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June 2010 RPM

2011 Grand Cherokee
Sean P. Holman | Writer
Posted June 1, 2010

Off-Road News

Caught: 2011 Grand Cherokee Tackles Rubicon Trail
Jeep engineers recently completed a validation drive of the 2011 Grand Cherokee on the Rubicon Trail with a small group of stock vehicles. Our spies caught a picture of the aftermath. You can see this Grand has a few battle scars in the bodywork, something that is to be expected of any vehicle that attempts the Rubicon without body protection. Featuring an all-new, air-adjustable four-wheel independent suspension system, the Grand is designed to be the most capable 4x4 in its class.

Raptor Racks Up Sales
Whoever convinced the execs at Ford that the Raptor was a good idea must be smiling big back in Dearborn. Customer demand for Ford's new F-150 SVT Raptor is moving nearly as fast as production with over 5,500 orders having been placed, with a higher number of 5.4L trucks than previously anticipated. The biggest markets are in the Southwest and Texas, but the appeal of the Raptor has extended beyond just desert runners, as demand is high in states like Tennessee, Michigan, Colorado, Ohio, and Georgia. Options such as the luxury package, moonroof and reverse camera all have "take rates" of more than 79 percent. Popular F-150 utility options like touch-screen navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link, trailer-brake controller and Ford's tailgate step have take rates higher than 62 percent. The overwhelming top color choice has been Tuxedo Black for more than 52 percent of all orders, followed by Molten Orange, Oxford White, and Blue Flame.

Ranger Reaches 7 Million
It took 28 years, but the seven millionth Ford Ranger recently rolled off of the Ranger pickup production line in St. Paul, Minnesota. The last Ranger is slated to roll out of the factory sometime in 2011, and there is no replacement in sight for the popular pickup. Ford's current strategy calls for a high mileage F-150 to take up the entry-level slot in its pickup truck family in the US, while the rest of the world gets the all-new global Ranger. Hopefully, Ford will change its mind and bring a fresh Ranger to the compact pickup market.

BFG Wins Again at KOH
BFGoodrich Tires remains the only tire manufacturer to win at the challenging King of The Hammers racing event. More than 30,000 fans witnessed Loren Healy take home the coveted scepter at the 2010 Griffin King of the Hammers, held last February at Johnson Valley, California. Healy, along with co-driver Rodney Woodey, became the only driver to take the checkered flag after qualifying at the 4 Wheel Parts Last Chance Qualifier earlier in the week. Healy and Woodey, who started the race in the 53rd position, battled through the difficult terrain of Johnson Valley and conquered the 135-mile loop course in 6 hours 57 minutes and 53 seconds. Of the 100 competitors that started the race, only 43 finished, 34 of which chose to run the ultimate desert-and-rock race on BFGoodrich tires.

Healy's winning rig was equipped with 39-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, which are designed for unprecedented grip on extreme rocks, mud and dirt. Team BFGoodrich driver Brad Lovell barely missed out on the win, finishing only 28 seconds behind Healy. Lovell and co-driver Bill Kunz chose 37-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KRT tires, while Third-place finisher Derek West and co-driver Jason Henne chose 39-inch BFGoodrich Baja T/A KRTs, which are designed specifically for rock racing and King of the Hammers.

In addition to being the official tire for KOH, BFGoodrich Tires provided pit and communications support to teams through its fleet of off-road motorsports vehicles. This immense undertaking involved more than 40 off-road enthusiasts and volunteers who donated their time to help BFGoodrich support the organization of King of the Hammers. BFGoodrich also introduced a new 42-inch off-road racing tire at the event. Visit BFGoodrich Tires online at www.bfgoodrichtires.com. And check out our in-depth King of the Hammers coverage this month starting on page 30.

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