•About 100 pounds of heroin were found hidden in the axle and driveshaft of a pickup in Queens, according to The New York Times. Street worth? $14 million.
•Visa is developing two apps that would turn your vehicle into a commerce machine. The fuel app would be able to tell when you were low and point you toward a nearby station, and once at the pump, it would know how much you needed to fill up and could calculate the cost. You’d pay with one click. The parking app would be kind of the same idea, but rather than over- or underpaying for a parking space like we do now, it would be one click to pay for only how long you had been parked.
•American Airlines has teamed up with Uber to coordinate on your travel itinerary. •Screw smart cars. Japan Nissan jumped ahead to smart chairs. Called the “first Intelligent Parking Chair” it was inspired by the automaker’s park assist tech for vehicles; the chair automatically moves to a position. Why? “With this innovation in office technology, Japanese businessmen are now freed from the troublesome task of arranging chairs.” Because you don’t know something is troublesome until there’s a way for you to avoid doing it.
•Is your Jeep in desperate need of four-wheeling but you don’t have time? Jeep Germany has put the solution into a can: the limited-edition Jeep Mud Mask. Ingredients? Dirt. “Just add water.”
•Jeep head Mike Manley and his team at Jeep have won the Automotive Difference Maker award from The Detroit Free Press for how they handled global expansion of the brand.
•Ford now has a wearables research lab. It’s less about Ford entering the fashion biz and more about integrating wearable devices with vehicles for helping with driver-assist tech, like sleepiness and stress.
•In 2016, Jeep is going to offer three models in India: Wrangler Unlimited, Grand Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee SRT.
•Better update your contacts. GM is renaming GM Powertrain to GM Global Propulsion Systems.
•Ford is the first to make volume-production wheelchair-accessible SUVs via the BraunAbility MXV ’16 Explorer. It has a patented sliding door, removable driver and passenger seats, and more.
•Mercedes-Benz has a new four-cylinder diesel for Europe (coming to the U.S. at some point in the near future): a 2.0L worth 195 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
•Have you wondered about the Crystal Diamond Light on the Ford F-150? There’s a reason for it. The Blue Oval explained, “Lighting innovations are guided by human psychology, as lighting inconsistencies and contrast irregularities can cause irritability and even depression.” This tech is designed not to add to the bummers you already have in your life.
•Toyota was named to Fortune magazine World’s Most Admired Companies list. It took position Number 28, a top slot for an automaker.
•The J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study found that technology is outsmarting us so much that it’s ranking vehicles lower in dependability. J.D. surveyed 33,560 owners of ’13 models who had owned them for three years. Pairing phones and voice recognition were among the biggest usability-related complaints. Brands ranking the highest in dependability included Lexus, Porsche, GMC, and Toyota.
Is It True?
•There are about 59,000 structurally deficient bridges in the U.S. according to the Department of Transportation’s 2015 National Bridge Inventory database?
•$987 billion? The highest on record since 2006? Experian Automotive is referring to U.S. auto loan balances?
•Ram and Cabela’s are now in a commercial partnership? And will it mean a Cabela’s package on a Ram?
•Is there soon going to be a panic button in the Uber app?
•This configuration? A 2017 Ford F-350 dualie single cab with a 6.7L diesel?
•Will there be 30.2 million SUVs in the global market by 2020?
Your Government at Work
•Farmers Insurance has reacted to some states’ new laws regarding ride-hailing and has created Rideshare Insurance Coverage to make insurance available when a driver’s rideshare app is turned on, removing the gap in coverage.
•Seems the EPA might just force Volkswagen to build electric vehicles to make up the difference in emissions from the diesel nightmare.
•The U.S. Army-Tank Automotive and Armaments Command Lifecycle Management Command told Oshkosh Defense to build its Joint Light Tactical Vehicle/Humvee after an issue in which Lockheed Martin protested.
•President Obama has designated three new national monuments in California: Mojave Trails National Monument, Castle Mountains National Monument, and Sand to Snow National Monument.
What’s Happening in the Industry
•Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels is going to keep its sponsorship plan with B.A.S.S., including as supporting sponsor of the Bassmaster Elite Series.
•The Official Tire of the Anaheim Ducks? That would be Toyo Tire U.S.A.
•Champion Oil has turned 60 in the year 2016.
•Bosch power tools might soon be a thing.
•Whose 50th anniversary is it in 2016? Thrush Exhaust.
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Midnight Special Edition Expands to Silverado 1500 Z71 and Colorado Z71
If you dug the Midnight Special Edition in 2015, you’ll dig it more in 2016 since you can have it in all varieties: downsize, light-duty, and heavy-duty. Get it on the Silverado 2500 HD Z71 and Colorado Z71.
The Batman v Superman 2016 Jeep Renegade
Jeep’s got a special Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice edition of the ’16 Renegade, available in Granite Crystal or Carbon Black paint and with new 18-inch black wheels, a two-tone roof, and badging that nods to the flick. If you want the Dawn of Justice model, be ready to pay an MSRP of $26,250.
New 2016 Chevy Silverado with eAssist
Looking for a mild-hybrid pickup? Chevy is offering about 500 Silverados with eAssist technology. It’ll be $500 more than a two-wheel-drive Silverado 1500 Crew Cab 1LT, and curb weight bumps up about 100 pounds. Having the electric motor means you’re looking at likely 13 more horses and 44 lb-ft of torque from the lithium-ion battery pack combined with the 5.3L EcoTech V-8 and eight-speed trans.
Do You Have One of the Most Ticketed Vehicles?
Insurance.com has figured out which vehicles get the most tickets. A study done between February 2014 and February 2016 revealed the Top 20 ticket magnets, and in the Top 10 was the Toyota Tacoma. The Chevy Tahoe K1500 came in 20th place. The least ticketed included the Land Rover Range Rover.
“This is truly the most incredible thing I've seen today. Driver saved from burning car, everything burned but Bible.”—Tweet from Lynnanne Nguyen at Fox13 Memphis after a Jeep was sideswiped, then crashed and burst into flames on Tennessee State Route 385, and yet the Bible was found on the front seat in perfect condition
Gee, That Press Release Sounds Naughty
“Looking for love this Valentine’s Day? Choose a Nissan driver”