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US Auto Industry – Beyond the US and Beyond Graduate School

Chaos Brings Opportunity — In The Real Graduate Business School

If chaos brings opportunity then current circumstances present a multitude of opportunities in the car business. Undoubtedly, present circumstances represent a set of issues absolutely unforeseen except in a Graduate Business School program. Even there, variables that have brought on the current situation would have represented a set of circumstances that would be almost unimaginable.

An Unimaginable Scenario Even In Business School

government-motorsIf today’s situation were visualized as a raging river that needed to be crossed then the raging waters would include the economy, weak demand, and industry collapse. Players crossing the river represent an intrepid and diverse group and these players are crossng the raging waters right now because either they must or they see opportunity. Some group members chose this pathway and some had no choice but were swept up in the torrent and some did not have any opportunity but to participate or see collapse of a strategic industry in the US, North America and World.

Is It Academic and Historic

Two decades ago the scene was set for a massive business takeoverthat became the story memorialized in  Barbarians at the Gate written by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar describing a massive Wall Street and Industry economic power play.

This masterful work memorialized how financial minds envisioned and executed maneuvers to control huge financial sums and industries and has been called one of the most influential business books of all time — the definitive account of the largest takeover in Wall Street history.   This tomb addressed a facet of business that was totally dominating or crushing depending on which player you study.

Auto Industry Reality Is Not Academic

chrysler-fiatToday’s auto industry reality makes Barbarians seem to be only a prelude to the real business, industry and governmental drama. Reality composed of GM and Chrysler collapse, dealers terminated in a wholesale manner, UAW rethinking just about everything, US Government input to business plans, car lines being shut or sold, key players and groups stepping up to acquire select assets. These circumstances are absolutely beyond Graduate School Business Class 633.

The Real School of Hard Knocks

Current status of the US and World auto manufacturing is absolutely hard ball.  There are massive implications for current Corporate and National priorities around the Globe

Significance of the current situation has implications which go far beyond today’s immediate chaos.  Decisions made in 2009 will very tightly set the course of the Global auto industry tightly for the next five (5) to seven (7) years and set he paradigm for long term future.

Massive changes are going to happen in 2009.  Stating that another way, a hundered years ago was the foundation fr what is in place today.  How far into the future the survivors and new players go remains to be seen.  However, for the next hundred years, or at minimum couple of decades, decisions made in 2009 will play a seminal role in automotive manufacturing dominance.

Dogs At The Drive-In Church

Dogs Are Welcome

img_0205-mediumDog getting dog boneIt is obvious that dogs like coming to the Drive-In Christian Church.  Maybe dogs like coming because of the Dog Biscuits or the fact that for a few minutes they can stretch out and rest.

Dog Biscuits On Arrival

img_0223-largeimg_0206-largeFrom the dog’s point of view, being offered a dog biscuit when you get there is a good thing.  A second or third dog biscuit is also provided by the Deacons when they make the rounds for the offering. 

Dog Biscuits During The Service

img_0224-mediumimg_0122-largeAll dogs know when to wake up and be on alert for the dog biscuits.  There are other things worthy of attention from a dog’s point of view, whether it is an opportunity to stretch out on the grass or keep watch on the dog in car next to you.

A Place To Walk

img_0168-mediumimg_0182-mediumChurch property is on the site of the old Neptune Drive In as addressed in a previous Tribune article detailing history of the Drive-In Christian Church.  Since there is plenty of room many dogs love to walk or romp or run.

img_0217-largeIt is clear that dogs appreciate the special effort to keep them happy at the Church!

Fusion & Prius Hybrid Vehicle Road Test

May 2, 2009 Hybrid Cars No Comments

Back-to Back Road Tests

hybrid-logos-combinedToday, I did a back-to-back road test with the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the 2009 Toyota Prius.  In conclusion the Prius gets better gas mileage but the Fusion wins the Tribune vote for the car to drive.

Specific Technical Points

Both cars have electric air conditioning that keeps you cool, whether-or-not the engine is running, but the Fusion system performed better.  When driving, Fusion engine cut-in and cut-out are substantially smoother.  Fusion electro-hydraulic brakes are the finest that I have ever driven! 

Fusion electric power steering provided good roadway feedback and had good ressistance in general driving.  Add a modern interior and good mid-size dimensions and the package is very well thought out.

Escape Based Hybrid

fusion-frontFusion hybrid technology was initially developed for the Escape SUV and introduced to the market in 2004.  This system reportedly took five years for 100 engineers to successfully complete the hybrid powertrain.  These years of experience has helped to refine and improve reliability for the hybrid system in the Fusion. 

4WD Hybrid Fusion Possibility

Having installed the hybrid system initially in the Escape SUV and in a 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) platform provided Ford a great opportunity to observe product abuse that would be somewhat unlikely for a passenger car.  This 4WD experience might even result in a 4WD Fusion Hybrid in the future and 4WD is definitely a feature that appeals to a segment of the automobile buying market.

Fusion Recommendations

fusion-interior

Recommendations to improve the Fusion would include HID or LED headlamps as an option.  Customers who buy technology laden cars expect HID or LED headlamps as an available option. 

My road test assistant reported that the passenger seat was hard and not as comfortable as expected.  The rear seat has good headroom for a 6′ tall passenger.  I’m not too sure that the rear seat would be confortable for any extended period of time, however.

Prius Road Test

prius-side-viewPrius has super technology and this has been addressed for a long time.  Continuously Variable Transmission or CVT is not as smooth as the Fusion. 

When the engine would turn on and turn off it was very noticeable compared to the Fusion which you could still feel, but substantially less.

A Spartan Space Ship

prius-interiorSome of the Prius controls and instrument positions could be considered unique.  All controls work fine, although the Prius seemed a bit more like a Spartan Space Ship rather than the Luxury Sedan of the leather appointed Fusion.

2010 Prius Is Coming

The 2010 Prius will be arriving in dealerships within the next couple of weeks. 

Review of the 2010 product book clearly shows that the 2010 Prius will be substantially better in base form and in fully optioned form.  Tribune readers can look forward to this update.

prius-informationDid I say that the 2010 Prius was about to show up?  Well, reference to the product book would lead me to believe that the 2010 Prius is going to address this Spartan Space Ship situation

LED Headlamps

Of note is that the 2010 Prius will no longer have HID headlamps available.  In review of the product brochure this fact seemed hard to believe. 

However, halogen is the standard headlamp system and top of the line Prius V models will have LED headlamps.  This is very high-tech technology.  All models will have LED taillamps.

When the 2010 Prius shows up there will be two high-mileage impressive cars at the dealerships. 

 The 2010 Prius will be a much more refined product but the Tribune predicts that the Fusion will still win as the the best overall Driver’s Hybrid Car

Each car is a winner and each car has their own unique personality.  If you are looking for fantastic mileage then your selection between these two requires driving each.  At minimum that will be a very educational experience.

Chrysler Chaos

Chrysler Will Survive

It has been a long slide but Chrysler has now started Bankruptcy Reorganization.  There are three stories here: A) past, B) present and C) future.  Each story is different but with a common thread. chrysler

Every Car Guy has an opinion but right now politicians, governments, business executives and selected experts are establishing a new direction and putting into place a new company.  Everyone has apprehension about the future of Chrysler.  Only after the current state of chaos is over will the Car Guy and Gal be able to assess a rebuilt Chrysler.  A lot of people want success.  Success for the Car Guy is defined as Product Available.  If you like Chrysler you want Great Product; No More and No Less.  Great Product wins in the marketplace.

Present Chrysler — The Storied Phoenix

dsc_0014-mediumFiat will control the ultimate future and product destination for Chrysler.  Control could be viewed in two ways, one good and one skeptical.  Given Fiat’s successes in Europe, especially with the 500 (a Mini derivative) the product side for cars is promising since Chrysler cars are dismal according to the Automotive Press.  Ram trucks and Jeep are successful and these should not see any significant change other than a gradual morphing of powertrain and body style to reflect contemporary trends.

Unions, Governments, Legacy Costs, Dealers, and Suppliers will all have a say in the re-birth of Chrysler.  Each group has their own turf to defend.  … Continue Reading

Solar-Thermal Hybrid Vehicle — Construction Photos

Gallery Photographs Added

paint-booth-completion-front

Finished In The Paint Booth, A Dignified Patriotic Paint Job With Sparkle

Photo sheets related to construction of the Solar-Thermal Hybrid Automobile have been added to the Gallery Photographs.  You will need to go to the Gallery Tab at the top of the page to access the Solar-Thermal Hybrid photos.  Normally, you could scroll down the page and on the right side you will see the gallery posted on the main page.  However, this link apparently is not active because of the size of the composite photographs.

Photographs Taken During Construction

These photographs were taken during construction of the vehicle.  One photo sheet is of the documentation associated with the photographs.  After about 30 years in the album, the album started coming apart and deterioration has affected the text entries.

Effort of reporting about the Experimental Vehicle in the Tribune is to provide a functional record for those who have academic or general interest about this topic.

Polaroid Photographs Were State-of-the-Art

Red, White and Three Shades of Blue Leaving The Paint Booth

Red, White and Three Shades of Blue Leaving The Paint Booth

At the time that this project was being conducted traditional Polaroid Photographs were state-of-the-art for quick photographs.  They do not have great resolution but they are the best graphic documentation that exists.

Text Explanation

Text information page is very significant.  It contains the explanation information associated with the photographs.  From the condition of the archive, it appears that some of the text entries have been lost over time.  Loss of some photographs also appears to have occurred.

2010 Camaro, A Second Look

April 26, 2009 Cars & Road Tests 2 Comments

Camaro RS Revisited

rs-frontToday, I had the opportunity to take a second look at the 2010 Camaro RS previously reviewed on April 25th.  The car is very well put together with uniform body gaps and a very aggressive business appearance. 

The car was still bringing in the car guys and gals to take a look.  I did not photograph the paparazzi today.  The focus was on selected important technical details that would be of interest to the Tribune reader.

Front Photo

rs-emblemThere were some specific detail items that deserve attention.  At the front of the car are the halo lights and in the front photo is the subdued RS Emblem tucked in the grill.

Rear Photo

At the right rear is the not-so-subtle RS emblem and the RS spoiler. … Continue Reading

Random Photos From Automotive Tribune Site

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Richard Kubis Explains Solar Thermal Hybrid Automobile