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RPM: 4x4 and Automotive News and Rumors

Posted in News on December 16, 2016
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Photographers: Manufacturers

1.

That’s Interesting

•Great news: The most stolen vehicle in 2015 was the ’96 Honda Accord! Less great news: Also in the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s Hot Wheels list of Top 10 most stolen vehicles in 2015 were fullsizes: ’06 Ford pickup, ’04 Chevy pickup, and ’01 Dodge pickup.
•Nissan has a new warranty it’s calling “America’s Best Truck Warranty,” based on it being the winningest warranty available to trucks to date: 5 years/100,000 miles. For the ’17 Titan and Titan XD, it’s bumper-to-bumper basic and powertrain coverage.
•There’s an STX Appearance Package for the ’17 F-series. Depending on which truck, this will include things like 20-inch machined-aluminum wheels, body-colored bumpers and fascia, and billet grille. Pricing will start at $35,615 for the F-150 STX and $34,910 for the F-250 STX, and the F-350 STX will be $36,080.
•Ford said a study by MaritzCX showed that the Explorer Sport had the highest number of Gen X buyers of any non-luxo SUV in the U.S.
•Autotrader.com looked over the data and figured out that the Top 10 list of “Hottest Cars” of 2016 (January to June) included precisely one actual car. The rest were trucks or SUVs: the Jeep Wrangler (No. 1) and Grand Cherokee, Ford F-150 and 250, Chevy Silverado 1500 and 2500, Ram 1500 and 2500, and GMC Sierra 1500.
•GM said it has recycled 2 million water bottles from Flint, Michigan, as part of its Do Your Part water-bottle recycling initiative. The plastic ultimately becomes air filters for some GM plants, insulation for coats for the homeless, and V-6 engine covers (Equinox).
•Volvo Trucks broke two speed records with its custom-built Iron Knight, becoming the quickest truck in history with a top speed of 171.5 mph.
•We have a new record: The U.S. Department of Transportation found that U.S. drivers logged 1.58 trillion miles in the first six months of 2016. In 2015, it was 1.54 trillion, which had set a record then.
•Chevy had Harris Poll do a survey, which revealed that parents with teens worry way more about their kids driving than about those other things associated with teens, including sex, grades, drugs, and alcohol.
•Mercedes-Benz USA donated trees from its construction site to Camp Southern Ground in Georgia.

2.

Is It True?

•The Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment is going to sue Diesel Brothers over illegal removal of pollution control systems on diesels?
•GM wanted to buy Lyft?
•An extended-wheelbase Jeep Cherokee?
•There will be an upgrade to Tesla’s self-driving tech in the wake of a fatal accident while in autopilot mode?

3.

Photography: NPS/S. Geiger

Your Government At Work

•August 25, 2016, marked the 100th birthday of the National Park Service.
•Subaru and the National Parks Conservation Association found that 59 percent of Americans have no idea what kind of epic waste-management challenges the national parks are dealing with. So, we’ll tell you: The National Park Service deals with more than 100 million pounds of waste nationally.
•A judge agreed to allow Volkswagen to try out a scrappage program on the diesel cars that fall within the emissions scandal. A test program using 20 cars is under way.
•The Energy Department is putting $137 million toward programs that will develop next-gen technology for improved fuel efficiency.
•Looks like Eisenhower State Park will create 40 acres of ATV trails.
•OHV access is going to expand in the Imperial Sand Dunes in Southern California.
•Tired? You probably are, since the Wake Up Call! Understanding Drowsy Driving and What States Can Do report from the Governors Highway Safety Association claimed that 83.6 million sleep-deprived Americans are driving every day. That equated to about 5,000 deaths from sleepy-driving crashes in 2015.

4.

What’s Happening In The Industry

•101st anniversary? That would be JC Whitney.
•Bestop has acquired Tuffy Security Products.
•Bfgoodrich.com is now doing online retail sales. Installation can be scheduled at purchase, and they’ll be shipped to the local service partner.
•Eibach is 65 years old.

5.

Four Wheeler App

We’re so grateful if you’re currently reading these words from a print magazine, holding it in your hands, its pages dog-eared. But we are also grateful if you are—or would like to be—currently reading these words from the Four Wheeler app, where feature trucks, buildups, tech, products, travel, and more are all at your fingertips. Get it at the App Store.

6.

Renault’s 1-Ton Pickup

Renault already built a 1/2-ton pickup. Now, meet the Alaskan, its first 1-ton. Although the automaker hasn’t straight up said it, we think reading between the lines revealed that the 2.3L-diesel-equipped truck could (slowly) go global.

7.

Ford Super Duty Gets Massive Fuel Tank

The innovations and top-of-its-class news about the ’17 Ford Super Duty just keep coming, and that includes the revelation of a 48-gallon fuel tank on the longbox Crew Cab—both diesel and gas engines.

8.

Photography: GM

Chevy Colorado-Based Collaboration Between GM And Army

Putting “consumer-driven” auto tech into military applications is part of the collaboration agreement between GM and the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), and a byproduct of this will be the Chevy Colorado-based fuel-cell electric vehicle. “Fuel-cell propulsion has low-end torque capability that is useful in an off-road environment,” TARDEC Director Paul Rogers said in a statement. “It also offers additional characteristics attractive to both commercial and military off-road use.”

9.

Limited-Edition Dallas Cowboys F-150

Only 400, folks. If you’ve ever dreamed of having a Ford F-150 with the Dallas Cowboys logo all over it (exterior, door sill, cargo bed mat), then count ’em again: only 400. Ford is making a limited-edition Dallas Cowboys truck off the inner workings of an XLT with a Chrome Package (which the Blue Oval said is a huge hit in Texas). The Cowboys theme also includes a Cowboys star logo in the wheels, rocker-panel striping in team colors, an autographed interior badge by Jerry Jones (the owner of the team), and other tidbits. Also, if you’re wondering why this, one key reason is the tie-in to the new Ford Center at The Star, a training facility, corporate HQ, and multipurpose indoor stadium for Cowboys players and others.

10.

“Chrysler has been a great supporter of this program. These are the export versions with the diesel engines, and we're modifying these for the military to provide that needed mobility. We think this is a game changer and one that literally went back to the future and took another look at the Jeep.”— Marshall Carlson, the general manager of Hendrick Dynamics to foxnews.com regarding the Grand Mobility Vehicle, which came from a development with the U.S. Army, and is a Wrangler with a tweaked JP-8 diesel engine

11.

“I'm pleased to announce today that this plant will be making all the stamping parts for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler. That work is being brought in-house. We have for a long period of time had to rely on outside supply. The addition of the three presses is hopefully the beginning of a revamping of our stamping machines here.”—Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne about 51-year-old Sterling Stamping receiving a $166 million investment to do stamping and sheetmetal in-house for the first time ever for the new Wrangler

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