Beginning in the jungles of southeast Asia and traveling to the high plains of South America, the 2005 Land Rover G4 Challenge promises to be even tougher and more spectacular than the inaugural 2003 event. The Challenge will start off in Bangkok, Thailand, and trek across four countries on two continents to finish in Bolivia. All Land Rover models will be used in the 2005 Challenge, including the all-new LR 3, as well as a fifth vehicle that has yet to be announced. With mild modifications from stock form, the vehicles will be used as a base of operations for the competitors as they drive, bike, climb, and kayak their way toward the finish. The vehicles will not only carry an array of equipment that will aid the competitors in their journey, but will also be used in daily 4x4 driving challenges.
Men and women from 18 nations will compete in binational teams over a four-week period in October 2005. Each participating nation will hold a National Selections event in order to identify its top three competitors. Those individuals will then move on to an International Selections event, where only one competitor from each nation will be selected to participate in the Land Rover G4 Challenge. The overall winner of the G4 Challenge will receive a new Range Rover, as well as the distinction of beating out a tough field of competitors. Prospective Land Rover G4 Challenge competitors can apply online at www.landroverg4challenge.com or complete an entry form at a local Land Rover dealer.
Suzuki And Consumers Union Settle LawsuitThe Suzuki Motor Corporation and Consumers Union of the U.S. Inc. (CU) has announced that the 1996 product-disparagement lawsuit regarding the Suzuki Samurai sport utility vehicle has been settled and will be dismissed. Suzuki filed the suit against Consumers Union after CU's statement that the '88 Samurai "easily rolls over in turns." The two parties disagreed with respect to the validity of CU's short-course avoidance-maneuver tests of the Samurai in 1988. Suzuki disputed the validity of the protocol and findings of the tests, while CU stood by its protocol and findings.
In the settlement, Suzuki and CU acknowledged mutual respect, with CU recognizing Suzuki's stated commitment for designing, manufacturing, and marketing safe vehicles, and Suzuki recognizing CU's stated commitment for objective and unbiased testing and reporting. CU also clarified its initial statement that the '88 Samurai "easily rolls in turns" was limited to the severe turns in CU's short-course avoidance maneuver and that use of the word easily may have been misconstrued and misunderstood. CU also indicated that it never intended to state or imply that the Samurai easily rolls over in routine driving conditions. CU has never questioned the safety of any other Suzuki model it has tested and has praised the Suzuki Sidekick and recommended the Suzuki Vitara/XL-7.
Jeep Sponsors Warren Miller Film TourIn a new two-year agreement, Jeep will become the title sponsor of Warren Miller Entertainment's annual feature-film tour. The partnership joins two brands well-known as purveyors of action and adventure. Since 1949, the annual release of Warren Miller's film represents the official start of winter for many skiers and snowboarders worldwide. Jeep vehicles will appear in the film and at select screening event locations, with Warren Miller Entertainment coordinating sweepstakes and special promotions for Jeep at every tour stop. Warren Miller Entertainment has also introduced on-mountain, television, and music components into existing Jeep-brand programs. Jeff Bell, vice president of Jeep, Chrysler Group, commented, "Jeep-vehicle owners and Warren Miller film fans share the desire to venture into hard-to-reach locations and truly experience the great outdoors." The 2004 film will feature segments filmed in France, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico, and throughout the U.S.
Ontario's F-150 Truck Plant Closes ShopFirst opened in 1965, Ford's Ontario truck plant recently marked the end of production when the last '04 Ford Heritage F-150 pickup was driven off the assembly line. Having begun production on August 26, 1965 with the '66 Ford F-100, the Ontario truck plant went on to create more than 4 million light, medium, and heavy trucks during its 39-year career. The 1,300 employees at Ontario Truck are either moving to the Oakville Assembly Plant located next door to build the Ford Freestar minivan, or have chosen to take an early retirement incentive package. Plant manager Mike Vandelinder commented, "We have always been proud of what we build here at Ontario Truck, and that tradition continues today. You can be sure that our last truck is a great truck. This plant has produced Canada's best-selling pickup truck for all its 39 years and has repeatedly been selected to build some of Ford's hottest specialty pickups."
Located in Oakville, Ontario, near Toronto, Ford's Ontario truck plant sits on 94 acres and houses a body shop, paint facility, and an assembly line that stretches 10 miles and includes 218 robots. It was the only plant in North America chosen to build the SVT F-150 Lightning, the fastest pickup ever, and the limited-edition '00 Harley Davidson F-150. Currently producing the Heritage F-150 at the time of its close, more than 112,000 vehicles were built at Ontario Truck last year.