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RPM: 4x4 And Auto News And Rumors



Photography: GM

That’s Interesting

•In case you’re wondering about a new organization called Ford Autonomous Vehicles, it’s Ford’s and it’s focusing on autonomous vehicles.
•Also: We didn’t read any of the 44-page document Ford released about its safety goals for self-driving vehicles and how it’s working with the government and cities and others. Hard to say whether we didn’t because it’s 44 pages or about autonomous vehicles. Throw a dart.
•There’s a new health joint called FCA Family Health and Wellness Center in Indiana that’s a Fiat Chrysler/St. Vincent double billing, available to FCA employees and their families at no cost. “FCA joins growing trend of large U.S. employers establishing primary care facilities,” the automaker said in a statement.
•By 2022, expect your new four-door Nissan SUV or pickup to have Rear Door Alert as standard equipment, aimed at warning you (honking, for example) to check the backseat for people and things you might have left behind, especially on a hot day. Yes, you can turn that feature off.
•The Rezvani Tank is available in the Military Edition. Coughing up $295,000 (to start) includes an optional 707hp Hellcat V-8, off-road package with Dynatrac axles, bulletproof armor, night vision, smoke screen (we’re up for six figures just to get that), magnetic dead bolts and electrified door handles (also that), and other things you can see at rezvanimotors.com.
•Did you know the ’19 Ford Ranger will use radar towing tech? It’s the Blind Spot Information System you’ve probably heard of before, and it checks for blind spots, all the way to the back of the trailer. It can also store trailer info, like length, so that you’ll receive warnings. Use it without something hitched as well.
•Which brands have the perception of being the most patriotic? Brand Keys surveyed people and the survey said Jeep beat out Coca-Cola and even American Express, which had the home field advantage by having the actual word “American” in the name. Ford was No. 4, which meant both automakers outranked Amazon, Starbucks, and McDonald’s.
•Ford First Gen is a new program at Spelman College, which the Blue Oval described as designed to enhance “student success efforts by pairing a cohort of 50 first-generation, first-year students with 10 rising juniors—also first-generation students—who will serve as peer mentors. Mentors will spend at least 10 hours per week with each of their assigned mentees.”
•Shop by Diagram is new tech from eBay Motors that’s basically like a picture book. You don’t have to know the part name or part number. It makes your vehicle’s schematic diagrams interactive and the algorithms will connect you to the part or accessory for your specific make/model of vehicle. If you’ve used My Garage, eBay has also tweaked that for personalizing parts and products for the vehicle you have in your virtual garage.
•In case you wondered which Fiat Chrysler plant would score the task of building the power electronics module for the ’20 Jeep Wrangler plug-in hybrid, it’s the Toledo Machining Plant. Hope you won the office pool.
•Ford is bringing a new SUV to China called Territory. It’s a midsize for 2019 and can be had as a mild hybrid, plug-in, or gas vehicle.
•Been in an accident? If you have a GM vehicle, you’re in luck. The automaker started the Collision Repair Network that combines with OnStar to help you find repair facilities with technicians who know how to repair GM vehicles using the OE parts.
•What is Sixt? If you’re a Millennial, you know, since you ranked it Favorite Car Rental Company by Trazee Awards. What is a Trazee award? Eh, moving on.
• AutoNation has created a $300,000 matching grant that’ll go toward homelessness in Broward County in Florida, and between now and December 31, 2018, will 100 percent match all new donations up to $300,000 made to United We End Homelessness, its joint project with United Way of Broward County and others. Learn more at unitedwaybroward.org.
U.S. News & World Report’s Best New Cars for Teens included the Kia Sportage.
•Are we going to have to make food truck reports a new monthly deal? Well, Waffle House is now on the go, so this monthly series can probably end here.
•Looks as though Lincoln dealerships and Ford dealerships will become separate entities. Apparently, you get better results when you don’t mix luxury and utility. Or president names.
Fortune magazine’s Change the World list included Toyota for the third time. “No other auto company has been named more than once,” Toy wanted you to know. Why did this happen? “For believing robots can do more than assemble Corollas and Camrys; it’s building and investing in robotics to help the disabled and elderly.”
•Land Rover has a bunch of “pet packs.” You’re looking at foldable pet carriers, portable shower, spill-resistant water bowl, and other necessities. The company also signed on as a sponsor of the Rugby World Cup and Wheelchair Rugby World Championships, the first company to sponsor them.
•Just because it’s interesting: The new most expensive American car ever sold at auction is the ’35 Duesenberg once owned by actor Gary Cooper, which went for $22 million.
•There’s a new Universal Technical Institute: Bloomfield, New Jersey. It’s the first one in the tri-state area.


Is it True?

•Is Hyundai putting on its game face and readying itself for a takeover bid of Fiat Chrysler and therefore Jeep and Ram? Wasn’t this the topic of season 1 of Succession?
•Go to Walmart, get a ride in a self-driving vehicle? Are Waymo and the other W-word giving shoppers a ride to their errands, at least in Phoenix?
•The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak pickup is definitely, really, probably, almost certainly going into production?
•Been hankering for a compact pickup sporting the Ford name? Can you wait until 2022?
•The Tripower name is returning? But this time GM is using it to reference cylinder deactivation and other fuel-saving gadgets, aka the opposite of “power”?
•Land Rover trademarked “Road Rover”?
•Cox Automotive’s 2018 Evolution of Mobility study reported, “Self-driving vehicles are seen as less safe by consumers compared to two years ago, with most notably, the vehicle autonomy preference shifting from Level 4 to Level 2—the level currently available in most new vehicles,” meaning “autonomous vehicle awareness rising, acceptance declining”?
•No Jeep Wrangler JL for Australians until 2019?
•Jeep now has a five-year warranty?
•Also, is Jeep not selling so hot in what-was-supposed-to-be-hot China?
•Because Japan wants flying cars, it’s working with Uber on this development?
•Same subject: Toyota is coughing up $500 million to invest in Uber and the development of self-driving vehicles?
•Europe has its eye on the Ford Ranger Raptor with a diesel? So…diesels are dead or not dead there?
•What is a hail cannon? And why does Volkswagen know what it is? Is it technology that will “shoot sonic booms into the air to prevent the formation of hail,” according to CNN Money and is being used by VW to protect cars parked outside the factory in Mexico, and therefore causing the automaker to be accused of altering weather and ruining local crops?
•As an answer to the shortage of automotive techs in the U.S., is Mercedes-Benz offering a Registered Apprentice Program for veterans and partnering with Jefferson Community & Technical College in Kentucky on training programs?


Your Government at Work

•The chief of the National Transportation Safety Board, Advocacy Division, Nicholas Worrell, had to actually waste his time putting out a letter to (the Darwin Award¬–worthy members of) the public, writing, “Don’t jump out of a moving vehicle to dance in the street.” Because? Because: “Recently, the #InMyFeelings challenge introduced a new safety challenge to road users. It began with a fan dancing to the Drake song ‘In My Feelings’ and posting a video of his moves. Then, fans began hopping out of cars as they rolled along in Neutral to dance to the lyrics ‘Keke, do you love me? Are you riding?’ Often the driver is the one doing the recording. Sometimes the driver was even the one who got out and danced…Avoid becoming—or causing—an #InMyFeelings fatality. All you have to do is not jump out of a moving vehicle.” Again: The government had to write this.
•Sounds like the EPA is planning to maintain fleet fuel economy standards at 35 mpg until 2026. The original goal was 50 mpg by 2025.
•The Illinois EPA reported removing more than 4,600 tons of used tires from a company that was violating pollution and environmental regulations for more than a year. It cost over $1.8 million—that made history in the state when it comes to historical things about used-tire cleanup.
•Word on the street is that ACDelco Tools will be shifting away from giving you a blow-molded case with your tools for environmental reasons: to remove plastic waste.


What’s Happening in the Industry

•Covercraft, meet your new acquisition, Marathon Seat Covers.
•Goodyear is older than anyone you know or anyone we know or anyone currently. It turned 120 years old in 2018.
•The Rancho suspension system for the Jeep Wrangler JL has met the requirements by the U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 126, Electronic Stability Control Systems. That mouthful means an ’18 JL with a Rancho 4 1/2-inch crawler short-arm system coupled with RS5000X shock absorbers, BFGoodrich All-Terrains, and Vision Nemesis 17-inch wheels passed an important test.


Four Wheeler App

Four Wheeler is the leading magazine for four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and professionals. Every issue features new vehicle test evaluations, hands-on technical how-tos, new products, driving tips, and a calendar of off-road racing events.” That’s how the wording goes about the Four Wheeler app when you go to download us. Leading magazine? Check. Every issue has that stuff? Check. But know that this laconic description is all cherries atop what else you’ll find through the app. You’ll espy loads of feature trucks, installations, breaking automotive news, product guides, travel and adventure, and so much more explained in an informative and bonhomie manner that bespeaks our own hands-on knowledge and passion. We’re also pretty sure you definitely didn’t notice that we had gotten lazy about looking at our Word of the Day calendar on the daily and mere moments ago tore off 60 days’ worth at once.


“I'm a man, 100 percent. Legally, I'm a woman.”
—Story out of Alberta, Canada, by the CBC about a man annoyed that his auto insurance would have cost less if he were a woman. So, he got a doctor’s note for the government to see that he identifies as a woman—even though he does not. He now saves nearly $91 per month with the fraudulent claim.


“Entertainers endorse products all the time. But this is different. This is MY dealership—Mark Wahlberg Chevrolet. And it goes well beyond the sign. I’m committed to bringing the people of Columbus, Ohio, the best car buying experience possible.”
—We’ve already told you this happened. This is the welcome page on markwahlbergchevy.com, the actor’s new dealership.


Photography: GM

“We’re going to sell trucks just because of this gate.”
— Matthew Noone, GMC’s director of exterior design, to Automotive News, regarding the six-way MultiPro tailgate on the ’19 Sierra


Photography: GM

“We’ve added so many features and benefits that it deserves its own name: Durabed.”
—Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer, fullsize trucks, General Motors, about the bed of the ’19 Silverado


A High-Output EcoBoost for the ’19 Ford F-150 Limited

A high-output 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 is available for the ’19 Ford F-150 Limited. Worth 450 horses and 510 lb-ft of torque, and coupled with new dual exhaust, it’s being offered to those who think the Raptor is potent but not fancy enough.


Jeep or Mahindra? The Trade Commission Will Decide

Everyone’s been saying the Mahindra Roxor looks like a Jeep, and Fiat Chrysler is doing something about it. It has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission about the similarities in body design, “requesting that the Commission conduct an investigation under section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, regarding Certain Motorized Vehicles and Components Thereof. The proposed respondents are Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., India and Mahindra Automotive North America, Inc., Auburn Hills, Michigan.” The legal way of saying, “Hello, doesn’t this look like a Jeep?” From Automotive News: “‘Our actions, products, and product distribution (including Roxor) both honor the legacy of the relationship and the terms of our agreements with FCA,’ said Rich Ansell, a spokesman for Mahindra’s North American unit. ‘Mahindra has been co-existing with FCA (and the Jeep brand) for over 25 years in India and in many other countries.’”


Photography: GM

New Chevys: Premier Plus Editions of Tahoe and Suburban

Which came first, the popularity of the 6.2L V-8 or the Premier Plus special edition? You decide. Chevy’s putting the engine in the new Premier Plus versions of the Tahoe and Sub. They’ll also have Premier-based unique two-tone interiors and Premier-based unique 22-inch polished wheels. Also, Premier-based gold Bow Tie logos.


’18 Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition

What you need to know about the Moab Edition of the Jeep JL, other than it’s the first limited edition out of the box for the new Wrangler: It’s a Sahara at heart. It has standard rock rails, 32-inch rubber, steel bumpers with removable end caps, and the Rubicon’s hood and wheels. It also gained the Leather Interior Group and the Cold Weather Group. And there’s a decal to make sure everyone knows you did it.

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