Monday, April 06, 2015

Automotive Reporter/Biz News Wk of 4-6-15

Nissan's all-new 2016 Maxima is being heralded as the new "four-door sports car." Nissan President and CEO Carlos Ghosn introduced the new sedan at the New York International Auto Show last week.

"This is the flagship sedan for Nissan in the U.S., and we expect big things from this car in terms of sales and expanding the reach and impact of the Nissan brand in North America," Ghosn said on Thursday. 

Ghosen notes that Maxima holds 10 percent of market share in the upper mid-size segment. "We are targeting more than that for what we feel will be the most exciting and modern car in the class," he said.

The 2016 edition gets a new, 3.5-liter VQ-series V6 engine, producing 300 horsepower with an anticipated 15 percent increase in highway fuel economy to an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon. Nissan Chief Product Specialist Mike Drongowski said, "My mantra to all groups, to design, to styling, engineering, manufacturing, was 'Maxima exists to be special. That is its role in our lineup.'"

Ford Motor Company's unveiling of the new 2016 Lincoln Continental last week at the New York International Auto Show was not without controversy. The stunning, new design is reminiscent of...of...Bentley's Flying Spur design. At least that's the claim by Bentley engineers, chief among them, Luc Donckerwolke. He vented on social media, posting to the Facaebook page of Lincoln chief designer, David Woodhouse, "Do you want us to send the product tooling?" 


April is Distracted Driver Awareness Month, which reads like an oxymoron.
Kia is capitalizing on the campaign by offering no-cost behind the wheel training with the B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) program for 300 drivers education students. Kia is the Official Vehicle and presenting sponsor of the B.R.A.K.E.S. Teen Pro-Active Driving School.

The half-day curriculum includes a distracted driving exercise, emergency braking using the anti-lock braking system (ABS), evasive maneuvering and skid-control practice.  Kia says "at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving, a number that has held steady since 2010." Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds in the U.S.

April is not the only month the courses are being offered. No Texas dates are listed...yet...but you can check this website for cities to be added throughout the year.


FCA North America says its Indiana Transmission Plant I (ITPI) employees have achieved something few in the manufacturing industry can claim – 10-million hours without a lost time injury. That's about three-years' worth of work time with no downtime due to injuries.

Brian Harlow, Vice President/Manufacturing, FCA North America, credits a focus on World Class Manufacturing (WCM), which includes safety as one of its 10 foundational principles. Fiat first implemented WCM in 2006, and introduced the process to Chrysler Group when the two companies allied in June 2009. ITPI was the first facility to build Jeep Cherokee's fuel efficient nine-speed transmission. The plant has built more than 500,000 of the all-new transmission since May 2013.


It's the Monday after Easter...which was also Opening Day for Baseball. In preparation of this hallowed occasion, the Detroit Tigers and Chevrolet were not planting Easter eggs at Comerica Stadium.

Oh, no.

They used a heavy-lift crane to park a 2015 Corvette Z06 atop the Chevrolet Fountain behind centerfield. They also put a Chevy Silverado Pickup truck up there--a process that took about three hours to complete. For each vehicle.

When Mazda America Senior Designer Jacques Flynn isn't drawing up the latest cool lines for the automaker, he's working his side business: hand-crafted leather wallets. Flynn is part of the team involved in Mazda's exterior designs, based in Los Angeles. A few years ago he needed to replace a wallet, but couldn't find exactly what he was looking for. 

Photo Credit: Nara Shin/
Flynn's idea for a custom wallet went astray when friends tried to use machines to replicate his design. He finally just bought some leather and went to work on his own, sans machines. You want something done right...etc.

How do Mazda's brass feel about their designer's side gig? Most of the guys in the C-suite now carry a Jaqet wallet in their pocket.

You can see the results here, and check out his eye for design in items other than leather, on his blog. 
Listen to the Automotive Reporter Radio Show every weekend on, or from our webpage.

No comments: