That’s Interesting•Nissan started the Calling All Titans campaign to find people who use their pickup to do good deeds for their community and beyond. As part of that, the spokesperson became a one-of-a-kind Ultimate Service Titan, a collab with American Red Cross, to be donated to Red Cross South Florida. It’s a mobile command center and first aid center for assisting first responders.
•Also Nissan: ’19 Titan and Titan XD pricing has arrived—Titan 4x4s start at $40,180 (the Platinum Crew Cab sets you back $57,390). On the XD side, gas-model pricing starts at $39,870 (the Platinum Crew Cab sets you back $59,600). XD diesel? 4x4s start at $44,910 (the Platinum starts at $64,900).
•Win-a-Jeep alert: California Four Wheel Drive Association, aka Cal4Wheel, is raffling off an ’18 Wrangler Sport JL that’s been modified with a 3 1/2-inch suspension, new bumpers, 37-inch tires, and more. If you win, you’ll do so on February 16, 2019, and there are runner-up prizes, too. Your ticket investment (which is chump change) helps with the fight to keep public lands open. Head to cal4wheel.com/win-a-jeep.
•If you’re the type of shopper who wants a good warranty, then check out Chevy and GMC’s new optional extended bumper-to-bumper limited warranty, which nets you 5 years/60,000 miles (whichever is numero uno).
•2018 Ideal Vehicle awards from Auto Pacific’s overall winner? Chevy Suburban. Popular brand? Ford. Light-duty pickup: Silverado, and also the tops in HD. Compact truck: Colorado. Large SUV: Sub. Midsize SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee.
•autoTRADER.ca is doing an original show called Ungaraging, so if you like to be a creeper when it comes to looking into hockey players’ garages, enjoy.
•Cheerio and pip-pip Apple Jacks: The Earl of Wessex (not the one married to Meghan Markle) showed up for the opening of the new Jaguar Land Rover North American headquarters in New Jersey. He showed up for the plaque ceremony.
•Ford, Uber, and Lyft have agreed to spy on you and share the info they spied with one another. Or, as they framed it, this is a “commitment to SharedStreets, a new data platform designed to make it easier for the private sector to work with cities around the world and leverage data to improve urban mobility. The data sets pledged by the companies will provide the public and private sectors with new tools to manage curb space in order to reduce congestion and emissions that cause climate change; improve the efficiency of city streets by making it easier for everyone to get around; and save lives by preventing traffic crashes.”
•Jeep Connect is a new sales and service project in Pune, India, focused on expansion, aka getting Jeep and Mopar services and sales into smaller cities.
•As we were headed to press, Honda teased us, saying that it’ll “produce a new sport side-by-side…model name and specifications will be announced…in conjunction with the launch of an advertising campaign called ‘Life is Better SxS.’”
•Ford’s going with “Built Ford Proud” as its new ad campaign. But don’t retire “Built Ford Tough” from your vocab quite yet. Here’s why they’re doing this add-on phrase: “Developed with dealer input—highlights Ford’s passion, innovation, and commitment to building great vehicles over 115 years and signals Ford’s ambition to lead in the future through smart vehicles for a smart world.” Which you probably not at all guessed was the intention.
•Chevy did a study. Topic? Why you people like trucks so much. Survey said? According to 38 percent of you, it’s because you think driving a pickup makes you more attractive, and 37 percent of you thought it made you more popular. How’s that going? Since 9 percent of you had your first kiss in a pickup truck, maybe that answer lies within.
•The Navara Dark Sky concept from Nissan was a joint effort between the automaker and the European Space Agency (ESA). If “why?” was your first question, that’s legit. The truck is a rolling “mobile astronomy lab” because “ESA is mapping the stars with unprecedented precision using the Gaia satellite, which has already observed more than a billion stars. The Nissan Navara Dark Sky concept supports this project by helping astronomers conduct follow-up observations of the universe from hard-to-reach, so-called “dark sky” locations—away from the nighttime glow of urban areas, which decreases visibility,” explained Nissan. It has a super high-powered telescope on the custom off-road trailer. Nissan added, “Working closely with ESA, the trailer module also incorporates a special refrigerated atmosphere, allowing the telescope to remain stable and calibrated at the optimum temperature in transit to any location.” Short answer: Why not?
•No, really: “Land Rover and Clarks have combined their expertise to create a new men’s shoe collection. The renowned British brands have launched the Life.Limitless range with three designs for Fall 2018. The shoes draw on the brands’ shared reputation for design and innovation, inspired by Land Rover’s capability and versatility. The three designs cover all terrain from the metropolis to the mountains.”
•Did you know the NAXJA Midwest Chapter’s Winterfest 2019 is March 8-9 at the Badlands Off-Road Park in Attica, Indiana? We just told you, so you know now. Go here to go there: naxja.org.
Is It True?•The brand-new 310hp 2.7L turbocharged four-banger in the ’19 Chevy Silverado will possibly see 20 mpg city and 23 highway?
•’20 Ford F-150 hybrid will find itself being built in Dearborn, Michigan?
•Is the Mercedes-Benz GLC that’s being made in India coming to the U.S.?
•…while a body-on-frame SUV from Nissan won’t be coming?
•…but the Suzuki Jimny might be?
•…while the Ford Ranger Raptor might not be?
•3.0L Duramax diesel in ’20 Chevy Tahoe?
•GM and Honda are working together on massive outreach of autonomous tech?
•Vietnam’s first automaker is called VinFast? And its first SUV is called Lux SA2.0?
•Seven-speed manual trans for the new Ford Bronco coming in 2020?
•Smart-intersection tech from Honda could mean the ability to virtually see through and around buildings and walls, no matter what the weather, to help drivers spot hazards and so on?
•Powertrain buddies in India will be Ford and Mahindra?
•Mopar has a new crate engine coming, being majorly Hellcat in theme?
•AM General is for sale? And GM and Fiat Chrysler are circling?
Your Government at Work•The U.S. Department of Energy gave a grant worth $4.95 million over 3 years to Hyundai America Technical Center for R&D of an advanced spark/compression ignition engine.
•Arizona has created the Institute for Automated Mobility, and Intel is a founding partner. Said Intel, “This unique public-private consortium will focus on the liability, regulatory, and safety implications of automated vehicles and will work to develop standards and best practices for the industry to follow. The group is already working on liability and regulatory research as well as plans for an enclosed 2.1-mile safety test track.”
•Ford has some news related to law enforcement: “In addition to turning in the fastest times, the EcoBoost Police Interceptor Utility clocked in with the highest top speed—150 mph in Michigan State Police evaluations, marking the first time an SUV was the overall quickest and fastest police vehicle. The hybrid version turned in a top speed of 137 mph, also besting competitive SUV entries, including those equipped with V-8 engines.”
•And we’ll let one more do the talking for us: “The U.S. Department of Transportation today released new Federal guidance for automated vehicles, advancing its commitment to supporting the safe integration of automation into the broad multimodal surface transportation system.”
•It appears the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will designate six current OHV areas to be permanently that—equal to 300,000 acres—in San Bernardino County, California. This includes Johnson Valley.
•E15 ethanol fuel will likely become available for the first time ever in the summer months.
•There’s a new Automotive Innovation Lab Access Grants program in Australia worth $7 million. Karen Andrews, the minister for Industry, Science, and Technology, said it’s to support Aussie businesses with automotive product development.
What’s Happening in the Industry•There’s a new R&D facility in Cornelius, North Carolina. It sports the name Yokohama Development Center America and will be about tire development. #spoileralert
•A one-of-a-kind Jeep has been built over at AEV. According to AEV owner Dave Harriton the Outpost II, a Wrangler JK, is this: “We decided to create the Outpost II weekend camper to celebrate the end of a significant era in Jeep history. It’s a full-circle concept: We did our first Outpost with a pop-up tent for the JK’s first model year in 2006.” You’ll notice it’s got a cab/chassis now, and other big body mods were the frame being extended at the rear axle (if you know the AEV Brute Double Cab pickup, you understand what’s happening here). A steel “birdcage” was also added, as well as overlanding amenities. Get all the details at aev-conversions.com.
•You should read up on Roll by Goodyear. You’ll be pleasantly impressed by how concierge-y tire installation is getting. Let’s just say mobile installation and valet service are a few things being offered. Go here: rollbygoodyear.com. The launch starts in Washington, D.C.
•Advance Auto Parts and Walmart have partnered. There will now be a specialty store focused on many things automotive via walmart.com.
Four Wheeler AppWe decided to Google some horoscope predictions for 2019. Are you a Leo? Good news ahead! Are you any other sign? Prepare the bunker. But one thing that always has positive energy around the moon and sun and rising retrograde moon landing water fire crab ram is the Four Wheeler app. No matter what time of day you were born, your compatibility will be 100 percent with this app that 24/7 is a mind-blowing collection of vehicle builds, tech articles, new products, road tests, feature vehicles, travel stories, and news. There’s also much more you’ll find to like, no matter what your zodiac label. Download at the App Store.
“Detroit may have been through hell and back in the last 10 years, but these are the best three trucks ever built. Their factories are running flat out, import competitors have faded into the rearview mirror, and transaction prices have never been higher. This isn't war, it's a Detroit block party.”
—Eric Noble, a product development consultant and professor of vehicle technology at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, to Detroit Free Press
“FCA US LLC is voluntarily recalling an estimated 18,055 vehicles in the U.S. to perform a weld inspection, and repair as needed. Responding to a small number of complaints, FCA US launched an investigation that discovered certain vehicles built between early May and late August of this year may be equipped with brackets that were not welded to specification. Such a bracket may separate from the vehicle’s frame, which may affect steering response.”
—October 16, 2018, statement from Fiat Chrysler. It affects some ’18-’19 Jeep Wranglers. Call the FCA Recall Information Center at 800/853-1403 or your dealer to learn whether your Jeep is included.
Base Camp Ranger
Project Nightfall Ranger
Project Ranger X
Custom Ford Rangers from the ’18 SEMA ShowAs part of the flash and bang for the ’18 SEMA Show, Ford Performance and Ford Accessories created some unique trucks. Why you might care about this is because it’s your first look at some interesting ideas for building the all-new ’19 Ford Ranger.
This included a prerunner Ranger that started life as a ’19 pickup with the FX4 Off-Road package and gained upgrades to the exhaust and suspension (3-inch leveling kit), a 40-inch lightbar (among its many light additions), new bumpers, and after-cat exhaust, for starters. Another Ranger brought to life was the Base Camp, featuring much of the same as above, but also with a snorkel, awning, and roof storage.
Project Nightfall takes a ’19 Ranger Lariat SuperCrew and meshes off-road with “urban living.” Again, much of the same Ford Performance and Ford Accessories contributions as above, but with that…paint. Project Ranger X comes from the mind of BDS Suspension. The company’s 6-inch suspension kit with upper control arms appears on this XLT SuperCrew, plus there was a custom longbed conversion. Other add-ons ranged from bumpers to other aftermarket components.
Ford also created a few unique F-series, which we’ll show you soon!
What is the Ram 1500 Rebel Concept?To catch some eyes at the ’18 SEMA Show, Ram built up a Ram 1500. But not just any build—some concept parts showed up on this off-road-themed Rebel. Like…performance hood, spare-tire carrier, and pedal kit. Keep your eyes peeled for these to go public.