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RPM Automotive News - March 2015

Posted in News on February 10, 2015
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Photographers: Courtesy Of The Manufacturers

Is It True?
Should we be expecting an all-electric Range Rover?

Fiat and Mitsubishi are developing a midsize pickup?

Porsche rented out the Sistine Chapel for a corporate function? And is the first company to do that?

Demand for the Chevy Colorado is so high that GM is adding shifts to the assembly plant?

Ford will use high-strength aluminum alloys in the next-gen Super Duty?

Is GM facing a $10 billion lawsuit over losses on recalled vehicles?

Jeep actually met its goal of selling 1 million vehicles in 2014?

Random Quote:
“Obese people are 78 percent more likely to die in a crash. The reason is the way we get fat. We get fat in our middle range. And we get out of position in a typical seat.”
Chris O’Conner, CEO of Humanetics, which makes crash-test dummies, to CNN Tech. The company is currently developing an obese dummy; one prototype weighs 273 pounds

Four Wheeler App
Download the Four Wheeler app if you’re app-inclined. Meaning, if you’re using something other than tin cans and string to communicate with the outside world. You’ll find features, tech, products, vehicles, and more through our app. We may be biased, but we think it’s worth the upgrade from the tin cans. Mostly.

Silverado HDs
The Chevy Silverado 2500 and 3500 HDs have a new look, new cabs, and interiors, and Work Truck, LT, and LTZ trims. You can also go for the Z71 package with Hill Descent Control, underbody protection, ZR1-branded body parts, and Rancho monotube shocks (just on the 2500).

People Steal Trucks in Texas
The National Insurance Crime Bureau found that between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2013, 9,441 pickups were reported stolen. Fullsizes are nabbed more often than compacts, although midsizes had the fewest thefts. Of those 9,441, most were 2011 model year, followed by 2012, then 2013. And Texas had the most thefts, with California coming in next, then Florida.

That’s Interesting
So, Uber is now the ride of choice to shuttle kids home from school when the parents aren’t available? True story, according to Bloomberg.

TrueCar found some patterns between vehicle choices and voting habits and was able to deduce which are truck states and which are car states. Long story short, red states like trucks, blue states like cars. As in, Texas versus California.

Looks like the famous Nurburgring racetrack finally has a new owner: a Russian billionaire.

Tesla Motors is offering what it calls a Happiness Guarantee.

The Jeep Renegade has debuted in Latin America.

The Autos section of The New York Times newspaper has shut down. Online, it may survive.

Ford introduced Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection. It’s debuting on a ’15 model in Europe. Radar and camera technology scan the road, and if it detects a vehicle or person, it’ll warn the driver. If the driver ignores it, it can automatically apply up to full braking.

A report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association reported that yearly bicyclist deaths increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012—yet motor vehicle fatalities increased only 1 percent in that same period. Some data hasn’t changed at all—mainly the stuff related to male bicyclists being the majority killed, and alchol and a lack of helmet have been factors.

The Detroit Free Press reported on a man who jumped out of his van in an effort to not be burned by his own lit cigarette he had dropped down the front of his jacket. He was then ran over by his own vehicle.

The hottest vehicles of 2015? According to the SEMA Awards, the Hottest 4x4/SUV is the Jeep Wrangler, while the Hottest Truck is the Chevy Silverado.

The Texas Auto Writers Association picked the Ford F-150 as the Truck of Texas. It also named Ford the Truck Line of Texas. The Jeep Grand Cherokee won the SUV of Texas while the Chevy Tahoe 4WD was Fullsize SUV. The Wrangler, Cherokee Trailhawk, Chevy Colorado Crew Cab, Ram Power Wagon, GMC Yukon Denali, and Ram 2500 were other winners. So, pretty much everything on the road won? That also includes the EcoDiesel engine.

The EPA approved the E-GEN electric truck from AMPD, a medium-duty truck OEM. It’s an electric truck with a 2.4L engine as an emergency generator to charge the battery pack.

Ford has created the Ford Blue Oval STEM Scholarship Program—STEM is science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This will provide $500,000 in scholarships over four years to 50 students pursuing STEM degrees.

Nissan was the most fuel-efficient automaker in the U.S., said the EPA’s ’14 Trends Report. The average for the Nissan fleet was 26.2 mpg combined (based on ’13 models).

Random Photo We Dug
This is an advertisement from 1944. Dodge wanted to make sure everyone knew about the thousands of trucks it built to support the war efforts.

Random Quote:
“If the solution is aluminum, then I think unfortunately that Toledo is the wrong place, the wrong setup to try and build a Wrangler, because it requires a complete reconfiguring of the assets that would be cost prohibitive. It would be so outrageously expensive that it would be impossible to try and work out of that facility.”
Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne, according to Automotive News, over the topic of the next-generation Wrangler’s body-on-frame design being switched to aluminum

Ram 700
Seen this? No? Then you haven’t been on the official Ram Mexico site. It’s a ’15 Ram 700—or what the folks who can’t get one call a downsize Ram. It’s based off a Fiat, of course, and includes a 115hp 1.6L four-banger.

Your Government At Work
The Office of Naval Research has invented Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing technology. It’s for allowing unmanned surface vehicles to swarm hostile or suspicious sea-going vessels and to detect and/or destroy (humans control that, however).

Seems health and environmental groups asked a U.S. court of appeals to give a clean-air plan approved by the EPA the heave-ho due to loopholes.

What’s Happening In The Industry
Bubba Rope won SEMA’s Best New Off-Road/4-Wheel-Drive Product for its Gator-Jaw soft shackle that’s rated at 32,000 pounds, replacing steel shackles. It can also float.

Tread Lightly! appointed two new members to its Board of Directors: Mark MacGuinness, the VP of Discount Tire Direct, and Andrew Hoit, the VP of Sales at Falken Tire.

If you’re looking for towing tips, try the Workshop over at You’ll learn about the pros of air springs, how to load a trailer, what vehicle weight ratings mean, and more.

Lincoln Electric partnered on a contest for students to design a welding helmet. More than 125 entries came in, and the winning design is a limited-edition Viking 2450 Series Auto-Darkening helmet. The highlight is a bald eagle.

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