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May 2013 RPM - Automotive News

Posted in News on May 1, 2013
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Photographers: Manufacturers

That's Interesting
Among's "Must Test Drive" vehicle picks: '13 Nissan Pathfinder and '14 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.

Harold Craige of North Carolina was the grand-prize winner of the Shell V-Power Ultimate Enthusiast contest. He scores a trip to Italy and something about seeing the relationship between Shell and Ferrari, which may or may not have been a come-on. You can still possibly win a $50 Shell gift card by fanning on Shell's Facebook page.

A study by Hailo, an app-based taxi service, revealed that 60 percent of cabbies spend a quarter or half their shift sans passengers. The poll was of 200 taxi drivers licensed in Boston.

Toyota of Braintree reported sales of more than $2.1 million in new vehicle accessories in 2012.

We're number two! We're number two! WaitChina will likely spearhead global production growth over the next four years, while the U.S. will retain its spot as the No. 2 vehicle producer? Global Light Vehicle and Powertrain Forecast from WardsAuto/AutomotiveCompass said so.

The third annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival will take place June 14-16. It fests Butler, Pennsylvania, the birthplace of Jeep.

Placer County Crawlers is working with the Rubicon Trail Foundation this year to put plaques in various locations, break a new trail, and set up a new campground on some of the Foundation's new property.

The Ford Raptor has gone toy-there's a replica, if you didn't know. Mattel has added it to the Hot Wheels and Matchbox brands, and Fisher-Price has the Raptor Power Wheels Ride-On.

2014 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra
The new 1500s are upon us. There are three new EcoTec3 engines-a standard 4.3L V-6 as well as a 5.3L V-8, and a 6.2L V-8. The exterior and interior have been notably tweaked, including larger doors and tons more storage, respectively. The cab is also stronger on this model, with two-thirds made from high-strength steel, while new shear-style body mounts are utilized for a better ride. And a longer bed is available for the Crew Cab; previously it was the 5-foot, 8-inch box, but it will be joined by a 6-foot, 6-inch version. The suspension has been updated, and there are new four-wheel disc brakes with Duralife rotors so that they'll live close to forever. And with the potent V-8s (all horsepower numbers are still being sorted out) comes new 9.5- and 9.76-inch rear axles.

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Gee, That Press Release Sounds Naughty:
"Hertz Announces Expiration of Tender Offer To Acquire Dollar Thrifty."

Is It True?
Is the electric vehicle dead? Is the internal-combustion engine the wave of the future (aka next five years)? Are automakers going to invest their monies in old-school engine tech in that time frame and dump the new-school stuff? KPMG talked to global auto executives and learned all this?

Chrysler lost 60,000-70,000 global sales of the Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee because of suppliers being unable to keep up with demand?

Audi is now the auto supplier of the International Olympic Committee? And that means we're downsizing to an Audi-friendly four rings?

The state of Oklahoma is losing $8.8 mil each year because of uninsured drivers who aren't getting the minimum auto coverage?

New Jeeps
New Grand. New SRT. New Patriot and Compass. Wait, scratch those bottom two. The '14 models of those get only a new six-speed PowerTech auto trans, better fuel economy (30 mpg is possible), a slight adjustment to the interior and exterior, andthat's pretty much the big news. The really big news has to do with the '14 Grand Cherokee. Yes, finally, it's here, that's right: the return of diesel. The new 3.0L EcoDiesel V-6 is estimated at 30 mpg and with a driving range of 730+ miles, and makes 240hp and 420 lb-ft of twist. There's also a new eight-speed auto trans that's hooked to the new diesel as well as to the returning 3.6L V-6 and 5.7L V-8, which both also see a bump in mpg. The Jeep has a 7,400-pound towing capacity and also sees a new crawl ratio: 44.1:1. The interior and exterior also are updated. The models will be Laredo, Limited, Overland, and Summit models. The Grand Cherokee SRT also went all-new. Among its notables: It gained that eight-speed gearbox and Eco Mode for better shifts and fuel economy; the regular Grand got that, too. Other mentionables: Its looks are new inside and out. The towing capacity is now 7,200 pounds. The Selec-Track system got retuned, and Jeep added a standard launch control for more consistent acceleration.

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Your Government At Work
The U.S. Congress agreed with the SEMA Action Network, Off-Road Business Association, and other land-use groups about access to Johnson Valley, California, guaranteeing access in a provision in the '13 Defense Authorization Act, which will require the U.S. Marines to figure out how they can share the area with the OHV community, but not take ownership of the land.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has removed what it deemed to be nine violent video games from rest stops.

What's Happening In The Industry
Pro Comp now offers the Lift Shield, a five-year, 60,000-mile powertrain warranty on qualifying late-model suspensions. It's included free as part of said qualifying systems.

The Cooper Discoverer S/T Maxx off-road tire will gain 26 new sizes in the fall.

Carquest Auto Parts now carries Spicer U-joints.

Toyota has made Sirius XM available or standard for its entire vehicle lineup.

Baja Designs is the official lighting sponsor of Jeepspeed 2013.

Robby Gordon Off-Road & Stadium Super Trucks Series-it's a reimagining (or whatever word Hollywood uses these days when it says it's remaking movies) of the Mickey Thompson live motorsports shows. For more info, head to

Ultimate Factory Tow Truck?
Is this headed to becoming the ultimate factory tow truck? Or is it a glimpse of the design Ford pickups will soon borrow? Or is it both? This concept truck from Ford is called the Atlas and sort of answers none of those questions, while also showcasing a pickup that could have serious towing capabilities while still seeing noteworthy mpg.

OrIs This the Ultimate Factory Tow Truck?
The new Ram '13 3500 HD will have a trailer capacity of 30,000 pounds, have a beefed-up 6.7L Cummins diesel worth 850 lb-ft of torque, a new high-strength steel frame, a factory-integrated fifth wheel and gooseneck hitch mount, more cooling capacity, an Ram Active Air intake system, and larger U-joints and front driveshaft.

What Happens When a Trail Erodes?
There's a trail at the Hollister Hills SVRA in California that does not yet have a name, but it has an interesting backstory. The plan was to restore and reroute a 2,000-foot section of McCray Road. The section was about 12 feet wide, with a 35- to 50-percent grade that ran down the ridgeline and was incised in areas up to 8 feet. This had resulted in a quicker erosion process. At first, the solution was to import soil to fill the incised road section back to its natural grade, but then what made more sense was to create 4x4 obstacles in the incised road, which would slow water down and reduce erosion-plus offer more places for four-wheelers to play. The obstacles would act as energy dampers, so large rocks, reinforced concrete pipe, concrete blocks, and more were added. Sediment traps were installed within the obstacles to prevent sediment from leaving the site.

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Four Wheeler's Bucket List
We just updated our bucket list to include item #57: "Have 25,000 likes on Facebook immediately." Please help; go there now and click the icon with the hand and the thumb pointing up. It's your only option. In exchange, we'll give you titillating posts, photos, and video.

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