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.
More race news: According to Autoweek (Sept. 27, 1999), cars sporting Goodyear tires have won only two of the last 32 CART races. For the first eight months of 1999, Lexus was number one in the luxury department. According to Advertising Age, GM was the big spender for the first part of 1999, with $1.39 billion in advertising. Coming in second was DaimlerChrysler, at $720 million. GM holds the title of the nation's leading media spender among all advertisers of that time period.
On The Road WithKia RetonaIsn't this completely cool? Nope, it's not the redesigned Wrangler-it's the Kia Retona, available only in Korea. The Retona is a military vehicle available to civilians (like the Hummer), but if a war breaks out, the military can borrow it back from the owners. In addition to a flat windshield, it has a 2.0L engine that puts out 136 hp at 6,000 rpm and 134 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm, and it's hooked to a five-speed manual transmission.
Other specs are a 92.9-inch wheelbase, a 72.2-inch height, a double-wishbone front and four-link coil-sprung rear suspension, and a claimed 19.8 miles to the gallon (it has a 15.8-gallon fuel tank). This one was spotted in the U.S., but Kia says it has no plans to intro it here. We suggest they re-think that.
Tractor Pull!Were you there? In August, it was the 33rd annual National Tractor Pulling Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio, and more than 200 contenders from the U.S. and Canada competed for $150,000 and then some in money and prizes. There were six classes-mini-rods, pro-stock, super-stock tractors, two-wheel- and four-wheel-drive trucks, and modified dragster tractors. The show also featured toy and trade shows, a fan interaction tent, a retired-tractor museum, and souvenirs galore.
To get your John Deere into the 2000 championship, contact 'em at Dept. 4WOR, P.O. Box 401, Bowling Green, OH 43402, 419/354-1434. You can also visit www.pulltown.com for more info.
Where Were We Now?"The word 'big' doesn't really cut it. When attempting to describe the Suburban, you start reaching.... You might search for a nickname, and Shamu comes to mind. You try to think of other vehicles to compare it to. You realize there are none.""BIG In Capital Letters," 4WOR, Sept. '89
New Ford EnginesCome 2003, FoMoCo will have even more powerplant offerings, including brand-new 4.5L V-6 and 6.0L V-8 diesels for the fullsize trucks. Automotive News reports that a new five-speed automatic transmission is also on the horizon and can handle up to 500 lb-ft of torque.
On the gas side, the 5.4L Triton V-8 will sport a new three-valve cylinder head in order to make more horsepower and torque but less emissions. Same goes for the 4.6L V8.
Before You Hit the Dealership, Hit EbayEbay, a site ever so popular for its person-to-person trading, has designed an automotive section for buying and selling online. There are subcategories for cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, and parts. There's even "The Showroom" for the collector-car enthusiast and "The Gallery" for items going on auction in picture form, rather than text. There's said to be more than 25,000 listings in the automotive area, and you can browse, chat, and post about everything car related. While you're in there, check out the calendar of events coming to your town.
Political & Environmental Beat*GM has sent a nastygram to the Environmental Protection Agency, opposing the new tailpipe-emissions standards. By law, the EPA has to consider the comments by GM, but it's doubtful things will change.
*The National Transportation Safety Board has released a report that does not see a need for seatbelts in existing school buses. However, it has requested that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration create new standards by 2001. Maybe then we'll see seatbelts.
*In an effort to save 347,000 miles of roads, the United Four Wheel Drive Associations has filed a lawsuit to overturn environmental documents prepared by the chief of the U.S. Forest Service. United says it is "not willing to just stand by and let this administration redefine hundreds of thousands of miles of roads right out of existence. It is inexcusable, unethical, and a violation of federal law for the chief of the Forest Service to prepare environmental documents without public input."
*The Partnership for New Generation Vehicles is a venture between the U.S. government and Chevy, DaimlerChrysler, and Ford to increase automobile efficiency through development of new materials and fuels. The current obsession is to improve both the reputation and the gas mileage of SUVs.
*Pennsylvania's Department of Transportation has postponed indefinitely the idea of regulating bumper height. However, the bumper bar must fall within 16-20 inches for cars and 16-30 for light trucks and multipurpose passenger vehicles.
*The vehicle-scrappage bill in Texas did not pass.
*Some road closures are taking place in the Rattlesnake Mountains in Park County, Wyoming, because of "resource damage" from "uncontrolled motorized vehicle use of temporary logging roads," according to the Bureau of Land Management. They've been closed for rehabilitation and because these mountains are habitat for summering and wintering deer and elk.
*The Big Cypress Mountain Preserve in Florida is seeing some activity-the National Park Service has issued an Off-road Vehicle Management Plan/Supplement to the Final Environmental Impact Statement, which identifies and assesses potential impact of alternative options for the management of off-road vehicles.
To voice your support of or objection to a cause, visit Congress.org, a Web site that will help you contact your state rep. You can also check out the Bureau of Land Management (www.blm.gov) for information on this land that's your land.