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RPM: 4x4 And Auto News And Rumors

Posted in News on August 18, 2017
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers

1.

That’s Interesting

•Toyota has opened its new headquarters, located in Plano, Texas. It’s on 100 acres.
•In case you wondered: The 475hp Hemi’d ’18 Dodge Durango SRT has an MSRP of $62,995.
•The California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA) handed out its annual awards, which included the George Thomas Memorial Off-Roader of the Year (2016), which went to Neil Hamada. The Northern Club of the Year was the Bay Area Riders Forum (BARF) and the Southern Club of the Year was the Trail Crew 4x4. For a full list of winners and info about CORVA, go to corva.org.
•“Thank you Land Rover! Our Giant Factory Off-Road Team Discovery is the perfect campanion [sic] for exploring new trails.” That’s from Giant’s Facebook page, in response to a partnership with Land Rover, with the ’17 Discovery becoming the team’s support vehicle.
•Off Road Queenstown now offers private off-road expeditions through the central South Island in New Zealand. Just try to say no to this: “Traveling between 5 to 7 hours a day on off-road tracks that scour remote high country stations, cross fast-flowing rivers, and consign a sealed road to nothing but a distant memory, their expeditions can literally go ‘coast to coast’ in the course of one epic off-road journey.” Also an impossible no: “For advanced and experienced off-road enthusiasts they can use our fleet of top-of-the-range 1000cc race buggies.” Learn more here: offroad.co.nz.
•This might be the first proof we have that beer and trucks can go together—Tap Truck out of San Diego, California, has a fleet of classic trucks and delivers local craft beers, wine, and cider to your event in one of those rigs. The fleet includes a ’69 Chevy C10, a ’52 and ‘65 Chevy Panel, and a ’57 Chevy Apache 3100.
•It’s autotrader.com’s birthday. The 2-0 one.
•Ford has kicked off its GoBike bike-sharing program in California’s Bay Area (think: San Francisco).
•Nissan has the Official Truck of the Circuit of the Americas, the Titan and Titan XD, which will be used on track as sweepers and for safety and maintenance.
•Oscar Mayer now has a “Weinerfleet” (their word) comprised of the Wienermobile, Wienermini, Wiener Rover, Wienercycle, and Wienerdrone. However…that doesn’t make this quote any less uncomfortable: “And we’re on a mission to get a better hot dog in everyone’s hands.”
•Jaguar has officially announced what was officially already known, that it will sell the E-Pace in 2018. It’s a compact SUV—but not an electric SUV, despite what you just thought there. Save that for the I-Pace. Yeah, it’s confusing when the I-before-E rule is broken. If there’s ever an A-Pace, we’ll go ahead now and assume it won’t mean autonomous. The SUV did already set a Guinness World Record for “Furthest Barrel Roll in a Production Vehicle.” That would be 50 feet doing a 270-degree corkscrew-ish roll, because…why not.
•GM’s Customer Care and Aftersales division will begin a collision certification program in 2018, and will grow the current training/tools programs, with standards for calibration, overall repair, and pre/post-repair scanning.

2.

Is It True?

•The hotly anticipated Jeep Wrangler JL will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2017?
•In the U.S., “Amazon and eBay together account for over 70 percent—an estimated value of $7-$7.5 billion—of all car parts sold online,” according to forbes.com, based on a report from Frost & Sullivan?
•The new Ram 1500 will gain a longer wheelbase?
•Apple is borrowing vehicles from Hertz for testing its autonomous tech, like how Google’s parent is borrowing from Avis? Amazon, care to hit up Rent-A-Wreck?
•By 2023, Porsche anticipates half its vehicle sales will be electric models?
•Now it’s not only France, India, and Norway, but also Britain aiming to ban diesel and gas vehicles?

3.

Your Government at Work

•The House of Representatives passed a bill to reopen 63,000 acres in San Benito and Fresno for off-road use. This is under the Clear Creek National Recreation Area and Conservation Act, regarding the Clear Creek Management Area in California. The bill next heads to the Senate.
•According to SEMA: “Legislation to extend the emissions-inspection exemption for new cars from six to eight model years has been approved by the California Assembly. Under the bill, the newly exempted motor vehicles (model years seven and eight) would be subject to an annual smog abatement fee of $24. Given that the average smog test costs between $29 and $69, vehicle owners can expect to save up to $45 per vehicle for each year of the exemption.” If it becomes law, it would start January 1, 2018.
•The U.S. Army demo’d a hydrogen-injection system from Commercial Hydrogen that could improve the mpg for diesel trucks.
•Rumor is that Oshkosh is in the running for a $1 billion deal to provide its military rig, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), to the UK.

4.

What’s Happening in the Industry

•Daystar Products has scooped up VooDoo Offroad Products, which makes soft shackles, recovery ropes, and more.
•Also on the topic of Daystar: Shareholder buyout has happened. What does that mean? Simply put, look for new products. Also, see above.
•The parent of PRP Seats has acquired SpeedStrap, which makes recovery straps, tie-downs, and other accessories.
•New couple alert! Yokohama Tire and Horsepower Adventures (HPA) are now partners. HPA offers off-road driving experiences in Mexico’s Baja peninsula. Yokohama will be the company’s Official Tire, and Geolander rubber will be used on the tour and support vehicles.
•Time to update your wardrobe closet: Federal-Mogul has opened the virtual doors to Gear Store, a gear store. You’ll find merchandise and clothing with the Champion brand and Bow-Tie logo.

5.

Four Wheeler App

Download the Four Wheeler app from the App Store. You won’t believe what happens next. You’ll want to sit down for it, though.

6.

Ladies and gentlemen, maps have long been an enabler for personal mobility. Both as a scout and as a steward they’re becoming a key driver for the next revolution in mobility. A revolution with a huge impact on all of us: Cars that park themselves outside the city will reduce the space needed downtown. This could save more than 5.7 billion square meters in the U.S. alone, experts say. As a result, cities will become cleaner, greener, and more livable. Self-driving trucks and vans can do all delivery and logistics at night to reduce traffic and pollution. We’re also going to electrify all of our trucks, vans, and buses. So there will be less noise pollution, too.”
—Excerpt from a speech by Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board, Mercedes-Benz, about how high-tech maps are a main component for developing autonomous vehicles

7.

“For a second consecutive year, the most frequently reported problem is unpleasant interior smell/odor.”
—Results from the J.D. Power 2016 China Initial Quality Study. One of the “key findings” of the study was that Chinese vehicle owners don’t like “new-car smell.”

8.

This is a Moke

Are you aware of the Moke? Its origins are military. We’ll let Moke America explain, first with: “Moke (rhymes with ‘bloke,’ derived from Brit slang for ‘donkey’).” And then with: “Something fresh. Something new. Something that epitomized out-of-the-box thinking. This was the challenge facing the British army in the late 1950s. But when the British army turned to the British Motor Company [BMC], the BMC turned to Alec Issigonis—the father of the original Austin Mini. Alec Issigonis had no idea the car he designed [sic] to be parachuted from the skies would become the open-skies vehicle preferred by the stars. From Brigitte Bardot to Princess Margaret, Emperor Rosko to the Beach Boys, Moke became a magnet for breezy, easy chic.” And now, we present you with the USA version of the Moke, available as a gas or electric vehicle.

Some modern changes include the Moke being wider and longer and with a heightened windshield for better visibility and bigger wheels. It weighs in at 2,300 pounds. The E-Moke should start at $15,975, while the gas version at $24,000. The electric one will be limited to roads with a max speed limit of 35 mph and should see up to a 90-mile range depending on the battery included. The gas Moke can go 65 mph and hit the open road. Learn more at mokeamerica.com.

9.

Ford’s First Police-Pursuit Pickup

Once you saw coppers upgrading to Ford SUVs, you probably wondered whether a pickup could ever happen. Yes, the ’18 Ford F-150 Police Responder. The truck is rated for speeding up to 100 mph, thanks in part to the 3.5L EcoBoost and 10-speed transmission combo, meaning 375 horses and 470 lb-ft of torque, which puts those numbers at more than any other pursuit-rated police vehicles, the Blue Oval said. Its backstory is as F-150 FX4, upgraded with police-calibrated braking, an improved front-stabilizer bar, a high-output alternator, a column shifter, center-seat delete, vinyl flooring (you know those perps), and other pursuit-y odds and ends.

10.

X-Class

If you live in Germany/Europe, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, or Brazil, the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup is rolling out to a dealership near you, although that promise stretches to as late as 2019. Still TBD is whether this “global” vehicle truly will come to the U.S. market (even though it’s still part of the globe for the foreseeable future). For now, relish in the fact that M-B has built its first-ever pickup, and you were alive to see the day. It’s designed to be a work truck. And an off-road truck. Highlights include coil springs front and rear, a double-wishbone front suspension coupled with a multilink solid rearend, an optional locking rear diff, and a couple of available engines, including two diesels; the X 220 d is worth 163 hp, and the X 250 d is 190 horses, while a torquey V-6 diesel worth 258 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque will arrive shortly after launch. A manual six-speed will be the standard trans, but a seven-speed auto will be available.

11.

100 Years of Ford Trucks

Ford’s purpose-built trucks turned 100 years old in 2017 (if you’re a stickler for details, the anniversary date is July 27, 2017). The first of the bunch was the ’17 Ford Model TT. As in, 1917. Did you know it was a whopping $600? And 209 sold that first year? The Model AA replaced it. Did you know it had a 1½-ton chassis? And, as we’re guessing you wanted to know, the first generation of F-series trucks came in 1948—with the name F-series Bonus Built.

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Oct 9 Engine Masters–Episode 27
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