Category Archives: engineering

Land Rover Shows a 9-Speed Automatic Trans at Geneva

Land Rover showed the world’s first 9-speed automatic transmission for a light duty vehicle at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. The ZF 9HP transmission is said to be specifically designed for transverse applications, and is claimed to be one of the most efficient and technically advanced transmissions ever used in a production vehicle. The first volume production will come later this year in the Range Rover with the 9HP manufactured at ZF’s Gray Court facility in South Carolina. Continue reading

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GM Cuts Powertrain Locations in Efficiency Move

General Motors will close three leased facilities in Wixom, Michigan; Castleton, Indiana, and Torrance, California and consolidate their powertrain engineering activities into a Global Powertrain Engineering center in Pontiac, Michigan. GM R&D’s Propulsion Systems Research lab in Warren, Michigan will also relocate to the Pontiac campus, including its electric motor engineering . Continue reading

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Toyota Recalls More than 1 Million Corolla and Lexus IS Cars

Bad airbags and windshield wipers are forcing the recalls of 752,000 Corolla and Corolla Matrix models and 270,000 Lexus IS cars by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S. The two separate safety recalls are the result of a defective airbag control module … Continue reading

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FAA to Review Boeing 787 Design and Production

A series of mishaps on the Boeing 787 including, engine oil leaks, cracked windshields and a fire has prompted the FAA to promise a comprehensive review of the design, manufacture and assembly of the so-called Dreamliner. The 787 designation was the date of an elaborate unveiling during July of 2007, with the first flights planned for that August. The twin-engine composite aircraft had several production delays before finally entering service years late. Continue reading

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Subaru Recalls 634,000 Legacy, Outback and Tribeca Models for Fires

Subaru is recalling 634,000 Legacy, Outback and Tribeca models because the “puddle lights” in the running boards of the crossover SUVs can short, melt and possibly start a fire. Continue reading

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Toyota Settles Lawsuits for $1.1 Billion and Will Modify Millions of Vehicles with Electronically Controlled Gas Pedals to Stop Runaways

In an engineering lapse of monumental consequences that included several deaths, the computer programming on affected vehicles when confronted with both brake and accelerator inputs did not favor the brake input for its electronic engine controls. Such over-ride software is in widespread use at other automakers. Continue reading

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Less Expensive Chevrolet Cruze Airbag Earns 5 Stars from NHTSA

The 2013 Chevrolet Cruze using a groundbreaking single inflator airbag has been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at a maximum 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score. The development is potentially significant for car buyers because the 2013 Cruze model switched to a less expensive, more compact and lighter airbag design from Takata. Continue reading

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Car Spy Jim Dunne Catches a Revised 2015 Ford Mustang

Jim Dunne caught a look at what Ford Motor is working on for the 2015 model year Mustang, which he opines will have an independent rear suspension. At least that’s the impression he got from viewing this rear view of a Ford Mustang test vehicle. Taillights, upper panels and the license plate mount are the same as current Mustangs, so why cut out the lowest panel? Continue reading

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Exhaust Gas Regen and 48-Volt Cars – Next Efficiency Breakthrough?

European automakers are rethinking the need for 12-volt cars. This move toward 48 volts, little noted in the U.S. media, has significant implications for a new generation of potentially cost-effective mild or semi-mild hybrid vehicles. A 48-volt standard could be a major factor for enabling the required motor-generator efficiency and power levels to make a practical hybrid at a lower cost. Continue reading

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GM China Expands Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai

Increasingly, sophisticated engineering and development work once done in the U.S. is being shifted to China. Last August, GM began fabricating and testing prototype battery cells and complete systems at the ATC. At the same time, SAIC and Shanghai GM and the Automotive Technical Center opened China’s largest proving grounds. Continue reading

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