January 23, 2014

As emerging markets like India and Brazil continue to grow, more and more of their citizens will enter the middle class. This relatively untapped consumer group presents plenty of lucrative opportunities for companies across the globe. However, finding the right products to sell to this expanding class is not so simple, even for companies operating in their home countries. For instance, Tata Motors launched its ultra-cheap Nano model as an introductory vehicle for Indian consumers. But with a price tag Continue reading

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December 3, 2013

Research and development has long been an expensive element of the auto industry. For decades devising even the smallest addition to an engine could cost millions of dollars and take as long as eight months to accomplish. But thanks to advances in technology over the last five years, engineers can now test dozens of designs within a virtual environment. As a result, automakers are at last seeking affordable innovations in fuel efficiency and overall vehicle performance.

For instance, in 2010 Continue reading

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November 19, 2013

 

For many image-conscious consumers, product customization provides a way to stand out from the crowd without searching high and low for something totally unique. At Big Shot Bikes, for instance, customers can choose the color and shape of up to 10 parts of the Colorado company’s fixed gear bikes. Once customers select their preferences, Big Shot assembles the bicycles and ships them to the buyers for under $500. With such a relatively reasonable price tag, the company wants consumers Continue reading

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October 6, 2013

As American manufacturing continues to improve, news reports about industry inevitably focus on the technological advances that drive many modern facilities. But not all of the nation’s factories are teeming with robots and high-powered computer systems. Due to razor thin operating budgets, a number of plants across the country use the same machinery they’ve relied on for decades. For instance, an Alcoa plant in Cleveland still presses aluminum alloys with a 50,000-ton forging machine that arrived on American soil from Continue reading

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penniesThere are many today who feel that the time has come to retire the penny even though it has been a mainstay of American currency for centuries. The venerable Abraham Lincoln-emblazoned coin has without a doubt seen better times. In 1913 it possessed 25 times more purchasing power than it does currently. The penny also used to be profitable to produce. In 1990 it cost 0.6¢ to make one of the copper-coated coins, resulting in a yield of 0.4¢ Continue reading

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March 1, 2013

The revival of American manufacturing is often cited as a clear indicator of the economy’s slow but sure recovery. After all, manufacturers added half a million new jobs since 2009, marking one of the few positives in this relatively sluggish upturn. But that statistic doesn’t tell the whole story: none of the workers who landed those manufacturing jobs are in a union. In fact, the number of union factory workers dropped by four percent from 2010 to 2012, just as Continue reading

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