Crew Cab Raptor on the Way
Listening to its customers has been an important tool in the resurgence of Ford, and when the Raptor was first announced in one body configuration only, potential customers made it known that they wanted more choices. While the monster 145-inch wheelbase of the Raptor Crew Cab is likely to dilute the SuperCab's awesome dirt-road performance, it will also make the Raptor program more profitable, which means Ford is likely to keep investing in the truck. We expect the Crew Cab to offer a 6 1/2-foot bed, compared to the 5 1/2-foot bed offered on the SuperCab model. Expect to see the official announcement in Detroit or Chicago.
2011: Year Of The Super Duty
At the Texas State Fair in September, Ford unveiled its 2011 Super Duty with a list of upgrades a mile long. Not only does the Super Duty feature a new engine line-up, but it also gets a redesigned front clip, an upgraded interior, and enough unique features to win over the most hardened Chevy guy. Highlights of the new Super Duty include an enhanced 5.4L V-8, all-new 6.2L V-8, and the highly anticipated in-house 6.7L Power Stroke turbodiesel V-8. While official power numbers were not available at press time, the 6.7L Power Stroke is expected to make 400 horsepower and 725 lb-ft of torque, compared with the 350/650 power rating of the current 6.4L Power Stroke, and will have an available exhaust brake. Both gas engines can run on E85 ethanol, while the turbodiesel will be rated for B20 biodiesel. Backing up the engines is a new six-speed automatic transmission with a PTO provision. Also new to the Super Duty is an F-150-like electronic rear locker and hill descent control. For those of you who tow, Ford will offer a factory fifth wheel package on the new Super Duty, as well as trailer sway control with roll stability control. Ford says the interior has been made more comfortable with improvements to NVH and ride, along with more comfortable F-150 seats, a new color information display in the instrument cluster, 110-volt outlet and increased storage. We'll report back on our experience with the new truck as soon as Ford lets us get our hands on one.
New Hummer HQ To Stay In Michigan
Thanks to more than $20 million in tax credits over ten years, the newly divorced-from-GM Hummer LLC will retain its headquarters in southeast Michigan. Areas being considered are Auburn Hills, home of Chrysler, as well as Detroit proper. Other States that were in the running included Tennessee and South Carolina. The decision to stay in Michigan is estimated to save 1,000 local jobs, 300 directly with the auto manufacturer.
BFG Declares Nation of GO
BFGoodrich Tires recently announced an action-packed online gathering place for those who live for the thrill of the drive. The place is NationofGO.com, and its purpose is to provide an online community where people with a passion for driving can celebrate and share what they love to do best. While there are many different types of automotive enthusiasts-some who live for the trail, others who live for the road-all are driven by the same thing: a passion for GO. Created for enthusiasts by enthusiasts, BFGoodrich Tires took all of the action of auto and housed it all under one roof at NationofGO.com. The Nation of GO allows members to create driver profiles; map roads, tracks and trails; upload photos and videos; post blogs and events; start discussions on forums; and follow pro drivers. It's a community that enables members to connect with others who share a common passion. Among other innovations, the Nation of GO combines Google Maps with BFG's own mobile mapping application to make plotting your favorite roads and trails easy. There is even an iPhone and Blackberry app that allows members to track a drive and take geotagged photos that can be uploaded in real-time with just the click of a button, creating a seamless connection between the real world and the community. Check it all out at www.nationofGO.com.
Chrysler Manuals Go Digital
Chrysler owner's manuals are going digital for 2010, freeing up gloveboxes to carry more than just a 4-pound book. The switch will save 930 tons of paper, or the equivalent of 20,000 trees on an annual basis. 2010 Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge vehicle will come with a comprehensive DVD and a full-color printed user guide-most between 60 to 80 pages-that highlights commonly needed information. The printed user guide includes photos and diagrams, allowing customers to quickly find assistance for emergency situations such as changing tires, jump-starting a battery, or assessing warning lights. Customers requiring a traditional printed manual may obtain one by contacting their dealer or by calling customer service.
GM Cancels Unibody Pickup
GM has apparently had a change of heart on its midsize unibody pickup truck that would have competed against the Honda Ridgeline. According to Automotive News, GM's research indicated that the fuel economy gains were not going to be as high as expected, and costs would have made the truck's target price too high for those unwilling to pay more for less capability.
After 37 years in America, the B-Series pickup will no longer be offered by Mazda.
Rumors persist that the current Ranger may be produced all the way into 2012, when the global T6 truck is slated to replace it.
The 2010 Nissan Titan 4x4 will start at $29,170.