December 2014

Buick IntelliLink: How not to push a driver’s buttons

(December 29, 2014) DETROIT — A frozen computer is frustrating, but a frozen touchscreen in an automobile is a much bigger deal. That’s why engineers push the touchscreen buttons on the Buick IntelliLink infotainment system more than 2 million times every week, ensuring it consistently responds to user commands.

On a clear day you can see … everything

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(December 29, 2014) Jaguar’s suite of new visualization concepts may further blur the borders between virtual reality games and real life by giving the driver 360-degree vision and a virtual chase car to follow in urban areas.The idea behind these technologies is to reduce driver distraction by keeping his eyes on the road, and making visible that which otherwise would be hidden.

Honda's float reunites Japan earthquake survivors with U.S. first responders

(December 28, 2014) Honda's 2015 Rose Parade float entry, Building Dreams of Friendship, will lead the 126th Rose Parade celebrating the friendship shared by the United States and Japan through the TOMODACHI Initiative, and pays tribute to the resilience of the people of Tohoku, Japan. 

Ford introduces simplified Sync 3 infotainment system

By John Rettie

(December 27, 2014) DETROIT, Mich. —  Connectivity. It’s become the buzzword in the auto industry as all manufacturers strive to integrate our cars into our everyday connected lives. At Ford’s annual show’n’tell event for journalists earlier this month the company announced Sync 3. Ford promises that this all-new third-generation version offers a far better experience than its unpopular MyFord Touch system.

Ford creates modern marvel with first mass-produced hardtop convertible

(December 26, 2014) One of the hottest television couples of the 1950s was Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz starring in "I Love Lucy," the most watched show in the U.S. for four years of its six-year run from 1951 to 1957. So they were the perfect couple to tout the new Ford hardtop convertible in a two-minute advertisement.

One of the automotive industry's modern marvels, Ford introduced the removal hardtop on the 1957 Skyliner.

NBA star Blake Griffin is back in Kia advertising

(December 26, 2014) IRVINE, Calif. — NBA All-Star Blake Griffin and his comedic talents are back in a starring role in a series of new television commercials for Kia's best-selling Optima midsize sedan. Continuing the signature, satirical comedy of previous efforts, Griffin is cast in the lead role for several big-budget action movies set in the Old West, ancient Rome and an aircraft carrier in the series of three 60-and 30-second spots.

Ford designers create a snowman extravaganza

(December 25, 2014) DEARBORN, Mich. — The innovative minds behind some of the world’s most iconic vehicles must work within the constraints of rules and regulations, which heightens the challenge for the designer, yet never quashes the creative spirit reflected in the final product. As a team-building exercise, the U.S. design teams at Ford were given unbridled freedom for once to create an icon of winter — the snowman.

A holiday moving van experience in a 2015 Ford Transit 250 HR

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(December 25, 2014) The day before we headed out from Detroit to Clifton, Va., for Thanksgiving, the winds in Michigan were gusting to 60 mph and above, with sustained winds in the 20-35 mph range. In the driveway sat — or, more accurately, given its height — stood a 148-inch wheelbase Ford Transit 250 High Roof.

FCA will invest additional $266 million in 8-speed transmission plant

(December 24, 2014) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — With sales of vehicles equipped with the popular eight-speed transmission growing, FCA US confirmed that it will invest an additional $266 million in its Kokomo (Indiana) Transmission Plant to increase capacity of the fuel-efficient TorqueFlite transmission.

This is the sixth investment made at Kokomo Transmission (KTP) since June 2009, bringing total investment in FCA US Kokomo operations to nearly $1.8 billion.

EcoBoost becoming favorite family of engines for tuning community

(December 24, 2014) Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost engine lineup not only has great EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings, it is also becoming a favorite family of engines in the performance tuning community.

 From the infancy of the automobile, tinkerers have always chased more power by removing original components and replacing them with expensive aftermarket parts. This can lead to added performance, but at a cost to fuel efficiency, durability or driving comfort most owners would never accept.