<b>CONSUMER REPORTS’ ANNUAL RELIABILITY SURVEY: GM MAKES BIG STRIDES WHILE HONDA, TOYOTA DOMINATE</b> YONKERS, NY—In Consumer Reports’ 2010 Annual Auto Survey, the latest predicted-reliability ratings of new cars finds that General Motors has improved considerably, though Honda and Toyota still dominate the auto market. Eightythree percent of Chevrolets—GM’s major brand—now have average or better scores in predicted reliability. That’s up from 50% last year. While some GM nameplates had been among the least reliable brands in past years, they now rank above some major European competitors, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Two factors are aiding GM’s reliability improvements. First, GM’s recent introductions, such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, Buick LaCrosse V6 and Cadillac SRX are proving reliable from the time they were launched. In addition, GM shed many models with subpar reliability when it shut down the Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer brands. Even some older models, such as the Chevrolet Avalanche, Corvette and Suburban have improved to average. As a company, GM is still a ways from the top when it comes to reliability. The major Asian automakers— including Honda and Toyota—are still out in front. Among the three domestics, Ford continues to build the most reliable vehicles. Chrysler lags behind both GM and Ford. Still, GM made the most progress of the three domestic manufacturers in this survey. Across GM brands, 69% of models had average or better reliability. Cadillac improved the most, rising seven places from last year’s ranking. In the survey, based on 1.3 million vehicles, 90% of Fords—including Lincoln models—have at least average reliability. As a brand, Ford now outranks Mazda and Nissan and ranks just below Lexus. Its quality renaissance has been led by the Fusion, a design that has been very reliable since its debut five years ago. Ford vehicles are tops for reliability in two categories: family cars (Fusion Hybrid) and large SUVs (Ford Flex EcoBoost). Chrysler Corp. has not shared in the success of the other Detroit manufacturers. The Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands are saddled with dated models. Twelve of the 20 models for which Consumer Reports had sufficient information rate below average in reliability. None of Chrysler Corp.’s models score above average. With Fiat’s acquisition of Chrysler, many of its products will either be replaced or redesigned in the near future. <b>Asia Still Dominates</b> Despite recent safety recalls, Toyota models—including those from Scion and Lexus—remained among the most reliable and earned top scores in five vehicle categories: small cars (Yaris), midsized SUVs (FJ Cruiser), luxury SUVs (Lexus LX), minivans (Sienna V6, FWD) and full-size pickups (Tundra V6). Only the all-wheel-drive Lexus GS and the new Lexus IS 250 convertible rank below average. The redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius, hurt by antilock brake problems on early vehicles, scored only average, a drop from previous years. Honda and Acura are among the top four brands—along with Porsche and Scion—with models topping five vehicle categories. These are upscale cars (Acura TL, FWD), luxury cars (Acura RL), small SUVs (CR-V), upscale compact SUVs (Acura RDX) and compact pickups (Ridgeline). Problems with rear brake pads help drop the 4-cylinder Accord and Acura TSX to average. Hyundai and Kia continued to do well, with only one model, the Kia Sedona minivan, rated below average. All six new models for 2010 (Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Sonata, Tucson, Kia Forte, Sorento and Soul) had average or better reliability, which was an impressive first-year showing. Nissan’s mainstream models scored well. The Altima and Maxima sedans and the Murano and Pathfinder SUVs all rated average or better in predicted reliability. The Titan had shown improvement in the past year or two, but both 2WD and 4WD versions have once again dropped to below average reliability. The small Nissan Cube had a below average score in its first appearance in the Consumer Reports survey. The Infiniti models were all average or better. Subaru had a good record overall, with a top rating going to the four-cylinder Legacy sedan and the non-turbo version of the Forester SUV. The WRX was the only model that rated below average. <b>Europe’s Bumpy Road</b> While European carmakers’ reliability had been improving, momentum seems to have stalled. All Porsche and Volvo models are rated average or better. But Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are among the worst automakers overall in terms of reliability, the report indicates. BMW had a bad year, with five of its 11 models scoring below average. While the BMW M3 topped the sporty cars category, the 1-, 3- and 5-Series models with the 3.0-liter turbocharged (N54) engine had high problem rates related to the fuel system, among other complaints. Six of Mercedes-Benz’s 13 models were below average, and the GLK SUV was far below average. However, the redesigned E350 sedan was above average. The new E-Class coupe, a wholly different car from the E-Class sedan, languished in the bottom ranks. Nearly three-quarters of the Audi models Consumer Reports analyzed were below average. The A6 with the new supercharged 3.0-liter V6 was tied with the Jaguar XF for the worst new car prediction score. Volkswagen did better, with its Golf receiving very positive ratings and the various Jetta models scoring average or better. The Porsche Boxster has the best predicted reliability score in Consumer Reports survey, while the Audi A6 3.0T and Jaguar XF have the worst. <b>MACHINE VISION MARKET CONTINUES SOLID RECOVERY IN NORTH AMERICA</b> ANN ARBOR, MI—Sales of machine vision components and systems in North America jumped 60% in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, according to new statistics from the Automated Imaging Association (AIA). Second quarter sales were also up 20% over the first quarter of 2010, indicating an acceleration in this year’s market recovery. The new report, titled Quarterly Machine Vision Sales Tracking Report, shows sales were robust in all major machine vision supplier markets, including cameras, lighting, optics, imaging boards, software, applicationspecific machine vision systems and smart cameras. AIA noted that 65% of companies participating in the report expect sales to improve in the second half of 2010 over second quarter 2010 results. Thirty percent anticipate sales at or near the level reached in the second quarter, and just 5% believe that sales will decrease in the second half of the year. “These results clearly show that machine vision companies have succeeded in extending the recovery through the second quarter of 2010,” says Paul Kellett, AIA’s director of market analysis. “If industry expectations are correct, the recovery should extend even further with solid growth in the second half of the year.” <b>BRUKER BUYS VEECO’S METROLOGY SEGMENT FOR $229M</b> PLAINVIEW, NY—Veeco Corp. finalized the sale of its atomic force microscopy and optical industrial metrology instruments businesses—including its Goleta, area facility—to Billerica, MA-based Bruker Corp. The company paid $229.4 million in cash in the deal, which was announced in August. The Goleta facility was once Digital Instruments, which Veeco purchased in 1998. More than 350 employees will join Bruker AXS Group’s Bruker Nano Division. Mark Munch, Veeco’s executive vice president of its metrology and instruments, will be the president of Bruker Nano Inc. Bruker develops and manufactures X-ray technologies, magnetic resonance technologies, mass spectrometry technologies, optical emission spectroscopy and more for the life science, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and molecular diagnostics industries. Veeco Instruments makes solar panels, LEDs, hard drives and other hardware devices. <B>SUPPLY CHAIN EFFICIENCY KEY FACTOR FOR MANUFACTURING PROFITS DURING RECESSION</b> FALLS CHURCH, VA—The eighth annual Global Survey of Supply Chain Progress indicates that businesses rely on supply chain operations amid economic turmoil. The 2010 survey was conducted by CSC, Supply Chain Management Review, The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University, with assistance from The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and Supply Chain Europe magazine. Completed by supply chain executives from 20 different industries worldwide, the survey questioned respondents about business results during the economic downturn, focusing specifically on how supply chain initiatives—and supply chains in general—had played a role in reducing costs and sustaining revenues and customer satisfaction across the organization. Key findings include: • An efficient supply chain was essential to maintaining prices on goods and services over the past year and also was the means to generating new revenues. • When asked what happened to the emphasis on supply chain management in the last 12 to 24 months, 78% reported it had increased. • Savings achieved in 2010 were essentially flat or fell off slightly when compared to 2009. • Combined with other responses, these results suggest that most firms are at the bottom of the economic trough and will use their supply chains to keep a lid on costs as they slowly rise out of the downturn. • Firms reporting no increases in sales or those who were not able to find fiscal increases rose from 30% in 2009 to 47% in 2010. This indicates that a down economy took its toll on what had been consistent improvements in both areas—costs and revenues. • Results show that leaders took advantage of the times to build market share. When asked if the downturn had resulted in changes to market share, 37.5% said their shares had gone up, while 22.5% said they went down. <b>NIST AWARDS $9.1 MILLION TO ENHANCE U.S. MANUFACTURERS’ GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS</b> GAITHERSBURG, MD—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) announced $9.1 million in cooperative agreements for 22 projects designed to enhance the productivity, technological performance and global competitiveness of U.S.manufacturers. Granted through competitive processes to nonprofit organizations, these projects will be implemented through MEP’s national system of more than 400 centers, field offices and partners. The funding will help encourage the creation and adoption of improved technologies and provide resources to develop new products that respond to changing market needs. “A vibrant manufacturing sector drives American innovation and is central to our economic growth and global competitiveness,” says U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “With the right investments, we can continue to create highly-valued manufacturing jobs building great products and sell them around the world.” The proposals selected represent a variety of compelling ideas for helping small- and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers tackle a complex set of needs with cost-effective and innovative solutions. The projects address one or more of five areas MEP has identified as vital for strategic growth in U.S. manufacturing. These areas include: • Responding to evolving supply chains. • Accelerating the adoption of new technology to build business growth. • Implementing environmentally sustainable processes. • Establishing and enabling strong workforces for the future. • Encouraging cultures of continuous improvement. <b>ASSOCIATION NEWS</b> <b>The Polyurethane Manufacturers Association</b> (Milwaukee, WI) has announced its second annual student scholarship competition.The program, which promotes education in cast polyurethane engineering and product design, aims to ensure that processors and suppliers have access to a consistent pool of trained and experienced engineers. It will award a $4,000 scholarship to the contestant who exhibits the best plan, design and sample product using cast polyurethane to replace a part traditionally made of plastic, rubber or metal. For more information, visit www.pmahome.org/ Scholarship.aspx. <b>BUSINESS NEWS</b> <b>Apollo Associated Services (Midland, MI)</b> has added a new office in The Republic of Cyprus. With offices in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, South America and the United States, this extends Apollo’s global reach and increases its localized presence. <b>JJS Electronics (United Kingdom)</b> recently celebrated AS 9100 registration, having been awarded the industry standard for its manufacturing sites in Lutterworth, UK, and Chomutov, Czech Republic. The certification represents the recognition of excellence in business, quality management and operational practice. <b>Applied Industrial Technologies</b> (Cleveland, OH) has been named a NorthCoast 99 award winner for 2010. In business since 1999, this is the tenth time Applied has received the annual award that honors 99 workplaces for top talent in northeast Ohio. Applied was designated a Legacy Award winner due to its record. Magnetic components and assemblies manufacturer <b>Industrial Magnetics Inc.</b> (Boyne City, MI) will be celebrating its 50 year anniversary in 2011. The company attributes its long-term success to its mission of providing customers with creative solutions and products for mutual success and providing the right product at the right time for the application and excellent service during all phases of the project. <b>MAG (Erlanger, KY),</b> a manufacturing technology company, has acquired the gear hobbing and chamfering/deburring product line of Samputensili GmbH (Chemnitz, Germany) as part of a broader alliance between the two companies. The acquired company will be renamed MAG Modul Verzahntechnik, GmbH. This business will include the gear-cutting portfolio, as well as the functionality, services and know-how for hobbing. <b>Cirtronics Corp. (Milford, NH)</b> a manufacturer specializing in medical, defense and high-tech contract manufacturing, has received national recertification as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). <b>3D Systems Corp.</b> has acquired Provel, S.r.l. (Turin, Italy) a provider of rapid prototyping, tooling and manufacturing services, as part of the company’s continued expansion of its 3-D proparts service in Europe. Provel delivers rapid prototyping, tooling and manufacturing services to Italian automotive and durable goods manufacturers specializing in stereolithography, selective laser sintering, rapid tooling and urethane casting. <b>Sensors Inc. (Saline, MI),</b> a manufacturer of in-use emissions test equipment, and Froude Hofmann (Detroit, MI) , an international company specializing in the design and manufacture of test cell equipment, have formed a strategic partnership. The partnership combines Sensors’ portable emissions measurement systems with Froude Hofmann’s dynamometer and control systems, enabling a low-cost standalone or integrated emissions measurement solution for test cell applications. <b>Quality Vision International Inc. (QVI, Rochester, NY),</b> recently completed a move to Tempe, AZ. The 12,500-square-foot technical center houses the sales and service operations of Optical Gaging Products, View Micro-Metrology and the Quality Vision Services divisions of QVI. The new facility is designed to provide sales and applications support, service, and training for the company’s customers in the western United States, Mexico and western Canada. <b>Dexela (London, England)</b> collected the Judges’ Special Award at the British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEA) and received a special commendation in the Small Company of the Year category. The awards aim to demonstrate and promote the quality of engineering design within the UK. The BEEA judges agreed that Dexela’s technological and commercial success was commendable in view of the company’s size. <b>PEOPLE NEW</b> <b>Carl Lider</b> has been named general manager of Wisconsin operations at Dickten Masch Plastics (Nashota, WI), a custom thermoplastics and thermoset molder. Lider, a Six Sigma black belt, lean facilitator and value stream leader and trainer, has worked at DMP for more than 12 years, most recently as plant manager in Wisconsin. <b>Dean Roberts</b> has been made a president of the Americas Aftermarket Services of Milacron LLC (Batavia, OH), a global manufacturer of processing technologies. Roberts brings more than 28 years of experience in manufacturing to the newly created role. Roberts will be responsible for enhancing the value of Milacron’s aftermarket services to customers through its ServTek, Wear Technology and Progress Precision businesses. <b>Bill Miller,</b> a 23-year quality control management veteran, has been named quality assurance manager at Gasco Affiliates LLC (Oldsmar, FL), a global producer of precision calibration gas. In his new position, Miller will be responsible for overseeing operations, production methods and processes, training all personnel to ensure commitment to quality, enhancing Gasco’s reputation for quality management, as well as establishing and implementing the company’s ISO quality management system. <b>Jeff Gust</b> has been named chief corporate metrologist at Fluke Corp. (Everett, WA), a global electronic test and measurement technology company. Gust will oversee the Fluke primary metrology laboratories in Everett, WA; American Fork, UT; Phoenix, AZ; and Houston, TX, and will drive initiatives to unify and standardize metrology policies and practices across Fluke sites and measurement parameters. <b>Donald O. Nicholson</b> joins Specialized Technology Resources Inc.’s (Enfield, CT) quality assurance division as director of North American sales. Before joining STR, Nicholson was vice president of sales at Intertek Testing Services, where he oversaw a team of more than 100 sales and business line management professionals. Nicholson holds a degree in electrical engineering technologies from the State University of New York at Alfred. <b>Avishai Kepten</b> has been appointed vice president and general manager of Rudolph Technologies Inc.’s (Flanders, NJ) metrology business unit. Kepten brings more than 25 years of experience in the semiconductor and solar industries to the role. <b>Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI)</b> announced the retirements of two company officers as well as a series of executive appointments that will further strengthen Ford’s global management team in support of the company’s One Ford plan. In addition to these changes, Ford is announcing several key executive appointments in its global product development organization, effective Jan. 1, 2011. <b>• Gerhard Schmidt,</b> chief technical officer and vice president of research and advanced engineering, will retire Feb. 1, 2011. <b>• Paul Mascarenas,</b> currently vice president of engineering, is appointed chief technical officer and vice president of research and advanced engineering, replacing Schmidt. <b>• Ingvar Sviggum,</b> vice president of marketing, sales and service in Ford of Europe, will retire. He will be succeeded by Roelant de Waard, vice president of sales at Ford of Europe, who is elected an officer of the company. <b>• Barb Samardzich,</b> vice president of powertrain engineering, is appointed vice president of global product programs. <b>• Joe Bakaj,</b> vice president of global product programs and product development at Ford of Europe, is appointed vice president of powertrain engineering. <b>• Raj Nair,</b> vice president of operations in the Asia Pacific and Africa, is elected an officer of the company and appointed vice president of engineering.
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