Like its sibling Silverado that we showed you last month, GMC's Sierra is also due for a mild exterior freshening for 2011. While it may look like the improvements such as the new grille, hood, and bumper are only skin-deep, sources tell us that the new GM heavy-duty trucks are nearly all-new under the skin. In addition to the next-generation LML Duramax, GM is said to be developing a large-displacement gas engine that is expected in a couple of years. Most interesting about this Denali prototype is the presence of diesel cues, such as the venturi tailpipe and diesel hood seen on other GMC HD Duramax mules. Until now, the Denali has only been available with a gas engine.
Ram Brand Rollout Continues Chrysler continues the roll out of its newly separate Ram brand. The Ram brand recently released its own consumer website, which features the entire Ram truck lineup, including Dakota. In addition to the website, you will soon notice new signage at dealerships, with all four of Chryslers brands being represented. For more information, point your browser to www.ramtrucks.com.
Mini Wants to Get Dirty It may not be a true four-wheel drive, but we thought this Mini concept unveiled at the North American International Auto Show was interesting enough to share. The Mini Beachcomber is a precursor to the upcoming production Mini SUV, to be called Countryman. The Beachcomber features Mini's ALL4 all-wheel drive system, an open design with seating for four, and an innovative tie-down system. A more robust structure and a modified suspension with greater wheel travel are said to give this Mini the ability to go places that are out of the reach of current Mini owners. The new SUV will be Mini's fourth model and is expected sometime in 2010 as a 2011 model.
Poison Spyder Teams Up With Access Army Poison Spyder Customs has joined forces with the recently formed "Access Army" movement in the fight for recreational access to public lands. In an effort designed as both a fund-raising venture for the Access Army and as a way for members of the movement to show their commitment to the cause, Poison Spyder Customs is producing a limited edition Access Army version of its popular Rocker Knocker and Ricochet Rocker rocker-panel protection products for Jeep vehicles. The Access Army Rocker Knocker or Ricochet Rocker features the Access Army logo, which is CNC laser-cut into the rugged 3/16-inch plate steel and available with or without tubular rock sliders. Best of all, Poison Spyder Customs is donating 10 percent of the purchase price for each set to the Blue Ribbon Coalition, which fights the legal battles for public access. To learn more about the Access Army, please visit their website at www.accessarmy.com. More information on the Blue Ribbon Coalition can be found at www.sharetrails.org. For more information about Poison Spyder Customs products, check out www.poisonspyder.com.
Ford Maintains Super-Duty Diesel Engine Price Those anxiously awaiting Ford's all-new 2011 Super Duty with the optional 6.7L Power Stroke V-8 will be happy to know that Ford is holding the line on pricing. The 2010 Super Duty turbodiesel option will cost $7,835, the same as the outgoing 6.4L, despite delivering more power, better fuel economy, and meeting stricter emissions standards. This compares with the 2010 pricing of the Ram's Cummins option (with automatic) at $8,020 and GM's Duramax/Allison option at $8,395. The Super Duty will no longer be available with a manual transmission, leaving the Ram as the only HD on the market with that option.
Raptor Now Available With 6.2L Ford opened the Raptor 6.2L order bank at the end of December and should be producing the trucks as you read this. The 6.2L is rated at 411 horsepower and 434 lb-ft of torque, and will command a $3,000 premium over the base-model Raptor, bringing the starting price of a 6.2L truck to $41,995. All Raptor 6.2L trucks come mated to Ford's six-speed automatic transmission. Rest assured, we'll be putting one through its paces at our 2011 Pickup Truck of The Year test later this year.
Land Use Notes Further Carbon Dioxide Regulations The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a finding that carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and the environment. The EPA had reached a preliminary conclusion to this effect last spring and subsequently joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to limit average CO2 emissions from cars and light trucks to 250 grams per mile and to increase average fuel efficiency from 25 to 35.5 mpg by model year 2016.
The state of California agreed to adopt the same standard in exchange for being issued a waiver recognizing its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The automakers and SEMA support a national approach to tailpipe standards. The EPA and NHTSA are expected to finalize the CO2 tailpipe rule by April 2010.
The EPA was directed to consider whether greenhouse gases endanger health and safety under a 2007 Supreme Court ruling. The EPA decision is expected to increase pressure on Congress to enact legislation directing the agency on how to regulate emissions. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to require a 17-percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050, based on 2005 levels. Legislation is pending in the U.S. Senate. The primary targets are large stationary source emitters, such as power plants, refineries, and large factories.
The EPA has authority to regulate emissions if Congress fails to act. Beyond the auto tailpipe emissions rule, the agency has implemented a regulation requiring stationary-source facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of greenhouse gases (power plants, refineries, etc.) to submit annual tracking reports to the EPA. The EPA could eventually require these emitters to install the best available equipment on new and modified plants to curb emissions.
Quick Hits VW says it could justify bringing its Amorok pickup to the U.S. if it could sell 100,000 units. Ram is mulling a unitbody replacement for the Dakota midsize truck. Once the sale is final, Hummer is expected to come out with five new or redesigned models within five years.