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Covers the Hub of Macomb County’s Auto Industry

OCTOBER 19, 2009

VOL. 34 NO. 7

GM’s Driving Simulator ‘Wows’ Eye-Auto Attendees By Gerald Scott Staff Reporter GM sometimes gets criticized for allegedly being behind the curve when it comes to incorporating new technologies in its automotive product development, much less in the new cars and trucks themselves. But those critics perhaps never went for a “test drive” inside of the GM Driving Simulator, located at GM Research and Development at the Tech Center in Warren. A number of visitors to the recent “The Eye and the Auto” traffic safety conference held at GM R&D got the rare opportunity to go for a test drive in the GM Driving Simulator and most came away “wowed.” The GM Driving Simulator, which uses a late-model Corvette buck that is flanked by various screens that have everyday driving scenarios projected on them, is used for internal GM product development and not outside testing. Most university driving simulators, for example, are used

to measure driver acuity as part of federal or university research studies. GM’s is used for improving product development and smoothing out the ergonomics of what lately is called Human Machine Interface (HMI).

In fact, GM’s simulator is part of the HMI Lab at Research and Development, where staff research scientist Gary Bertollini gave the Eye/Auto visitors the chance to go for those photorealistic test drives.

GM’s Dr. Thomas Seder, Lab Group Manager, set the scene for the Eye-Auto visitors with his talk entitled, “Overview of HMI Research at General Motors – Emphasis on Automotive Enhanced Vision System.”

“You might think you come into a Human Machine Interface lab and see gadgets, knobs and displays – yeah, there’s that stuff – but it’s all about, as Larry Burns said, CONTINUED ON PAGE 3

JON MOSS, who retired as GM’s specialty vehicles manager in 2004, reflected on his 41-year career with the automaker recently. In Moss’ job, he crossed paths with the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., Zora ArkusDuntov and Jay Leno.

Retiree Recalls The Glory Days, Dale Earnhardt By Gerald Scott Staff Reporter

PHOTO: ALEXIS SMITH ‘EYE AND THE AUTO’ visitors at GM Research check out the Driving Simulator in the Human Machine Interface lab at the Tech Center.

Clinton Twp. Soldier is Finalist in National Chevrolet Contest Chevrolet, the official ride of country music, is encouraging families and friends of U.S. military servicemen and women to support an inspirational salute to “America’s Heroes” at Chevy has chosen five finalists whose stories, submitted by loved ones, have best demonstrated the military spirit of overcoming obstacles, inspiring others and positively impacting their coun-

try and their community. TSgt. Kurt Brunsman, a resident of Clinton Township, was chosen as one of the five national finalists out of more than 1,000 entries. The promotion officially kicked off on Sept. 10 and will now culminate during the “43rd Annual CMA Awards” on Nov. 11 – Veterans Day. The show will be broadcast live on ABC Television, where the winning U.S. serviceman or

Sterling Hts. Manufacturing CEO Goes to Bat for Entire Industry By Stefanie Carano Staff Reporter One little power product company in Sterling Heights these days is speaking volumes on behalf of small manufacturers across the nation. Myron Zucker’s CEO, Donna Zobel, 49, has been working with the U.S. Department of Commerce and other government entities on the challenges facing small and midsized manufacturers to develop sustainable manufacturing practices and how to retain a viable manufacturing economy overall. “If we just become a service industry, or if we become a consumer-driven economy where we just consume, there’s a lot of potential here in this country that we would’ve lost,” Zobel said. Sustainability is the future of manufacturing, she said, because when an industry does not commit to these practices, quality of life usually goes away. A manufacturer will have to look at the entire life cycle of their product from inception all the way to obsolescence to make sure that their business model is sustainable. Yet, she said, manufacturers, particularly smaller ones, are facing so many challenges to the survival of their business that they are not able to find the time even to research sustainable incentive programs that government entities like the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are


collectively offering. “A lot of manufacturers don’t know where to start to become energy-efficient,” Zobel said. “There’s a lot going on out there but it just seems out of reach for the small manufacturers who are trying to stay in business.” Zobel said there are also fears among manufacturers of working too closely with

woman will attend the awards and have the opportunity to meet NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., after the show. Reigning CMA Male and Female Vocalist of the Year Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood return for a second year to host what is described as “Country Music’s Biggest Night.” Meanwhile, Brunsman’s wife in Clinton Township helped her husband reach the finals

TACOM Contract The U.S. Army TACOM LifeCycle Management Command in Warren has awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $647 million contract for 352 Stryker military vehicles. Work on the project will be done in Sterling Heights; Lima, Ohio; and London, Ont. Vehicle deliveries will begin in July, 2010. This award continues vehicle production under the Stryker program, which was initially awarded to a General Dynamics team in 2000. To date, General Dynamics has delivered 2,988 vehicles and trained 18,438 soldiers in their operation. The U.S. Army has seven Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, three of which are deployed in combat zones: two in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. Stryker Brigade Combat Teams have operated with “historically high” mission availability rates in Iraq since October 2003, demonstrating the value of a mobile force that can move rapidly as a cohesive and networked combinedarms combat team, the Army says. Stryker vehicles have logged more than 24 million miles during twelve rotations at an average sustainment cost of about $14 a mile.


with her essay, which says, in part, “My husband is one of the most courageous firefighters I know . . . It is not the things he did in Iraq that makes him a hero to me, it is the man he is day in and day out,” she wrote. “He is one of the most positive, forgiving, thoughtful people I know. He coaches basketball in his off time. He loves his family more than anything in the world and it shows day

in and day out. He not only sacrifices his body for his family and country, he puts his soul into it as well,” she added. Meanwhile, the public is encouraged to pay a visit to that “youreverydayhero” Website to view the outstanding story of each of the five national finalists, including the local entrant from Clinton Twp., and then vote for the story that inspires one the most.

Sheriff Weighs In on DWI Trend such, a woman’s excessive drinking is more likely to get public exposure. Spending The numbers are in and less time at home means they depict a disturbing reali- spending other places drunk, ty – more women are being ar- including the driver’s seat of a rested for drunk driving than CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ever before. In a study released by the FBI, the percentage of women arrested for Driving While Intoxicated jumped 28.8 percent from 1997 to 2007, while DWI arrests for men have gone down slightly, 7.5 percent, over that same period of time. “Impaired driving is an issue that cuts across all segments of society and, sadly, the number of arrests of women under the influence is on the rise,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told the press. “This is clearly a very disturbing trend.” The statistics were released shortly after the press reported the story of 36-year-old Diane Schuler, a New York mother of four who caused the death of eight people including herself and her children, while driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. When it comes to discovering why more women are getting caught “wasted behind the wheel,” experts say there are several things to consider. Dr. Gerald Sheiner, a forensic psychiatrist with a specialization in addiction on faculty at Wayne State University, said, first, intoxicated driving laws are now being enforced on more of a 24-hour basis rather than a night-andMORE WOMEN are getting arweekend basis. Second, traditional gender rested for intoxicated driving, roles have changed and as according to the FBI.

By Stefanie Carano Staff Reporter

This being 2009, there just aren’t that many people left associated with GM, active or retired, who personally remember working with the likes of GM industrial icons Pete Estes, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Robert Stempel and even John Z. DeLorean. But Jon Moss is such a man. Moss retired in 2004 following a stellar 41-year career at General Motors and he still lives in Macomb County (although he winters in Arizona) and he’s still a player on the muscle car and performance aftermarket circuit. Moss is remembered as being the special vehicles guy for both Chevy and all of GM and during his heyday, he was often described as the one guy who had the “most fun job at General Motors, by far.” That’s because, in part, the job put him in regular contact with the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Sr., Jay Leno, Tim Allen, all true car guys who tapped Chevy for aftermarket and performance vehicle expertise via Moss and his group. Before he left for Arizona recently, Moss sat for an interview, now five years into retirement, to talk about his favorite memories of his four decades at GM. “I was GM Special Vehicles Manager,” Moss recalled. “The last almost 10 years I was at the Renaissance Center. I started out my career, went from a designer, to design-engineer, to development engineer, to manager. “Then about in 1985, I came back to the Tech Center and was a chassis systems manager. When the L car, Beretta, was coming out, I started reviving the old Mock-up and Design Check Area for that engineering group. I was there for almost a year. “(Don) Runkle was then the head of Chevy marketing at that time. I worked for him back in Chevy Engineering CONTINUED ON PAGE 6

Consumer Fuel Guide EPA has unveiled the 2010 Fuel Economy Guide, which gives consumers important data about estimated fuel costs and mileage standards for model-year 2010 vehicles. It is available on the EPA’s public Website found online at

DOT’s LaHood Gives Detroit Auto Industry High Marks By Christine Snyder Staff Reporter


Detroit automakers will get a good report card when U.S. Secretary of the Department of Transportation Ray LaHood returns to Washington, D.C., he told the Detroit Economic Club last week. LaHood addressed the DEC Oct. 13 at the Masonic Temple in Detroit and spent the previ-

ous day-and-a-half visiting with GM, Chrysler and Ford. “Spending time with the three automakers, I can tell you this: They are back. They get it. They will be making cars Americans want to drive,” said LaHood. “Anyone who hasn’t been out to GM, Ford or Chrysler, you would be thrilled. You should be proud.” LaHood said he was im-

pressed with the automakers’ enthusiasm and energy. “The auto industry is more innovative and fresh-thinking than we have seen in years,” said LaHood. “What I have seen and I will report back to the President today is great progress and enthusiasm here,” said LaHood. “I don’t know if there will need to be any more of a role from our end.”

LaHood addressed criticism about the government role in the automotive industry. “I know of no other President who took such an interest in the auto industry,” said LaHood. “He has had some criticism for it . . . especially with the Chrysler and GM (takeovers). He truly cares if the industry survives and thrives. I think the automak-

ers have proven they get it and they are back.” While in Detroit, LaHood got a chance to test-drive the Chevrolet Volt and he said he’s looking forward to attending the North American International Auto Show in January to see the electric vehicles the Detroit automakers will be showing off. CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

OCTOBER 19, 2009


Newest 3-D Software Aids Client Options

Automakers ‘Are Back, They Get It’ – Lahood

By Stefanie Carano Staff Reporter

get here and scratch their heads and wonder why they can’t find it in America.” LaHood said an announcement later in the year will detail the passenger rail plan. Implementing the rail system will take time, warned LaHood. “We have a state-of-theart highway system, but it took decades. High-speed rail will take decades.” On the local front, LaHood said that when he met with high school students at the DEC pre-luncheon reception, a student said a bus that he takes to school was canceled. “It is a problem,” said LaHood, who said he is going to suggest that a transit team come to Detroit. “The value of (visiting) is you can find out what the real issues are. What I told the Mayor (of Detroit) is I think we should have some transit people come out and see what we could do to be helpful and improve transit in this region.”


LaHood said the Cash for Clunkers program was an unequivocal success. “It was not only a lifeline for the auto industry but the spin-off from it was (substantial),” said LaHood, who ticked off the benefits: sales tax generation; cleaner air; finance boom, and junk dealer businesses. “This was a win, win, win, win for America. “Nobody can legitimately criticize this program . . . not with 700,000 cars sold. It was the wisest use of tax dollars and there shouldn’t be any complaints.” In other transportation news, LaHood said Detroit is in the running for the federal high-speed rail initiative. “Michigan will be in the ball game. It is not competitive with the auto industry,” said LaHood. “People who come here from Europe and (other) places with high-speed rail,

Style in today’s cars are being revolutionized with the use of the latest 3D visualization software. Using technology that seems to be advancing nearly every aspect of modern life, the automotive design process is now more efficient and enables car buyers and designers of any type of car to truly customize vehicles. “The intent is to shorten the design process so instead of always doing clay models, or full models or physical properties which take time to do, they make a lot of their early-on design decisions based on digital representation,” said Michael Check, director of sales and marketing for RTT USA in Royal Oak. “And, in order to do that, they want to have a full-size car representation digitally.” RTT, or Realtime Technology, headquartered in Germany, is one of a number of



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companies that create software for product design and product retail. RTT’s location in Royal Oak, one of only two in the United States, is providing this software and conducting work for local clients including GM, Ford, Chrysler, Porsche, Toyota, Nissan, Lamborghini and others. RTT USA Chief Operating Officer Peter Stevenson said about half of itsproduct development comes directly from a client’s request. “So, GM, for example, as a huge client, they have a big say in what we develop next and where we take the technology,” Stevenson said. The software is very complex and can be used in a wide variety of applications outside and inside the car. For auto interiors, using the company’s DeltaTex program, OEMs can examine the effects of different colors and textures in a vehicle interior without having to sew a single stitch. A swatch from the supplier is placed in front of a camera lens. The camera projects an image of the swatch onto a computerized image of a vehicle interior. The system allows you to choose where you want to put the swatch as well. Stevenson said the idea is to get all the interior material components to blend and look correct to the eye. So, if a designer conceives of a car with rusty-colored crocodile-texture material for the steering wheel wrap

ors and these cost a lot of money.” RTT works with BASF and PPG, who are now using the software in their color shows to show clients new colors. No more “every color as long as it’s black.” “If the client looks at this and says, ‘I want to see more sparkle,’ we can show more sparkle,” Peterson said. “We can do all the things they want to until it’s right and then we take a snapshot and have the paint company take it to the formula guy and say, ‘Match that.’” And the choice is made without having to use a drop of actual paint. A high-definition video screen helps clarify paint color and texture. With a Delta Gen feature called “virtual voice,” OEMs can hold car clinics where they present a computer-generated auto design, rather than a physical design. The physical design is still done today and, according to Stevenson, is very inefficient. “They show this to consumers. But if people come in and say, ‘Well, I don’t like that,’ then you’re done because it took you three months to build that model and they know you’re done. Or even if they say, ‘I like it but it should have round headlights, not square ones,’ then all they can do is note that down, whereas with our software you can change them,” he said.

RTT U.S.A. COO Peter Stevenson in Royal Oak. RTT creates software that opens up design choices and makes the process more efficient.

and a spice brown velvet texture wrap for the seat, they can instantly see it to determine whether it will work. “It’s instant gratification,” Peterson said. “We can take all the materials from the actual supplier in here and we can make sure that it’s all going to work. That even though you’ve ordered six different browns from six different manufacturers, when they show up, we can make sure that it still looks like they want it to look on the car.” A similar concept is done for exterior body paint. “Paint companies for a long time have wanted to go digital,” Stevenson said. “At the moment, they spend millions of dollars sending samples out to all their potential clients of all the different col-

CEO Takes Her Case to D.C. for Talks CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

the government and working with a government that often makes it difficult to operate privately in the U.S. “Some people are very upset. The idea that ‘our taxes remain so high that I must price my products to the point of being non-competitive just to cover my tax burden,’” Zobel said. “What we need to do is get people back to work. Right now, as a business owner, my taxes and my healthcare and all the expenses I have just to run a business in this area is very expensive – do I have to price my products to a point that I can’t compete? We need significant tax breaks so we can get going again, so we can price our products competitively, so we can bring our workers back.” Zobel said manufacturers need access to capital, to be able to receive business loans with very low interest and have access to all the incentives that it seems only the larger corporations can get these days. During her meeting with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., recently,, Zobel said it was mentioned that countries like China and India are more open to having manufacturers in their country and that governments work very closely with these companies to help sustain their business. China, she said, is learning from their mistakes in manufacturing as the United States did in the 1920s and 1930s. “They’ll learn quickly, more quickly than we did,” Zobel said, “and they’ll be able to, they know that they have to

PHOTO: STEFANIE CARANO AT MYRON ZUCKER in Sterling Hts., employee Sandy Andrews works on a device for a motor control center.

cal engineer, introduced the Calmount power factor correction capacitor. Zobel’s father, Bill Zobel, built specific panels for different applications. “Myron Zucker was working on these capacitors in the ’50s and contracted with my father to do builds for capacitors,” she said. “When Myron was ready to sell the business in the late ’80s he approached my father and sold it to my dad. So my dad had both this panel build business and the Myron Zucker capacitor line. When I came on board, there was still the two companies but I had to make the decision to have just one company.” When she took over the company, Zobel had come from a research and development position in cardiovascular medicine for Pfizer.

become (high) quality, safe and sustainable in terms of their manufacturing if they want to be competitive.” Recognizing this, she said the government wants U.S. manufacturers to be on a level playing field. “We’ve got all these idle plants in the U.S. that we need to get up and running again and we’ve got good workers, we’ve got the infrastructure that needs to be upgraded to be sustainable but it can be done and we can do it,” she said. “If we don’t get manufacturing up and going again, we won’t need banks because we won’t have people who are going to bank, and we bailed out the banks. We made a loan to the auto industry.” Zobel’s company, Myron Zucker, has been in business since 1954. Zucker, an electri-


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