Panasonic's Automotive Influence Grows as Company Takes Over Supplier
The company once known mainly for its televisions is growing ever-longer tentacles into the automotive industry.
Panasonic, which is already a major battery supplier for electrified vehicles, has bought a majority stake in a Spanish auto parts supplier, giving it a larger foothold in the automotive realm.
Suppliers Say Automakers Are Just Guessing the Timeline for Self-Driving Cars
President Donald Trump received a tour of the American Center for Mobility this week. He did not, however, discuss the federal funding of the Michigan-based autonomous testing and development facility. Instead, the site was used as a location for the president to discuss regulatory policies and meet with automotive executives. Little was said on the subject of self-driving cars.
Still, automakers routinely remind us that autonomous vehicles are right around the corner. Ford says it can have autonomous cars rolling out by 2021, Audi and Nissan have said 2020, and Volkswagen has claimed it’ll be ready for self-driving models in 2019. Tesla — which has been pioneering the technology longer than most — has stated it has the hardware necessary in its current production vehicles and would have a bulletproof system installed in 2018, anticipating regulatory approval in 2021. However, suppliers are predicting much less optimistic timelines for self-driving cars — and the dates given vary wildly.
Uncertainty Reigns as Trump Hits the Throttle on NAFTA Reform
President Donald Trump doesn’t want to waste any time renegotiating — or replacing — the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Yesterday, Trump announced his intention to speed up the start of negotiations, leading to much diplomatic scurrying and plenty of confusion among the ranks of North American suppliers. No one knows how the trade landscape will look once talks wrap up.
While the move aims to boost U.S. employment, many U.S. companies, as well as America’s neighbors, fear downsides from potential tariffs.
Solid Axles Could Be Coming to the Ford Bronco
In a galvanized country shaken to its core by the looming reintroduction of the Ford Bronco, word comes of a component that could bring off-road prowess to every driveway in the union.
The solid axle.
Ford, which recently announced the official return of the storied 4×4, has reportedly handed over axle duties to Dana, noted supplier of beams to the Jeep Wrangler.
Ford Launches Omnicraft Parts Brand to Cleverly Steal Everyone Else's Business
A few months from now, if you’re driving your Chevrolet to get serviced and accidentally pull into a Ford automotive center, they will probably have you covered. In a bid to snag a little piece of everyone else’s action, Ford is launching a new parts brand for vehicles made by other automakers.
Omnicraft, the first new brand for Ford’s customer service division in over half of a century, is part of a clever plot to steer consumers toward the Blue Oval while capitalizing on the thriving parts industry. The United States imports nearly $150 billion in auto parts from China each year. Omicraft gives Ford the opportunity to take a stab at usurping some of that business for itself.
Considering that the average car has been on the road for eleven years now, rolling out this this brand is a minor stroke of genius.
Strange Bedfellows: BMW Wants a Cozier Relationship With Daimler to Make Life Easier
According to BMW’s new head of purchasing, Markus Duesmann, the company intends to expand its cooperation with Daimler AG in acquiring automotive components from suppliers.
The competing automakers began their cooperative purchasing in 2008, limiting it to elements most manufacturers typically share already — items like seating frames, radiators, tires, or air conditioning systems. Despite the cost benefits and leverage from their massed buying power, the companies still keep each other at arm’s length. More recently, however, the two have managed to maintain a healthy rivalry while seeking mutually beneficial ventures together.
GM Brings $1 Billion to the Make America(n Manufacturing) Great Again Party, Recalls Axle Work From Mexico
Not wanting to be left out of the flurry of recent U.S. investment announcements from various automakers, General Motors arrived at the party with cash in hand and second thoughts about Mexico.
GM says it will invest an extra $1 billion in its U.S. operations, with the cash covering several new vehicle projects, as well as some advanced technologies and components initiatives. The funding comes hot on the heels of similar announcements from Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and, just this morning, Hyundai/Kia.
In a nod to the political climate in America, GM will shuffle some outsourced parts production back to U.S. soil.
Take This Powertrain and Use It, Toyota Hopes to Tell Other Automakers
It hasn’t given the plan a green light just yet, but Toyota is seriously considering letting other automakers tap into its engine, transmission and hybrid technology.
The automaker’s powertrain division chief has opened up on his desire to give rivals everything they need to offer customers a cutting-edge, fuel-efficient vehicle. Why should R&D departments muss their hair when they could just buy off-the-shelf gear from Toyota?
Sergio, are you listening?
FCA Minivan Plant Avoids Supplier-related Shutdown, Gets Hit With Another
Maybe God has it out for Windsor, Ontario. Or maybe fate has a sense of irony, at least when it comes to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The automaker’s minivan plant, which builds the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Pacifica, handily sidestepped a supplier-related shutdown this week, only to be unexpectedly hit with another. The assembly lines go dark in Windsor next week.
TTAC News Round-up: The Chrysler 200 Was More Unpopular Than Anyone Imagined
There is something sincerely wrong with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ math, although things are starting to add up for why some of its sales numbers were so inflated.
That, Ford decides to get a little less global at the expense of the small car, Hyundai pays the price for lying, and parts suppliers see doom and gloom on the horizon for the automotive industry… after the break!
Watch How Automotive Springs Are Made in This Video
Interpretive dance isn’t for everyone, but we can all appreciate the efficient, graceful and damn near artistic manner in which automotive parts are made.
Coil springs already look fun, but after viewing this video of a spring being made for the now-defunct Toyota FJ Cruiser, you’re liable to quit that paper-pushing day job for a shot at doing what this guy does.
Electric Vehicles: Loved by Environmentalists, but What About the Child Labor?
A day before the Paris Auto show opens to the public, Amnesty International has accused manufacturers of clean, green electric cars of having dirty hands.
The human rights organization threw a wet blanket over the large crop of EVs exhibited in Paris, issuing a release targeting certain automakers for indirectly employing child labor in the construction of its vehicles.
Tesla, Former Supplier Continue Their Vicious Public Row
Tesla Motors isn’t backing down in its public falling out with Mobileye N.V., and neither is its former supplier.
This week has seen a constant back-and-forth between the two companies after Mobileye claimed it broke ties with Tesla after becoming concerned about the safety of its Autopilot system.
Clearly, it was a messy divorce.
Ford Backtracks After Giving Up Parts Search for Man's Seven-Year-Old F-150
Just because your vehicle is the most popular model in the world doesn’t mean there’s spare parts stashed in every storage room and broom closet.
The owner of one 2009 F-150 crew cab found this out the hard way, forcing him to turn to the media and consumer rights groups to keep his truck driveable after an extensive search for a replacement part turned up dry.
Facing Production Shutdowns, Volkswagen Fights Back Against Suppliers
A grownup game of keep-away is taking place in Germany, and Volkswagen is the kid without the ball.
Work stoppages are looming or already occurring at four of the automaker’s plants after a supplier dispute left Volkswagen without key transmission and seat parts. With the costly fallout of its emissions scandal top of mind, the automaker plans to waltz into the supplier’s factories and take what it needs, Automotive News Europe reports.