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December 2012 RPM Off-Road Industry News

Posted in News on November 1, 2012
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That’s Interesting
Harris Interactive brings us the results of a poll with the following headline: “Three in Four Owners Fear In-Car Connectivity Technology Is Too Distracting and Dangerous.”

The J.D. Power and Associates’ “2012 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study” (aka APEAL) found that “27 percent of new-vehicle buyers who replaced a vehicle downsized, meaning they purchased a new vehicle in a smaller segment than the vehicle they replaced. In contrast, only 13 percent of buyers upsized, while 60 percent purchased a new vehicle in the same segment as their previous vehicle.” Vehicles being traded in are on average six years old. While Porsche was the highest-ranking nameplate, Ram was one that had the highest year-over-year improvement. Suzuki was at the bottom of the list. Jeep had only five brands separating it from Suzuki.

GM appears to be developing vehicle ESP. Not stability ESP, but that mind-reading voodoo thing. The technology would be able to detect street walkers (it’s OK to call pedestrians that, right?) and bicyclists when visibility is bad and before the driver doesn’t not not see them due to being in blind spots or blocked by a vehicle. It would be based mainly on Wi-Fi Direct. You see, “wireless pedestrian detection” is a goal of the automaker. We think that means “non-robot detection,” but could be wrong.

Chrysler trademarked a new name and badge: EcoDiesel 3.0L. Expect it on the Jeep Grand Cherokee before any others.

2013 Ford Raptor Changes
The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor gets some new goods for 2013, but the coolest is beadlock-convertible wheels, allowing you to convert them from traditional wheel to beadlock in a jiffy. Ford says you simply, “Unbolt the standard outer decorative ring, dismount the tire from its regular position, and then remount the tire in the lock-enabled position with the available beadlock ring kit from Ford Racing.” The Blue Oval filed for a patent on this deal.

See Silverado Run
Here’s your first look at the next-gen Chevy Silverado going through the paces at the automaker’s proving grounds.

Is It True?
With the next-gen Wrangler will there come a pickup version? And not just some kit?

More than 236,000 auto-related jobs have been added since the recession in 2009?

Is the new Ram 2500 HD going to resemble the 3500-and-up HDs in terms of super-robust underbody components?

More speaking of new things, will the Nissan Frontier also see some physical changes for 2013, like a new tailgate? Would we mention this if we didn’t think so?

AAA thinks more than 8 million vehicles will have start-stop systems by 2017?

Gee, That Press Release Sounds Naughty:
“General Motors definition of customer experience is expanding to include what happens before, during, and after the sale.”

2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman
For the new model year, both Quad and Crew cabs are available for the 1500 and in two bed lengths (5 feet, 7 inches and 6 feet, 4 inches).

Help Build a Domino’s Delivery Vehicle
There’s a five-stage competition going on with Domino’s, but bummer for you it’s not an eating contest. The company is asking the public to help with its Ultimate Delivery Vehicle Project, which will be done in phases. More than $50,000 in prizes will be handed out. The schedule goes through February 2013, and while the design portion is already complete, you can participate in packaging, interior, surfacing, and rendering. Go to to submit your ideas and designs.

What’s Happening In The Industry
There’s a new website (so, we’re still on board this “Internet” thing, eh?) featuring OEM parts catalogs and aftermarket parts and accessories. The OEM stuff is ’70-present. You can search by VIN or year/make/model, or just keyword/part number. On the aftermarket side, you’ll spot companies like JC Whitney and K&N. Visit for more.

The Jeep Liberty will have ended production by the time you read this. Its replacement will use the same platform as the ’13 Dodge Dart (that’s encouraging—not), and have a new 3.2L V-6 and nine-speed trans.

Volkswagen and Porsche are officially a couple. Or whatever version of “couple” means “one.” They’ll work together on models.

New Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8s: Alpine and Vapor editions. As you might have guessed, white and black versions. You know the drill: special badges, wheels, and the like.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder
A new unibody design, 500-pound weight reduction, and 3.5L V-6 hooked to a new Xtronic CVT trans are among the biggest changes to Nissan’s SUV. The Pathfinder makes 260hp and 240 lb-ft of torque, and the 4x4 model comes in at 4,290 pounds, which also has fuel economy numbers, if you care, of 19 mpg city and 25 highway. The interior is all-new and also features more interior space than the previous editions, and its All-Mode 4x4-i system has selectable two-wheel and four-wheel drive, as well as auto. Towing capacity is 5,000 pounds. The Pathfinder lineup is S, SV, SL, and Platinum.

PhotosView Slideshow

Your Government At Work
Hey, what’s this approximately $54 million collecting dust in California? Oh, nothing much, just surplus cash that’s been building for 12 years under the State Parks team’s watch. What? Upon discovery, State Parks Director Ruth Coleman resigned and her second-in-command was fired, according to the Sacramento Bee. The moola breaks down to around $20.3 mil in Parks and Rec funding and $33.5 for the Off Highway Vehicle Fund. To deal with state budget cuts, 70 parks were closed in the past year. Imagine what that money could have done to prevent that.

Did You Know This About GMC Pickups?
In 1912, the truck builders Randolph, Reliance, and Rapid grouped-up to become GMC.

But, GMC has been making trucks since 1902.

When 1500, 2500, and 3500 were intro’d in 1967 to signify its three truck models, GMC was basing the “names” on the first part of the VIN, or payload, capacity.

Sierra went full time in 1989. Prior to that, it was just a trim package.

Our Doomsday Plan
It’s real and it’s coming, people! Doomsday! (Or, it’s fake and it’s Y2K all over again, people.) What’s the one thing/product/tool you have or want in your doomsday emergency kit? Come on over to Four Wheeler’s Facebook page ( and tell us! These are ours:

Brubaker: I want a solar-powered M1 Abrams battle tank towing an armored, solar-panel-equipped, 34-foot Airstream PanAmerica toy hauler with an armored, solar-powered S-10 ZR2 in the Airstream’s garage. And lots of sunny days. But if I can’t have that, I’d like a crossbow and fishing pole so I can at least eat well.

Cappa: I’d only need a couple of guns. Maybe a good, solid .45 ACP pistol, either an SKS or an AK47, and probably an eight-round 12-gauge shotgun (pump or automatic). I can find ammo for all three of these just about anywhere, and carrying only two of them wouldn’t be all that big a deal. So, why no food, water, or clothing? Those are hard to haul and I live in California where there will be plenty of unarmed liberal wieners carrying that stuff for me. All I have to do is collect it!

Holman: I want a good cigar, a bottle of Dr. Pepper, and a lawn chair. I figure, if it’s my day, there isn’t much I can do but watch the world go down around me. But just in case, I’ll have my 12-gauge at my side. And Twinkies. Lots of Twinkies.

Mansour: I’m going to drive my Jeep to the beach, play some Jimmy Buffet, and hang out by the water. I’ll bring along an AR-15, set it to zombie-kill, and probably eat a delicious chicken burrito. Ultimately, I hope to cash-in from the “I survived the end of the world and all I got was this stupid T-shirt” clothing line, but since I know nothing about fashion, I’ll probably still be sitting at the beach.

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