It Had to be the Dana 44
Working in the magazine industry, we're often reminded that we aren't perfect. Sometimes we remind ourselves, and other times we leave it to you, the readers, to levy this distinction. Most recently, we earned it via the "Axle Spotter's Guide" that appeared on page 90 of the May '01 issue. Somewhere along the line of putting together the story, the photo of the Dana 44 got shuffled out and replaced with one of a GM 12-bolt. Jim Huff at HyTech Automotive & 4x4 Service in Las Cruces, New Mexico, was the first reader to bring this to our attention, though we expect to hear from many others. We apologize for the mistake and hope it didn't confuse too many of you with a Dana 44 under your rig. The correct photo appears at left.
Freightliner Brings Unimog Stateside
Introduced in 1948 as a multipurpose farm vehicle, the Unimog, short for UNIversal-MotorGert or universal power unit, is beginning yet another chapter of its life. Big rig player, Freightliner, will manufacture and market a new Unimog in North America in 2002.
Though the Unimog has been sold in the U.S. since the early 1950s, it has jumped from marketer to marketer, starting with Mercedes-Benz, then J.I. Case, back to Mercedes-Benz, then to Schmidt Engineering and Equipment Company, and back to Mercedes-Benz in 1991. This time around, DaimlerChrysler subsidiary, Freightliner, will take the helm, offering the hefty 4x4 in a medium-duty configuration with all the bells and whistles of a modern SUV.
The new 'Mog will be available with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) of as much as 27,500 pounds, and with short and long wheelbases. Engines will be four- and six-cylinder Mercedes offerings mated to the Telligent Shift Control System automated-mechanical transmission, a unit said to combine the best attributes of both manual and automatic transmissions. Other features include the optional VarioPilot, a system that lets you move the steering wheel, pedals, and the necessary switch controls from one side of the vehicle to the other in under one minute. Freightliner will also offer a SportChassis version for the sport and recreation market. Suggested retail base price will be $84,000. Look for the Freightliner Unimog starting in late 2001.
There's trouble in manufacturer land over GM's '02 Hummer H2 SUV. Turns out DaimlerChrysler is not too thrilled over the use of a Jeep-like grille design on the new GM beast. Spokespeople for DC filed a suit over the matter, stating that GM allegedly appropriated the trademarked design, which they contend is one of the world's most recognizable auto-styling features.
DC cited that in an independent analysis conducted by a market research firm it was determined that the new Hummer grille is likely to mislead potential buyers. Nearly 2/3 of all Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee owners taking part in the survey incorrectly associated the H2 with a Jeep, and more than 50 percent of the other SUV owners polled did the same. Why did they think it was a Jeep? Well, it was that Jeep grille design, of course. DC wants GM to recall all H2s shipped with the Jeep-like grille, account for all profits made from it, and pay for the trademark infringement and related violations. Can't everyone just get along? We'll keep you posted.