Beecham's Tech-Talk

Beecham's Tech-Talk

By: Matthew Beecham

Matthew Beecham interviews automotive component industry specialists to learn more about changing technologies and new innovations.


Webasto on development of sunroofs and convertible roof systems

19 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Webasto’s core competencies include development, production and sales of sunroofs, panoramic roofs, convertible roofs and parking heaters. With electric heating systems, charging solutions and battery systems, the supplier is also addressing the growth market of electromobility. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one suppliers, we spoke to Dr. Holger Engelmann, Chairman of the Management Board, Webasto SE about the company’s roof systems business.


Magna Exteriors makes an impact with front-end modules

18 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

What is a front-end module? It depends on who makes it and for whom. Front-end modules (FEMs) typically encompass the bumper, headlights, radiator and various others parts. The benefits to the automaker from sourcing complete FEMs are clear: they can help cut the number of operations on the assembly line, reduce vehicle weight, cut tooling costs and improve working capital. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with component suppliers, we caught up with Rob Selle, Global Product Line Director, FEM, Fascia & Trim, Magna Exteriors, a front-runner serving the FEMs market.


Interior design and technology – Fiat 500L

16 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

The Fiat 500L MPV was launched in the UK in 2013, receiving a facelift in 2017 when 40 per cent of the components were replaced. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside the cavernous 500L to see what’s new.


Valeo on tomorrow’s climate control systems

16 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Cabin comfort is a given for motorists nowadays. The trend for multizone air-conditioning systems enables automakers to offer more comfort features. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one component suppliers, we spoke to executives of Valeo’s Thermal Systems division to learn more about such trends, regulatory drivers and its recent climate control system innovations.


The science of sound - How Harman is striking a chord in the small car segment

11 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Designing and developing a car audio system for a certain model is a complex process. Hitting the right note in the small car segment is particularly challenging for acoustic engineers with lots of things to consider. Changing the seat material alone can alter the acoustics in an otherwise identical cabin. Audio specialist Harman has worked closely with Ford to develop a premium sound upgrade for the new Fiesta. To learn more, we spoke to Greg Sikora, Harman ‘Golden Ear’ and Senior Manager, Head of Acoustic Systems Engineering Europe, Car Audio, and Stefan Varga, Harman ‘Golden Ear’ and Senior System Engineer Acoustic, Car Audio at Harman International.


Magna lifts the lid off the car roof systems market

9 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Magna covers the entire spectrum of vehicle roof systems. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one component suppliers, we caught up with Uwe Behrendt, Director Sales, Magna Closures & Magna Car Top Systems to discuss trends in sunroofs, convertibles, solar technology and alternative lightweight glazing.


Interior design and technology – Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

9 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

The Suzuki SX4, a compact crossover developed jointly by Suzuki and Fiat, was launched in 2006. At the 2012 Paris motor show, Suzuki unveiled its S-Cross concept and broadcast that it would be a new model, not a replacement for the SX4. Six months later the SX4 S-Cross, loosely based on the S-Cross concept, appeared at the Geneva motor show and received a facelift in 2016. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we peer inside this small SUV to see what makes it shine in a crowded market.


Interior design and technology – Ford Edge

2 Jul 2018 | Matthew Beecham

The first generation Ford Edge, launched in 2006, was offered in four trim levels.  Its top-drawer Sport included an AM/FM stereo with six-disc in-dash CD/MP3 player and SYNC in-car connectivity system. Ford announced earlier this year that second generation Edge will get a mid-cycle facelift, featuring fresh interior colour combinations, a 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, SYNC 3 and a range of camera- and sensor-based driver assistance technologies. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside the ST-Line to see what else gives this facelifted model the Edge.


Faurecia VP on tomorrow’s cockpit and smart interiors

29 Jun 2018 | Matthew Beecham

The car - integral to the daily lives of millions of people – is being transformed into a living room on wheels. Motorists’ insatiable appetite for comfort and connectivity, all within a customised environment, is driving innovation. As a global leader in vehicle interiors, Faurecia is developing solutions that meet those desires. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier one suppliers, we spoke to Andreas Wlasak, Vice-President Industrial Design at Faurecia Interiors.


Interior design and technology – Kia Niro PHEV

18 Jun 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Hybrid sales in the UK and mainland Europe have doubled over the past five years and are expected to reach 700,000 annually by the end of the decade. The Kia Niro – the Korean carmaker’s third plug-in hybrid (PHEV) after the Optima and Optima Sportswagon - slots into this blossoming market place. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we slip inside this compact crossover to see if this is just another small SUV or something different.


Faurecia Seating on Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electrified

14 Jun 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Seats account for five per cent of a vehicle’s total cost and six per cent of its weight. As a result, they represent the second largest expense for automakers. Faurecia Seating is a leader in the design, development and manufacture of automotive seating. Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier 1 suppliers, we spoke to Nik Endrud, Vice President Strategy and Innovation at Faurecia Seating.


YFAI on auto interior surfaces, natural fibres and personalisation functions

6 Jun 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI), a joint venture between Yanfeng and Adient, is a pioneer in the development of new materials for vehicle interiors. With its activeSkin concept, for example, the company presents a vision of integrating intuitive controls into vehicle interiors, which blur the boundaries between the digital and analogue worlds. This new development concept enables the display of data on soft surfaces. YFAI expects that functional and decorative surfaces in vehicle interiors will increasingly merge in the future. To find out more about this trend and other innovations, we spoke to Volkhard Wick, Executive Director, Innovation and Product Management Europe & South Africa at YFAI.


IAC on upscaling interiors and automated driving

5 Jun 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Designers are continually reinventing the interior to appeal to occupants of all shapes, sizes, ages, and cultures.  Continuing just-auto/QUBE’s series of interviews with tier 1 suppliers, we spoke to Mike Clowry, Vice President Advanced Development & Materials Engineering, Europe, International Automotive Components (IAC) Group about the continually evolving car interior as we move closer to the age of autonomous driving. Headquartered in Luxembourg, IAC Group is a global supplier of automotive components and systems, including instrument panels, console systems, door panels, headliners and overhead systems to automakers around the world.


Interior design and technology – Honda CR-V

5 Jun 2018 | Matthew Beecham

When Honda launched its CR-V way back in the day (1997), its main rival was the Toyota RAV4. Fast forward two decades and the carmaker’s fourth generation model competes in a flooded market. Yet this practical, family-friendly car has become one of the most popular compact SUVs sold around the world. Continuing QUBE/just-auto's review of interior design and technology trends, we take a closer look inside to see what makes it so appealing.


EVs to drive demand for steel, says Tata Steel

4 Jun 2018 | Matthew Beecham

Increasing demand for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV) will drive growth in steel supply to the European automotive industry by 4.2 million tonnes, according to a study by Tata Steel. The study predicts production of steel for vehicle structure will see a sharp increase if all new vehicles are to have zero emissions by 2050. To find out why steel will be more relevant to the automotive industry than it is today, we spoke to Paul Cremers, Marketing Manager Chassis and Suspension, Tata Steel.



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