Tom Murphy

Senior Editor,

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

Electric Axle Business Spinning Up for GKN
As automakers maximize the potential of vehicle platforms, a GKN executive says the electric rear axle is a simple way to convert a front-drive architecture to a fuel-saving hybrid that also enables AWD when necessary.
VQ Engine Family Branches Out
Nissan’s VQ V-6, lauded since it came to the U.S. in 1994, has been heavily revised for the all-new Maxima sedan arriving now in showrooms. The automaker calls the VQ all-new as well, but many of the key specs carry over.
M1 Concourse Groundbreaking in Pontiac, MI
Is there a more appropriate way to revitalize an abandoned, weed-infested slab of concrete than by cleaning it all up and building a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) performance track to host a high-speed parade of Corvettes, Ferraris, Hellcats, Porsches and exotics of various vintage?
Duramax Seeks Tow-Hold Among Compact Trucks 1
Block, head, pistons, connecting rods and crankshaft are among carry-over parts on 2.8L diesel slated for Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, but unique features include an exhaust brake and torque converter with vibration-absorbing qualities.
Conti Proposes Virtual Guard Rail  3
Some 55% of fatal accidents in the U.S. are caused by a vehicle leaving its lane and striking an object, pedestrian or another vehicle. Continental’s Road Departure Protection system is meant to prevent those collisions.
BMW Plant Showcase for Carbon-Fiber Production
The plant in Dingolfing, Germany, has upgraded paint and body shops and new “material trains” for moving components to the line as the sixth-generation 7-Series flagship sedan nears launch.
BMW Museum in Munich
The BMW Museum opened in Munich in 1973 in the shadow of Olympiapark, where the summer Olympics were hosted the prior summer. A stroll through the exhibition halls is to recount a series of significant achievements in automotive history.
Is This 7 BMW’s Lucky Number?
The 7-Series represents BMW’s flagship car, but it never has led its segment in U.S. sales. Since its U.S. arrival in 1980, it has trailed at various times the Mercedes S-Class, Lexus LS and Jaguar XJ.
All-New ’16 BMW 7-Series
BMW unveils the all-new '16 7-Series in its hometown of Munich and hopes the car will close the sales gap with its No.1 rival, the Mercedes S-Class, when it arrives in fall.
Ford, Conti Simplify Trailer Backup 4
Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist, developed with Magna, and Continental’s Trailer Reverse Assist use a separate knob to steer the truck while in reverse. The driver turns it to the right if he wants the trailer to go in that direction, and vice versa.
BMW Rolls Out Lightweight, Luxurious 7-Series
A new plug-in hybrid powertrain, active-chassis control, rear-wheel steering, gesture recognition and automated parking are among innovations appearing on BMW’s all-new flagship.
SRT Tomahawk More Than Just a Game
FCA hopes to take the gaming world by storm with the SRT Tomahawk, a dramatic 1-seater incorporating far-out technologies from the year 2035. Designers working on the project got to suspend the rules of the real world – to a point.
Hang Up and Drive – And Get Off My Lawn
When I see a vehicle drifting into my lane, or someone else’s lane, or over a curb on a busy street, or if an aimless vehicle corrects abruptly at the last second to avoid a fire hydrant, I glance at the driver and see that he or she is looking at a device instead of the road.
Tiny Sensors Drive Big Growth at Bosch 
Every automotive MEMS sensor produced by Bosch in Reutlingen fetches between €6.43 and €9.19. The sizable manufacturing investments, it seems, pay for themselves.
Bosch Electronics Plant, Reutlingen 
Bosch's complex near Stuttgart has manufactured 5 billion highly intelligent MEMS sensors since 1995, and every single chip on every wafer undergoes rigorous and redundant quality checks. The defect rate is fewer than five for every 1 million produced.
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