Just Car Blog
|GM to cut engine and vehicle platforms across global market||
In an official statement made by American car manufacturer, General Motors Inc., the company states that they will cut in half the total number of automobile units and power plants used globally. This move by GM is said to be their solution to address their up and down ride in cost and product development problems.
According to the official statement, the number of GM automobile architecture will drop from 30 in 2010 to 14 in 2018. Their engine platforms will take a dive from 20 in 2009 to just 12 in 2018. Their long term goal is to make the engine platform figures to just 10. According to executives from General Motors, the number of unproductive development practices is causing them almost $1 billion annually. This is supported by the claim made by Senior Vice President, Mary Barra who confirmed that they lost almost $1 billion annually because of inefficient production practices and that they’ve been in an up-down cycle when it comes to product investment.
Barra added that the launch dates for the Buick Enclave, the GMC Acadia and the Chevrolet Traverse continue to take a drawback due to fluctuating financial conditions. Having common architectures will help the company take the product lines to the show rooms faster.
The press release also mentioned that the American brand will begin producing Cadillacs in China by the bulk late in 2012. Additionally, GM is will set up another assembly plant in Russia and about four more in China. Lastly, GM is said to be planning to debut about 16 new models in China in the span of five years.
|BMW rethinks how cars across all brands and models will be named||
German car manufacturer BMW is thinking of reconfiguring their strategy for naming their vehicles across all brand. This was according to the BMW marketing director during a recent interview in London.
BMW is foreseeing an evolution in terms naming the vehicles across the different brands. BMW has not revealed what the new smaller BMW model that will be positioned below the 1 Series will be called and so far the marketing department of BMW would not say a word. Director of marketing Ian Robertson though noted of the upcoming I models, and the Z, X, and M models. He added that a lot of numbers might be used in the future.
The naming of the cars for the Rolls Royce and the Mini can even get more complicated. Names that has already been copyrighted across the globe makes the situation even tougher. Robertson recalls his work with the Land Rover during which the company thought of giving the SUV the name Freestyle which can become Freelander for Europe and LR2 in the United States, but they found out that these names are already in use in different markets.
The marketing director of BMW did not give any hint of how the future Mini’s and Rolls Royces will be called but we think they will also be getting alpha numeric badges.
Different issues like copyright and the century long history of car production makes naming cars for different brands very difficult. We might see car names getting duller and boring as we go along.
|Chinese consumers prefer European car brands to domestic favorites||
J.D Power and Associates is an international marketing firm that specializes in surveys and studies for customer satisfaction. In a recently concluded J.D. Power survey about Chinese car consumers, the results show that European automobile brands are fast gaining popularity compared to domestic old-time favorite brands from Japan and South Korea.
The J.D. survey revealed that almost 32% of Chinese car consumers prefer to go after European brands. About 27% of the respondents involved in the survey expressed that they would go for a Japanese car brand like Toyota or Mitsubishi. The rate in the 2009 study was 32 percent. Furthermore, only 20% of the survey respondents revealed that they would patronize a Chinese brand.
The results of the J.D. survey suggest that Chinese consumers shift to European brands because of their high-tech transmission and engine technology as well as its topnotch quality and dependability. Moreover, the respondents added that strong verbal approval add to its appeal. The Audi A4L model has been regarded as the most wanted European model among Chinese consumers, along with the VW Tiguan as the most wanted SUV.
Sadly, Japanese brands have suffered low support from the Chinese consumers because of its lack of endorsements from families and friends who swear by them. However, the J.D. survey seems to have not mentioned American brands like General Motors Inc. which sold 2 million car units in 2010 alone. Popular GM models in China include the Chevy Cruze, Buick GL8 and the Chevy Sail.
|US Government and carmakers to create technology to stop drunk driving||
The U.S. Department of Transportation is eager in its announcement that they have reached a “new frontier in the fight against drunk driving.” The government office has shared its plans to install a state-of-the-art technology that would detect alcohol in several vehicles sometime in the next eight to ten years.
This new technology, aptly called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, would come with a system called the Tissue Spectrometry, a touch-base system that would be able to detect the presence of alcohol in ones blood concentration. Another option would be to use the Distant Spectrometry device that would detect the alcohol presence in the driver’s breath. Once the system detects that the driver is intoxicated, the car would go into self-disabling mode. Pretty ambitious indeed, thought it might pose a great deal of a problem for those who work in bars and places where they serve alcohol.
At present time, a five-year $10 million cooperative budget effort has been made between car makers and the government in order to make these technologies available. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the project will start with actual demonstrations of these technologies to the public towards the end of this year. Here are some of the car makers that have joined the project: Mitsubishi, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo, Porsche, BMW, Ford, Chrysler, Hyundai/Kia, Mazda, GM, Jaguar/Land Rover, Nissan, Honda and Mercedes-Benz. Clearly, this looks like a promising effort being made by the car companies themselves and the federal government to lessen the number of drunk drinking incidents in the US.
|Mercedes-Benz and BMW catching up with luxury top brand Lexus||
Long time luxury car segment leader Lexus is outclassed by rivals Mercedes and BMW in terms of sales. Toyota’s luxury brand Lexus have been the annual top leader among the luxury car marques for eleven years.
The sales of Mercedes-Benz jumped by 11% or by 16,398 units compared to their last year’s numbers. BMW sprung by 21% or by as much as 15,905 vehicles. Lexus on the other hand fell by 17% or by 12,860 vehicles.
Lexus was able to protect its position last year and held off the two other rivals BMW and Mercedes to keep the top position in terms of sales in the Unite States. Lexus held the position for 11 years. The German brands have outpaced and outpositioned the Japanese Toyota unit with the X3 of BMW hitting the showrooms and the C-Class of Mercedes Benz getting a face lift.
The lead of Lexus is getting smaller with its 2009 19,473 units lead shrinkign to 9,216 last year. The sales of Lexus jumped 6.2% in 2010 or by around 229, 329 units while BMW’s numbers sprung by 12% or by as much as 220, 113 vehicles for 2010. Mercedes-Benz was able to achiev a 14% jump or 216,448 cars for 2010.
Lexus had a good push towards the end of 2010 to keep it afloat. The good race between the three luxury brands will impact the stats for the segment early this year. Lexus surely suffered from the recalls made by Toyota resulting to more incetive spendings for the company.
|GM’s filing to go Public warns Investors||
General Motors Co. has included the standard warnings for present and future investors in its 734-page filing to go public. This includes the many risks that GM faces in the industry like the stability of its supply base, weak sales figures, and changes in regulations to name a few. Of course, the risks that GM has disclosed almost paint the picture that the American automaker might just face bankruptcy in a year’s time.
The 734-page file also includes the state in which senior management is being paid an uncompetitive salary because of the limitations that comes from the government’s aid to the GM. There is also the matter of unhealthy financial controls inside the company the negative effects of GM’s deflating dealer body to its market share and sales in the U.S.
According to GM, the sales and market share will suffer when they decide to let go of several brands and cut down their U.S. dealer network. In 2009, there were approximately 5,600 GM dealers in the U.S. In June 2010, the figure goes down to 5,200. The initial plan was to cut down the dealerships by 3,600 to 4,000 in the long run that in 2009, the automaker has ended their franchise deals with over 2,000 dealers. But the new federal law urged GM to revive at least 700 of these terminated dealerships while some were restored through government mandated negotiations. GM now plans to cut their US dealers to around 4,500 towards the end of this year.
|BMW gives V8 sound to the MINI diesel||
We do not hear very often how the car manufacturers design the sound of their engine. BMW is among the leader in this technology and they coined theirs as Active Sound Design.
Mini gets an engine note to make its 4-cylinder diesel powerplant sound like a V8 muscle car. The engineers actually came up with four notes which are now being tested with a Mini and with a prototype BMW 635d.
The sound technology makes use of the vehicle’s own sound system to create a better driving experience. Drivers will perceive that the vehicle is performing better when compared to a same vehicle with the same specs but without the V8 sound technology. The sound technology feeds a generated sound through the cabin via the sound system of the car while also utilizing panels to lower the real sound of the car coming from its engine bay.
BMW wants to make most of the new engine notes to push for their diesel engine units. The company believes that all the diesel vehicles lack today is the right sound added to their efficient engine and their good torque.
The sound technology involves a more intricate process of design and refinements to produce the right sound compared to old ways of sound design which primarily revolves around the exhaust system and the intake.
Autocar features a video of the car. It is a short one but you will be able to appreciate the V8 sound of the Mini Clubman.
|Car Technology — What’s New: 3||
Finally, another neat safety tool that is constantly being seen in a lot of the newest cars I the rollover prevention/mitigation; which basically ensures that you car is extremely stable and that it is going to keep you safe. If you take a corner too fast or swerve over too fast, have you ever felt like your car is going to tip over?
This is especially apparent in a lot of cars that are top heavy. Well, this system actually senses a potential rollover situation and will apply the brakes and modulate throttle as needed in order to help make maintain control of your car.
This technology seems to be popping up everywhere from GM to Ford all the way to Volvo and the one common goal is to ensure that your car does not flip over!
|Car Technology — What’s New: 2||
Now that we have talked a little bit about the adaptive cruise control, let’s move onto another technology that is actually exploding onto the market and that is the blind-spot detection. One reason this is such a huge deal because many people get into car accidents because they do not check their blind spot.
This tool actually alerts you whenever you are trying to merge over and someone is in your blind spot. Something will either flash in your mirror or there will be a small beeping alarm that will let you know.
Usually, this tool responds whenever you put on your turn signal, so that is kind of a trigger.
|Car Technology — What’s New: 1||
The technology that is in the world in general is absolutely incredible. Never did I think that I would see things the size of a match box hold all sorts of private information pulled off of a computer that is as thin as a notebook. The technology that has been passed on from computers has slowly made its way on over to the car market and nowadays, cars have some of the best technology in the world.
That is what we are going to explore in the next few blogs, exactly what technology is out there that can truly keep you safe and sound whenever you are driving. Do you use cruise control? I do – all of the time and I have to say that the newest cruise control feature that is popping up on a lot of cars is fantastic!
It actually makes sure that you stay a safe distance away from the car in front of you, that way you do not end up in a car accident.
|Car Shopping — How To Choose A New Car: 3||
One thing that a lot of buyers do not realize when they are purchasing a car is that all of the prices are generally based out of the KBB, which is the Kelley Blue Book value. This book will actually tell you exactly how much the car that you are going to buy is worth – that way you can make sure that you are getting a good deal.
After you have done these steps, you want to make sure that you stay within your budget. Setting a budget is a great way to ensure that you do not overspend on the car and honestly – you want to stay within it. Having a budget when it comes to buying a car is also a great way to haggle with any of the dealerships that might be giving you a hard time.
Finally, you want to make sure that you test drive any car before you buy it. That way, you can ensure that you really like it!
|Car Shopping — How To Choose A New Car: 2||
So now that you know what you want, the next step is going to be starting the hunt for your car. This comes from doing your research first. You want to make sure that you check on websites like Auto Trader and Craigslist if you are interested in a used car. Checking online is a great way to make sure that you find not only the best deal, but that you know the car.
That is the next step; choose a car that you want ahead of time. What this ensures that you know exactly what type of car that you have so some idea of what you might be in the market for.
Next, we are going to explore the Kelley Blue Book value so that you know exactly what it is and how it can work to your advantage.
|Car Shopping — How To Choose A New Car: 1||
Purchasing a car in this day and age is something that many people are considering, especially with all of the companies that are offering up all kinds of incentives. But what should you really look for whenever you are looking to purchase a car? Well, that is what we are going to talk about in the next couple blogs – what to do when you are in the market for a car.
One of the first things that you want to do is know exactly what you want out of the car. Do you want a four door? Do you want cruise control? You want to make sure that you prioritize exactly what you want, that way you can make sure when you do go shopping; you are getting everything that you want.
In the next blog, we are going to talk about how to start the hunt for the car so that way you get your perfect car!