With regulators worldwide paying more attention to emissions data reported by automakers in the wake of Volkswagen’s ongoing diesel scandal, top officials at two of Japan’s largest automakers have resigned in recent months.
In May, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. President and CFO Tetsuro Aikawa resigned in response to under-reporting emissions data on the eK Space mini-car (a vehicle not sold in North America). Financial fallout from the scandal led Mitsubishi to sell a controlling interest in the company – about one-third of its shares – to Nissan Motor Co. for about $2.2 billion. Nissan was the company that reported the emissions reporting issue to Japanese authorities as it had a manufacturing partnership in which Mitsubishi built a version of the mini-cars for Nissan.
In June, two members of Suzuki’s board of directors resigned, again in response to improper fuel economy claims – Osamu Suzuki, chairman and CEO of Suzuki Motor Corp.; and Osamu Honda, an executive vice president at the automaker. In addition, directors at the company are waiving bonuses, and top executives are taking pay cuts op to 50%. President Toshihiro Suzuki, Osamu Suzuki’s son, is the new CEO.
In a report filed with Japanese authorities, Suzuki engineers say they miscalculated fuel consumption for vehicles starting in 2010, claiming higher fuel economy than the vehicles could achieve. Company officials blamed the miscalculation on the lack of internal engineering resources, in part because of the global economic collapse of 2008 and 2009. www.mitsubishicars.com, www.globalsuzuki.com
Patterson Elite Performance to build Hemi racing engine for Sunnen charity event
Nick Ferri, co-owner of Patterson Elite Performance and builder of engines behind 57 national NHRA Pro Stock victories, has volunteered to create a custom-tuned Mopar 6.4L Gen lll Hemi racing engine for the 2016 Sunnen Engine Charity Sweepstakes, to be held at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) show in December. Sunnen sponsors the sweepstakes which donates all ticket sale proceeds to Victory Junction, a North Carolina children’s camp co-founded by Kyle Petty to provide medically supervised activities for kids who have serious health conditions. Ferri says he is working on a power plant that will thrill any race team or performance enthusiast.
“The work at Victory Junction deserves all the support we can give it, and we intend to create a must-have engine that we hope will produce record breaking ticket sales,” Ferri says.
Ferri’s team built the engines that delivered consecutive national championships in 2014 and 2015 for NHRA Pro Stock driver Erica Enders-Stevens.
“Our goal is to bring some of that winning technology and know-how to the sweepstakes engine, so the winner of the engine can have plenty of confidence in always being competitive,” Ferri says.
Online ticket sales for the 2016 sweepstakes began July 1, 2016, at the Performance Racing Industry website and the Sunnen website. Tickets will be sold at the Sunnen Engine Charity Sweepstakes booth (No. 852) at the show in December. The 2015 sweepstakes generated more than $59,000 for Victory Junction. www.pattersonracing.com; www.performanceracing.com; www.sunnen.com, IMTS 2016 Booth #N-7400
Mitutoyo relocates North Carolina solution center
Mitutoyo America has relocated and reopened its M3 Solution Center in North Carolina. The 7,700ft2 facility allows customers to schedule appointments for product demonstrations, assistance with application challenges, and metrology solutions, as well as product and educational training seminars. The M3 Solution Center is located at 11515 Vanstory Drive, Suite 140, Huntersville, North Carolina.
“Our goal is to provide timely metrology solutions to our customers in a region that is home to automotive, medical, appliance, and agricultural equipment industries, as well as machine shops,” says Todd Himes, Southeast regional sales manager. “The benefit of moving into a larger M3 Solution Center is the accessibility in offering experienced metrology specialists to our customers in order to provide up-to-date and knowledgeable metrology information for any situation they may encounter.” www.mitutoyo.com, IMTS 2016 Booth #E-5215 & NC-728
Johnson Controls to double N. American AGM battery capacity
Johnson Controls will invest $245 million between 2016 and 2020 to double production capacity for absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries in North America.
“Due to increasing power needs for vehicle accessories and safety functions, along with changing environmental standards, automotive batteries play an increasingly important role in today’s vehicles,” says Joe Walicki, president, Johnson Controls Power Solutions.
AGM batteries can improve vehicle starting power, even at low states of charge; reliability in harsh weather and extreme conditions; and durability in high-load applications. They are also popular in vehicles with start-stop systems. Nearly 50% of North American cars could have start-stop in 2020 due to increasingly stringent environmental regulations.
“Between 2015 and 2020, Johnson Controls will invest more than $780 million globally to increase our AGM manufacturing capacity,” Walicki says. “We are committed to investing in our factories, our employees and our customers, to ensure that we remain the leader when it comes to innovative technology, quality products and strong customer partnerships.” www.johnsoncontrols.com
Alicia Boler-Davis named General Motors global manufacturing chief
Longtime General Motors engineer Alicia Boler-Davis, who was once simultaneously chief engineer for the automaker’s small cars and plant manager for the facility that built them, has been named executive vice president of global manufacturing. Boler-Davis succeeds Jim DeLuca, who is retiring after a 37-year career that included key positions in manufacturing, labor relations, and quality.
Boler-Davis, senior vice president, Global Connected Customer Experience since November 2014, led GM’s connected customer activities, including OnStar and the call centers. Prior to that, Boler-Davis served as the head of Global Quality and Customer Experience since 2012 and was plant manager of the Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping plants in Michigan.
Boler-Davis began her career with GM in 1994 and has served in various engineering and manufacturing leadership positions, including vehicle line director and vehicle chief engineer for small cars and plant manager for Lansing’s Consolidated Operations and Arlington Assembly. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an MBA from Indiana University.
In her new role, Boler-Davis will report to GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, and will lead 180,000 employees at 171 facilities in 31 countries. She will also have responsibility for labor relations.
“With all the change facing our industry in the next several years, Alicia’s vast and diverse experience and proven track record for delivering results will help ensure our global manufacturing performance and capabilities are aligned to meet the challenges ahead,” Barra says. “Alicia’s strong manufacturing background, combined with her recent roles leading quality and the customer experience, will allow us to grow an even stronger customer-focused link to our people and processes in manufacturing.” www.gm.com