Tread Trends: GM Switches to Artisan Tires Using Sustainable 'Green Rubber'

General Motors has announced it will choose “sustainable natural rubber” for the 49 million tires it buys each year. The automaker claims it is establishing a set of buying principals to ensure sustainably harvested materials and is encouraging other automakers to follow suit in a bid to reduce deforestation.

It won’t suddenly make driving your Chevrolet good for the environment, but it should give drivers bragging rights — allowing them to claim their tires killed fewer critters before even getting the opportunity to run any over.

However, environmental smugness is occasionally warranted. With tire manufactures representing 75 percent of the natural rubber market (according to the World Wildlife Fund), an overall shift toward sustainability would provide a measurable impact on deforestation. But what is General Motors getting out of this move and what will the price of environmental awareness be?

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Keep Us In Business or We'll Blow Everything Up: French Supplier to Automakers

They do protests a little differently in France. A French supplier of brackets, bumper and steering column components to Renault and PSA Group might soon close down for good, so the shop’s unionized employees figured it would be best to turn its protest efforts up to “11.”

That apparently means destroying the equipment used to make those essential parts, as well as threatening lives by rigging the factory to explode.

So. Much. Passion.

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Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Head North After Eight-Year Absence

General Motors hasn’t made an official announcement about the new product destined for Ontario’s Oshawa Assembly plant, only saying that pickups would be sent there for final assembly. However, much like with Ford’s returning Bronco and Ranger, it often comes down to union brass to spill the beans about product allocation.

In this case, the union representing both autoworkers and employees at a seat supplier has provided proof of Oshawa’s new product. Two truck models snatched out of Oshawa by GM’s 2009 bankruptcy will indeed return.

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Mitsubishi Electric Fined Millions for Role in Auto Parts Bid-rigging Conspiracy

A major auto industry supplier has found itself on the receiving end of a multi-million-dollar fine north of the border, following an investigation into an international bid-rigging conspiracy.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice leveled a fine of $13.4 million against Mitsubishi Electric on Tuesday for its role in the illegal agreement. The supplier pleaded guilty to three charges, making it only the most recent Japanese supplier to face expensive justice for landing a juicy — but dodgy — parts contract.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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  • Geozinger Put in the veggie garden (Western Michigan, we still can get frost this late in the year) finished the remainder of the landscaping updates and hand washed both my beater Pontiac and the Town and Country! Going to the beach today...
  • Rochester I wouldn't obsess over the rate of change, it's happening whether we want it or not.
  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.