•The number to beat? 6 million. That’s how many vehicles have been produced at the FCA US Jefferson North Assembly Plant. It was a ’16 Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition. It’s a nearly 3-million-square-foot facility with around 4,500 employees
•$12.2 million has been invested in the upcoming more-than-400,000-square-foot Mopar Parts Distribution Center, which will open in Winchester, Virginia, later in 2016.
•Toyota is the official partner of the Special Olympics Texas, and the duo has launched a drawing called Let’s Go Places Together, with the win being a ’17 Tundra 1794 Edition. You can buy a raffle ticket until December 2—or until $250,000 in tickets are sold—at sotx.org/toyota.
•Major League Baseball and Chevy are back at it again. The Bow Tie’s sponsorship will continue as the official vehicle of MLB and the official automotive sponsor of MLB and USA Baseball’s Play Ball initiative. The MLB/GM relationship began in 2005.
•So, this happened: Jeep was the first auto manufacturer to drive up and down an Olympic-standard whitewater rafting course, using a Renegade Trailhawk and Olympic snowboarder Aimee Fuller. If you want to see more, then: youtube.com/watch?v=b8B91s4BVFs. Spoiler alert: The comments section.
•Ford is buying two blocks of property near its HQ in Michigan. What to develop with the space? Well, you might be surprised to learn there’s an arm called Ford Motor Land Development Corporation, so that org is figuring it out.
•Automakers are getting into this whole ride-sharing thing, including Toyota, which has invested in Uber and will likely include some leasing deals.
•By the time you are reading this, we’ll have a new slew of high school graduates amongst us. And if they are grumpy, here might be why: according to a survey by Junior Achievement USA and American Honda Finance Corporation, 34 percent of teens expected a car or truck, or help buying one, as their grad present. So, no new vehicle gifted? You bought yourself some teen angst.
•Expedia is now 20 years old, and it went all #tbeveryday and dug through its data to learn that in those two decades, Las Vegas was the most popular destination, determined by searches that included car rentals.
•The INRIX 2015 Traffic Scorecard compared traffic congestion in countries and major metro areas. The U.S. topped for worst, and in the 12 months of the year, average commuters spent about 50 hours in traffic. Belgium took Second Place, while the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the UK, and France rounded out that worst group. London snagged worst traffic in metro areas, with drivers spending an average of 101 hours stuck in it.
•If you see a bright-yellow Ram, chances are it’s the Yellow Rose of Texas Edition or the new Stinger Yellow Sport, which, unlike the Rose, is not limited to Texas. It starts at $44,340 and will have a limited run of 2,250 trucks. Both 4x2 and 4x4 versions are available.
•Most Innovative Premium Brand for 2016? Audi, via the Automotive Innovation Awards. The hat trick wins were for Most Innovative, Connected Car, and Vehicle Concepts/Body.
Is It True?
•You may want to rethink your skills as a car hacker because Michigan is working on building a law that could mean life in prison for this cybersecurity crime?
•Ford is using captured carbon dioxide to make foams and plastics for use in seats and underhood?
•The Honda Ridgeline pickup is still in production? And the ’17 model will start “mass production” in Alabama?
•Google is patenting a sticky tape type of thing to coat the exterior of a robotic car that would “glue” a pedestrian to it if the car strikes the person? Preventing the common practice of a pedestrian being hit and thrown or dragged?
•The redo of the Jeep Wrangler will mean no manual transmission?
•What will happen with the old Jeep Parkway Plant in Toledo, Ohio? Dana will build an axle-manufacturing plant on the property?
•Land Rover is going to create a Bluetooth-based tracking system that will alert you once you get into the vehicle if you’ve forgotten your wallet, phone, and other things you’d normally have on your person or in your to-go bag?
•Nissan is buying a controlling stake in Mitsubishi?
•The University of North Texas and Dr. Guido Verbeck developed a Ford Fusion that can “sniff” air quality, but might also be used by law enforcement for sniffing out drugs while on the go?
Your Government at Work
•The U.S. Census Bureau figured out when the first auto accident happened. It was May 28, 1896, in New York City and Henry Wells was behind the wheel of a Duryea Motor Wagon and hit Evelyn Thomas on her bike. She broke her leg, and he went to jail for a night.
•Your National Parks Service has reached its centennial, so Chimani and Subaru have kicked off 59 mobile app travel guides for each major national park. No more paper maps. You can download for free at the iTunes App Store, Google Play, or Amazon Appstore via Chimani. While you’re there, check out the Chimani National Parks app for a look at all 411 national parks.
What’s Happening in the Industry
•Goodyear and Lucky Brand have collaborated on a line of vintage-looking Ts with the Goodyear graphic. You can get it at the Lucky store or go to luckybrand.com.
•Welcome to Macon, Georgia, Kumho Tire. The new production joint is the company’s first manufacturing place in the U.S.
•Brembo did a first pour at its new cast-iron foundry in Homer, Michigan. That pour was the step before real production. This is the first Bremo cast-iron foundry in North America.
•Flex-N-Gate is going to buy 30 acres of land and build a new plant in Detroit. Ford parts will be made here, among other work. The company began making aftermarket parts in 1956, and its arsenal includes metals and lighting.
Four Wheeler App
Check out this glowing review from Captainjarhead over at the App Store about the Four Wheeler app: “Does what it is supposed to do.” Woohoo! We deliver as promised! So, what’s the app supposed to do? Give you 24/7 access to tech, product info, feature trucks, road tests, trail rides, and travel. Go get it.
Chevy Silverado High Desert Package
Coming in the fall 2016 is the High Desert package for the Chevy Silverado LT, LTZ, and High Country. The package includes a new lockable storage setup in the bed with a three-piece hard tonneau and Magnetic Ride Control suspension, a first for the Silverado. The system constantly reads the road and tweaks the damping in the electronically controlled shocks. If you recognize this as a concept vehicle from a couple years ago, you win. But win nothing.
“As the remarkable event came to a close, The Queen was transported in the hybrid engine State Review Range Rover.”—Jaguar Land Rover’s statement about how it partied like it was 1926 for The Queen’s 90th birthday celebration at Windsor Castle.
“I am predicting that, once computers are doing the driving, there will be a lot more sex in cars. That's one of several things people will do, which will inhibit their ability to respond quickly when the computer says to the human, ‘Take over.'”—Barrie Kirk, Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence, to the Toronto Sun.