Our spies were out trying to catch the freshened '09 F-150 when they came across this odd six-door model. Our sources have confirmed that this will indeed be an option offered later this year on the F-150 and will be called Tough Box. The Tough Box will allow buyers to have secure, weather-tight storage in the bed areas and will be marketed mainly to commercial customers. The Tough Box option still allows for a 5.5-foot bed and is available on what would be the 8-foot longbed chassis.
Hummer will be officially showing off the '08 H3 Alpha and '08 H2 at the upcoming New York Auto Show. The exterior styling on both models is mildly freshened, while the H2 benefits from a gorgeous new interior that includes a full third-row seat, as well as a more efficient 393hp 6.2L V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission standard that bumps towing capacity to 8,000 pounds. The H3 adds the Alpha model to the lineup, which will come standard with the 295hp 5.3L V-8, upping towing capacity to 6,000 pounds and finally answering all concerns about the H3 being underpowered.
Sterling Truck Corporation has released images of its new medium-duty chassis-cab. The Bullet, based on Dodge Ram architecture, is the latest addition to the company's full line of Class 3-8 work trucks and will be available at select Sterling dealerships in late fall 2007. Several features come standard on the Bullet, including a powerful Cummins 6.7L ISB engine with exhaust brake, a power take-off prep package, and a rugged 34-inch-wide, 50,000-psi frame for easy body-builder upfit. The Bullet is offered as a regular cab in four wheelbases or as a quad cab in two wheelbases. It also features two- or four-wheel drive and optional snowplow and towing packages.
Our 2007 Four Wheeler of the Year-winning Jeep Wrangler JK, especially the Unlimited model, has proven popular for Jeep-so much so that Jeep is having problems building enough to meet demand. Sales for the new Jeep were up 124 percent in January and 63 percent in February over the previous year. We figure this is a good problem to have, however, as Chrysler needs more hits like the Jeep Wrangler. We have heard about some production issues and have met people who have been waiting months for their Wranglers. We are just happy we got ours and if you need a Wrangler fix, turn to page 42 and meet our newest project vehicle.
According to industry reports, both Nissan and Toyota have stopped development on what was expected to be their 2009 entries into the heavy-duty truck market with 3/4- and 1-ton versions of the Titan and Tundra. Citing fuel economy and the risk needed to break into the HD market, the companies feel at this time that their development money is better spent elsewhere.
OHV Access Denied-House Panel Approves Washington Wilderness Bill
The House Natural Resources Committee approved legislation (HR 886) to create a 106,000-acre wilderness area in Washington's Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. While the Senate has approved the measure three times in the last five years, this marks the first time in which the bill was approved by the House Committee. The SEMA-opposed bill would close existing roads and trails.
Wilderness designations are consequential to SEMA members since they potentially deny access to four-wheelers and the equipment they purchase for backcountry activities (since "wilderness" is by definition "roadless"). SEMA supports cooperative approaches to wilderness issues, such as establishing adjacent or nearby areas that are open to off-highway vehicle use. This includes "cherry-stem" roads as OHV corridors within the wilderness areas.
Last year, lawmakers failed to pass a SEMA-supported approach to set aside about 93,000 acres of the "Wild Sky Wilderness" in Washington and also create a 13,000-acre "backcountry wilderness management area" to maintain the previously developed lands and roads. Democrats who now control the House are more focused on securing the wilderness designation than also keeping a small portion available for motorized recreation. No compromise to include the 13,000 acres is expected when the bill is scheduled for a vote by the full House of Representatives. SEMA will work to pursue a more balanced approach when the Senate considers its version of the bill.
* Sirius and XM satellite radio service have plans to merge, but will have a tough time convincing the Federal Government that they will not become a monopoly.
* Ford has announced its newest truck pitchman is none other than Mike Rowe of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs fame.
* Lexus is said to be readying the new LX 570 for the upcoming New York Auto Show.
* After squabbling over 6.4L Power Stroke engines, Ford and Navistar International have made peace for the time being, and Super Duty production is back up to full speed.