Automotive Purchasing Weekly 15 December 2014 - page 21

VWtocomeupwith5-Series rival
Dec 9, 2014 | General
The German carmaker is thinking long and
hard about the new additions to its lineup,
which should include a rival to the BMW
5-Series.
German
automobile
manufacturer
Volkswagen has announced that it plans to
design a competitor for BMW 5-Series.
According a report published by Autobild,
Volkswagen has been giving a lot of thought
to its future car lineup and has planned some
major changes. While the carmaker plans to
replace some of its current models such as
the Passat, it also intends to introduce some
new vehicles to its current lineup, including
the five-seat crossover, that it plans to unveil
at the 2015 NAIAS, in Detroit next month.
The car will be revealed in a concept form
for now.
Apart from this, the German carmaker will
also be looking at developing a high-end
model, which will be competing with the
likes of luxury cars such as Mercedes-Benz
E-Class, the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6.
While Volkswagen has not made an
official announcement on the model, a
source within the carmaker said that the new
model will be based on the next generation
of the Passat, or even on the Audi A6.
The engine options for this model is
still subject to wide speculation. It is being
rumoured that the model will receive four-
and six-cylinder petrol and diesel options
and even an all-wheel drive system. The
new 5-Series rivaling Volkswagen will be
produced in the United States, in Mexico
or China and it should cost approximately
€37,500 ($46,333).
21
15 December 2014
automotive purchasing weekly
Bristol tobe testing
ground for driverlesscars
Dec 8, 2014 | General
Williams Advanced Engineering has
announced that it is part of a consortium
that has secured government funding from
Innovate UK to test driverless cars in the
Bristol region.
This appointment follows the Chancellor’s
recent autumn statement announcement to
make the UK a world centre for the testing
and development of this new technology.
Williams will be bringing its simulator
and artificial intelligence technology to the
project. An autonomous vehicle system will
be integrated with the simulator to test it in a
virtual environment. This technology will help
increase the number of hours the system
can be tested and can simulate various
weather conditions and traffic scenarios that
are difficult to test on real roads.
Williams’ simulator technology will also
help test public acceptance to driverless
vehicles. Williams’ expertise in simulation
originates in Formula One where the
Williams Formula One teams’ drivers have
been using highly sophisticated simulators
since 2002. Williams Advanced Engineering
has been commercialising this technology
since 2010, with previous projects including
the development of road safety simulators
to improve driving standards in Qatar.
The consortium, called VENTURER,
includes a range of organisations
including Atkins, Bristol City Council, South
Gloucestershire Council, AXA, Fusion
Processing, Centre for Transport and
Society, University of the West of England
(UWE Bristol), University of Bristol and
Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a collaboration
between the University of Bristol and UWE
Bristol.
Craig Wilson, Managing Director of
Williams Advanced Engineering, said;
“Williams
Advanced
Engineering
is
developing a growing reputation as a leader
in next generation automotive technologies
and autonomous vehicles have the potential
to revolutionise the relationship we have
with our cars. In Formula One we are used
to using a state of the art simulator to
implement new developments in a safe and
repeatable environment. Williams Advanced
Engineering has taken this learning beyond
the race track and this project will build on our
previous work in developing simulators for
road safety applications. We are delighted to
be working with a consortium of like-minded
and forward thinking organisations to help
make driverless cars a reality on Britain’s
roads.”
Lee Woodcock, VENTURER project lead
and technology director for Atkins’ Highways
& Transportation business, said: “We are
thrilled to be appointed by Innovate UK to
lead the UK development of an independent
test site for, and a market leading capability
in, autonomous vehicles. The VENTURER
consortium have joined forces to explore
the feasibility of driverless cars in the UK, by
trialling autonomous vehicles in the Bristol
region, investigating the legal and insurance
aspects of driverless cars and exploring how
the public react to such vehicles.
“This programme will help keep the UK
at the forefront of this transformational
technology, helping to deepen our
understanding of the impact on road
users and wider society and open up new
opportunities for our economy and society.”
Business
Secretary,
Vince
Cable
said: “The UK is a world-leader in the
development of driverless technology, and
today’s announcement will see driverless
cars take to city streets from 1 January.
This not only puts us at the forefront of
this transformational technology but it also
opens up new opportunities for our economy
and society.
“Through the government’s industrial
strategy we are backing the automotive
sector as it goes from strength to strength.
We are providing the right environment to
give businesses the confidence to invest
and create high skilled jobs.”
Darkcloudsgather over
GM’sBochumplant
Dec 8, 2014 | General
After 52 long years, GM closes its factory in Bochum, Germany, with only 300 out of 3,000
workers retaining their jobs.
After manufacturing there for almost half
a century, General Motors is saying farewell
to its plant in Bochum, Germany.
The last Opel rolled off the production
line at its flagship factory in Bochum on
December 5. GMannounced that it is shutting
the factory after planning to restructure its
loss making European subsidiary.
Subsequent to the production of the last
Opel Zafira compact van, the factory, which
employed 22,000 at its peak, is closing after
52 years.
Around 300 of the plant’s 3,000 workers
are expected to remain employed at the
facility in a parts operation, but the others
face an uncertain future.
Detroit-based GM is trying to get Opel to
break-even by mid-decade, and is plowing
€4 billion ($5 billion) into the European
business.
As part of its agreement with unions, GM
has guaranteed that through 2018 workers
at three other Opel plants in Germany won’t
face layoffs.
Chrysler’sKokomoplant
steals theshow
Dec 8, 2014 | General
Chrysler Group has announced that its Kokomo Transmission Plant (KTP) has been
awarded bronze status for its results in implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM).
The Kokomo plant is Chrysler’s seventh
North American facility to achieve the
WCM award milestone and the carmaker’s
highest ranking transmission plant.
KTP, which produces the new
fuel-efficient eight- and nine-speed
transmissions for various models in the
Chrysler Group portfolio, received the
bronze designation just over four years
after adopting the WCM operating system
following a two-day audit December 4-5,
2014.
Bronze is awarded after earning a
minimum of 50 points in 10 technical and 10
managerial pillars by demonstrating clear
WCM know-how and competence through
employee-conducted pillar presentations
and a review of projects that have been
expanded across the shop floor. KTP
earned a score of 51.
Brian Harlow, Vice President and Head
of NAFTA Manufacturing, Chrysler Group
said: “KTP has gone through significant
change since 2009 as it prepared to
launch production of the all-new eight- and
nine-speed transmissions. Through it all,
the KTP employees remained focused on
implementing World Class Manufacturing
and have been acknowledged for those
efforts today with the awarding of bronze.”
“We are proud of the commitment
demonstrated by our employees and the
support received from the UAW, which has
been critical in making Chrysler Group’s
manufacturing facilities among the best in
the world.”
World Class Manufacturing is a
methodology that focuses on reducing
waste, increasing productivity, and
improving quality and safety in a systematic
and organised way. WCM engages the
workforce to provide and implement
suggestions on how to improve their jobs
and their plants. WCMwas first implemented
by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler
Group as part of the alliance between the
two companies in June 2009. Since that
time, the Company has saved more than $1
billion in controllable manufacturing costs
as a result of the implementation of WCM.
In addition to KTP, five other facilities
currently hold bronze awards - Toledo
Assembly Complex (Ohio), Saltillo Truck
Assembly Plant (Mexico), Dundee Engine
Plant (Michigan), Trenton Engine Complex
(Michigan) and Indiana Transmission Plant
II (Indiana), which just earned bronze in
October.
The Windsor Assembly Plant (Ontario),
which was the first assembly plant to
receive a bronze designation in 2012, was
awarded silver in March 2014, making it
Chrysler Group’s highest ranking plant in
North America.
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