Category Archives: Let’s Talk

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OC Auto Registrations, An Indication of Pending

Orange County in California has always been a very affluent place to live, home to many movie stars, corporate bigwigs and some generally well heeled individuals. What this amounts to is a very robust economy that can usually stave off any downturn that befalls many other regions of the United States but when you hear that the new car registration for January has fallen 28.5%, the biggest decline in two decades then you know times are hitting hard.

January is renown within the auto industry for being slow for car sales, with dealers trying to shed their last remaining inventory from the previous year and with generally good discounts available for those who want to venture but even these tactics with added incentives hasn’t bolstered the sales. The sale of vehicles in Orange County has already suffered a dramatic drop in 2007 by 9.2% and coming into the new year it was forecast that this year would fair no better with an additional 3.1% decline, that was before the January report. Continue reading OC Auto Registrations, An Indication of Pending


The Ultimate in being Green

January has started at a brisk pace for those who consider themselves green in Orange County, that is, the possible privilege to park in 3000 city-owned parking spaces free of charge just because they have purchased a hybrid powered vehicle. This was one of the proposal on the table to be considered by the Huntington Beach City Council on the night of January 22nd 2008 but unfortunately this proposal fell on deaf ears and resulted in a narrow defeat.

This is not a unique situation proposed by the beach community, as other cities throughout the United States have already adopted this stance with the city of Los Angeles being one of them. We all know that hybrid vehicles have been snapped up in their hundreds of thousands over the past couple of years with the Toyota Prius enjoying much of the action and like many other alternative fuel vehicles they already enjoy riding the carpool lane, free parking would just have been icing on the cake for these Huntington Beach locals. We can all relate to the current drive to conserve the nations precious resources and reduce the reliance on foreign oil but a quick decision to reward the few in prime parking would have been wasteful in terms of reduced revenue to the city, fortunately it did not pass.

The first thing that I have to asked myself is, why open such a can of worms, everyone in their own right does their bit to conserve energy, turning down the thermostat at home or be it just recycling bottles and cans and even the daily newspaper. Singling out a small percentage of the population who have chosen to purchase a hybrid vehicle because it’s a high profile statement does not warrant an extra pat on the back in my opinion and I’m fully behind this decision to reject the proposal. Continue reading The Ultimate in being Green

Leaders and Followers

The current credit crunch and ultimately gas prices are decimating a large segment of vehicles that are currently being offered by American companies to the public who right now are skittish at best when it comes to parting with their hard earned cash. The cash cows of yesteryear known as SUVs are on an even more rapid decline, with the more savvy public opting for a Toyota Prius, Honda Civic, Nissan Versa or other fuel sipping form of transport to combat the ever increasing cost of gas, in an economy that is teetering on recession.

For us in the Research and Development field all we can do is continue to model the visions that are offered hoping to hit a chord with the higher management who do have a pulse on today’s trends or do they? Continue reading Leaders and Followers

Digital Modeling and Milling

Today, much of the clay modeling development is being executed first by the alias modeler over a package with the direction coming from an aesthetic designer, eliminating the hands on approach in many instancies. In this type of environment it is easy to forget the basic structure that actually spawned this method of working, leaving huge gaps in the proving out of a clay model. It is automatically assumed that once the alias design has been approved by the lead designer the model will be milled out, with changes that are not so apparent being corrected at a later date. This method of working often leads to an end product that looks static and void of any emotion because that extra time needed to massage the surfaces in 3D has been eaten up be endless revisions in a 2D environment. Continue reading Digital Modeling and Milling

My Best 5 from the Top 5

Now that the group writing project has finished on Darren Rowse weblog a total of 893 participants managed to submit their top 5 list for the chance of winning the prize of $1001.00. When you consider that this tripled the number of participants from his previous high, money is oviously the controlling factor. After wading through this immense amount of information and yes it’s all good information the random draw winner was Nancy Callahan with her entry “Baby names from video games.” Continue reading My Best 5 from the Top 5

Car/Brand Spotting, Burbank to Huntington Beach

Top 5 image supplied by

Darren Rowse of fame launches his latest group writing project this week and as usual there are a multitude of fellow bloggers eagerly pecking at their keyboards in the hope of being the lucky one drawn out of the hat for this weeks mega prize, $1001.00 cash, kindly donated by Chitika eMinimalls.

With this type of incentive how many of his regular 20,000+ readers are going to storm his inbox, or should I say 20,000+1 after I get this puppy sent out. Anyway for my participation I’m going to give an insight to the brand of vehicle that Southern Californians gravitate towards.

To try and give a somewhat true perspective I have jotted down on a pad the brands that are regularly seen on my daily 48 mile commute from Huntington Beach to Burbank. I’ve decided to allow two round trips to give a fairly comprehensive result, considering I’m marking each brand of vehicle that passes me against the name on the pad. As you can imagine a certain amount of dexterity is involved therefore I’ve kept my driving to the number two and three lane so as not to “upset” too many of my fellow commuters. Continue reading Car/Brand Spotting, Burbank to Huntington Beach

How To Become a Clay Modeler

Recently I have been reading several forums that have had many posts on becoming a clay modeler. In those readings I’m finding that there seems to be a romance with this particular field in automotive design and yet many people have very little understanding in what it takes to become one. It would appear that the image that is being portrayed is, pick up a tool and scrape away until the desired shape is reached. This I’m afraid couldn’t be farther away from the truth. In industrial art certain parameters need to be kept and to create a form that is devoid of parameters will only come back to haunt you at a later stage in the program.

Having artistic flare is always a plus but you have to be able to translate a designers sketch to fit the package or parameters given, that is where the skill lies. Creating the best or closest resemblance to the sketch.

In my particular instance, to become a clay modeler I have progress through various fields. A road that wasn’t direct but through various related trades. For me I started at the age of sixteen as a pattermaker, this came about through my love of wood carving and wooden furniture which automatically placed me into finding a job where wood would play a major part in my daily activity. To determine a career at the age of sixteen is pretty much a hit and miss affair unless you are real focused. To help me with my decision the local careers officer would be at the school for the last two weeks before finally being pushed out to fend for myself and it was at that point that we I decided upon pattermaking. The whole process was based on the fact that I liked working in wood. Little did I know that only a small percentage of the apprentice patternmakers with Ford Motor Company would end up in the wood patternmaking shop, the rest would be working in metal!

During my apprenticeship I became familiar with using blue prints, hand tools and the workings of engines and all components that would have to be cast in a foundry. The fine tolerances that would improved water flow around an engine, the small difference in a wall thickness that could amount to massive savings in materials used during a years production. In that trade I would have to determine the best way and most productive way to produce a pattern for that specific component. It also meant that I had to go to college once a week for the duration of my apprenticeship to learn the theory behind the practical experience. In doing so I was fortunate to put those learnings to good use and hone my abilities, eventually ending up in the place I wanted to work, the wood shop. Continue reading How To Become a Clay Modeler

America’s Vehicle of Choice Is Japanese

After the results of all the tests conducted by the Consumer Reports Magazine were tallied the overall opinion is, a Japanese vehicle is the best for the American public. Apparently this is the second time that Japan’s automakers have shut out the domestic and European alternatives. In conducting these tests they rely on their own findings, car ownership reports, reliability and government safety rankings.

This is no small survey by any means, after collecting data from its subscriber base, a total of some 1.3 million vehicles were polled giving these results. The top ten are;

  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Fit
  • Honda Civic
  • Toyota RAV 4
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Toyota Prius
  • Infiniti M35
  • Infiniti G35
  • Maxda MX-5 Miata

Continue reading America’s Vehicle of Choice Is Japanese

Gas Misers, 30 MPG Vehicles

The launch of 2007 model year vehicles is upon us and the buzz is about the slew of 30 mpg cars and trucks that are available. The record gas prices of the summer has seen a change of heart for many people and the misconception that certain automotive companies only produce gas guzzlers is about to change. Predictably the Toyota Prius is the most fuel economical vehicle available now touting an impressive 51 mpg on the highway, 5 mpg less than the Honda Insight which ceases production for the 2007 model year.

General Motors has improved its position with numerous vehicles from its Chevrolet brand breaking the 30 mpg threshhold. Vehicles such as the Aveo 37 mpg, Cobalt 34 mpg, HHR 30 mpg, Impala 31 mpg, Malibu 34 mpg and the Monte Carlo 31 mpg all hit that 30 mpg threshhold.

That being said both Honda and Toyota have their thoroughbreds. With Honda, the Accord 34 mpg, Civic 40 mpg, CRV 40 mpg and the Fit new to the market with 38 mpg. Toyota not to be outdone provide you with the Rav4 30 mpg, Matrix 36 mpg, Corolla 41 mpg, Yaris 40 mpg and the Camry 34 mpg.

The one thing that the Asian companies have going for them is their already established hydrid technology which they have in place. This coupled with high gas prices helps them to enjoy record sales at this moment in time. Since General Motors has iced the Impact electric vehicle because of costs in producing each unit their energy has been channeled into Hydrogen fuel cell technology but this technology is still aways off for general transportation. Continue reading Gas Misers, 30 MPG Vehicles