• “Why Bob Lutz still thinks dealerships are doomed,” Automotive News
DETROIT — Automakers, dealers and suppliers have two — maybe three — decades left before life as they know it is over, longtime automotive executive Bob Lutz says.
Self-driving cars will disrupt the industry and make many staples of the past century — including automotive retail, branding and design — obsolete. Lutz first penned his thoughts last year in the Automotive News series “Redesigning the Industry” and doubled down Wednesday during a keynote speech at the SAE International WCX World Congress Experience here.
• “Automakers Pitch Higher-Octane Future,” WardsAuto
DETROIT — General Motors powertrain chief Dan Nicholson takes automakers’ case for a single, higher-octane gasoline standard to Congress on Friday (April 13) when he speaks before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“We’re optimistic – there’s never been a better time for it,” Nicholson tells WardsAuto following a panel discussion on the future of internal-combustion engines here at the SAE World Congress Experience.
• “GM exec: Detroit area’s ‘talent deficit’ cost it Amazon,” The Detroit News
DETROIT — Citing a missed chance at Amazon’s second headquarters as a dashboard warning light, General Motors Co. product chief Mark Reuss told the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress here Thursday that the autonomous vehicle revolution will also bypass Detroit unless the region addresses its “talent deficit.”
“Look, it’s no secret why we couldn’t even make the final 20 cities on the list for Amazon’s potential second headquarters site,” said Reuss in a passionate keynote speech in Cobo Center. “It wasn’t because of a lack of mass transit, although that is important. It wasn’t because of a lack of cultural opportunities, or because of the weather. . . . It came down to a simple talent deficit.”
• “Need for engineers ‘most challenging aspect’ for auto supplier,” PlasticsNews
DETROIT —Varroc Lighting Systems has a promising new automotive headlamp technology, and a growing customers base.
If it only had more engineers, it could also win more business.
“We could have more business if we had enough engineers,” Rainer Neumann, Varroc’s vice president of global technology, said April 11 at the SAE International WCX World Congress Experience here.
• “Within 18 Months, GM To Launch 2 New Electric Cars Based Off Bolt Tech,” InsideEVs
Ken Kelzer, GM’s vice president of global vehicle components and subsystems, provide the keynote address to the SAE International WCX World Congress Experience in Detroit earlier this week. Kelzer made several comments related to electric cars and zero-emissions driving, but one revelation that largely got buried by the press was that over the next 18 months, GM will launch 2 new electric vehicles based off lessons learned for today’s Chevy Bolt.
• “Acura Engineers Pull Back RDX Skin,” WardsAuto
DETROIT – A massive, high-strength steel frame member ringing the rear cargo hatch of the all-new ’19 Acura RDX is the first building block engineers employed to improve chassis stiffness and upgrade handling dynamics in the third-generation CUV.
“We call it the ‘tree trunk’ of the structure,” says Joe Riggsby, body development leader, during an under-the-skin engineering review of the RDX here at the SAE World Congress Experience.
• “Driverless vehicles prepare for prime time,” The Detroit News
Driverless cars aren’t just theory to automotive engineers anymore. They’re busy figuring out how soon next-generation vehicles will arrive on streets near you.
The Society of Automotive Engineers, meeting in Detroit this week, is leaning hard into autonomous technology, going so far as to define the levels of autonomy that the industry uses to integrate increasing amounts of sensors and artificial intelligence into vehicles. Now the organization is dealing with more abstract issues like profitability, policy and public safety.
• “Lightweight Auto Frame Designed for Replica Cars,” AdvancedManufacturing.org
DETROIT – New meets classic.
A modern lightweight vehicle frame has been developed for builders of replica classic cars. The frame is comprised of aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and advanced high strength steel.
It matches the body frame of the 1963-1967 Corvette, also known as C2, for second-generation Corvette design. With the alternate materials, the new frame is about one-third lighter than the original as well as being stiffer.
• “GM hot for EVs, but also hot for internal combustion,” Automotive News
DETROIT — General Motors is driving toward an emissions-free future. But it’s not giving up on gasoline-powered vehicles.
Ken Kelzer, GM’s vice president of global vehicle components and subsystems, said governments around the world are determining how quickly the industry adopts electrified powertrains and that there’s no absolute time frame for when gas engines could go extinct.
• “Auto suppliers splitting in two to deliver next-generation technologies,” Rubber & Plastics News
Auto component suppliers around the world are tearing themselves apart.
They are convinced that by no longer being conglomerates, they will gain favor from investors and industry customers. And so, like amoebas under a microscope, parts makers are splitting in two, separating self-driving operations from drivetrain business units, old technologies from new, or selling off divisions deemed inessential for growth in the new era of electrified, connected and autonomous vehicles.
• “The missing piece in Detroit’s campaign to lead the auto industry,” Crain’s Detroit Business
In today’s automotive industry, we’re witnessing a revolution.
Ride-sharing, electric vehicles, autonomous technology and connectivity are combining to shift the current transportation model and car ownership. The runway is long, but a new era is clearly upon us.
With these advancements and more, I’m more optimistic than ever about Detroit’s role in shaping the future of our industry. But we need to be prepared — we need engineering talent, specifically young engineering talent, to move us forward.
• “FCA running ‘pitch pit’ at SAE show,” Just-Auto.com
In conjunction with SAE International’s WCX 18 event, FCA US has set up a ‘Pitch Pit’ operating on 10 and 11 where, in private meetings with the automaker’s purchasing and engineering representatives, suppliers who might not otherwise have such an opportunity are touting their innovations and products in an “energetic setting”.
The activity is a first for SAE’s annual engineering showcase, now in its 112th year. FCA US says Pitch Pit is its exclusive.