Tom Murphy

Senior Editor,

Tom writes about suppliers, automotive technology and other wide-ranging topics.

Mechanic’s Newest Tool: Augmented Reality 1
Continental’s Connected Technician uses a tablet with a wireless link to a vehicle to coach a mechanic step-by-step through the entire process of diagnosing a problem and then fixing it. The device will be on the market next year.
Delphi Turns in Solid 2014 As O’Neal Exits 
Delphi earned $1.5 billion last year, and the 2015 forecast is upbeat, pegged to the launch of new gasoline direct-injection and light-duty diesel programs and a projected doubling of active-safety revenues.
Ford Focus RS Joins AWD Hot-Hatch Segment 5
Ford reveals its all-new Focus RS, slated for arrival next year with a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cyl. that carries a number of upgrades from its first application in the all-new Mustang. Ford isn’t discussing pricing or volume projections.
Hella Giving Vehicles Sense of Touch 
Hella unveils its Intelligent Damage Detection System, which uses piezo-based sensors to detect whenever a body panel sustains a scratch, dent or worse. Think of the implications for rental fleets, car-sharing companies and personal vehicles.
ZF Finds Difficulties Overseas
From challenging markets in South America and Australia to Europe and the Ukraine, ZF is struggling to make ends meet. CEO Stefan Sommer says he is glad to have thriving operations in North America and Asia to pick up the slack.
In Lexus Parlance, F Is for Flogging 1
Lexus’ new coupe, the RC, arrives with an angry double-trapezoid face, taut sheet metal, excellent chassis dynamics, bold colors and an excellent 467-hp V-8 that loves track day. This car is not a real-estate agent’s safe choice.
Bentley Climbs Red Dune in SUV Quest 1
Bentley’s new Bentayga arrives later this year and will offer the brand’s first diesel engine (but not in the U.S.) and, eventually, a plug-in hybrid option. Some 4,000 hand-raisers are interested in the SUV.
BMW Sticking With Diesel Gameplan 8
Prices are falling faster for gasoline than for diesel fuel, but that isn’t discouraging BMW from keeping a steady course with diesels in the portfolio. The automaker also unveils a refreshed 6-Series in three body styles in Detroit.
Schaeffler Posts 5 Years of Growth 1
Since 2009’s downturn, Schaeffler has hired 3,800 new employees (including 400 engineers), increased content per vehicle 55% and filed some 600 patents. Times are good. A top executive sees no dark clouds on the horizon.
New Lincoln MKX Arrives in Fall 3
Among midsize luxury CUVs, the Lincoln MKX has trailed big sellers from BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes. But the new model arrives this fall with fresh styling, a clean interior, high-end audio and numerous active-safety technologies.
TRW Pleased With First CES Display 
More than 170,000 analysts, techies, executives, purchasing agents and company reps attended this year’s CES from around the world to learn what’s new and on the horizon. Some 3,500 companies exhibited, including TRW.
Valeo System Protects Pedestrians
The supplier can use headlamps to project warnings along the edge of road surfaces to pedestrians at night. The technology is another step toward smarter vehicles that ultimately will be able to drive themselves, Valeo says.
2015 Consumer Electronics Show Floor
Las Vegas this week is hosting the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, a massive conference that draws 180,000 people and extends to multiple facilities up and down the Strip. Virtually every sector of consumer electronics is represented at the show, including automotive. For the past several years, automakers and key suppliers have stepped up presence at CES. Ten automakers are participating this year.
Panasonic Advances With Aupeo, eCockpit, Sync 
At CES, the electronics supplier is rolling out its new Aupeo customized Internet radio service and emphasizing its role in developing Ford’s third-generation Sync telematics system.
Ford: Smart Mobility Will Ease Gridlock 
Ford research projects include car-sharing in India and Germany, car-swapping among Ford employees in Dearborn, rental cars on-demand in London and a cloud-based network identifying available parking spots in Atlanta.
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