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

ttac news round up honda separates the kids toyota funks it up and the costs are

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)]

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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?

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.