BMW has been tussling in courtrooms with a South African auto parts supplier called Grandmark for 13 years. The real issue revolves, of course, around money, but the legal issue revolves around intellectual property rights regarding the design of car parts. South Africa allows entities to register an "Aesthetic Design" (AD) that "is new and original, and that has features which 'appeal to and are judged solely by the eye';" BMW has received Aesthetic Design registrations for both its vehicles an
We've known since June that PSA has an agreement with Mitsubishi to work together on electric cars. What's new is a report in the Nikkei (subs req'd) about Mitsubishi supplying the all-electric MiEV to PSA an OEM agreement to be sold under the PSA brands Peugeot and Citroën. This is an agreement that benefits both partners, since Mitsubishi isn't that much of a powerful brand in Continental Europe and PSA will now have a readily-developed electric vehicle to have at showrooms. PSA could sel
BMW's running full-bore as it strains to double its profit margin within the next five years. Across all 23 of the company's manufacturing locations, capacity is maxed out at 100-percent, and there's nary an extra Roundel badge to be had. As BMW pushes for a 10-percent profit margin, they're also putting the squeeze on suppliers. To the OEMs, it seems that BMW has shifted its focus from quality and innovative technology to the bottom line. Not helping matters was a public statement by Manfred Sc
It isn't just the outside of the 5-series that's been breathed upon for '08. Inside, new ground was broken by BMW and OEM Johnson Controls to create two color door panels using a single sheet of material. Typically, door panels that have multiple colors have multiple pieces. That adds weight and expense to the final assembly, not to mention all the eventual squeaks and rattles. The new 5 series door panels use a single backing panel, and a two color film is applied. It's not a trifle to get ever
Lotus, the company that made its name on "adding lightness" and clever engineering, is at it again. This time, it's the engineering wing of the Group Lotus concern. Lotus's efforts have been directed at banishing seperate exhaust manifolds. We groaned when we heard the news, and assumed it to be a very discouraging development. Then we got to thinking -- with this type of cylinder head, you'll never have leaky manifold gaskets again. That's a big plus for those of us who keep our cars forever an
We've all been there, you're pressing on, but you know you're dangerously close to falling asleep while behind the wheel. Rolling down the window, blaring the radio, and frequent shakes of the head just aren't doing it. Those jumping jacks you did at the rest stop a few miles back helped for a little while, but you can feel sleep creeping up on you quickly. Driving while drowsy is a big danger, and researchers from the University of Tokyo, Oita University, the Shimane Institute of Health Science
After a lull in the number of hydrogen fuel-cell related patents being filed, companies are now scrambling to protect advances in fuel-cell development. Patent activity began to grow almost exponentially about seven years ago, initially led by specialist fuel-cell developers, but subsequently by OEMs such as Toyota.