its brand awareness, especially in terms of its innovative design and safety.

Guo Qian, president and CEO of Qoros Automotive Co Ltd

China has been the world’s largest auto market since 2009. And I believe customer satisfaction, technological strength and network building are key to Chinese automakers’ long-term success.

I believe that the coming decade will be a golden period for China’s auto industry. We would also like to establish a mechanism for cooperation and support with other automakers.

Zhang Baolin, president of Changan Automobile Group

Rise of inland car markets 
China’s auto market growth may halve to 7% this year 

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Lucintel anticipates the adhesives market in the global automotive industry to … – SYS


IRVING, Texas, Oct. 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Adhesives in the automotive industry are used in all the categories of vehicles, including passenger cars, heavy trucks, buses, and light commercial vehicles. Structural adhesives offer fast processing speeds and exceptional bond strengths. These compounds are formulated to improve vehicle performance, improve safety, lower weight, and enhance comfort. Adhesives in the automotive industry are used in interior and exterior applications which include roof panels, doors, headliners, interior dashboards, and hoods. Passenger car is the largest segment with 54% consumption of adhesives.


Adhesives in the global automotive industry are expected to reach $9.4 billion by 2019, promising huge opportunities for the firms operating in the industry. Asia Pacific (APAC) has been the top region in terms of total adhesives consumption due to increase in production of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles in China and India. APAC is expected to remain the largest consumer of adhesives in the automotive industry. Henkel AG Co KGaA, 3M Co., PPG Industries, The Dow Chemical Company, and Sika AG are some of the suppliers of adhesives for various applications in the automotive industry.

Lucintel, a growth accelerator firm, has analyzed the demand of adhesives in the global automotive market and has come up with a comprehensive research report, “Opportunities for Adhesives in Global Automotive Industry 2014-2019.” This report provides an analysis of adhesives in the automotive industry, including analysis of the market trends, competitive landscapes, company profiles, emerging trends, and key drivers of the industry growth. The study also includes adhesives in the global automotive market forecasts through 2019, segmented by regions, applications, and chemical product types:

Adhesives in the global automotive industry segmented by regions:

  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Rest of the World 

Adhesives in the global automotive industry segmented by applications:

  • Passenger Car
  • Heavy Trucks
  • Buses
  • Light Commercial Vehicles

Adhesives in the global automotive industry segmented by chemical products types:

      ·    Epoxy Adhesives

      ·    Polyurethane Adhesives

      ·    Acrylics and Other Adhesives

This 160-page research report will enable you to make confident business decisions in the adhesives market in the global automotive industry. For a detailed table of contents and pricing information on this timely, insightful report, click on this link,_forecast,_and_opportunity_analysis_july_2014.aspx or contact Lucintel at +1-972-636-5056 or via email at [email protected]. Lucintel provides cutting-edge decision support services that facilitate critical decisions with greater speed, market insight, and cost efficiency. To learn more, visit You can also contact us through Live Chat in its website to answer your questions in real time.

About Lucintel

Lucintel, the premier global management consulting and market research firm creates winning strategy for growth—whether you need to understand market dynamics, identify new opportunities, or increase your profitability. It offers market entry strategies, competitive analysis, opportunity analysis, growth consulting, MA, and due diligence services to executives and key decision-makers in a variety of industries. Over the last 15 years, Lucintel has served over 1,000 corporations in 70 countries. For further information, visit

Media Contact: Roy Almaguer, Lucintel, +1-972-636-5056, [email protected]

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SOURCE Lucintel

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Auto industry uses 3-D printing heavily in product development





Nick Bunkley

Automotive News
October 27, 2014 – 12:01 am ET

Ford Motor Co. builds more than 12 vehicles around the world every minute. Local Motors needed six days to build just one car during a recent demonstration in Chicago.

Both are heavily dependent on technology known as 3-D printing, which takes raw materials and forms them into objects one ultrathin layer after another. Ford uses it to build prototypes and make product testing more efficient, but Local Motors is going even further by making the chassis and body of its cars in giant, $1 million printers.

“Instead of having one manufacturing location, like Detroit or Japan, we’ll have microfactories all across the world so people come in and customize their auto-buying experience,” said James Earle, Local Motors’ lead engineer on the project. “It allows the consumer to interact a lot more with how their car is made.”

Local Motors hopes to begin selling its car, called the Strati, in low volumes next year, though the car still has to pass crash tests and clear a lot of other hurdles before that could happen. It says the finished car — which includes a powertrain, wheels, suspension and other internal components sourced from Renault — will sell for between $18,000 and $30,000, with the printed portion costing more than $5,000 to make.

The novelty of a 3-D printed car has created a lot of publicity for Local Motors, which showed off the Strati on NBC’s “Today” show this month, but 3-D printing is a well-established part of the auto industry. As the cost declines and capabilities improve, automakers and suppliers increasingly are relying on 3-D printing to shorten product development cycles, cut prototype costs, reduce mechanical failures and test new ways of raising fuel efficiency.

It’s not having much impact on the production process itself, however, because costs would be too high and volumes too low.

Ford, which bought the third 3-D printer ever made nearly 30 years ago, now operates five labs that take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days to form parts out of resin, silica powder, sand or even metal.

In 2010, Ford says, it avoided what would have been a costly, four-month delay in rolling out the Ford Explorer when it used one of the labs to quickly diagnose and resolve a brake-noise problem discovered shortly before launch. It also used 3-D printing — also called additive manufacturing or rapid prototyping — to maximize the efficiency of its EcoBoost engine lineup, including the new 2.7-liter engine going into the upcoming F-150 pickup.

“That engine was prototyped from bottom up using these technologies,” said Harold Sears, a Ford additive manufacturing technology specialist. “These processes are touching every part, from bumper to bumper and roof to ground.”

Inside a nondescript industrial building 5 miles from Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., headquarters, Sears showed Automotive News a variety of machines that printed a combined 20,000 parts last year, about four times the lab’s output five years ago. One row uses blue lasers to harden resin into engine part prototypes such as a cylinder head water jacket, which used to cost Ford $20,000 to produce and now can be done for about $2,000.

Nearby, printers filled with white silica powder can assemble intake manifolds and other parts strong enough to install on running test vehicles in a matter of days, compared with months through other methods. In another room, a trio of printers vaguely resembling oversized inkjets that goes through 15 tons of fine sand a week forms a series of molds. Ford then pours liquid metal into the molds, rather than using a traditional, more expensive die that would need to be thrown out if the design changed.

“It allows flexibility to go through the design iterations without committing money to tooling and without having to wait for it,” Sears said. “Dollars are an important thing for us to save, but time is the big thing.”

Explained Karen Owens, who supervises the lab: “It doesn’t take us as long to freshen a product. It can exponentially reduce the time to market.”

Little production potential

Today, nearly every automaker and many suppliers have made 3-D printing an element of product development. A Toyota Motor Corp. spokesman said it’s “widely used” to assess the ergonomics, feel and response of parts — qualities that can’t be easily replicated on a computer model. Many companies began exploring the technology at least 10 or 20 years ago, while Mitsubishi said it bought a 3-D printer just last year after seeing how much the cost and performance of the machines had improved.

Experts say 3-D printing also has potential for customized aftermarket parts or replacement parts in cases where the originals are no longer available. Collectors of classic cars, for instance, could use it as an alternative to searching for a hard-to-find item.

But it’s unlikely that 3-D printers ever will have much of a role in mass-market production because today’s methods are faster and more cost-efficient for anything more than extremely small volumes.

“Because of the price per part and the materials involved, it’s not just going to allow us to build 200,000 parts for one particular car model,” said Kevin Ayers, manager of additive and 3-D printing for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. “It’s cost-prohibitive, and that’s a barrier we’re never going to quite overcome.”

Koenigsegg’s 1,341-hp One:1 supercar contains some 3-D printed parts, including the turbocharger assembly and a titanium exhaust tip that takes three days to make and shaves off less than a pound of weight. Designers of Nissan Motor Corp.’s Delta-Wing race car used 3-D printing for brake inlets, ducting and gearbox side covers.

Among more mainstream vehicles, the next-generation Mercedes-Benz S class coming in 2018 could have printed trim pieces such as air vents and speaker grilles, Mercedes’ chief designer told a British website, AutoExpress, in August.

For making prototypes, though, automakers and suppliers say 3-D printing has been transformative.

Ayers said 3-D printing has greatly reduced the number of recalls needed to replace faulty mechanical parts because engineers can test parts earlier in the development process. Many recalls these days are for malfunctioning electronics and sensors rather than poorly designed parts, he explained.

Lower costs and quicker production time compared with other prototype manufacturing methods mean automakers and suppliers can try out multiple designs at once, rather than starting with one version and reacting to test results.

“You can come up with seven or 12 different options to see what works the best. Before, you were limited in what you would try,” Ayers said. “There’s a lot more creativity being used and demanded by management.”

Chrysler Group does that with sideview mirror shells, putting a variety of designs through wind-tunnel testing to settle on the version that looks and performs best.

“You’re able to have multiple iterations at a lot less expense,” said Thomas Sorovetz, a casting engineer in the Chrysler Technology Center’s cast metals lab. “Our quality achievement is much greater because we can look at something and say, ‘This isn’t going to hold up well enough.’ And we have plenty of time for modifications before we kick off production.”

General Motors said 3-D printing helped speed the changes it made in last year’s freshening of the Chevrolet Malibu. The Malibu development team used the technology to evaluate various surface treatments on the console and center stack, conduct aerodynamic testing on the redesigned front fascia “without expensive production parts” and resculpt the back panels of the front seats to create 1.25 more inches of rear-seat knee room, GM said.

See-through parts

The technology allows for new ways of validating designs, such as forming test parts out of clear plastic to demonstrate what happens inside the part more easily. Sorovetz said Chrysler evaluates differential housings and transfer cases by printing a see-through version and running it with oil inside to ensure that the gears stay properly lubricated.

Johnson Controls uses a similar approach to test seats. It can print clear side shields, back panels or covers, then watch how a seat design performs for different body types.

Brennon White, manager of new technologies for additive manufacturing at Johnson Controls Automotive Seating, said the increasing capabilities of metal printers also are proving valuable. It’s much easier to print metal parts accurately, particularly ones with complex shapes, than to make them by cutting and welding metal.

“The more complicated something is, the harder it is to prototype it with cut-and-weld,” White said. “Using a 3-D printed part gets you closer to what your real production part will look like.”

The printed-metal prototypes are so good that White said when he shows one to colleagues and reveals how it was made, “the first thing they do is smack it on the table to make sure it’s real.”

You can reach Nick Bunkley at — Follow Nick on

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Airbag Design Flaw Prompts Automotive Industry Crisis

Airbag design flaw prompts automotive industry crisis

A design flaw in airbag design has given rise to recalls from at least 10 automakers thus far. For the second time this year, federal regulators are facing criticism for what is being seen as a lax approach to consumer safety. The flaw apparently involves airbags exploding with a lethal spray of jagged metal. This is in contradiction of their function to save lives in the event of a collision. The airbag maker, Takata Corporation of Japan, has suggested that part of the problem may be the high humidity of certain regions that has made the inflators to the airbags dangerously explosive.
This month there have already been reports of deaths caused by what may be bad airbags. One of the incidents was considered a minor accident that should not have ordinarily caused the death of 2 people. Another was judged by the police to be suspected homicide given the gashes the victim suffered in a crash. This estimation was however changed when a recall notice was sent to her address a week later.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been criticized with not doing enough to raise awareness about the situation and understating the number of vehicles affected. It is believed the lists of makes and models of cars affected is not comprehensive enough and posted on a website that does not function properly. This lackluster campaign to warn consumers has apparently allowed automakers affected to use less formal notification processes.
It has been estimated that in U.S. alone, 7.8 million vehicles are affected. Makers like Toyota and Nissan say they are taking the problem seriously and have been notifying customers on what to do, especially in humid regions like Florida, Texas and Hawaii.

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Israeli innovation gives global auto industry added value

Since the days of the Israeli-made Sussita, and until quite recently, it appeared that Israel was of no special interest to the global auto industry. Renault was won over by Shai Agassi, and invested in his unsuccessful Better Place electric car venture, but big names like Fiat, Toyota, and BMW stayed away from the local arena. Over the past year, however, the world’s leading auto manufacturers have decided to switch gears and look for innovation in Israel. They aren’t looking for innovative auto design; they want technologies that will give cars added value.

Fiat, which is behind Alpha Romeo, Jeep, and Chrysler, to name a few, is one of the leading companies showing interest in Israel. As early as the beginning of the preceding decade, reports appeared that the Italian manufacturer was considering cooperative efforts, or even the establishment of an Israeli RD center subordinate to the company’s Italian RD center (CRF). At the beginning of this year, a Fiat team visited Israel to check out the possibility of establishing a local RD center. The company will try to focus less on things like the Internet and high tech, and more on alternative fuels. It was reported that this visit was a continuation of an Israeli delegation’s visit to Turin last year, which included Israeli government representatives, and was initiated by the Mediterranean Car Agency (MCA), Fiat’s official importer in Israel, among others.

Israel Export International Cooperation Institute director for International Projects, Target Countries, and Automotive Uri Pachter says that one of the things in which Fiat is showing interest is the use of methanol as an alternative to the gasoline. “The intention is to establish a center in Israel that will jointly develop methanol, after which it will be installed in systems and used to fuel cars in Israel,” he says. “There are discussions, but no final decision on the matter has been taken yet.”

At the same time, Fiat subsidiary Magenti Marelli, which develops and manufactures systems and technology components for the auto industry, plans to hold a special day in the next few months, during which it will meet a number of Israeli companies in order to consider cooperation.

Another manufacturer taking a close look at the local market is BMW. Pachter explains that the connection with the German manufacturer began in 2008, and was based on subcontracting for spare parts and sub-systems, but is now focusing more on the local high-tech scene. The turning point came last year at a major event held by the Export Institute in Munich under the auspices of the Ministry of the Economy’s trade mission there, in which 30 Israeli companies took part.

“Following that technology event, several Israeli companies initiated contacts with BMW. A number of agreements were signed, and things began to move,” Pachter explains. Last month, a senior BMW delegation visited Israel to meet with Israeli companies and with the Chief Scientist in order to hear from him about the plans for integrating international companies in the local market.

At the same time, at the beginning of the year, representatives from BMW i Ventures, BMW’s investment fund, attended the Israel Dealmakers Summit held by Landmark Ventures in New York for the purpose of examining at close range possible investments in Israeli startups.

Two other auto manufacturers that are zeroing in on Israel are Spanish company SEAT and Czech company Skoda. Earlier this year, Ministry of the Economy director general Amit Lang visited SEAT’s offices in Spain, and presented to senior executives from the company a number of Israeli technologies likely to interest the Spanish manufacturer. In addition, representatives of the Ministry of the Economy and the Export Institute visited Skoda headquarters near Prague last year, and made a presentation about 20 Israeli companies to Skoda representatives. US auto manufacturer Ford is another company whose name has been linked with the local high-tech industry, and the company held a special technology event last year at which a number of Israeli companies made presentations to senior Ford executives and representatives of Fords sub-contractors.

“Great expectations”

Toyota is the most recent auto manufacturer to express interest in Israeli innovation. The company organized a hackathon for Israeli developers today, in which it is searching for special developments in various fields. Susumu Kono, a senior researcher at Toyota’s Toyota Info Tech Center subsidiary, which is looking for new technologies for the Japanese auto manufacturer, said that it was the second hackathon the company was holding outside of Japan, after a similar event in Mountain View in Silicon Valley last year.

“I heard that Israeli engineers were coming up with creative ideas, and I want to see it from close up,” Kono said in explaining why he is visiting Israel. “We have no specific technologies that we’re looking for, but we came to Israel because Israel is where applications like Waze are being developed, and we have great expectations from the market here. There are high-quality people here with open minds and a supportive environment in the form of venture capital funds and government support.”

According to Kono, the subjects of interest to Toyota are using big data stored by the company from the use of its vehicles, such as driving speed, the road situation, temperatures inside and outside the car, etc. “We want to see how we can use these data with innovative developments,” he explained.

GM’s investment arm

Even before the current wave, General Motors was the first auto manufacturer to recognize the potential in Israel’s development talent, and set up a development center in Israel from scratch. The center brought together scientists and researchers, who engaged mainly in developing car sensors. Since that time, the development center has hired software engineers, developers, and big data personnel, and currently has 100 employees under the management of General Motors Israel CEO Gil Golan.

General Motors has been indirectly cooperating with Israel since 1995, but only in 2007 did the company realize that it was worthwhile establishing an RD center here, and that Israel was a critical location for exceptional technologies and innovation for the auto industry. “Some of the things we’re working on have already gone into General Motors vehicles, but more substantial things will be put in later,” Golan explains.

Four years ago, General Motors International, like quite a few global corporations, launched an investment fund. Its fund is called GM Ventures. The fund, which was initially allocated $100 million, uses the local development center as its Israeli investment arm, and invested $5 million in Powermat, which is developing a wireless charging surface for mobile devices, as early as 2011. The fund has also invested in four other Israeli companies.

“The auto industry has become very attractive, with a huge variety of technologies. It’s possible to see how any technology you can think of can be adapted to the auto industry,” Gil Golan says. “In recent years, together with the radical development of technologies that affect the auto industry, but aren’t the industry’s core, therehas been a change towards combining the unusual with the conventional. An opportunity has therefore been created here that is very relevant to the Israeli high-tech industry. A car company won’t look for conventional things here, such as the next generation of engines, because there are better places for that. But features like sensors, vision systems, sensory systems, information security, and user experience-based interfaces are at the core of the local industry,” he says.

Concerning the interest being shown by other manufacturers, such as Fiat and BMW, Golan comments, “It only goes to show how important the matter is for the auto industry, because this industry is hungry for innovation. We have no doubt that in the next five years, there will be more automotive players in Israel.” At the same time, he made it clear that if other manufacturers do important things in Israel, it will be through the establishment of RD centers from scratch, not by acquiring local companies, as technology giants like Apple and Facebook did. “In the auto industry, the practice of acquisitions is less well known. It makes the process harder – building something from scratch and relying primarily on organic growth – but the fact that there are other important players in the field and from other fields here eases the risk and gives a feeling of confidence,” Golan continues.

Pachter explains that connections with the car manufacturers have already been going on for a decade, but only in the past two years has there been a change in the direction of high tech. “The manufacturers are showing interest in cyber security, communications between vehicles, navigation accessories, augmented reality, technologies that facilitate operation of systems by voice or hand movement, noise reduction during driving, weight reduction, and alternative energy,” he says.

According to Pachter, one of the most popular segments is electronic entertainment and smart cars – the result of multimedia systems that have been introduced into cars in recent years on the one hand, and connectivity of cars to the Internet through cellular and WiFi networks on the other.

Clear evidence of this can be seen in the CES electronics exhibition, the largest in the world, held early this year in Las Vegas. Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Ford, and General Motors presented various developments in cooperation with technology companies. Among other things, there were car systems that combined large touch screens, use of verbal commands, cameras, and various driver interfaces.

It is hard to talk about the auto industry’s interest in Israel without mentioning two names: Better Place and Mobileye(NYSE: MBLY). Better Place created a real buzz about the electric car industry in Israel, but failed in the end. On the other hand, Mobileye, a producer of systems for preventing traffic accidents, has had great success, and made its IPO in the US in August at a company value of $5.3 billion, which has since soared to $10.5 billion.

“Mobileye is a good example of the capability that exists here, but that isn’t the only reason for the interest in Israeli companies. There’s no doubt that these two names, combined with the reputation acquired by the Israeli high tech industry over the years, are helping the local market, and creating interest and opportunities,” Pachter says.

Better Place and Mobileye have put Israel on the map,” says Golan. “”Better Place created hype that made a connection between electric cars and Israel. Unfortunately, it failed, and that’s a pity. At the same time, it created experience and know-how among its employees, and its CTO and other employees came to work with us and are contributing from this know-how. Every startup aiming at the auto industry, and also those whose product can be used in the auto industry, adds weight.”

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news – – on October 26, 2014

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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