MOTOROLA, LINCOLN TEAM UP FOR TELEMATICS
Motorola and Ford have announced that Motorola will be the exclusive provider of the new Lincoln Vehicle Communications System (VCS) available in 2002 Lincoln models. VCS is an in-car communications and telematics system that seamlessly integrates a portable, docking Motorola Timeport, voice-recognition technology, and satellite-based route guidance, roadside assistance, emergency assistance and crash notification. When docked in its cradle, the phone connects with the Lincoln’s electronics and audio system, and can be used to make hands-free social/business calls or to subscription-based assistance and information services. VCS will be available as an option on 2002 Lincoln LS, Town Car and Continental models.
Telematics: Drivin' and Spying? by Frank Bohanan (1/28/2001)
The Digital Car by Eric Peters (11/20/2000)
GM PUTS NEW PLASTIC TO USE
There’s a new exterior plastic in town, and General Motors is giving it a limited tryout out on the 2002 GMC Safari and Chevrolet Astro minivans. The new material, developed by GM, Basell Polyolefins and Blackhawk Automotive, is reported to be 20% lighter yet more durable than today’s plastics. It’s also more recyclable. Using the new plastic on a trial basis, GM will equip approximately 8,000 minivans with step-assists made from the thermoplastic olefin nanocomposite, or TPO nanocomposite material. If trials go well, the plastic could find its way into other exterior pieces and other models. Using it as a replacement for steel body panels is an eventual possibility—it’s worked for Saturn.
MICHELIN, DUNLOP #1, FIRESTONE TAKES A BEATING IN SURVEY
The latest J.D. Power and Associates consumer-satisfaction survey is a timely tale of tires. Michelin tires took top honors for the fourth straight year in the cars and minivans category, while Dunlop pulled off a first-time-ever top ranking for pickup, sport-utility vehicle and full-size van tires. Legally embroiled Firestone lost significant ground in both categories, slipping to a below-average ranking in each. Pirelli enjoyed a huge leap in status as the most improved passenger-car tiremaker, while Uniroyal secured the most-improved spot in light-truck tires.
TCC's award-winning Firestone coverage
NHTSA STUDY REVEALS UNDER-INFLATED-TIRE EPIDEMIC
A survey just released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has concluded that under-inflation of tires on passenger vehicles is rampant in the U.S. Prompted by the Bush Administration’s emphasis on transportation safety, the study concluded that 27% of the cars and 32% of the passenger trucks, vans and SUVs are being driven with one or more substantially under-inflated tire. Driving on under-inflated tires significantly increases the chances of premature tire failure, tread separation and blowouts. Not only that, but a tire that’s low on air makes the engine work harder and use up more fuel. The problem is so severe that a rule being drafted by NHTSA will require all vehicles manufactured after November 2003 to be equipped with a tire-pressure-monitoring system that warns drivers of low tire pressure.
DELPHI EARNS EXCELLENCE AWARDS FROM DAIMLERCHRYSLER
DaimlerChrysler Corporation proved that it could deliver praise as well as pressure to suppliers by bestowing two prestigious awards to Delphi Automotive Systems. The DaimlerChrysler Commodity Award, given for outstanding supplier performance, and the Gold Award for excellence were both earned by Delphi Home Avenue Operations in Dayton, Ohio. Delphi Home Avenue supplies DaimlerChrysler with powertrain mounts.