•Thanks for the trivia, U.S. Census Bureau: The first state to require license plates was New York in April 1901.
•Apple Siri Eyes Free is now available for ’13-’15 Jeeps and Rams. UConnect is a must, though.
•Ford is coughing up $1.6 billion to upgrade its Livonia Transmission Plant and Ohio Assembly Plant. The F-150 Raptor’s new 10-speed tranny will be built at Livonia.
•Nissan won Energy Star Partner of the Year, Sustained Excellence Award, given to organizations protecting the environment through more energy-efficient operations. It’s the fifth time in a row for a Nissan win.
•The 2016 Ford F-150 is getting a Special Service Vehicle package meant for government customers such as law enforcement. A high-output alternator, 40/blank/40 seats, and vinyl flooring are among the unique features.
•Jaguar Land Rover North America will be lead sponsor of the U.S. team in the 2016 Invictus Games. It’s a multisport event for wounded, injured, and ill service members.
•Jeep has been producing the Renegade in Brazil for one year now. More than 60,000 were sold in those 12 months.
•Fiat Chrysler is investing $74.7 million into its Trenton Engine Complex. It will be building the next-gen four-cylinder.
•Toyota—specifically Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas—is in the process of adding two acres of solar panels, and there’s an LED light replacement project going on in the plant.
•Toyota, again, is game-changing things. It will be the first automaker to use biohydrin in engine and drive-system hoses. It’s a new biosynthetic rubber made from plant-based biomaterials rather than epichlorohydrin, an epoxy compound.
•Jaguar Land Rover is now in the tech business. It has created InMotion, which will build apps and on-demand services for travel and transport solutions.
•Porsche has a new vehicle delivery program. It’s part of the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta and allows you to place a factory order for your vehicle, then get a VIP experience, including a tour of the center, vehicle overview, 90 minutes on the track, and food.
•Among the winners of the 2016 Harris Poll EquiTrend Brands of the Year? Toyota, Lexus, Discount Tire, Pennzoil, Chevy MyLink, Kelley Blue Book, Michelin Tires, and Craftsman Tools. The study sampled U.S. consumers age 15 and older and asked them to rate brands.
•One more survey: AAA found that 35 percent of Americans will be taking a family vacation this year, to the tune of 50 miles or more away from home.
Is It True?
•A J.D. Power Tech Choice Study revealed that people under 40 are more likely to embrace self-driving vehicles than their elders will? Trust and confidence in driver-assist systems was higher among the youth?
•Ram 1500 production will switch to a larger plant when it’s time to build the all-new pickup?
•And on the subject of pickups, Tesla wants to build an all-electric truck?
•Mitsubishi has fessed up to futzing with data for better fuel-economy numbers?
•And Mercedes-Benz owners are working on a class-action suit over alleged use of defeat devices like VW supposedly used to fudge fuel-economy numbers?
•The Ford F-150 Raptor SuperCrew is headed to China in 2017?
•Ferrari is planning another theme park—this one in North America?
Your Government at Work
•Senate Bill No. 927: It has been introduced in Michigan and is designed to “prohibit access to computers, computer systems, and computer networks for certain fraudulent purposes,” and of note is this section: “A person shall not intentionally access or cause access to be made to an electronic system of a motor vehicle to willfully destroy, damage, impair, alter, or gain unauthorized control of the motor vehicle.” In other words, anyone looking for a life of crime as a car hacker could face fines or life in prison.
•“Petextrians” and “Smombies”—pedestrians texting/using a smartphone, not watching where they are walking, and causing accidents due to their obliviousness—may have found their foe in a Germany. Augsburg, outside of Munich, embedded traffic lights in the pavement.
•Nova Scotia has once again given July the title of Automotive Heritage Month.
•North Alabama is gaining an ATV trail in Buck’s Pocket State Park.
•Will Illinois switch from a tax on fuel to a tax on miles driven?
What’s Happening in the Industry
•Get ready for the annual tent sale at Quadratec’s headquarters in West Chester, Pennsylvania, on October 8, 2016. Learn more at quadratec.com.
•American Force has an all-new americanforcewheels.com. Now you can find a product gallery and a truck configurator tool—enter your truck info and you’ll get part numbers, pricing, photos, and more. There’s also a map for finding others around the world to share all things truck and American Force Wheels.
•Midas has reached its 60th anniversary.
•Cobra Electronics has bought WASPcam, which makes HD action-sports cameras. Now Cobra will offer everything from radios and portable power to dash cams and cameras/accessories for outdoors.
•The first Bridgestone service center has opened in Puerto Rico.
•American Muscle is turning 10, but you could be the one who gets the gift: a $100,000 prize package. This includes a 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, a custom, aluminum, tilt racing trailer with toolbox and tire rack, and a 2015 Mustang GT worth 850-plus horsepower. You can enter once a week until November 11, 2016, at americanmuscle.com/2017-raptor-2015-mustang-sweepstakes.html.
Four Wheeler App
“Great app for anyone who’s passionate about everything 4x4,” is a review of the Four Wheeler app at the iTunes App Store. You’ll get a mobile version of the magazine and your house can reduce the likelihood of resembling an episode of Hoarders from saved magazines stacked up in corners. Same features, tech, product reviews, news, event coverage, feature vehicles, and more, with less mess.
Ford’s New EcoBlue Diesel Engine
There’s a new diesel entering the diesel market: the EcoBlue. The 2.0L from Ford is starting out in the Transit commercial vehicles. Expect the engine to be available in 103hp, 128hp, and 167hp options.
Warrior Jeep Team
The Warrior Jeep Team is set to be the first Jeep to do the Trans-America Trail in one trip. It will begin in North Carolina and end in Oregon—nearly 5,000 miles of pretty much only off-roading. The Warrior Jeep is a 2015 Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock that’s been customized, which will go on the auction block after the trip, with proceeds going to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Fisher House. The Warrior Jeep Team, made up of veterans, began in 2015 to support Special Purpose U.S. troops who had been wounded or died in combat. The goal is to raise awareness for the veterans and their families that don’t see government benefits.
“These results suggest that some fuel-saving policies should focus on reducing the number of vehicles driving with empty racks.”— From a paper printed in the Energy Policy journal called “Fuel Consumption Impacts of Auto Roof Racks.” Roof racks gulped down 100 million gallons of gasoline in 2015, according to researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who wrote the paper.
“So as of April 25, 2016, the ‘Official Count’ for registered Jeeps that made the Mighty Mac Crossing stands at 441!”—From the Drummond Island MI Facebook page regarding the Jeep the Mac 2016 event, in which a cavalcade of Jeeps crossed the “Mighty Mac” Mackinac Bridge in St. Ignace, Michigan.