BMW's Innovative & Flexible Manufacturing System

We came across an eye-catching article by Peter Gumble in the European Time Magazine which boasted BMW’s flexible manufacturing system and the fact that it’s unlike any other in the world. So if you haven’t read it, we’ll save you a trip to the over-seas news-stands.

The main theme of the article highlighted the overall booming Germany economy and that BMW is a direct indication of the country’s increasing competitiveness. Although, being the car fanatics that we are, we couldn’t help but love the precision and agility of the German automaker's manufacturing process. We were intrigued and even slightly turned on by this ingenious engineering and its ability to cater to its buyers. For example, your BMW dealer will oblige you with as many changes as you care to make to the car that you purchase up until the six days cut-off point before your particular car goes into production. This is because the factory has been designed so that new production processes can be added to the assembly line at any time without disrupting the work flow. -Continued after the jump

The assembly line is basically what differentiates BMW production from the rest of the hagglers out there. With its highly sophisticated logistics, “workers that are stationed at regular intervals on the assembly line reach back for components in wire baskets that have been sorted into the right sequence”. The writer noted that “just past the section where car bodies are bolted onto the drivetrain and chassis, a gray three-door 1-series sticks out amid a convoy of silver 3-series cars.

In theory, the plant is set up to handle five or six different BMW models simultaneously.” Another important factor to consider is that BMW has based several key suppliers in the plant, “improving speed and reliability”. Something like the assembly of a customized cockpit could be put together in 20 minutes notice thanks to the French auto-parts firm Faurecia, which assembles cockpits and seats for BMW in Leipzig and some other plants. The deal works perfectly for both parties since BMW gets the parts it needs when it needs it and the firms don’t have to spend money delivering the supplies.

So now you might ask how cost effective this “last minute” ordeal is of adding new extras to different cars at different times. The answer is, it’s not really cost effective at all. Interestingly enough, according to the article, "BMW is not prepared to sacrifice its ability to give consumers the car they want. The alternative would be reduced costs but not the ability to charge a premium for customized cars. BMW's marginal revenue from customization is higher than the marginal cost advantage it gives up.”

What we have from company that made over $65 billion in revenues is accuracy, ingenious engineering techniques and the ability to provide service to fickle people with loads of money. Befriend one of them, and you’ll rule the world, as BMW has proceeded to do.

Via: timesmagazine

Old Man On A Mobility Scooter Out Runs Cops

Ever been stuck in what seems to be the worst traffic in the world and you swear turtles and little old men on mobility scooters are moving faster than you? A similar situation occurred when police asked a stubborn old man to pull over his scooter because he was causing traffic by traveling down the fast lane of a dual carriageway. He defiantly cranked his battery-powered mobility scooter up to its top speed - 8mph - and somehow managed to escape their attention. Apparently, when the police attempted to pull him over he just approached them with “a lot of profanities”.

Then the determined OAP veered onto the Cannon Park roundabout. “They (police) asked us, ‘scuse me - have you seen a bloke on an electric scooter?’,” added Ian, who was on a walk at the time.This little old guy managed to completely out-run the cops.
When something like this happens, it’s good to know we have brave police officers patrolling the streets and putting "dangerous" people like this away. (Yeah Right!)

Via: Gazettelive

Posted by: Dani

2009 MINI Clubman High-Res Image Gallery

Following Friday’s leak and while we’re still awaiting for MINI to officially spill the beans, we have got a new high-res image gallery of the 2009 Clubman in our hands. Since there’s no point in repeating what we said on Friday (see here), we’ll simply direct you to the pics after the jump. Although we’re not so thrilled with the Clubman’s design, we think that tuners will get a kick out of tweaking this modern interpretation of a breadvan. -Click “Read More…” to see the pics

Via: Motorpasion

Audi A7 Rendering

Finishing off its trio of, allegedly official Audi sketches (see the A1 here and the R8 Spider here), Car Online took off the wraps on the A7, a 4door-coupe model aiming at the Mercedes-Benz CLS. The Brits support that the A7 will be previewed by a concept at the 2009 New York Auto Show with a production version following in at the 2009 Frankfurt International motor Show. If Car's sources are correct, then the A7 will most probably be based on the A6 platform using the same 3.2 V6 and 4.2 V8 FSI petrol units and 2.7 and 3.0 V6 TDI diesel units along with the Lamborghini Gallardo derived, 5.0 V10 powerhouse for the top spec S7/RS7 version.

Via: Car

Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Revealed

Porsche unveiled a prototype version of the upcoming Cayenne Hybrid SUV to the media yesterday (Friday, July 27). Expected to go into production by the end of the decade, the “green” Cayenne features a full-hybrid design where the hybrid module (clutch and electric motor) is positioned between the combustion engine and the transmission. Other unique features of the Cayenne Hybrid include the power steering, vacuum pump for the brakes and the air conditioning, all of which operate on electric power. Additionally, technical components, such as the oil pump in the Cayenne's automatic transmission, have been replaced by electrically powered units. -Continued after the jump

The press release doesn’t include any details on the engine used, but the guys at Motortrend who took the Cayenne Hybrid for a spin say that it’s equipped with VW Group’s 3.6-litre V6 petrol engine. The Germans do reveal though that they’re targeting average fuel consumption figures of 9.8 liters/100 km in the New European Driving Cycle and about 24mpg in the US FTP cycle for the Cayenne Hybrid while future developments may allow Porsche engineers to push towards an average fuel consumption figure of 8.9 liters/km (approximately 26mpg). That’s compared to 12.9 liters/km (18.2mpg) of the stock Cayenne 3.6 V6. Finally Porsche announced that the same hybrid powertrain will also be used on the 2009 Panamera sedan.

Via: Jalopnik , Source Mototrend

Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Press Release

ATLANTA, July 26, 2007 --- Porsche, a company renown for its high-performance sports cars and sport utility vehicles (SUV), this week in Stuttgart demonstrated to the media a Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype, providing a glimpse of what the company will offer to consumers by the end of the decade.

Porsche is targeting average fuel consumption figures of 9.8 liters/100 kilometers in the New European Driving Cycle and about 24 miles per gallon in the US FTP cycle for the Cayenne Hybrid, and future developments may allow Porsche engineers to push towards an average fuel consumption figure of 8.9 liters/kilometer (approximately 26 miles per gallon).

The Cayenne Hybrid will feature a full-hybrid design where the hybrid module (clutch and electric motor) is positioned between the combustion engine and the transmission rather than having the hybrid drivetrain branching output along various lines and in various directions via a planetary gearset. Porsche selected this design because the in-line configuration of the hybrid components are more compatible with the existing Cayenne platform, this system in testing is more fuel efficient, and because this configuration is a better fit for Porsche as it will provide improved acceleration and engine flexibility compared to a conventional Cayenne.

Coordinating the car's three main components - the combustion engine, the electric motor and the battery - is the Hybrid Manager, the heart of the Cayenne Hybrid. The Hybrid Manager, which oversees some 20,000 data parameters as compared to only 6,000 data parameters for a conventional engine, is one of the most powerful technologies found in any hybrid vehicle.

Other unique features of the Cayenne Hybrid designed to decrease fuel consumption include the power steering and vacuum pump for the brakes, as well as the air conditioning, which operate on electric power. Technical components, such as the oil pump in the Cayenne's automatic transmission, have been replaced by electrically powered units. The Cayenne Hybrid's electro-hydraulic steering - a first for a vehicle of its kind, will ensure the Cayenne Hybrid drives like a Porsche with predictable and safe handling characteristics and the agility that is expected of a Porsche SUV.

Porsche plans to introduce similar hybrid technology in a version of its Panamera four-door Gran Turismo. The Panamera will debut in 2009, with a hybrid to follow.

Nissan's Breathalyzer System Will Deter Future Lohan's

This is for all you Paris Hiltons and Lindsay Lohan’s out there! Nissan is in the midst of developing something that will contribute to the safety of society and keep menaces like Lohan and Hilton, who just can’t learn from one mistake, to stay off the road. It’s an in car breathalyzer which is activated when the car key is switched to “on”. It requires the driver to blow into a device before the engine will start. If the blood alcohol level is above the preset limit, the ignition is automatically disabled and you’re walking or taking a crusty cab home!

We think Nissan should hurry things up and get this thing out on the market before the Olsen twins do something drastic.

Via: Jalopnik

By: Dani

Green Peace Labels Porsche As Climate Pigs

The guys over at Porsche received a rather bothersome yet expected visit from Greenpeace yesterday at their Zuffenhausen plant in Germany. Greenpeace has accused the automaker of building cars they claim to be “climate pigs” and displayed the message rather aggressively by posing a pink Cayenne Turbo with a pig’s nose and ears. However, the Porsche people came to the battle completely prepared. They presented counter arguments on large banners posted outside of the plant bearing the headline “Good to Know” followed by some interesting facts and figures, such as, Porsche's contribution to CO2 emissions in traffic less than 0.1 per cent and that Porsche is introducing the hybrid engine: less than 9 liters fuel consumption on 100 km.

In the grand scheme of things, Porsche claims that it is only accountable for less than one-tenth of 1 per cent of all exhaust emissions in Germany. I guess most people’s concern might be that if Porsche does “go green” will the performance level be compromised? On that note, Porsche's parting message to Greenpeace was stated in a final banner that read, "Dear Friends from Greenpeace: Porsche is Better than You Think. But the Good News is that David taking on Goliath was Underestimated, too . .


By: Dani

2009 MINI Clubman Drips Into The Web

Official specs and pictures of the new MINI Clubman –formerly known as the Traveller, dripped into the web last night, prior to its Frankfurt Show debut in September. The long wheelbase MINI features five doors but not in the places you’d think. See MINI equipped the Clubman with three passenger doors, the extra door being rear hinged on the right hand side of the vehicle, and two side-opening doors at the rear that split open to aid loading.

According to initial information provided by Edmunds, the Clubman will be offered with a choice of turbocharged or non-turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engines producing 120 and 175 Hp respectively along with a 1.6-liter common-rail diesel delivering 110 Hp. We’ll have more on the Clubman later on the day. -More images after the jump

Via: edmunds

Kia Cee’d By Giacuzzo

Indicative of Kia and Hyundai’s gaining popularity in Europe, tuners have started offering several sport packages for the Korean’s new sub-compact hatches. On its behalf, German tuning house Giacuzzo undertakes the task of visually improving the new 5door Kia Cee’d with an optic package that includes a front and rear bumper spoiler, an exhaust system and a roof spoiler. Additionally you can choose through a wide range of 19-inch alloy rims. -More pictures after the jump

Link: Giacuzzo

Fifth Gear: BMW M3 vs M3 CSL

Talking about BMW’s decision to offer every M3 model from now on with a CSL version (see what BMW’s M division vice president said here) we thought it would be a good idea to remember how the E46 M3 compared against its lightweight, CSL sibling. See what Fifth Gear’s Tiff Needell had to say about the two M3s in the video above.

Lumma Design BMW 6-Series CLR 600 S

Lumma Design has released a new visual sport package available for all BMW 6-series (including M6 and convertible versions). The “brawny” yet tasteless if you ask us (...), CLR 600 S bodykit includes a front spoiler, side sills with integrated air intake ducts, rear apron bumper with diffuser and a rear spoiler which can be replaced optionally with a rear wing. The CLR 600 S sits on 20 or 21-inch multispoke alloys. For the 20-inch version, LUMMA uses a combination of 245/35 tires up front and 275/30 in the rear. The larger alternative favours the front axle with tires 255/30 and 295/25 for the rear axle. -Continued after the jump

Lumma also pepped the motor area adding two air intake plenums, an air filter housing each made of carbon fibre make along with a red coloured valve cover. Inside the German tuning house has equipped the BMW 6-Series with tinted gauges and an optionally extended speedometer to 360km/, a sports steering wheel in wood/leather or carbon/leather combination, aluminium foot pedals and foot mats sporting stitched logo.

Finally, Lumma mounted a set of a H & R performance springs set that lowers the CLR 600 S by 30 mm. Later on the German tuner will offer a performance package for all 6-Series models.