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RPM: 4x4 And Auto News And Rumors

Posted in News on March 7, 2019
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Photographers: Courtesy of Manufacturers


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Photos: GM

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That’s Interesting

•The all-new Chevy Silverado HD is in the house. The ’20 model can tow up to 35,500 pounds and is bigger and taller than the previous edition. It can be stuffed with the new 401hp 6.6L V-8 that makes 464 lb-ft of torque or the Duramax 445hp 6.6L worth 910 lb-ft of torque.
•The ’20 Ford Super Duty gains the new 7.3L V-8 (and an upgraded 6.7L Power Stroke and heavy-duty 10-speed auto trans).
•The Toyota Sequoia got TRD Pro-ified with a TRD-tuned suspension and special 2.5-inch Fox shocks, plus there’s the grille, wheels, and an option for Army Green skin among the odds and ends.
•We have to follow that up with this headline statement from Toyota: “RAV4 Drivers Earn Trail Cred’ Thanks to New TRD Off-Road Treatment.” Then again, before the eye-roll is completed, read this part: “2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road Suspension Inspired by Rally RAV4 Race Team.” Hmmm, maybe a RAV4 could be fun after all.
•Aston Martin’s Lagonda All-Terrain concept is an all-electric SUV. But don’t get too excited by the use of “all-terrain,” because even they’re calling it “car.”
•New Nissan Pathfinder alert: Rock Creek Package. Get it on the SV and SL and expect to see black treatment on the outside and two-tone seating on the inside. Also, “high-contrast stitching.” Like you’d have recognized low-contrast. The package runs $995.
•GM has a new eBike lineup called ARĪV. If macrons annoy you, we say go ahead and pronounce that name in whichever way matches your comfort zone or level of disdain. They’re only available in Germany, Brussels, and the Netherlands to start, so you have time to figure out your zone or level. One version of the eBike folds up, if that expedites your feelings.
•Tesla now has “dog mode” for owners that are leaving their pet in the car while they run an errand to prevent coming back to an overheated pet. A message displays on the infotainment system to let Good Samaritans know all is OK.
•Hyundai has developed what it said is the first multi-collision airbag system, offering secondary-impact protection. Like this: “Hyundai’s new technology detects occupant position in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable.”
Consumer Reports tell us the least satisfying vehicles based on your data and surveys, but only the ones from your list that we’ll care about: Jeep Renegade and Nissan Pathfinder.
•Honda and Ohio State have been awarded a grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation in order to conduct a clinical trial to “research the safety and potential positive impact that Honda’s Walking Assist Device could have in helping people with Parkinson’s disease.”
•John Haynes, who brought us the ever-useful Haynes Manuals, has passed away at age 80.
•The largest parade of autonomous cars that can claim Guinness World Records status was comprised of 55 SUVs that were built by Changan Automobile. They did a test lap—aka paraded around—on the Dianjiang test site in China, according to Guinness World Records.
•Incoming message from Mopar: There are more than 170 products available to customize your ’19 Ram 2500 HD. Ram even sampled the Mopar platter by building up a Big Horn edition with items such as a Ram Bar in the bed, off-road lights, rear bed step, flares, and even a concept version of off-road rock rails.
•My Track Technology has built the MTT-154 and MTT-136. The machines are fully electric and “represent a means of transportation somewhere between snowshoes and a motorized vehicle.” The idea is that they can be used to transport equipment to first responders or assist people with mobility issues. Learn more at
•Steering wheels are adorable, aren’t they? FYI, did a survey and learned that 32 percent of people admitted to cleaning the interior of their vehicle only once a year and 12 percent said they never do. Now, about that adorable round thing you put your hands on: it’s six times dirtier than a smartphone screen and four times dirtier than a public toilet.
•Among the vehicles that people are keeping 15 years or more: Toyota 4Runner, Tundra, Sequoia, and Tacoma; Kia Sorento; GMC Yukon XL and Sierra 1500; Chevy Suburban and Silverado 1500; Nissan Frontier; Ram 1500; and Ford Ranger, said
•10 million is the number of Pentastar engines Fiat Chrysler has produced at the Trenton Engine Complex.
•Side note: The Pentastar is also the best-selling engine in Canada for 6 years now.
•You can get Yakima racks and accessories for the new Ford Explorer directly from Ford.
•The ’20 Land Cruiser has a Heritage Edition. There’s a limited number to fete the vehicle that started as a BJ in 1951, became full-blown Land Cruiser in 1954, and then hit the U.S. in 1958. What you’re getting here is mainly special wheels, exclusive upholstery, and badging.


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Is It True?

•Jeep expects 10-15 percent of Wrangler customers to switch to the new Gladiator?
•Has a lawsuit been filed against Ford by MIT professors who say the Blue Oval took their dual port- and direct-injection tech and used it in the EcoBoost engines?
•When the weather gets frosty (say, 20 degrees Fahrenheit) and you use an electric vehicle’s built-in heater, does it cut driving range capacity by half? As in, a reduction of 41 percent, according to research by AAA?
•The ’20 Land Rover Discovery Sport plug-in hybrid will be able to go 50 miles on electricity? (As long as you don’t use the heater?)
•Has Mercedes-Benz developed an autonomous “cooperative car,” which has 360-degree lighting to alert that it’s braking, about to move, and in self-driving mode? And the lighting is in turquoise, because that’s what studies said pedestrians want in their 360-degree conversations with cars?
•Shall we talk autonomous for one minute longer? “They have incentive to create havoc” according to Adam Millard-Ball, an associate professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Cruz? Why? Because rather than paying to park somewhere, they’ll just cruise around, creating gridlock?
•Hot Wheels toys will now become Hot Wheels movies?
•Did Ford build a bed concept featuring its Lane Keeping tech to keep sleepers on their side of the bed? Like how it helps you stay in your lane on the road, with a gentle nudge?
•The follow-up to the game Burnout will be called…Dangerous Driving?
•249 patients came to the emergency room at two Southern California hospitals from electric-GM injuries in a 1-year period, according to a paper published on JAMA Network? And most common was from head injuries?
•Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is looking to show “that drivers are talking on handheld phones less and fiddling with them more often than in recent years,” with numbers on the rise each year?
•1,935,230 is the number of vehicles Toyota built at its plants in North America in 2018?
•Did Amazon invest $700 million into Rivian, the maker of an electric pickup and SUV?
•The new Jeep Gladiator will appear in the next Fast & Furious movie?
•Fiat Chrysler and Bosch will pay $66 million in legal fees to lawyers repping the U.S.-based diesel-vehicle owners affected by the emissions scandal?


Your Government at Work

•A bill has been birthed in Georgia that would “provide for conditions upon immunity from civil liability in instances of rendering emergency care; to limit liability for property damage caused by the rescue or attempted rescue of animals locked in motor vehicles.”
•Regarding your vehicle’s black box: “NHTSA withdraws its December 13, 2012, notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposed a new Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) mandating installation of an Event Data Recorder (EDR) that meets NHTSA’s current EDR standard in most light vehicles. At the time NHTSA published the NPRM, the agency noted that a significant number of light vehicles were being sold without EDRs, and said it believed a mandate was needed. Today, EDRs are installed on nearly all new light vehicles. In light of these changed circumstances, NHTSA believes that a mandate for today’s EDRs is no longer necessary and withdrawal of the NPRM is therefore warranted.”
•The EPA has given Fiat Chrysler U.S. certification for the ’19 Ram 3500 engines as well as for the ’19 2500 engines.
•A congressional resolution has been presented to the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize July 12, 2019, as Collector Car Appreciation Day. The annual event turns 10 this year.
•Legislation in Maryland aims to exempt vehicles driven fewer than 5,000 miles per year from having to go through inspection/tests.
•Legislation has been intro’d in California to try and amend a new exhaust-noise law, which went from a “fix-it” ticket to a “we’re fining you now on the spot, don’t argue, it’s the law” ticket. The goal is to return the law to “fix-it” status.
•Sounds like the NYPD told Google to stop allowing for police checkpoints to show up on Google-owned Waze.
•The Texas Department of Transportation formed a task force. It’s forcing the task of coordinating connected and autonomous vehicle info, projects, investments, and initiatives in the state.


What’s Happening in the Industry

•Red Line Synthetic Oil is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
•New logo design: Rugged Ridge.
•No. 1 franchise in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500, Miscellaneous Auto Products and Services category: Line-X. That’s 10 times since 2005.
•Hey, we see you made the Franchise 500 too, Matco Tools.
•Goodyear and Local Motors are working together on autonomous shuttles. Goodyear is the tire supplier; Local Motors is the owner of Olli, the shuttles.
•An off-road–only tire is available from Mickey Thompson. The Baja Pro X is ready for mud and rocks and uses Treadbiter cleats. It comes in size 43X14.50-17LT, but keep your eyes peeled for more options.
•If you’re looking for a job in Kentucky, know that Valvoline made the 14th annual Best Places to Work in Kentucky list.
•If you’re looking for a job that’s for a company that’s got climate change on the mind, know that Pirelli “has been recognized as a global leader in corporate climate action by CDP (formerly Carbon Disclosure Project), achieving a place on the CDP Climate Change A List.”
•TomTom sold its telematics division to Bridgestone.
•Cooper Tire is ending production of light-vehicle tires at its Melksham, England, plant. “The plan is geared to help Cooper Tire Europe enhance its competitiveness in the global tire industry.”
•The W Series is a new female-only Formula 3 race in 2019. Hankook is the tire partner.
•2019: The year Cummins turned 100. In case you didn’t know, the company started first in a garage, then moved into a former cereal mill. Clessie Cummins had a business partner named William G. Irwin, and the concept they used for establishing Cummins was for the diesel engine to be used in multiple applications. Oh, and Clessie? Before being named president of Cummins, he was former chauffeur to the Irwin family.


Four Wheeler App

When you think of automotive apps, you probably think Waze or Google Maps or…that’s probably all. But the only app you should really be thinking of is the Four Wheeler one. Because can those other apps help you build your vehicle? Or expose you to new products? Or share breaking automotive news? Or review vehicles? Or provide a close-up look at cool vehicles? Or take you to trails all over the country and world? Or help with your tech needs and buildup ideas? Long answer: no. So, download the Four Wheeler app and enjoy.


Photography: GM

“How much of that reaction is from people who actually buy these trucks? I read all that stuff, I hear about all that. All of our research that we ever did on this, we’re talking to Heavy Duty buyers of all brands. This front end and this design over the top was one of our best-ranked designs.”
—Chevy Silverado Marketing Manager Hugh Milne to Autoblog about the Internet’s flood of hatred for the look for the new HD pickup


“Based on the orders coming in, and based on the hand-raisers, we think the demand's going to be so strong, that starting in February our assembly plant will be going into massive overtime.”
—Kumar Galhotra, the president of Ford North America, according to Automotive News, about the very-in-demand new Ranger


“My mom still tells the story of when I was little, I would run to the window whenever I would hear a motorcycle run, just because I loved the sound of it.”
—20-year-old Mercedes Czerepak to the Times Reporter—she has opened her own auto repair shop in Dover, Ohio


’19 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock

It’s TBT—throwback truck. The ’19 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock is a redo of the 1970s Warlock pickup. If the 1970s are too vintage for you, then learn from Ram’s own explanation of the OG Warlock: “In 1976, the first production Dodge Warlock was introduced following the public’s positive response to a pickup originally designed as an auto show concept vehicle. The Warlock was a factory-personalized pickup that could ‘play as hard as it works,’ according to the period literature, complete with bucket seats, ‘fancy wheels, fat tires,’ chrome-plated running boards, real oak sideboards, and special gold accent stripes inside and out. Production ran until 1979.” Knowing all that, now know that this Warlock gets its wings via a monochrome look, powdercoated bumpers, black grille with accompanying lettering, and lots of decals. Get it with the 3.6L or 5.7L Hemi engine. Pricing starts at $35,345.


’19 Ram 1500’s New Multifunction Tailgate

One question: How come it took this long for this? The new Ram’s new multifunction tailgate can be configured four ways—right door, left door, both doors, and opened flat—and the doors each swing open 88 degrees. The 60-40–split design also has a remote-release option. The tailgate is load-rated for 2,000 pounds. Ram is pushing the idea of you pairing it to the RamBox and adding a retractable tailgate step for all your cargo-management needs. The MSRP for the tailgate is $995.


Recalls to Know: Ram and Ford

There’s been a recall by Fiat Chrysler for around 193,813 ’19 Ram 1500s in the U.S. to “further secure their brake pedals while the vehicles’ adjustable-pedal feature is in use.” The Classic model is not affected by the recall. “FCA US is unaware of any related injuries or accidents; however, the company urges customers affected by this recall to refrain from using the adjustable-pedal feature until their vehicles are serviced.” For questions, call 800/853-1403. Use those same digits if you have questions about a potential steering-linkage issue for 573,876 ’13-’17 3500s and for ’14-’17 2500 pickups and 3500 chassis cabs, also U.S. trucks. “An FCA US investigation discovered a specific steering-linkage configuration on certain vehicles may separate over time. If this were to occur, the driver may experience steering loss.”

Ford’s recall affects some ’11-’13 F-150s with the six-speed auto trans, which “may experience an intermittent loss of the transmission output speed sensor signal to the powertrain control module, potentially resulting in a temporary, unintended downshift into First gear. Depending on vehicle speed, a downshift to First gear without warning could result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will update the powertrain control module software in the affected vehicles. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19S07.” This is for both U.S. and Canada.

And one more from Ford: “Ford is issuing a safety compliance recall on certain ’19 Ford Ranger vehicles to verify shifter interlock functionality. In the affected vehicles, the PRNDL bezel wiring may interfere with the shifter interlock override, preventing the shifter from locking in the Park position and allowing the driver to shift the transmission out of Park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal. Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from this condition. This action affects approximately 3,500 Ranger vehicles in North America, including approximately 3,000 in the U.S. and 500 in Canada. Affected ’19 Ranger vehicles were built at the Michigan Assembly Plant, June 4, 2018, to January 9, 2019. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19C02.”


Return of the VW Dune Buggy—But Guess What’s Different

In the 1960s and 1970s, California deserts had a plethora of dune buggies, and the VW Beetle chassis thrived in this capacity. VW is bringing the dune buggy back, and as this teaser photo shows, that includes off-road rubber, big wheels, and the familiar roofing and door situation—but this time it’s all-electric. The dune buggy concept uses the modular electric drive matrix platform, which the automaker said could be used to develop low-volume niche vehicles.


Photography: Windsor/Bertie County Chamber of Commerce, Facebook:

Random Photo We Dug

We found this photo on North Carolina’s Windsor/Bertie County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. The bear was spotted hanging off a dump truck that was headed for a landfill, according to The driver didn’t know it was there until officers alerted him. The bear then jumped off and ran into the woods.

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