Tag Automotive

Juvenile crash test dummies

Where is the legislation that requires rear crumple zones?

When a car driver drives into the car in front, he or she has a fair chance of survival – because the law requires a crumple zone in the front of the vehicle to absorb the energy dissipated by the rapid deceleration.

But what of the passengers in the rear seats of that car that was hit from behind? Read more

The Fat MAN defense

Fiat mixtura – but which one

The fat man defense is a company strategy whereby an acquisition is made to increase the size of a business so that it is more difficult to acquire. Fiat mixtura is a Latin phrase that can be loosely translated as “let the integration be made.” But will an integration involve a fat MAN? Read more

Brandy excesses

How many brands does a car company need?

The Financial Times recommends that Ford no longer needs Mercury, although it doesn’t speculate on the merits of selling it rather than closing it.

The FT also comments that “a Mercury-less Ford would resemble its Asian competitors with just two brands – mass-market and luxury.” So is that the best option for an automaker?

Read more

Rusty old dumping ground

Await the Chinese backlash

The latest European passenger vehicle emissions standard (“Euro5”) was introduced in September 2009. Since that date, in Europe it has been illegal to sell new vehicles that do not meet this standard. Older models that only met the Euro4 standard can only be exported outside Europe to markets with more lenient standards. Within Europe the cars have little value – they can only be disassembled in order to reuse the components – and this value is therefore below cost.

This situation alone raises the possibility that dominant carmakers in the other markets will already be very suspicious of Euro4-compliant automakers. But it can get worse, much worse. Imagine that Read more

The importance of thorough research

Repeating comments in a different context can be misleading

At Vox Sapiens we are disappointed by a recent FT article which appears to show sloppy research. We have long admired the quality of the research and analysis in the FT compared to many other newspapers. However, today’s article appears to have taken an idea from an old article and repeated it almost verbatim, thereby misleading the reader. We are using this as an example of how it is important to be careful when using the Internet for research.

The article in question relates to Read more

From petrolhead to chiphead

The future of the automotive industry is more than the new powertrain

Powertrain 2020! The EV vision! The lust for lithium! The fuss about fuel cells! The automotive industry is alive with a debate over the replacement of the gasoline powertrain.

This is an extremely important debate, and will have major impacts on the strategic positioning of the OEMs. For example, what would happen if the future is rechargeble batteries and in the future the electricity supply companies give away vehicles in exchange for exclusive recharging contracts? Don’t believe it could happen? Look at the mobile phone handset industry.

But creeping up quietly is another technological shift that could have even more impact Read more

O Lord, I’ve bought me …

… a chunk of Mercedes-Benz

So Renault-Nissan and Daimler have agreed a cross-shareholding and cooperation on future technology. Here at Vox Sapiens we are not optimistic about this alliance. Read more


Looks like a business school case study in the making

Toyota seems to have spent the last few weeks giving PR people a good example of how not to handle a negative story.

Firstly, there were the stories of floor mats preventing the release of the accelerator pedals and the potential for accidents.

Then, two days ago (on January 26, 2010), there is the halt to production in North America and the recall of another couple million vehicles.

But, worst of all, many consumers do not know that the latter recall is a separate problem because Read more

And next the Renault Pico ??

A cheaper car than the Tata Nano

Renault has announced that it will produce a cheaper vehicle than the Tata Nano, which is currently the world’s cheapest car.

This story from Autonews (registration required) reports that the CEO of Renault and Nissan, Carlos Ghosn, states that an agreement has been signed with Bajaj Auto whereby Read more

What electric car tipping point?

Doctor Z, want to borrow my spectacles?

Dr Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG (that produces Mercedes-Benz and Smart) is reported in Automotive News to have said of electric cars being on the immediate horizon that “we are at that tipping point now.”

Really? I disagree for several reasons. Read more

GM’s intellectual property smokescreen?

“Transferring GM’s jewels to Russia via Opel”

The media report that General Motors was loathe to sell (a full or partial stake in) its European Opel operations to the Magna consortium because it is concerned that this will provide a conduit via which GM’s intellectual property (“IP”) might end up in the hands of GAZ, a competitor to the Chevrolet brand in Russia. Today the media report that GM has agreed to sell to the Magna-led consortium, but that there are conditions attached to the sale. I find this approach somewhat strange, and wonder whether it is a smokescreen. Read more

Here comes the “Nano Tax”

“First car for the second world family, second car for the first world family”

The Tata Nano is likely to change the lives of an immense number of families in the developing world, with the possibility that the Indian car market will increase by 65%, according to Standard and Poor’s Indian arm, CRISIL (source India Times). And much has been written about Ratan Tata’s dream of migrating Indian families from two wheels to four.

But how about the developed world? I believe that it will be disruptive here too – by fundamentally altering the tax applied to private vehicles. Read more

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