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October 2009 RPM - 4x4 Truck & Automotive News

Posted in Project Vehicles on October 1, 2009
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Photographers: Brenda Priddy & Company

2010 Duramax LML Spied!
With tougher diesel emissions rules coming online in 2010, Ford and GM have new engines on the way. Dodge's 6.7L Cummins already meets the standard. Our spies recently got a first hand look at GM's new LML Duramax turbodiesel V-8 that will do battle with Dodge's Cummins 6.7L I-6, as well as Ford's in-house and clean-sheet 6.7L Scorpion turbodiesel V-8. The LML Duramax will remain at 6.6 liters and will cut soot levels 90 percent when compared to the 2006 models. This will be the first GM diesel stateside to use urea injection as part of the emissions equipment. Other changes that can be expected are piezo-electric injectors, dual EGRs, and revamped turbo plumbing. Our sources peg the LML power at 390 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque.

GM Agrees To Sell Hummer
GM has a Memorandum of Understanding to sell the Hummer brand to Chinese heavy-equipment manufacturer Sichuan Tengzhong. Under the agreement, Sichuan Tengzhong agrees to acquire the rights to the Hummer brand, as well as the senior management team and dealer network. According to Hummer, the brand will remain a US-based company with US-manufactured products. Hummer also tells us that with the fresh capital from the new company, we can expect to see the current line-up of the H2, H2 SUT, H3, and H3T further refined and expanded. Possible future products are likely to include an H4, based on the Hx concept, as well as an H3T regular-cab. The new company also wants to explore alternative technologies and fuels to make Hummer products more efficient. The purchase price was not disclosed at the time of printing, and the Chinese government still has to approve the sale.

Italian Jeeps?
Well, it's probably better than German Jeeps. Chrysler has emerged from bankruptcy and Italian automaker Fiat now has a 20-percent and controlling interest in the company, which includes the Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brands. Fiat will be able to acquire up to 35 percent of Chrysler if certain goals are met, but cannot own the company until government loans are paid back. Other stakeholders in the new company are the UAW and the Canadian and U.S. governments. In addition to supplying small car technology to the American automaker, we fully expect the new company to stand behind quality products, such as the new Dodge Ram and Wrangler, as well as introducing more efficient models to America, such as a Jeep based on the Fiat Panda micro-SUV platform. We wish our good friends and colleagues at the new Chrysler the best of luck.

No Light-Duty Cummins...For Now
With Chrysler emerging from bankruptcy, one of the assets of the old company that will not emerge with the new Chrysler is the contract with Cummins for the light duty V-8 diesel that was scheduled for the Ram 1500. With that news, every major 1/2-ton competitor from Ford to Nissan has put plans for a light-duty diesel on hold. Unlike some of the plans from other manufacturers, the Ram light-duty diesel isn't necessarily dead; however, an all-new contract will have to be agreed upon with the new Chrysler company.

Raptor Stars In Movie Premiere
We were recently invited to attend the big screen premiere of Ford's "Raptor - Born in Baja," at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The star-studded evening was capped off by the documentary, which chronicled the exploits of the Team Raptor to build, enter, and campaign the Raptor R race truck in the 2008 SCORE Tecate Baja 1000. With the respectable goal of completing the race as the mission objective, the team, with a strong-running truck, was able to enhance the mission mid-race and take the Raptor R all the way to a podium finish. The movie will also air on the Speed Channel Cable network. While we were at the event, surrounded by Ford, and more specifically, Raptor folks, we found out that as of June, Ford has received over 1,000 pre-orders for the truck. We were also told that potential customers have been requesting a crew-cab version of the truck, and there just might be a broader color palette on the horizon. Sounds like this truck is going to be a huge hit. The movie wasn't bad, either.

BFG Recognizes Barnwell
More than 100 off-road enthusiasts and members of the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition (TMTC) gathered in May to celebrate as BFGoodrich Tires named Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area as one of its 2009 Outstanding Trails and awarded the club a grant. The Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area near Gilmer, Texas, features a system of trails in a 1,800-acre park featuring scramble areas, training hills, and rock crawls. The BFGoodrich grant will be used to preserve the trail system and continue conservation efforts for one of America's premier areas for off-roading. BFGoodrich Tires, working in conjunction with Tread Lightly! and United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA), chose the Barnwell Mountain Recreation Area because it provides riding opportunities for many skill levels on varied terrain - rock, dirt, mud, and hills. Launched in 2006, the BFGoodrich Tires Outstanding Trails program is dedicated to the responsible use and preservation of off-road trails and provides aid for trail conservation. Since its inception, the Outstanding Trails program has recognized 17 off-road trails in 14 states and two in Canada. The program has also given $62,000 in grants to clubs and seen more than 2,000 participants at trail events. Aside from Barnwell Mountain, Fordyce Creek Trail, located in California in the Tahoe National Forest, was also named to the 2009 Outstanding Trails list.

Quick Hits
* JD Power reports that the Toyota Tundra and Ford F-150 have tied to take First Place in the Initial Quality Survey for the Large Pickup category.

* Ford will be the featured manufacturer of the 2009 SEMA Show.

* According to SEMA, the most popular 4x4 vehicles with Chinese wheelers are the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota FJ Cruiser, and Toyota Land Cruiser

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