Sunday, March 01, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News Week of 3-2-15

2015 Scion FRS
When the world’s largest auto maker takes action based on demographic trends, you'd best not ignore the signs. Toyota and Scion are returning as official automotive and transportation sponsors of "Hispanicize 2015," the largest annual event for Latino trendsetters in digital and entertainment media.

“Toyota and Scion’s engagement with Latino bloggers, journalists, marketers, filmmakers and entertainment professionals is an extension of our decades-long relationship with the Hispanic market overall,” said Patricia Salas Pineda, group vice president of the Hispanic Business Strategy Group of Toyota North America. The company has been marketing to and engaging with the Latino community for more than 20 years. "Hispanicize offers a unique opportunity to draw from that multi-decade commitment,” Pineda said.

Pineda's job description includes maintaining Toyota’s leadership position among Latinos, and making sure that the Hispanic perspective is fully integrated into growth strategies for all of its Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. The Miami event is in its sixth year.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
FiatChryslerAmerica US LLC is voluntarily recalling an estimated 467,480 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs worldwide to install a new relay circuit that improves fuel-pump relay durability.

FCA US engineers have found a problem they identified in a previous investigation which  may extend to more vehicles. That investigation, which led to a recall, traced a pattern of repairs to fuel-pump relays that are susceptible to deformation. That could affect fuel-pump function, preventing your Jeep from starting, or leading to engine stall. Of the two scenarios, the no-start condition is the more common.

The new recall campaign affects an estimated 338,216 vehicles in the U.S.; 18,991 in Canada; 10,829 in Mexico, and 99,444 outside the NAFTA region.  Covered in the recall are 2012 and '13 Durango's, and and non-NAFTA 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee's with 3.0-liter diesel engines. 

Volkswagen is reshaping its supply chain strategies, and could transform the entire automotive industry in the process. The new Volkswagen FAST (Future Automotive Supply Tracks) Program seeks to create a more efficient global supplier network by prioritizing investments, and making the most efficient use of resources.

"New technologies and shorter product cycles pose challenges for our industry," said Dr. Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, responsible for Procurement. 

Sanz says the first step will be to identify the best suppliers in an agreed selection procedure. "Only these companies will receive access to Volkswagen FAST," Sanz said. Those partners will be involved in innovation cycles within the Group at an earlier stage, and "will be expected to contribute their ideas to the pre-series development of vehicles at an earlier stage," he said. The Volkswagen Group invited its key global suppliers to Wolfsburg for the kick-off event.

2015 Ford Edge
Ford Motor Company's $700-Million investment in its Oakville, Ontario plant is starting to pay off, cranking out new 2015 Ford Edge vehicles for global distribution. 

Ford says worldwide demand for utility vehicles has swelled 88% since 2008, and now account for 19% of global sales. Ford says the Edge has been its best-selling five-passenger vehicle for seven of the eight years since its launch. 

The 2015 edition is "all new from wheels to roof," and will be the first Ford vehicle in North America powered by the company’s new twin-scroll 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine. The 2015 model is the first Edge to come standard with EcoBoost power. 

"Chappie..." not a Ford robot.
The Oakville Assembly Plant underwent a massive transformation, including new technology and robotics, new processes, and new training.  More than 250 new robots were added, including new software and vision systems that improve efficiency, precision and quality.  1,000 robots were upgraded. But best of all, the factory has added 1,400 new employees.

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