News Bits – Carbon Fiber, Chinese Leaf, Rolls-Royce, Thailand Floods and Impending Goodyear Airline Tire Shortage?

General Motors and Teijin Limited, Japanese company with roots as a textile maker will co-develop advanced carbon fiber composite technologies for potential high-volume use globally in GM cars, trucks and crossovers. Teijin has a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) technology that is a faster and more efficient way to produce carbon fiber composites that potentially could be introduced on mainstream vehicles. GM uses the carbon fiber on expensive limited edition  models of the Corvette and Camaro.

The news bits: Carbon fiber is several times stronger than steel yet only one-quarter of the weight. The news bit is that Teijin claims it can mass-produce carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic components with cycle times of under a minute. Conventional carbon fiber-reinforced composites use thermosetting resins and require much longer curing times in a mold, which is why it is only used in exotic cars. Toyota with its textile roots uses carbon fiber on the Lexus LF-A; BMW and Porsche are also actively pursuing increased applications of carbon fiber in lower priced vehicles.(See Camaro ZL1 Coupe Priced at $54,995 for 2012 Model)

Nissan Motor and Dongfeng Motor delivered 15 Nissan Leaf EVs to the Guangzhou Municipal Government in China, as part of a partnership on November 22, 2009. Dongfeng Motor Group (DFL) is a Communist government required partner in order to do business in China.

Can you imagine the federal government requiring a partnership with the city of Detroit as a requirement for Nissan to do business in the U.S. in what is a very successful Chinese job creating scheme, as China is Nissan’s largest market?

Dongfeng Nissan and the city of Guangzhou will gather data on how EVs are used in the Chinese market to determine an optimal charging infrastructure. DFL has announced plans to produce and sell an EV from VENUCIA, its new local brand in China, by 2015 through Dongfeng Nissan. the news bit is Nissan and alliance partner Renault have now entered into more than 100 partnerships with national and local governments and companies worldwide to pedal electric vehicles.  (See also Honda EV Demonstration Testing Begins in Guangzhou, China)

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has announced that it will enter the South American market for the first time in the company’s history. The Via Italia Group is Rolls’ appointed future dealer in Brazil. Williamson Balfour Motors will be the dealer in Chile. Both are working towards formal dealership openings in March 2012. The expansion of the BMW-owned company follows from what Rolls-Royce characterizes as significant growth in worldwide sales during the last 18 months, including record sales of 2,711 models in 2010, and a greater demand from customers for customized Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom models. (See Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to Expand UK Manufacturing Plant and Rolls Royce Recall Active for Engine Fires on Ghost Models )

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company says that as a result of the Thailand flooding commercial airlines are facing a potential global shortage of bias aviation tires starting in February or March 2012. The shortage is another result of the catastrophic flood in Thailand in October that disabled many manufacturing operations in that country, including Goodyear’s main aviation tire manufacturing facility in Bangkok. Floodwaters that idled Goodyear’s plant finally receded during the last week of November, allowing the company to make an assessment of the damage and to get a clearer understanding of the impact on the global aviation tire business. Goodyear is increasing production at its other aircraft tire facilities in Danville, Va., and retread production in Stockbridge, Ga., Kingman, Ariz., and Tilburg, Netherlands.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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