Automotive Purchasing Weekly 20 July 2015 - page 2

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A Publication
E. & O.E. © 2015 Three 6 Zero Limited - Automotive Purchasing
Simon Duval Smith -
Alex Kreetzer -
Dashboarddistractions
Telematics are swiftly taking over the automotive
industry at the moment, turning the once ‘classic
look’ cabin into spaceship-like cockpits that would
mesmerise the likes of Marty McFly, an inevitability in
this modern-era. The demand has constantly grown
for manufacturers to introduce more technology in
vehicles, connecting the consumer with their car. Yes,
many consumers will be over the moon with these
advancements, but is it safe?
Withall this attention to technological advancements,
it is worrying that little has been scrutinised to see
whether or not this technology will create more
distractions whilst driving or any other major risks
whilst on the road. OEMs have argued that telematics
will improve safety, allowing drivers to use integrated
voice controls and larger touch screens that will be
easier to use whilst driving. However, I disagree with
the idea of having a phone strapped to your dashboard
whilst you try to steer your eyes away from temptation,
especially in this technology-treasured day-and-age.
Simply, you cannot be looking at a screen and
be concentrating on the road simultaneously. These
screens will, without doubt, take drivers’ eyes off of
the road for much more time than is safe; what is the
difference between this and sending a text message
whilst on the road?
Distraction guidelines must be implemented, as
infotainment in vehicles is rapidly growing and adding
further risk to drivers. In the US, more than 3,000
deaths were accredited to distracted drivers in only a
year, indicating that manufacturers must find the right
balance, such as only allowing certain programmes
to run when stationary, in order to save motorists’
lives. A study from the National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration showed that the use of phones and
other devices in moving vehicles tripled the risk of a
crash, whilst text messaging alone doubled the risk of
a crash. Are manufacturers overindulging us without
thoughts of safety?
I am sure that OEMs are very much aware of these
safety risks, although they are being pressured into a
demanding - and fluctuating - market that will prove
irresistible to most. Staggeringly, certain vehicles can
already be linked to social media, allowing its driver
to sync their phone and check
any notifications on the go. At
this rate, we will have first-year
drivers playing on applications
and watching films whilst relaxing
on the motorway at over 80mph…
surely this is getting out of hand?
Sam Ogle -
TheKoreangiant goes
electric - be there
So Hyundai is getting its plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Prius
fighter ready, some might say that it has been a long time
since it showed its Blue-Will concept car in 2010. That car
featured a 1.6-litre petrol engine and a 134bhp electric
motor. Reports have suggested that the prototypes seen in
spy shots have a combination of the 1.6-litre four-cylinder
petrol engine from the current i30 and an electric motor.
Powertrain considerations aside, the vital thing for
both other OEMs and suppliers to note is that for once a
company has used a bespoke platform, engineered from
the start as a hybrid base, not, as with almost all other
hybrids/PHEVs, using an often compromised adapted
i.c. platform. Why is this so important for suppliers?
It means there are multiple opportunities for them to
innovate technologies that can be integrated earlier in
the development stage and can have more optimised
packaging solutions; no more finding a place for batteries
and controllers when these parts are designed-in from the
inception of a vehicle.
And why take note of Hyundai in particular, this is their
first step into PHEVs after all, volumes will surely not
be great enough for suppliers to commit investment in
developing new packages?
Remember Hyundai-Kia’s masterful brand and location
strategy. The new car is based on a bespoke platform
developed by sister brand Kia for its own dedicated
hybrid model, dubbed DE. It is this clever placing of two
brands that share technology, platforms and so on, in
each segment that is key to the Korean giant’s success.
By constantly adjusting the value proposition of the
two brands in each price bracket, it achieves market
penetration and economies of scale that most other global
carmakers can only dream of.
Add to this the companies’ clever locating of its plants,
in adjoining states or countries, that allows it to benefit
from inward investment ‘encouragement’ from these
regions - for two plants that can co-produce everything
from drivetrains to complete vehicles. This helps to
give it the flexibility to cure that constant headache of
the automotive business: fluctuating demand and a
subsequent glut or lack of capacity.
So my message to the supplier community is to look
hard at your Hyundai/Kia accounts,
connections
and
marketing
programmes; the Koreans are
preparing for take-off, and they are
reaching for the stars...
A look at some of the current issues in the automotive industry.
If youwant to have your say get in touch by emailing us at:
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Simon Duval Smith
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They thatgodown to
thesea inships, thatdo
business ingreatwaters...
Last week, I was one of five journalists invited to the Port
of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, to attend the
naming ceremony for one of Maersk Line’s latest leviathans,
the Marchen Maersk. Included in the programme for the day
was a tour of the ship and its facilities, and what an interesting
experience it turned out to be.
For a start, the Marchen Maersk is huge. Seriously huge.
I’ve been on a few ships, as you may imagine, but none which
remotely approached the sheer enormity of this one. With a
capacity of some 18,000 twenty foot containers, the vessel is
nearly a quarter of a mile long. And high. I think I counted nine
decks.
These days, you can’t get away from health and safety
regulations. Having been issued with my hard hat and brightly-
coloured jacket, I was amused to find that the giant cranes
loading the ship had their operations temporarily halted while
my little groupmade itsway along the quayside to the gangway.
Once on board, the tour began and nowhere, it seemed,
was off-limits. Today’s ocean-going sailors are certainly spared
the deprivations suffered by their colleagues of yesteryear.
The captain’s quarters feature a double bedroom opening
onto a well-furnished sitting room equipped with flat-screen TV
and sound system and then a huge office with state-of-the-art
computers and a conference table. The ship has a swimming
pool, gymnasium and library and the officers’ quarters are
spacious and well-appointed.
Perhaps the greatest surprise to me was the engine room
- the vessel has two. Forget any thoughts of the unbearably
hot, noisy and dirty infernos you may have seen in old movies
or newsreels. This one was spotless; I could have eaten off the
highly-efficient seven cylinder engine which had just propelled
the ship halfway around the world.
On the bridge, the nerve centre of the vessel, everything is
massively technical, at least to my rather old-fashioned eyes.
And, in the midst of a mystifying array of screens, dials and
switches is the wheel - a dinky little thing about two-thirds the
size of that onmy car.
In service on the important Asia to Europe trade, it is to
be hoped that the Marchen Maersk can weather the current
overcapacity and unsustainable freight rate issues which
are proving so challenging to the
industry.
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