TTAC News Round-up: Honda Separates the Kids, Toyota Funks It Up, and the Costs Are Too Damn High at FCA

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The CEO of Honda is pulling the car over and giving a stern lecture to the kids in the backseat.

That, a Scion gets a corporate makeover, Google goes in for autonomous feng shui, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is drowning in modules and a famous British racetrack could get even Britisherafter the break!

Honda wages war on “design by committee”

Having too many cooks is spoiling the product soup, warns Honda Motor Company CEO Takahiro Hachigo in Reuters.

To speed up the development of new vehicles, Hachigo is separating Honda’s design team from its marketing team and telling both to stay in their respective corners.

The new direction aims to have employees focus solely on what they’re good at, which Hachigo hopes will result in more appealing products and fewer “watered-down” designs.

Surely, anyone who remembers the Accords and Civics of the mid-2000s won’t know what he’s talking about.

Toyota brings out the funk

A Scion concept no longer, the production-ready Toyota C-HR has been leaked in photos obtained by Carscoops.

The funky-looking four-door crossover, which will debut at this week’s 2016 Geneva Motor Show, is a toned-down version of a Scion-badged concept shown at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

While the crossover has lost some of its dune buggy-inspired proportions in the development process, enough edginess remains for Toyota to effectively battle competitors like the froggish Nissan Juke and humdrum Honda HR-V.

No one is going to mistake it for a RAV4, either.

Google Car, please, hold the velour

Woodgrain and leather, or plastic and … plastic?

Google must want to know, because the company is actively seeking automotive interior designers for its self-driving car project, Business Insider reports.

The job for an engineering lead to head the effort, posted (where else?) on Google, calls for someone who will work closely with all other areas of the vehicle team. Given that Google has said it plans to develop the self-driving technology to license to other manufacturers, will production of its interiors go the same route?

And will there be ashtrays?

What America wants: less modules

Our kingdom for a cheaper module!

That’s the desperation-tinged cry of Ralph Gilles, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles global design chief, in a revealing talk published by Automotive News.

Gilles, speaking at a recent Canada-U.S. Original Equipment Suppliers Association dinner, bemoaned the high cost of producing tech-laden vehicles and appealed to suppliers to help bring that expense down.

Sourcing too many modules has made production costs for vehicles like the upcoming 2017 Chrysler Pacifica “freakishly expensive,” he said, adding that consolidation of modules could be the answer. Unspoken in his remarks is an implicit threat that should a domestic solution not be found, cheaper, overseas parts could be the answer.

Or, to put it a happier way, if we all come together, there’ll be happiness across the land.

New parent for Silverstone Circuit?

The home of the British Grand Prix might be getting a new owner that couldn’t be more British.

Jaguar Land Rover Group would become the owner of the historic track if a deal made to members of the British Racing Drivers’ Club goes through, reports Autosport. The BRDC has owned the track — formerly a Second World War Royal Air Force base — since 1971.

If the deal comes to pass, new ownership would mean upgrades for the historic, privately-funded circuit, which first hosted the British Grand Prix in 1948. For the present owners, much like Great Britain in the 1970s, cash flow had become a problem.

[Image: Top, © 2015 Mark Stevenson/ The Truth About Cars; Silverstone, Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY-SA 2.0)]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Mar 01, 2016

    I want "fewer" modules, not "less".

  • NeilM NeilM on Mar 01, 2016

    "The home of the British Grand Prix might be getting a new owner that couldn’t be more British." Oh, you mean Jaguar Land Rover Group, the company owned by Tata of India?

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  • Varezhka And why exactly was it that Tesla decided not to coat their stainless steel bodies, again? My old steel capped Volant skis still looks clean without a rust in sight thanks to that metal vapor coating. It's not exactly a new technology.
  • GIJOOOE “Sounds” about as exciting as driving a golf cart, fake gear shifts or not. I truly hope that Dodge and the other big American car makers pull their heads out of the electric clouds and continue to offer performance cars with big horsepower internal combustion engines that require some form of multi gear transmissions and high octane fuel, even if they have to make them in relatively small quantities and market them specifically to gearheads like me. I will resist the ev future for as long as I have breath in my lungs and an excellent credit score/big bank account. People like me, who have loved fast cars for as long as I can remember, need a car that has an engine that sounds properly pissed off when I hit the gas pedal and accelerate through the gears.
  • Kcflyer libs have been subsidizing college for decades. The predictable result is soaring cost of college and dramatic increases in useless degrees. Their solution? More subsidies of course. EV policy will follow the same failed logic. Because it's not like it's their money. Not saying the republicans are any better, they talk a good game but spend like drunken sailors to buy votes just like the libs. The sole function of the U.S. government is to take money from people who earn it and give it away to people who didn't.
  • CecilSaxon Sounds about as smart as VW's "SoundAktor"