Did Nissan make the redesigned Rouge better, or worse, to work on? How do American technicians view Nissan? Do the automotive designers look at the service end when they design or redesign a new car? Until service technicians tell me engineers understand “someone has to fix it later,” I will continue to write these articles.
The two electric cars I’ve chosen for this article are the new Chevy Bolt (not to be confused with the Volt) and the new Tesla Model 3. They’re about the same price ($37,000 to $38,000 base, before incentives), have well more than 200 miles of range and both allow fast charging. The Bolt is available everywhere, but the Tesla Model 3 just came out as I was writing this article in July 2017.
This month, we look at the evolution of the Honda CR-V through the eyes of a tech. Is this little SUV getting easier to service, or did the engineers forget about us? Full disclosure: Honda Research & Development and Honda Manufacturing are Automotive Career Development Center (ACDC) customers, and as I stated ealier, I have had a love affair with Honda for almost 50 years.
But I won’t let that keep me from reporting the truth as I see it.
This is another in a series of reports that asks a simple question: Do the automotive engineers look at “ease of service” when designing a new car?
In the July 2006 issue of AutoInc., I compared the 2006 Focus to the 2000 model. Well, let’s look at the next generation and see if Ford took heed of our suggestions.
Ford had a hit when it introduced the 2000 Ford Focus in 1999; it sold more than 286,000 units the first year. Sales settled down to around 175,000 for the other years, but the 2012 model may change that for the better.
Long time no see! Fiat 500s are making their way across the Atlantic and into U.S. bays
“Fix It Again Tony” was the joke from the last adventure Fiat had in America. Well, thanks to Chrysler Motor Co. looking to the taxpayers for money, a deal was struck with Fiat to take it over and pay us all back. So far, so good. One benefit for Fiat is an instant dealer network that is now selling a small retro version of an Italian mini-car sold back in the ’50s. Is it any good? Or, more important, can the typical technician in the U.S. service this little vehicle, or should they stay away?
You, the technician, need a voice of reason. This article completes eight years of reporting on the basic construction of different carmakers, but we have never looked at BMW.
BMW is one of three car companies that make motorcycles; Honda and Suzuki also make motorcycles. Each company has a history of racing. At the track, making the car or motorcycle hard to fix is the wrong way to go. All three of these brands are well respected in reports on their two-wheeled machines, but how do American technicians view the four-wheeled BMWs?
The Lexus brand has been around for two decades now. Toyota saw that Honda had a good thing going with Acura so Toyota jumped into the luxury market and moved into first place with European-type designs, good product and new ideas. This crossover segment, as it was first called, was a smaller SUV that used a car platform (uni-body) and a four-wheel-drive (4WD) system with higher ground clearance than a conventional car.
In 1993, Nissan discontinued its much-criticized Stanza, replacing it with the U.S.-made Altima, which, like the Stanza, is a compact car. The very first Altima rolled off the assembly line June 15, 1992, as a 1993 model. All Altimas were built in Smyrna, Tenn., until June 2004, when Nissan’s Canton, Miss., plant began producing additional Altimas to meet high demand.
In the summer of 1995, the first S40 was built in a Dutch factory that originally produced the DAF (Van Doorne’s Aanhangwagen Fabriek). This was a joint venture among the Dutch government, Volvo and Mitsubishi. In 1999, Ford Motor Co. – the world’s most-profitable carmaker at that time – bought the automobile operations of Swedish-based Volvo for $6.45 billion. This is a figure slightly less than Ford’s 1998 profits of $6.57 billion. As of this writing, Volvo is for sale and may end up in the hands of the Chinese automotive company Geely – so Ford can get back to basics.
The first Subaru Outback was a hit with consumers. Over the years, many other original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) came up with similar crossover wagons and SUVs. By the year 2000, everyone was in the game but Subaru continued to raise the bar and now has a third-generation Outback for 2010.
How does the 2009 Acura RL compare with the 2003 Acura RL in terms of serviceability?
It has been six years ago this month since I was asked to speak for you in AutoInc. The purpose of my quarterly article is to have a dialogue in terms of a technician’s point of view when it comes to the design of cars and trucks.