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January 2009 Dispatch - Jeep News and Rumors

Posted in News on January 1, 2009
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Photographers: Courtesy Of AAA Foundation For Traffic SafetyCourtesy Insurance Institute For Highway SafetyCourtesy GM Corp./John F. Martin

Jeep News & Rumors
* Overheard when some Chrysler people were talking about the company's future diesel ventures: "That is over."

* Liberty, Nitro, Liberty, Nitro, Liberty ... the coin toss continues over which one to off by 2012. Word is that the Nitro should think about getting its affairs in order. Word is also that the nameplates will merge, ala Brangelina. Or, more realistically, when two unattractive people merge.

* The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is wrecking vehicles again, this time a two-door '08 Wrangler to give us crash-test results. This one was without the optional side airbags; the previous Wrangler model tested didn't have side airbags available and it scored marginal for side protection in crashes. However, this Wrangler got the worst rating available: poor. IIHS says that upon impact, the driver door opened, which they did not view as chivalry.

* The Time article was titled "Car Buyers' [sic] Grow Dissatisfied with US Brands," and it credited a University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index for the revelation that Jeep and Dodge ranked at the bottom of the 22-brand list.

* Russia is getting a new vehicle: the Cherokee (aka Liberty).

* The Toledo Blade says Decoma Systems, which puts together front ends for Toledo-built Wranglers has filed plans to expand, citing "to accommodate increased production." What does this mean? How should we know?

Industry News
* 3M has agreed to buy Meguiar's. Here's hoping Meguiar's asked.

* Bridgestone Firestone is reducing production at two plants through 2008 because of supply and demand. As in, they had too much supply and not enough demand.

* Dodge has pulled out. Out of sponsorship in the Craftsman Truck Racing series, that is.

* Amerityre Corp develops polyurethane tire stuff. It's now involved in a program "to establish the baseline performance characteristics of Amerityre's polyurethane passenger car tire incorporating a 'composite hoop' belt" versus traditional tire belting material. The hoop belt should improve tire performance and make tire manufacturing simpler.

* SEMA says that about 2.1 million acres of land in central Utah might open up to OHV use via a resource management plan issued by the feds. It's BLM land and would give much more access in the Factory Butte badlands area.

* General Tire is going to provide a $170,000 contingency program for drivers using Grabbers for the Baja 1000, the largest posted contingency for one race in the history of SCORE.

What the Presidential Candidates Drive: Jeeps!
According to UPI, Liz Murphy of Illinois found out that her '00 Grand Cherokee once belonged to Barack Obama-and she plans to sell it after the election in an attempt to get the best penny possible. The article said that Murphy claimed there was a left-hand mark near 12 o'clock: "Every once in a while I'll run my hands over the top of the steering wheel and say, 'Wow, this guy had a grip," she told UPI. Meanwhile, Newsweek discovered that in John McCain's fleet of 13 registered vehicles; there was both an '08 Wrangler and a '60 Willys Jeep. No word on what he gripped while driving.

Auto Graphs
* Live in a state that tickets for having one hand on the wheel and another gently caressing a cell phone? Headsets.com/drivers will give a free headset to people who send in a copy of the citation they got for their sin.

* NADA has added "rough" to its used-vehicle descriptions. Coincidentally, so has match.com.

* New York is now offering an "enhanced drivers license," or RFID, which stands for radio frequency identification. The card has a chip within information that critics say could eventually turn the license into an identity document. In a bad way.

* Reuters reports that microbiologists at Aston University in Britain discovered that the toilet-est part of your Jeep is the shifter. They found 356 germs on a square centimeter.

* The Insurance Research Council noticed that the cost of auto injury claims involving lighter-weight vehicles is usually higher than the cost of claims involving heavy vehicles. IRC suggests that as gas prices rise more people are opting for econoboxes. Professor Cappa says, "I see a cycle here. What's next? Everyone needs a big car/truck?" That's why he's the editor-he spends all day in his office thinking of thought-provoking retorts. (Although today he's spending the day looking up the definition of "retort.")

Calling All Lushes
We want to hear about the best dive bars near wheeling spots. We already know about Woody's in Moab, Iron Door in Ocotillo Wells, Boardmanville in Glamis, and The Desert Bar in Parker, but send us others! We're looking for the name of the bar, its location, and your wheeling spot nearby. Send the info to john.cappa@jpmagazine.com with the subject line "Dive Bar" or snail mail to Jp Magazine, Dive Bar, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.

Things to Do With Your Jeep: Badlands Off-Road Adventures Edition
Badlands Off-Road Adventures has a ton of events happening in 2009, from sand driving and rocks skills to how to pick a line and winching, and classes take place in real-world settings, including Johnson Valley, Mojave, Oceano Dunes, Hungry Valley, and Moab. You can get a complete schedule and more information at 4x4training.com, or call 310/374-8047.

Want people to know about your club event? Follow the format below to increase your chances of your announcement appearing here in Jp. Feel free to also provide a high-resolution photo related to the event (make it a minimum of 2 megapixels in .eps or .tiff, or the maximum-quality jpeg). Or don't send a photo at all. You can snail mail info to Jp Magazine, Things to Do With Your Jeep, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or e-mail john.cappa@jpmagazine.com (make the subject line "Things to Do With Your Jeep").* Name of event* Name of host club* Date of event* Location of event (venue/trail and city, state)* Web site or phone number you want listed in the magazine

This Month's Edition of "We Don't Know How This Announcement Ends"
"Bentley is pleased to announce an exclusive partnership between Ego Lifestyle and Bentley Motors...."

Avoid the Bends
Dynatrac has been secretly working a high-clearance heavy-duty Pro-Rock version of the Dana 44. And better still, it will also be offered as a complete bolt-in housing that will accept your original axle's factory internals for replacement of the bend-prone TJ and JK Dana 44 front axle housing and inner knuckles.

What We're Talking About Around the Office
* 2008 in a word? Cappa: "awesome"; Hazel: "stressful"; and Pete: "juggling". We think that means he has been supplementing his salary at the circus.

* Most interesting things learned about our personal Jeeps in 2008? Pete: "My Jeepster has air shocks and single-leaf rear packs."Hazel: "The 232 in the J2008 project truck won't die, even if I drive it at 3,200 rpm on the highway for 2.5 hours with 5-psi oil pressure."Cappa: "The project JK has made a total puss butt out of me. I want a soft ride, a heater, and air conditioning in all my Jeeps."

* A staffer used to speak French. Same staffer likes to play volleyball.

* New vehicles that aren't Jeeps but that we'd like to own and modify? Dodge Power Wagon and Durango (for the latter, full-blown prerunner), and Camaro (with new tires and wheels, "then proceed to drive them off it").

* Some staffers haven't been to the dentist in eight years. (Can we interest you in Crest Whitestrips and Scope?)

PhotosView Slideshow

Wii Jeep
Only if you're unhip do you think we mean a very small Jeep. You probably aren't even on Facebook, man. Step away from Pong and take off that Member's Only jacket. The new Jeep Thrills video game is available for both Nintendo Wii and Playstation2. Jeep says players can race each other on more than 30 different outdoor courses, including jungles and frozen tundra. Can you say you've had that opportunity in real life? We thought not.

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