Saturday, May 25, 2013

A DMC Delorean at the Friday night Cruise In

 A six cylinder Volvo-Peugeot-Renault engine with mechanical fuel injection
 a typical 1980s plastic dash
Stainless steel beauty with gull-wing doors

Hi folks -- this Delorean showed up at the cruise-in last evening. Over 8000 made in Northern Ireland, about 7 reside in this area..

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A very difficult auto trivia quiz!

This si one tough quiz to share with your friends.  Thanks to Pete Dillman for sending this along!

Q: Who opened the first drive-in gas station?
A: Gulf opened up the first station in Pittsburgh in 1913.

Q: Where was the first drive-in restaurant?
A: Royce Hailey's Pig Stand opened in Dallas in 1921.

Q: True or False?
The 1953 Corvette came in white, red and black.
A: False.
The 1953 'Vetted' were available in one color, Polo White.

 Q: What was Ford's answer to the Chevy Corvette, and other legal street racers of the 1960's?
A: Carroll Shelby's Mustang GT350.

Q: What was the first car fitted with an alternator, rather than a direct current dynamo?
A: The 1960 Plymouth Valiant

Q: What was the first car fitted with a replaceable cartridge oil filter?
A: The 1924 Chrysler.

Q: What was the first car to be offered with a "perpetual guarantee"?
A: The 1904 Acme, from Reading, PA. Perpetuity was disturbing in this case, as Acme closed down in 1911.

Q: What American luxury automaker began by making cages for birds and squirrels?
A: The George N. Pierce Co. of Buffalo, who made the Pierce Arrow, also made iceboxes.

Q: What car first referred to itself as a convertible?
A: The 1904 Thomas Flyer, which had a removable hard top.

Q: What car was the first to have it's radio antenna embedded in the windshield?
A: The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Q: What car used the first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters?
A: The 1930 Cadillac 452, the first production V16

Q: Where was the World's first three-color traffic lights installed?
A: Detroit, Michigan in 1919. Two years later they experimented with synchronized lights.
Q: What type of car had the distinction of being GM's 100 millionth car built in the U.S. ?
A: March 16, 1966 saw an Olds Tornado roll out of Lansing, Michigan with that honor.

Q: Where was the first drive-in movie theater opened, and when?
A: Camden, NJ in 1933

Q: What autos were the first to use a standardized production key-start system?
A: The 1949 Chryslers

Q: What did the Olds designation 4-4-2 stand for?
A: 4 barrel carburetor, 4 speed transmission, and dual exhaust.

Q: What car was the first to place the horn button in the center of the steering wheel?
A: The 1915 Scripps-Booth Model C. The car also was the first with electric door latches.

Q: What U.S. production car has the quickest 0-60 mph time?
A: The 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Did it in 4.0 seconds.

Q:What's the only car to appear simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek?
A: The Mustang

Q: What was the lowest priced mass produced American car?
A: The 1925 Ford Model T Runabout. Cost $260, $5 less than 1924.

Q:What is the fastest internal-combustion American production car?
A: The 1998 Dodge Viper GETS-R, tested by Motor Trend magazine at 192.6 mph.

 Q: What automaker's first logo incorporated the Star of David?
A: The Dodge Brothers.

Q:Who wrote to Henry Ford, "I have drove fords exclusively when I could get away with one. It has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasn't been strictly legal it don't hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V-8"?
A: Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde) in 1934.

Q:What car was the first production V12, as well as the first production car with aluminum pistons?
A: The 1915 Packard Twin-Six. Used during WWI in Italy, these motors inspired Enzi Ferrari to adopt the V12 himself in 1948.

Q: What was the first car to use power operated seats?
A: They were first used on the 1947 Packard line.

Q: Which of the Chrysler "letter cars" sold the fewest amount?
A: Only 400, 1963, 300J's were sold (they skipped" "I" because it
looked like a number 1)

Q: What car company was originally known as Swallow
Sidecars (aka SS)?
A: Jaguar, which was an SS model first in 1935, and ultimately
the whole company by 1945.

Q: What car delivered the first production V12 engine?
A: The cylinder wars were kicked off in 1915 after Packard's chief
engineer, Col. Jesse Vincent, introduced its Twin-Sis.

Q: When were seat belts first fitted to a motor vehicle?
A: In 1902, in a Baker Electric streamliner racer which crashed at 100 mph. on Staten Island!

 Q: In January 1930, Cadillac debuted it's V16 in a car named
for a theatrical version of a 1920's film seen by Harley Earl
while designing the body, What's that name?
A: The "Madam X", a custom coach designed by Earl
and built by Fleetwood. The sedan featured a
retractable landau top above the rear seat.

 Q: Which car company started out German, yet became
French after WWI?
A: Bugati, founded in Molsheim in 1909, became French
when Alsace returned to French rule.

Q: In what model year did Cadillac introduce the first
electric sunroof?
A: 1969

Q:What U.S. production car had the largest 4 cylinder engine?
A: The 1907 Thomas sported a 571 cu. in. (9.2liter) engine.

 Q: What car was reportedly designed on the back of a Northwest Airlines airsickness bag and released on April Fool's Day, 1970?
A: 1970 Gremlin, (AMC)

Q: What is the Spirit of Ecstasy?
A: The official name of the mascot of Rolls Royce, she is the lady on top of their radiators.

Q: What was the inspiration for MG's famed octagon-shaped badge?
A: The shape of founder Cecil Kimber's dining table. MG stands for Morris Garages.
Q: In what year did the "double-R" Rolls Royce badge change from red to black?
A: 1933

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cars at the Beach

Steam Cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s

A good bit of this material is taken from American Heritage Invention and Technology article from 1998. Other information  taken from my notes.
In 1968, a renaissance in steam-car technology suddenly began, amid new found concern about the pollution caused by internal-combustion engines.
The U.S. government had recently imposed strict emissions limits on automobiles, and in May 1968 several federal agencies held hearings on alternative power plants. Among the first to speak out in favor of steam were Calvin E. and Charles J. Williams, twins from Ambler, Pennsylvania, who for years had been using profits from their family’s construction business to experiment with steam. They drove their steam-powered convertible, on which they dubiously claimed to have spent $2 million, to Washington and invited Sen. Edwin Muskie, Sen. Warren Magnuson, and others to go for spins. Bureaucrats were impressed by the vehicle’s silence, acceleration, and supposed 30-mpg fuel efficiency (on kerosene). The Williams brothers maintained in committee hearings that steamers burn fuel more slowly and steadily, and thus more completely, than internal combustion engines. Steam power, they said, is also more mechanically efficient.
That same year, Don E. Johnson, the 36-year-old president of Steam Dynamics, in Mesa, Arizona, argued that his 150-pound, 150-horsepower steam engine was much lighter than an equally powerful conventional one. He could make this assertion by ignoring all the ancillary parts of the engine, such as the boiler, burner, and tanks. Johnson had originally developed his engine for helicopters but believed it would work just as well in automobiles.
Ford and General Motors had already gotten into the act, albeit in lukewarm fashion. In March 1968 Ford had announced a joint steam development program with the Thermo Electron Corporation, of Waltham, Massachusetts. GM, meanwhile, worked with another start-up steam company, Energy Systems, Inc., and offered to supply several steam-powered sedans to the California Highway Patrol for in-service testing.

Thermo Electron Corp of Waltham, Mass. designed an engine that would use instead of water a non-aqueous organic fluid to drive it. The fluid did not corrode the metal, worked at much lower temperatures and pressures, and therefore should have cut cost of the engine considerably.
In addition to Ford's $4 million, Thermo-Electron put as much as $2 million in the project, and kept the rights to any technology developed. Ford would have to pay royalties to sue the engine, but in 1970 held 10,000 shares of Thermo Electron, and thus had options on stock that eventually could give it at least a 25% holding.
The organic vapor in Thermo Electron's design drove a piston engine. It is condensed and returned to the boiler in a hermetically sealed closed cycle. As in other steam engines, the fuel heating the boiler is burned continuously with lots of air. This virtually eliminated pollution by unburned hydrocarbons. The low burning temperature also cut down on nitrogen oxides.
Cost, weight, size and slow startup proved problematic problems. The organic vapor posed problems. Thermo Electron used thiophene. William Moore, director of industrial design for Lear Motor Corp., which has put its own steam car on a back burner, said Lear rejected thiophene because of its high volatility and toxicity.

The man who made the most noise about steam, though, was the brash and overconfident William P. Lear of Learjet fame. At a decommissioned military base outside Reno, Nevada, Lear developed several types of steam and steamlike engines. One was what he called an “involute expander,” which used intermeshing helical screws. Another was a 12 cylinder opposed-piston engine based on the British Napier Deltic diesel; the cylinders formed side-by-side triangles. A third was the Lear Vapor Turbine System, which involved a sealed turbine that used not steam but a revolutionary new fluid called Learium. Unfortunately, Learium was never developed.
In the end Lear did build a steam-powered Chevrolet Monte Carlo and a steam-turbine bus. With his usual hyperbole, he announced plans for a steam-powered Indianapolis race car, and he even scraped out an oval track behind his warehouse, supposedly to test it. But because he had so many different projects going—plus horrific problems with his engineering staff—nothing ever came of any of his steam-powered visions.

In October 1973 the Arab oil embargo hit, forcing automakers to turn their attention away from steam to the more immediate challenges of downsizing and making the internal-combustion engine cleaner and more fuel-efficient. They succeeded well enough to put steam out of contention. Despite the progress some engineers believed they were making between 1968 and 1973, steam cars continue to pose seemingly insuperable challenges, principal among them being fuel economy. There’s no promise of future improvement, as there is with electric cars, in which batteries are being made smaller and smaller.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The American Automobile at the beginning of the 1970s I : Ford

Hi folks -- I am starting a new study on the late 1960s and early 1970s. This period was pivotal to the future of the American automobile industry.  That year I graduated from Davidson College, largely in a mental fog concerning the world around me, obsessed with fears of the draft and oblivious to much of what was really important. Just as 1970 would prove decisive to the future of America, it was also decisive in a negative way in terms of my own life. I have spent much energy since then in dealing with the ramifications of the decisions I made back then, just as the American automobile industry continues to do.  Here is how Forbes began 1970 with its analysis of the auto industry:

"Automotive Products," Forbes,  January 1, 1970, p.191.

It was supposed to be the year of the intermediates -- the slightly smaller than standard sized Chevrolet Chevelle, Dodge Coronet, and Ford Fairlane, for example.
These models had been selling well for a couple of years, and the marketing experts decided that it was where they should put their styling emphasis and peppiest promotion. The production men geared up for a heavy output of the intermediate models.
So what happened? The public suddenly lost enthusiasm for intermediates and began buying more high-priced and low priced models. As a result the auto companies spent 1969 scrambling to change over production lines to meet demand.
In sales terms, 1969 was a year of sideways motion until the third quarter, when Chrysler sales edged off. That, combined with heavy retooling costs, caused a 48% earnings decline at Chrysler for the first nine months. By the 4th quarter, the entire industry's sales were running about7% below 1968's 8.8 million car volume, year to year. Although market shares held fairly steady for all but American Motors (victim of a five-week strike), profit margins narrowed considerably. By contrast foreign car importers had sales running about 10% ahead of 1968 toward year end.
The problem, of course is that the auto companies deal with a fickle auto-buying public whose frequent shifts in taste are encouraged by annual model changes and ever-widening product lines.  Back in the days when fewer models were offered in fewer price ranges, the auto companies had better control of their markets, and forecasting was much easier.  But now they are engaged in a billion-dollar game of trying to outguess the public.

The Ford product line reflected the dilemma of markets and complex consumer preferences. The LTD was placed at the top of the Ford line, a long wheelbase (121 inches) vehicle with hidden headlamps and five possible engines, ranging from a 302 cubic inch V-8 to a 460 big block. With hard top sedan, coupe, convertible and station wagon variants, the LTD was just one example of the fruits of flexible mass production, if one sees these large number of consumer choices a direct benefit to the firm. Immediately below the LTD was the Galaxie, also a 121 inch wheelbase car, and also available with numerous options, including a 6 cylinder 240 cubic inch engine. The intermediate model in the Ford line was the Torino, the Motor Trend car of the year for 1970. Influenced by designer Bill Shenk, the Torino had a "Coke bottle" shape with a narrow waist and bulging front and rear fuselages, mimicking a supersonic aircraft of the day. The Torino consisted of 13 models on a 114 inch wheelbase, and engines ranging from a 250 cubic inch 6 to a 429 that was featured in the Cobra Jet model. As Motor Trend commented, the Tornio was "Not really a car line in the old sense, but a system of specialty cars, each for different use…from luxury to performance."

The Ford Falcon, one of the original import fighters of 1960, only lasted though mid-year before it was discontinued.
A Galaxie 500 in stripped down trim.

 The LTD, this one obviously marketed to African-Americans.

 The Muscle Car -- a Torino intermediate -- not dead yet.

A base Mustang

The Maverick comes on board by the end of the year. See my The Automobile and American Life on the Maverick as depicted in Harry Crews' Car.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tesla not welcome in North Carolina?

Hi folks -- thanks to former student Jesse Grewal for calling this article to my attention.

From the state that brought you the nation’s first ban on climate science comes another legislative gem: a bill that would prohibit automakers from selling their cars in the state.
The proposal, which the Raleigh News & Observer reports was unanimously approved by the state’s Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday, would apply to all car manufacturers, but the intended target is clear. It’s aimed at Tesla, the only U.S. automaker whose business model relies on selling cars directly to consumers, rather than through a network of third-party dealerships.
The bill is being pushed by the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, a trade group representing the state’s franchised dealerships. Its sponsor is state Sen. Tom Apodaca, a Republican from Henderson, who has said the goal is to prevent unfair competition between manufacturers and dealers. What makes it “unfair competition” as opposed to plain-old “competition”—something Republicans are typically inclined to favor—is not entirely clear. After all, North Carolina doesn’t seem to have a problem with Apple selling its computers online or via its own Apple Stores.
Still, it’s easy to understand why some car dealers might feel a little threatened: Tesla’s Model S outsold the Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi A8 last quarter without any help from them. If its business model were to catch on, consumers might find that they don’t need the middle-men as much as they thought.
Incidentally—not that he would be in any way swayed by this—I couldn’t help but notice that Apodaca received $8,000 in campaign contributions from the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association last year, the maximum amount allowed by state law. I’ve reached out to the senator for further comment and will update this post if he replies.
Tesla’s vice president of corporate and business development, Diarmuid O'Connell, told me he’s hopeful that the state legislature will amend the bill so that it doesn’t prohibit Tesla from doing business there. He said the company has already sold 80 cars in North Carolina, mostly through the Web, and has about 60 more orders in the works. It also has plans to build its first showroom in the state next year. The Raleigh-Durham Research Triangle in particular appears to be a hotbed of Tesla interest, O'Connell said, which makes sense given its similarities to Silicon Valley.
In its current form, North Carolina’s bill would be the harshest of a handful of anti-Tesla regulations around the country. In Texas, the company is fighting a law under which the employees of its “showroom” in Austin are not allowed to sell any vehicles, offer test drives, or even tell customers how much the car costs. But at least Texas still lets people buy the car online, which North Carolina’s law would prohibit.
Tesla’s O’Connell rejects the idea that laws prohibiting automakers from selling their cars are designed to protect consumers, as trade groups like the North Carolina dealers’ association claim. He says the franchise-dealer model might work fine for giant automakers, but not for a startup like Tesla—especially since Tesla’s products represent a challenge to the traditional auto industry on which dealerships rely. “How do you sell the future if your business depends on the present?” he asked.
Robert Glaser, president of the dealers association, told the News & Observer that the law prohibiting Tesla sales isn’t just about his industry’s self-interest. Pointing to the Tesla representatives at a recent hearing, he said, “You tell me they’re gonna support the little leagues and the YMCA?”
If that’s the real issue, then I may have some good news for all concerned: I asked O’Connell, and he assured me Tesla would be happy to support the little leagues and the YMCA if that’s what North Carolina requires in order to do business there. Problem solved! Right, Mr. Glaser?
H/T Techdirt.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Moms and Cars -- Happy Mother's Day!

Hi folks -- Above are a few images that reflect mothers and the auto today.  With all the technologies to assist in household work, what has really happened is now there is more work for mother. Yet, the car or minivan is the only lace in which she can be alone at times, a private space for quiet time after dropping off the kids at soccer or dance.

My mother never did drive a car.  She did try to learn to drive during the early 1950s, but gave up after failing a driver's test in which she wedged the car between a tree and fire hydrant (true story). With the exasperated examiner next to hear in the front seat, she ended up pulling the shift knob off the stalk and handed to the tester, saying "now here you drive!"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cars and Golden Retrievers

OK, how could I do a blog post on cats and forget about my two favorite grand-dogs, Ralph and Ed. Especially Ralph, who is one of the only living things on the planet that loves me! He will sit in my lap, stay by the door of the bedroom when I sleep at Lisa's house in Escondido, CA, and follow me endlessly. He and Ed have such big hearts (as well as big bodies), and I do miss them.  So here, for Ralph and Ed, are a few golden retriever and car photos!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cats and Cars

Hi folks -- enjoying our cat "Blackie" the other day got me thinking about cats and cars. There was the time we took our evil black cat Dixie for a ride and trip to a waterfall where she promptly clawed the hell out of  Kaye. Then there was our cat Yellowbole who pissed on the floor of my 1969 Karmann Ghia repeatedly because I left the window open at night, undoubtedly causing the floorboard to rot out, which I found out while driving through a rain storm on I-10 in New Orleans. In New Orleans we had a litter of kittens that went by the name Eeny, Meeney, Moe, Jack and Bingo. One of the black ones- we'll call him Moe -- hid in the wheel well of our Ford Pinto, traveled with Kaye across the Mississippi River Bridge to Tulane Med School, waited for her all day, then was run over after she left. A few years ago my prize cat Bonnie sneaked into grandma's garage and crapped in the seat of my Porsche!  Here are a few cat photos for your enjoyment.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hybrid Cars -- recent news reflects a mixed message right now

Hi folks -- Right before exams I received an interesting forwarded article from one of my students.  Written by Paul A. Eisenstein from NBC's Detroit Bureau, a number of important issues emerged.

For example:
1) there is an issue of consumer loyalty related to hybrid vehicles.  Only about 1 in 3 hybrid owners by another gas electric model when they trade in.

2) "Pricing and range limitations remain critical factors."  Expectations are high, demand is far lower.

3) Manufacturer's claims do not match what owners are actually getting! The EPA is now getting involved in revising rating processes.

For those interested, consumers who financed these cars purchased them in the following order:

1. Toyota prius -- 37.2%
2. Toyota Camry -- 8.9%
3. Toyota Prius V -- 8.6%
4. Toyota Prius C -- 8.1 %
5. Chevy Volt -- 6.3%
6. Hyundai Sonata -- 4.8%
7. Lexus CT 200h -- 4.2%
8. Kia Optima -- 2.7%
9. Nissan Leaf -- 2.7%
Lexus RX450h -- 2.3 %

So far the Asians are leading the race, it seems.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Cars that are the focus of films: "Iron Man 3," "The Wolverine," and "Fast and Furious 6."

 Audi R8 spyder
Ducati Diavel

When Tony Stark isn't suited up in metal saving the world, the self-described genius billionaire playboy philanthropist zips around town in the all-electric Audi e-tron.
At least he does on screen, in "Iron Man 3," in an early kickoff to a summer blockbuster season that will see hundreds of speeding, squealing, exploding, airborne, rolling and smoking vehicles in dozens of high-adrenaline films.
Chloe Moretz's Hit-Girl won't just don a purple cape in "Kick-Ass 2," she'll do so on a color-matched Ducati Panigale. When Hugh Jackman's Wolverine travels to Japan for some superhero soul searching, he's whisked through the streets of Tokyo in an Audi A8 Spyder. Then there's Roman, played by Tyrese Gibson, who jumps from a Ford Mustang moments before it's crushed by the tracks of a tank in the sixth installment of the supercharged franchise "Fast & Furious."
"Every one of these movies, the action gets bigger, the story gets better and we wreck a lot more stuff," said Dennis McCarthy, car coordinator for "Fast & Furious 6," which alone features more than 300 vehicles.
Yes, that's a three with two zeros — including 10 Dodge Charger SRT8s, nine Ford Mustangs and a smattering of Aston Martin DB9s and Range Rovers, few of which survived filming.
Most of the vintage muscle cars favored by Dom (Vin Diesel) were sourced "like everyone else," McCarthy said, through Craigslist, eBay, AutoTrader and swap meets. The Dodge SRT8s and Ram trucks were provided courtesy of the manufacturer, as was the Ducati Monster 1100 ridden by Gisele (Gal Gadot) and the Harley-Davidson XR1200X that was customized into a flat tracker and flogged by Han (Sung Kang) on camera. The Harley now sits in director Justin Lin's office.
As summer films become more explosive and action-oriented, so too are the cars and bikes that are featured. But as much as vehicles add a level of excitement and engagement to filmgoers' experience, viewers are increasingly sophisticated. It's no longer acceptable just to place the most current or desirable product. The cars have to be true to character.
"For me, the biggest focus with putting vehicles in the movie is to make them work for the movie and not seem like product placement," said James Mangold, director of the upcoming Marvel film "The Wolverine," starring Hugh Jackman and, briefly, a Ducati Diavel and Audi R8 Spyder.
Most of the riding and driving is done by a female character named Yukio who nicks vehicles from her wealthy boss and uses them to perform "hard stops, hard pull-ins, and pulling in to tiny spaces at high speed," said Mangold. "But we're the movie about a guy with claws, so the real action in our film is more hand-to-hand and physical."
Despite the limited screen time, the Ducati Diavel and "The Wolverine" are a "perfect fit," said Stefano Sbettega, marketing and communications director for Ducati North America in Cupertino, Calif. "It's a fantastic combination of what the motorcycle represents and the Wolverine, who is somehow devilish and has a huge following all over the world."
The devil, or Diavel, has been on the market two years but is getting the film treatment for the first time through "The Wolverine," in which it will be ridden by Hugh Jackman (a motorcyclist in real life) as well as the Yukio character, Sbettega said. The other two films in which Ducati bikes will race across the big screen this summer also feature women riders — in "Fast & Furious 6" and "Kick-Ass 2."
"It's not something we planned," Sbettega said. "But we're certainly happy it's coming up. It's good to let the female audience see and understand that motorcycles are not just toys for boys."
Just as the films are fantasies, so too is the idea of ownership. Placing vehicles in a high-profile movie promotes a fantasy that marketers hope will translate into sales.
"Three percent of the population has a license to motorcycle in this country, so the upside is significant to put motorcycling on the map," said Dino Bernacchi, current marketing director of Harley-Davidson Motor Co. in Milwaukee, Wis., and former branded entertainment director for General Motors. "When you see a cool scene with a cool person riding a motorcycle, it starts to seed that desire."

From The Detroit News:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Friday Night Cruise-In I: Beavercreek, Ohio, May 2, 2013

 I got there early and didn't stay long. First one I have gone to this year and it seemed sort of dead. Plenty of old men wearing baseball caps around, and a number of shrivel-faced wives.  The occasional nice looking younger chick, but not many of them. A number of small groups sitting around in lawn chairs, but little energy. I drove the 380Sl and parked behind a 560 SL that Larry Dobbins had recently purchased sight unseen from the internet and a buyer in Dallas. He got a great deal, but we will see how it turns out in the longer run. Just before I left some old guy and his pudgy wife parked next to me in a brand new Mercedes biturbo AMG. Why bring that car to this gathering?
 Maybe the best car at the cruise-in, but tucked away around a corner of th old Eastgate Ford.

 A 1967 Corvette -- nice, but there are so many of these cars.
A Ford rod in flat black.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Selling Hybrid Secrets to China

An example of the competitiveness within the auto industry global auto industry.  A story that gets little press outside of Detroit.

Detroit — An ex-General Motors Co. engineer was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and her husband was given a three-year term after being convicted of stealing hybrid vehicle technology from the automaker for potential use in China.
Shanshan Du, 54, and husband Yu Qin, 52, were sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani.
"This crime, though not a crime of physical harm … is a crime in which our whole community and whole economic system is a victim," Battani said.
Prosecutors said GM trade secrets were found on computers owned by the Troy couple. The government didn't believe the information made it to China.
The couple, prosecutors said, intended to provide the technology trade secrets to China's Chery Automobile.
Qin cried as he described the "great pain" he caused his family.
"That shame and guilt will stay with me for the rest of my life," he said.
Du, shaking, said she was sorry. "I have made poor decisions," she said, crying.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathleen Corken said the technology was worth at least $40 million.
Qin's attorney, Frank Eaman, sought probation. GM, however, had asked the court for the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
"Protecting trade secrets from improper disclosure and use is important to GM and directly impacts the nation's economic well-being," GM said in a statement Wednesday. "GM is pleased that the Court sent a message that such theft will be punished."
The couple was found guilty in November by a federal jury after a weeks-long trial. The pair conspired to steal GM trade secrets from December 2003 to May 2006, according to the indictment.

From The Detroit News:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A guest post on the new automatic transmissions -- Madoline Hatter

American Auto Transmissions Improvements on Typical Manual Transmissions.

American transmissions have come a long way since their inception back in 1937.
In terms of safety, reliability and performance, American transmissions in new automobiles have performed in terms of leaps and bounds above standard tests of the past.
In terms of reliability:

1.) CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) Found in models such as the Nissan Sentra, typically get 40 miles per gallon; a technology that requires gas, but seems to get further MPG than popular electric or hydro-electric fuel cell technology currently available on the market. CVT transmission vehicles are also currently less expensive than current hydro-fuel cell technological vehicles.

2.) CVT Transmissions are now typically equipped with a timing chain, as opposed to a timing belt, which breaks more frequently. A timing belt is construct of US mined steel and aluminum alloy that withstands the test of time!

3,) A CVT timing belt creates a minimum highway travel mpg (miles per gallon) speed of roughly 40 miles per gallon. This is calculated through multiple facilitated tested automotive techniques which have stood a barrage of tests.

4.) CVT transmissions contained in most American transmission technology will stand the test of time. This is through a use of timing chain technology as opposed to originally produced timing belts. The timing chain technology typically utilizes the use of steel aluminum alloy metallurgy which combines the best of both components in tandem with the latest technology to create a seamless, and stable system of transmission hydraulics.

5.) The controls for a CVT transmission vehicle are the exact same as an automatic vehicle. With the advent of CVT technology in today's market, an individual may ask themselves whether or not this new technology is solvent in terms of usage in today's market. The answer to this question is an undeniable yes! If a member of current society in any corner of the world is able to utilize the advent of a manual transmission in today's society's brand of vehicle, than one can most definitely handle the CVT transmission technology in today's current automotive stability transmission.

In conclusion, today's newest models of not only America's greatest and latest transmissions, but the answer to gas viable transmissions versus hybrids, the CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) automobile is the latest and greatest in American manufacturing in terms of the conventional automobile. This advent in technology will sustain a driver's needs up to and including 40 miles per gallon on conventional fossil fuels, and is comparable to the latest and greatest hybrid automobile technology. Nissan automotive vehicles are one of the front runners of this technology (ever since 1937), however, many vehicle chains are using this very same technology or derivatives of this technology. CVT transmissions are the way of the future independent of new wave of hydro-electric fuel cell technology. If one is adamant on saving money but is not willing to make the change to hydro-fuel cell technology, a vehicle equipped with a function CVT transmission will be certainly within their necessary means if they wish to travel a verifiable range of 40 miles per gallon.

This is article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from You can reach her at: m.hatter12 @ gmail. com.