A New Game In Town
Looking to make a big splash in the ever-growing pond of four-wheel drives, the newly imported ARO 4x4 may redefine the purpose-built four wheeler for entry-level buyers. That's a big piece to take for a first bite, but John Perez, President and founder of Eastern European Imports, is looking to sell more than 20,000 Romanian-built units for the '98 model year. We're told there are currently over 150 dealers across the U.S. ready to sell the ARO, with a suggested base price under $13,000. The "new" truck is built at the foot of the Carpathian mountains in Campulung, Romania, and is a variation of the Eastern European military vehicles built for over 35 years. The ARO is about the size of a four-door Geo Tracker, with a wheelbase of 92.5 inches, while motivation is listed as a U.S.-built 3.0-liter V-6 capable of 140 horsepower. The part-time transfer case (all AROs will be four-wheel drive) offers a high-range of 1.21:1 and low-range of 2.72:1, with manual-locking front hubs. Look for more details next month.
||IFS, coil springs/live axle,
||5-spd. manual or 3-spd. auto
|Ring and pinion
||3.07:1 or 4.56:1
|Ride height (in.)
|Ground clearance (in.)
|Curb weight (lb.)
|Weight dist., f/r(%)
|Fuel capacity (gal.)
Things Gone Right
In a recent quality survey typically dominated by imports, three of the four truck categories were led by American products. The Automotive Performance Execution and Layout (APEAL) survey from J.D. Power & Associates attempts to measure those aspects of recent purchases that made and make the buyer happy. The study addresses seats, vehicle styling, engine and transmission performance, comfort and convenience, ride and handling, climate controls, the cockpit and instrument panel, and sound system. The top scorers in the APEAL survey were:
Compact pickups: Dodge Dakota, GMC Sonoma, Ford Ranger.
Full-size pickups: Dodge Ram, Ford F-Series, Chevy C/K.
Compact SUVs: Toyota 4Runner, Mercury Mountaineer, Infiniti QX4.
Full-size SUVs: GMC Suburban, Ford Expedition, Lexus LX450.
• In honor of National Public Lands Day (September 27), Tread Lightly! decided to kick off its newest program, "Restoration for Recreation," and transform a 3-mile stretch of multi-use trails along Utah's Wasatch Front near Farmington, Utah. America Honda Motor Company donated an initial $100,000 for the first Restoration for Recreation project, with other volunteer opportunities available to give time, sweat, and elbow grease. For more information about Tread Lightly!, the Restoration and Recreation program, or volunteering, contact Tread Lightly!, Dept. FW, 298 24th St., Suite 325, Ogden, UT 84401, 800/966-9900.
• Borg-Warner Automotive will continue its sponsorship of the Manufacturers' Challenge Cup at the World Championship Off-Road Races in Crandon, Wisconsin, through the year 2000. The $120,000 hand-crafted Cup stands 44 inches tall and is made of sterling silver and 18-karat gold. Borg-Warner currently manufactures transfer cases for Ford, Isuzu, Land Rover, SsangYong, and Mercedes-Benz.
• As if there isn't enough high-tech problem-solving going on in racing, Rod Hall has been using a Raytheon Thermal Imaging System (RTIS) to navigate the rugged desert terrain. With NightDriver mounted on his Hummers last year, Hall raced through dust and the dark to win his class in the Baja 1000 by more than 13 minutes. For more information, contact Rod Hall International at 702/331-4800.
• With 25 years of experience behind them, Bilstein monotube high-pressure shock absorbers are just about everywhere: huge aftermarket applications, race trucks, motorhomes, exotic race cars, and sourced by several manufacturers as original equipment. From its assembly plant in Hamilton, Ohio, the manufacturing division of Krupp Bilstein of America has produced its one-millionth shock in just two years. Bilsteins are used extensively on Chevy and GMC trucks, as well as Ron Hornaday, Jr.'s, NASCAR race truck and Rusty Wallace's Winston Cup ride. For more information, contact Krupp Bilstein of America, Dept. FW, 8845 Rehco Rd., San Diego, CA 92121, 619/453-7723.