Did You KnowGM is trying to boost sales in Japan and may start building vehicles there. If it happens, it'll be the first time since World War II.
New Diesel EnginesThe heavy-duty '01 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra will see the Duramax 6.6L V8 engine, but did you know that it's a joint venture between GM and Isuzu? The Japan-based Isuzu Motors Ltd. designed and developed the replacement for the 6.5L turbodiesel.
Fun With NumbersMitsubishi's year-to-date sales are up, up, up 24 percent from last year, and September was the third consecutive month of best ever for the company. Also, 1999 was the best model year in history in the U.S. for Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, and Jeep. And finally, 470,000 European vehicles have been sold in the United States, as compared to the 52,000 American autos gobbled up by Europeans.
Know A Little About A Lot Of ThingsWhat Is Slickrock?It's a parallelism with any event coverage of Moab, Utah, of course! Actually, it's not limited to Moab, although it is found predominantly in the southwestern Utah area. Slickrock is rock but it's not actually slick. It's Navajo sandstone, which is gritty-a lot like sandpaper-making for excellent traction. The sandstone began as sand dunes that were buried, turned to rock, and weathered away to what you see today. And the light white/pink coloring is just stain from different mineralization.
What's Inside An Airbag?According to Peter Smith of Airbag Service International, it's a propellant, much like solid rocket fuel, that creates a gas upon combustion, which inflates the bag. On some of the newer hybrid models, there is an explosive that ruptures a canister of compressed gas. The common chemical used is sodium azide, which is very toxic if exposed directly. Once the airbag deploys, it's harmless, because it turns to sodium bicarbonate-better known as baking soda.
How Do Electric Vehicles Work?First off, to be hip, call 'em EVs. What gets their motors running, so to speak, is just that-an electric motor. Electricity commonly comes from a battery pack (the battery can be lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride, or lithium-ion), and recharging can take four to eight hours, depending on how much juice has already been sucked. The electric motor is essentially the drivetrain, sending power to the tires.
If there's something you've always been wondering about, ask us! Write to 4-Wheel & Off-Road, Know a Little, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or fax 323/782-2704.
Campfire TalkThe '01 Chevy Suburban-based SUV/truck will be called Avalanche. The next-generation Kia Sportage will get a V-6 (finally!) and be 13 inches longer. Mitsubishi will sell a small SUV in the U.S.
Wondering what the redesigned '01 Jeep Cherokee's gonna look like? We've heard it'll be taller and-don't cringe-more "cute/ute" sized. The spare tire might be mounted on the tailgate. The "off-roadster" is the nickname of a concept Isuzu VehiCross, which ditches the backseat and becomes a convertible.
Ford is going to stop selling rebadged Mazdas in Japan in an effort to nab that market for itself. Watch for a 3-plus-liter inline-six to replace the 4.3L V-6 in the S-10, Blazer, and Jimmy for 2002. Buying a 2000-model vehicle? Thought you should know that automakers raised the prices nearly across the board on cars, trucks and sport/utilities. Prices jumped anywhere from $50 to $1,500. Remember those SUVs coming jointly from Porsche and VW? They're coming in 2002. Although they'll share a platform, they'll differ in styling and be built in separate plants.
Renault is going to enter the 4x4 market in early 2000 with its Scenic RX4, which looks a lot like a squashed Mercedes-Benz M-class and has 2.0L gas and 1.9L diesel power. It's set to compete with the Land Rover Freelander and Honda CR-V. Racing fan? Toyota will enter its own team in the 2003 Formula One.