Sun Sets On Hummer
After years of mismanagement and mixed messages, GM has finally decided to eliminate the Hummer brand, despite having credible buyers ready to take it over. After the sale fell through to Chinese company Sichuan Tengzhong, American company Raser Technologies reiterated its desire to purchase the company. Raser was one of the original front-runners who lost out to Tengzhong. While we were big fans of the product, as demonstrated by its 2008 Four Wheeler of the Year and 2009 Pickup Truck of the Year wins, Hummer suffered from poor marketing messages and an over-exuberant green movement that made Hummer its poster child for waste-a title the brand didn't really deserve. So why invest so much effort to sell Hummer, yet pull the plug when there were potential buyers? We'd say that GM has decided to take what engineering lessons it has learned from the Hummer brand and apply them to the Chevrolet and GMC brands to make more capable trucks. To all of the great people we've worked with over the years at the Hummer brand, we wish you the very best.
GM Invests in Gen-V Small-Block
After 55 years of continued production and nearly 100 million units produced, General Motors is reaffirming its faith in is line-up of small-block V-8 engines by announcing that it is investing more than $890 million to build its next-generation passenger car and truck engines, dubbed the Gen V. The new OHV V-8 engines will utilize aluminum blocks and direct injection, as well as a new combustion system design to greatly improve efficiency. The Gen V family of engines will also be flex-fuel capable and will meet the more stringent emission requirements that will go into effect later in the decade. Expect to see these engines in 2013 and beyond while creating more than 1,600 jobs at five North American factories.
Toledo to Celebrate Jeep With Off-Road Park?
The Toledo Blade has reported that Toledo and Jeep are interested in honoring the Jeep Wrangler's 70th birthday this summer by building a Jeep off-road park on the now-vacant 70-acre site where the old Toledo Jeep Assembly plant once stood. The site, which is adjacent to Interstate 75, still has one of the old smokestacks and has more than enough land for obstacles, such as hills, mud bogs, and rock gardens. We hope that they are able to pull it off in time.
2010 Outstanding Trails Announced
Over the past five years, BFGoodrich has used its Outstanding Trails program to recognize 19 trails and donate over $70,000 to the clubs that oversee them. The program was established to raise awareness for responsible use, and preservation of, off-road trails while providing aid in the trails' conservation efforts. The class of 2010 Outstanding Trails covers the map from the Mojave Desert in Southern California to the green forests of Pennsylvania. The trails were narrowed down and selected by United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), Tread Lightly!, and BFGoodrich Tires and are:
Rausch Creek, Pennsylvania provides a fun, legal place for 4x4 off-road clubs and organizations to go "wheeling." The off-road park consists of 1,700 acres of easy, intermediate and hard trails. Rocks, bowls, hills, the glacial "Rock Creek," club-friendly trails, and free on-site camping combine to make Rausch Creek a unique 4x4 destination.
Drummond Island, Michigan has some of the most scenic and rugged off-road trails in the state of Michigan. With more than 117 miles of trail in a closed-loop system, Drummond Island's off-road trails provide a wide range of riding opportunities. Surrounded by the waters of Lake Huron in a true wilderness setting, the riding experience is un-paralleled by any other place in Michigan. With abundant wild life, lush vegetation, and sweeping vistas, the trails on Drummond Island are truly special.
Yacolt Burn, Washington is located in the Yacolt Burn State forest and features OHV trails that have been shut down for a long time. There are several clubs, including the Piston's Wild Motorsports, that are working to get these trails cleaned up and ready to use once again. This is a relatively new 4x4 trail system that expects to have approximately 25 miles of dedicated off-roading very soon.
Johnson Valley, California is home to King of the Hammers, the ultimate desert race. Johnson Valley offers a varied landscape for the off-road driver. It is punctuated by steep red rocky mountains, rolling hills, open valleys, dry lake beds, and sandy washes. Elevations range from 4,600 feet at Hartwell Hills to 2,300 feet at Melville Dry Lake. The area's beautiful vegetation consists of creosote scrub, annual grasses, wild flowers, and Joshua trees.
Holy Cross, Colorado is a scenic and challenging high mountain trail in central Colorado. It is an old mining trail that was built and used until 1883, when the mines on Mt. Holy Cross played out. One of the more challenging 4x4 trails in Colorado, Holy Cross holds a rating of 8 to 9 on a 10-point difficulty scale.
BFGoodrich Tires will host several events honoring each of the five trails beginning in June and running through October. The events will highlight the beauty and uniqueness of each trail, as well as educate off-road enthusiasts as to the responsible use of trails. A grant will also be awarded to each of the clubs associated with the trails to help conserve the trail's beauty.
Ram Offers Factory Spray-On Bedliner
Ram is now offering a factory spray-on bedliner option on all 2010 Ram trucks, including all trim levels, cab, and bed configurations. The factory-offered bedliner will cost $450 and comes with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty. The spray-on liner weights 10 pounds less than a comparable plastic drop-in liner, reduces NVH, has better chemical and abrasion resistance, and improves in-bed traction. The spray-on compound has been extensively tested for UV stability and surface adhesion. Standard thickness is 3mm on horizontal surfaces, including tailgate, and 2 mm on vertical surfaces.
GM has announced that its 2011 HD pickups will start at $27,965. Duramax buyers will have to pay an extra $8,395 for the turbodiesel and six-speed Allison automatic transmission, the same as 2010.
Jeep will offer an SRT-8 version of the next Grand Cherokee. Expect a 500hp 6.4L version of the SRT-tuned Hemi. (Drool. -Ed.)
The 2011 Jeep Wrangler will see an extensive interior refreshening.
Land Use Notes
Off-Highway Vehicle Trails in 11 Western States Could Be in Jeopardy
A U.S. Department of the Interior document indicates that the agency plans to designate 14 new or expanded national monuments in the western United States. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar provided subsequent assurances that the plans were preliminary and that the Obama Administration will invite input from the local communities, governors, and Congress if the plans move forward. Unlike wilderness designations, motorized recreation is permitted within national monuments. However, closing off-highway vehicle (OHV) roads and trails can be a frequent byproduct when land receives the National Monument designation. The potential monuments encompass nearly 13 million acres and could include popular OHV areas such as the San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa (Utah), Berryessa Snow Mountains and Bodie Hills (California), parts of the Great Basin (Nevada), the Otero Mesa (New Mexico), and the northwest Sonoran Desert (Arizona). SEMA supports land-use decisions that are reasonable and enjoy local community support. However, SEMA opposes unnecessarily restrictive land-use policies. Under current law, the president may designate national monuments without Congressional approval. However, legislation has been introduced in Congress to rescind this option. SEMA is urging the U.S. Congress to take an active role in determining the size of monuments if such a designation is deemed appropriate and for existing OHV roads and trails to be specifically included within the permitted uses on such lands.
Wilderness Legislation Threatens Off-Road Trails in Colorado
The House Resources Committee held a hearing on the Colorado Wilderness Act, a bill to designate 850,000 acres in 34 separate areas as wilderness. No motorized activity is permitted in such designated lands. The areas include lands around Redcloud Peak, Dolores River Canyons, the Palisade, Bull Gulch, and Browns Canyon. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service manage most of the land. Representatives for both federal agencies testified that the legislation is too sweeping and should exclude certain areas where motorized recreation, mining, timber harvest, and other activities currently exist.