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RPM: 4x4 And Auto News and Rumors

Posted in News on July 25, 2018
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers

1.

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That’s Interesting

•What are the most American-made vehicles, meaning, “high domestic-parts content”? According to cars.com, the numero uno for 2018 was the Jeep Cherokee. The Ford Explorer and F-150 also made the top 10 list. Among the least were every 2018 model from Mazda, Porsche, Land Rover, and Mitsubishi.
•For 22 years, AutoPacific has been in the business of most satisfying. We’re talking about its annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. For the newest edition, which surveyed owners of 2017 and 2018 models, satisfaction came in the form of the Nissan Titan as light-duty pickup, GMC Sierra HD for heavy-duty pickup, Toyota Sequoia and 4Runner for large and midsize SUV, respectively, and with the latter tying with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Mercedes-Benz GLS won for premium luxury crossover SUV (and, yes, there’s a straight-up luxury category as well—we assume for when luxury could do better).
•Porsche is 70 years old.
•Some midsize SUVs did not do so well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s latest crash test. The focus was passenger-side small overlap crashes, like when the front corner hits a tree or another vehicle. The Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee each brought home an overall score of poor (lowest score), while the Nissan Pathfinder and Kia Sorento saw good (highest score). Structure, passenger restraints, and injury measurements factored in these scores.
•Silver status is generally a moniker for The Olds, but in this case, it’s an award for Fiat Chrysler’s World Class Manufacturing “methodology,” which “focuses on eliminating waste, increasing productivity, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way, was first implemented by Fiat in 2006, and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009.” Wins went to Toledo Machining and Sterling Stamping.
•If automotive museums are a must-see roadside attraction for you on your journeys, Decades of Wheels is headed for Route 66 in Kansas and proclaims itself to be the largest auto museum on the Route. It opens October 13, 2018, and there’ll be autos and bikes and other stuff. For details, head to decadesofwheels.com.
•If you’re a volunteer or paid firefighter, police officer, EMT/paramedic, or 911 dispatcher, you can get a special discount (below MSRP) on new GM vehicles at participating dealerships.
•$65 million is what it took to break ground on the new ACDelco and Genuine GM Parts processing facility, and we don’t mean that all that cash was too heavy and broke the ground. On a 141-acre lot will be GM’s biggest investment in a warehouse/processing locale in 40 years, with 1 million square feet in floor space for packaging service parts. It’ll open in 2019.
•Ford is coming in hot and has scooped up the historic Michigan Central Station, which will be part of ground zero for the automaker’s mobility and future-of-transpo development. Office space, yes. Trains again, no.
•Ford also scooped up bees. There’s a beekeeping situation at the HQ in Michigan that features six honeybee hives. Sure, bees are tiny, stinging monsters of epic proportion, but they also are very important players in the world’s food supply. Ford got into bees back in 2016 and seems to be enjoying this hobby, which is helping to increase the honeybee population and do other good deeds for our planet.
•If you’re looking for an Official Winter SUV, look no further than the ’18 Dodge Durango. That fact, according to the New England Motor Press Association. The Ram 1500 was the winner for pickup, while the Extreme Vehicle was the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The Heritage award-winner was the Jeep Wrangler.
•Ford and Postmates have teamed up on a self-driving vehicle program, specifically of self-driving tech for food-delivery services. It’s the Blue Oval’s first partner for this type of program. One company will be in charge of the vehicles, the other, the food. Let’s hope there’s no confusion.
•Jaguar Land Rover has become another subscriber to the idea of vehicle subscription service, meaning signer-uppers gain access to various new Jag and Rover vehicles as part of their vehicle plan. It’s called Carpe and is already available to UK residents. The hope is to lure high-mileage drivers.
•Jeep’s also going to offer a subscription service, coming in 2019?
•Here’s what you need to know about Nissan’s Canton Plant: 2018 means it’s 15 years old, and also 4 million vehicles old (this includes where the Titan and Frontier are built). If this milestone was so fascinating that we left you hanging for more info, go to nissancanton15.com to be less hung.
•This almost sounded too perky for our taste: The ’19 Ram 1500 won the Sunny Pickup Truck category at the Southern Automotive Media Association’s eighth annual Topless in Miami. The Ram’s panoramic sunroof turns out to be the perk characteristic.
•If all you’ve ever wanted was a Jeep-themed golf course, then know that the merger has happened. Deer Run Jeep Golf is all about golfing and driving your Jeep to the holes and tees and birdies, or whatever the premise of golf is. Learn more here: deerrunjeep.com.
•If you haven’t yet heard of Hum by Verizon, know that it’s a way to drive a connected vehicle. But the reason we’re talking about it is based on a new survey it conducted: 41 percent of drivers have trouble staying focused during the summer. Of those surveyed, the millennials had the highest percentage of speeding tickets.

2.

Is it True?

•Midsize Ram in 2022? And it’ll share some of the Jeep pickup’s underpinnings?
•Is Allstate Insurance correct in pointing the finger at July for being the worst month in Texas for vehicle steals and break-ins, based on data from 2013-2017?
•Ford and Volkswagen? Partnering to developing and build commercial vehicles?
•GM and Honda? Partnering to develop advanced batteries?
•And maybe they read the research done by Information Trends about how more than 70 million light-duty battery-electric vehicles will be sold in 2032? And fewer than a million were sold in 2017?
•Dealerships are under-excited about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, believing its time to shine already passed?
•Are drones being pursued by the University of Leeds as a way to spot, fix, and prevent problems on roads (say, potholes or street lights)?
•No more diesel development for Nissan?
•Land Rover’s autonomous-vehicle development, which will have a focus on off-road driving, is called Cortex?

3.

Your Government at Work

•The UK government is coughing up what translates to around $40 million U.S. for projects that focus on self-driving and self-parking tech. The competition is “part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy aimed at developing the transport system of the future,” said a press release on gov.uk.
•The California Air Resources Board approved a plan “to mitigate statewide harm from more than 10,000 tons of smog-causing pollutants released here due to Volkswagen’s (VW) use of illegal ‘defeat devices’ in diesel passenger cars. The National VW Environmental Trust provides California with $423 million for this purpose.” This will include investing bigly in zero-emission replacements for heavy-duty trucks, for example. Reductions related to light-duty vehicle charging and freight facilities are also on the docket.
•In case you wondered about tariffs and vehicles, here’s info from SEMA: “President Trump has directed the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to investigate whether imported automobiles and auto parts pose a threat to America’s national security. The DOC will issue its findings and recommendations for presidential actions, if any. Such a recommendation could include imposing global tariffs of up to 25 percent on all automobiles and auto parts imported into the United States.” SEMA obviously opposes this and how it could affect the industry. Visit semasan.com to keep up on the happenings.

4.

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What’s Happening in the Industry

•There’s a new fancy tech center in town and it belongs to BorgWarner. The state-of-the-art facility is located in Indiana and will emphasize hybrid and electric development, testing, and prototyping.
•DV8 and Rev Wheels have a new parent: Drake Automotive Group.
•Use your social media skills for good: Katzkin’s Jeep Wrangler could win you a leather interior makeover. Spot the company’s Jeep—featuring more than $7,000 in Mopar parts and massive Katzkin logos—take a photo, then post it on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag #katzkinjeep and you’ll be automatically entered to win that interior. This contest runs through October 21, 2018.
•Goodyear and Mcity (the University of Michigan venture to futurize vehicles and automotive tech) are working together. Goodyear will use Mcity’s test facilities to work toward developing super-smart tires.
•More on tires: It’s the return of Yokohama’s Tire Tips video series. You’ll learn everything from why rotating tires is important to how to check tread depth. Watch at bit.ly/2IEbrwm.

5.

Four Wheeler App

We Googled: What was the most downloaded app in 2017? According to Apple, it was the Four Wheeler app! Sorry, we misread that. The Bitmoji app was the most downloaded. Four Wheeler readers, please help us unseat Bitmoji in 2018 by downloading our app. In return for the favor, you’ll have 24/7 access to tons of our articles about tech, travel, feature vehicles, news, new products, installations, and all-around cool 4x4s. Can Bitmoji say that? No, it cannot say that.

6.

“The drivers of Singalong Shuttle will not accept cash or credit cards—the only way to pay is to sing.”
—The electric taxi that claims to be the first to take singing as fare: fortum.com/singalongshuttle

7.

“The market has skyrocketed. We are projecting for the next four years it will grow like crazy, about 40 percent up, with all kinds of nameplates coming in.”
— Ponz Pandikuthira, product planning for Nissan Europe, to Automotive News Europe, about small-SUV sales in Europe

8.

Read Elon Musk’s Tweets About the Tesla Pickup

9.

Ram 1/2-ton Gets a “Classic” Badge

Sure, in about 10 years, it’ll be super confusing when you come across two Ram 1500s, both claiming to be 2019 models but they are not the same model. But there’s a premeditated solution: The original ’19 Ram, which they call “DS” at the home office, now becomes “1500 Classic,” while the replacement, which they call “DT” at the home office, becomes…well, nothing. The “Classic” badging will exist on the fenders. Pop quiz: That badging will be on which 1500?

10.

Domino’s Is Paving Potholes

Domino’s has a new initiative: Paving for Pizza. The pie-maker wants to help pave bad roads—but to be clear, not with pizza. Go to pavingforpizza.com to nominate your town. For example, Burbank, California, snagged a win and that meant five potholes fixed, plus one road repaired. When a city is picked, Domino’s helps to fund the repairs.

11.

Photography: GM

’19 GMC Sierra Elevation

GMC likes to call the new Elevation model “a statement in design, capability, and advanced connectivity.” That’s a polite way of saying the ’19 double-cab–based truck looks nicely badass. It comes standard with the new 2.7L turbocharged four-cylinder matched to an eight-speed trans for 310 horses and 348 lb-ft of torque. You can still opt to give your truck the 5.3L V-8; in 2019, the new 3.0L diesel six-cylinder will also be available. You can also go for the X31 Off Road package—dual exhaust, Rancho shocks, a locking rear diff, Hill Descent Control, skidplates—and the ProGrade Trailering System and Trailering App for easier connection of a trailer.

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