What’s the difference between car design and styling? My stint at CCS in Detroit makes me think styling is the shallow, frilly, cosmetic side of car design. Freshman designers are (were?) trained to focus on styling, but anyone integrating with marketing/accounting/engineering departments after school knows the real deal. They gotta know car design.
The folly of a sheltered life aside (don’t us delusional autobloggers know it?) the Honda N600’s heavily constrained blueprint came to life with nearly to zero style. (Read More…)
The California state DMV is offering motorists the chance to step back in time and order new license plates in historic color combinations.
Why was Honda as much hit as Toyota by the March11 earthquake and tsunami? Doesn’t Honda have the bulk of its production outside of Japan? How could Nissan avoid most of the damage, even with an engine factory close to Fukushima?
It was a bit like a roulette game, and it involved a lot of chips. According to industry talk in Japan, Nissan had taken a large supply of ECU chips before the quake. Honda and Toyota were waiting for their just-in-time delivery. Honda and Toyota received most of their engine controller chips from one chipmaker, Renesas. Two weeks after the catastrophe, we had pointed out that Renesas and its damaged fab near the epicenter would turn into a major bottleneck. What’s more, Honda had no idea. (Read More…)
Automakers in Japan are slowly crawling back to normal. However, they are in for another after shock, and this one could be quite serious: Yasushi Akao, President of chipmaker Renesas said today that supplies of microcontrollers from his company will be in serious trouble come June. According to The Nikkei [sub], “stocks are expected to run out next month as operations at the firm’s Naka plant in Ibaraki Prefecture have been suspended since the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11.” Renesas microcontrollers are the chips of choice of many car companies who use them in their on-board electronics. Toyota is known to be a large customer of Renesas. (Read More…)
Yesterday’s good news from strategically important Japanese automotive chip maker Renesas did not last long. Now for the bad news: Their automotive microcontroller chips will be strictly rationed when they eventually ship. This being Japan, it is said more politely: Renesas is “thinking about the development of voluntary rules for major automakers,” as Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun puts it. (Read More…)
We finally know who’s responsible for shutting down Nissan assembly lines in Japan and the U.S.A. The shortage of a critical computer chip stopped Hitachi from making ECUs, which in turn stopped Nissan from making cars. For days, the identity of the lackadaisical chipmaker had been kept under wraps. Now, the culprit has been unmasked. (Read More…)
The shortage of a critical computer chip that Hitachi desperately needs to supply Nissan with ECUs now threatens to affect U.S. production. Yesterday, Nissan warned that they will close down Japanese assembly lines. Today, Nissan COO Officer Toshiyuki Shiga said that production in the U.S. may be halted until the chip shortage is solved. (Read More…)
So far, it had been striking workers at Chinese parts suppliers that brought Japanese car makers to their knees, praying for parts needed to re-start the lines. Here is a new twist: Japan’s Hitachi ran out of chips for ECUs (commonly called “car computers”). And Japanese carmakers are shutting down the lines. (Read More…)