Truck News and Reviews - Autoblog (pg 312) (2024)

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Jul 28, 2005

ASC CEO predicts four-door and SUV convertibles

Speaking of ASC, its CEO, Paul Wilbur, gave an interview in which he makes some pretty bold predictions about thefuture of the convertible market. Obviously the company is pushing for the four-door convertible to make a comeback.The ASC Helios is the Chrysler 300C-based four-door convertible the company built to show automakers that issues withstructural integrity could be overcome in a long-wheelbase drop top. Wilbur also predicts that in the next two to threeyears we'll see the slow

John Neff

Jul 22, 2005

A brief wrapup of recall activity

Toyota has announced that it will berecallingabout 345,000 Sienna minivans because of a defect in the seatbelts for some seating positions. The problem affectsthe ability of the belt to retract, and may also result in difficulty in securing the belt. I think it's supposed togive the vehicle that pre-owned feeling. If you own one of the affected vehicles from the '04 and '05 model years,you'll be able to get it fixed in August. Meanwhile, Mazda isrecalling the RX-8 because of a def

Eric Bryant

Jul 20, 2005

White House wants revised fuel economy standards for trucks

Currently automakers have to meet an average fuel economy standard of 21 miles per gallon for their entire consumertruck fleet, which includes all sizes of trucks from small to large, as well as SUVs and vans. The Bush administrationis proposing a new multi-tiered standard based on the size of a truck and not its weight. Developed by the NationalHighway Traffic Safety Administration, the new proposal would group trucks in categories with different fuel economystandards. Light trucks,

John Neff

Jul 19, 2005

FedEx sends 69 drivers to National Truck Driving Championships

FedEx will field a record number of 69 truck drivers at the National Truck Driving Championships in Tampa, FL onAugust 16th. The shipping company is set to defend its title of National Grand Champion against 400 other competitorsfor the third straight year. FedEx set the previous record last year with 62 drivers, which isn't as large nor as funnya number as 69. Seriously though, this news is something of which FedEx should be extremely proud. This company has 76,000 drivers

John Neff

Jul 18, 2005

Toyota continues to add North American capacity

Toyota continues to add new North American capacity, with the recently announced Ontario assembly plant addinganother 100,000 annual units of RAV4 production. This will be Toyota's third plant in five years, and even at that,their NA sales continue to increase faster than their ability to build vehicles here. In 2004, 62% of Toyota's vehiclesthat were sold in the US were built in NA; Nissan (76%) and Honda (79%) produce more of their vehicles domestically.Toyota wants to produce at le

Eric Bryant

Jul 18, 2005

Trade agreement could dramatically change truck market

Pop quiz: What country is the 2nd-largest producer of pickup trucks, behind the US? Is it Canada, or maybe Mexico,both of which are home to Big 3 truck plants? Japan, perhaps? Nope. It's Thailand, which came as quite a surprise. TheUS is negotiating a trade agreement with that country that both parties hope to wrap up in September, and if the 25%duty on imported trucks is lifted, expect something between a trickle and a flood of Thai-built trucks to enter the USmarket. Most of the com

Eric Bryant

Jul 18, 2005

Ford cruise-control switch suspected in another fatal fire

When a fire ripped through a home in January 2004 and killed a 4-year-old girl, no one at the time suspected thatthe 2001 F-150 Super Crew parked inside the attached garage was at fault, and the case was closed with the cause offire listed as "undetermined". A year later, Ford announced arecall that covered cruise-controlswitch fires and would have included this vehicle. The girl's family has responded with

Eric Bryant

Jul 17, 2005

Don't expect huge changes for new GM full-size trucks

With the introduction of the new GMT900 series of full-size trucks coming early next year, it's time for thespeculation to begin. Word has it that the changes will be "evolutionary", or "change what's broken and leave the restalone". The sheetmetal will be all-new and should provide more differentiation between Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac models.Arguably the largest problem with the current line-up is the interior, which should be much improved as is the trendwith newer GM vehicles. Let'

Eric Bryant

Jul 15, 2005

eBay to auction Magic Johnson Lincoln Mark LT

If the Lincoln Mark LT is the answer to the truck question that no one asked, then we have no idea what this is. OK,we've got a slight idea what it is, and that's a 2006 Mark LT equipped with 24" wheels, a swanky suede interior, and avariety of aftermarket A/V equipment including 7" monitors in the seats and a center-mounted swing-down 15" LCD screen.A new lower grille insert is included, but the bigger-than-life stock upper grille was retained. It also includes abedcover autographed

Eric Bryant

Jul 14, 2005

Chrysler 300 designer moves to truck division

Ralph Gilles is da man over at Chrysler, having previously headed the team responsible for the 300, Dodge Magnum andDodge Charger. Gilles was working on the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country replacements until the powersthat be decided he should lay his healing hands upon the company's light truck division. Thisarticle by Auto123 cites thecurrent sales trend for nearly every automaker in t

John Neff

Jul 13, 2005

Toyota says hybrid pickup will be next

Toyota has pledged itself to a mission of selling 1,000,000 hybrids worldwide "as soon as possible", according tothe company's president Katsuaki Watanabe. That sounds like a goal just vague enough to be easily attainable. Theautomaker is moving forward with new hybrid models and has announced plans to produce a hybrid pickup based most likelyon the FTX concept shown a year or two ago at the Detroit Auto Show, which sported a hybrid/V8 powertrain. One could argue that Toyota'

John Neff

Jul 11, 2005

Rising fuel prices sink used-truck sales

Increasing gas prices (we hit $2.49/gallon on Friday) are starting to take their toll on used-truck prices. Used SUVtrade-in prices have dropped approximately 5% in the past year, according toEdmunds, while the average value of used compact cars is 14% higher than a yearago. Wow. I wouldn't neglect the impact of the steep new-truck discounting, either; it's hard for many people tojustify spending $20,000+ for a used late-model SUV or pickup when t

Eric Bryant

Jul 6, 2005

Return of the Jeep Scrambler

The Scrambler lives, albeit not as a factory Jeep offering (sorry to tease you CJ-8 fans like that).AEV Conversions (known for their long wheelbase Wrangler conversions) isoffering the Brute, a pickup based on the Jeep Wrangler. The new bodywork is formed from injection-molded plastic, andcomprises a six-foot bed and a removable hardtop roof. A 345 HP Hemi powers the rig, presumably yielding briskperformance (AEV will also swap a Hemi into

Eric Bryant

Jun 30, 2005

Isuzu aggressively prices its Chevy Colorado twin

There probably aren't too many people excited about this news, but Isuzu sure was excited to announce in a pressrelease that its new 2006 Pickups (they don't really have names) will startat $16,989. This, according to the release, is over $1,000 less than a comparably equipped 2006 Chevy Colorado, themid-size truck upon which the Isuzus are based. The value-minded i-280 Extended Cab 4x2 is the bargain model, while thei-350 Crew Cab 4x4 will st

John Neff

Jun 28, 2005

Joe Gibbs Performance introduces supercharger kits

Joe Gibbs Performance has introduced a line of supercharger kits for GM GenIII V8 engines based on the Eaton line ofRoots-style blowers. With 5.5 lbs of boost in most applications, expect to see a power increase of 30-35%. Uniqueto these kits is the addition of the parts required to beef up the vehicle's transmission (in the case of thoseequipped with an auto), and the availability of an additional-cost powertrain warranty if installed on a relatively newvehicle. The PCM program

Eric Bryant

Jun 28, 2005

Toyota says new CAFE regs will hurt bottom line

Toyota has announced in its annual fiscal report that new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for lighttrucks could hurt its bottom line. While the car CAFE standard of 27.5 MPG will remain the same in the near future, thetruck standard increases from 20.7 MPG to 22.2 MPG over the next three years. Since Toyota'slarger SUVs and pickups fall well short of this newstandard despite the company's "green" image (physics can be such a bummer), they will have to find a way to red

Eric Bryant

Jun 21, 2005

Big 3 maintain truck supremacy

It should come as no surprise to even the casual observer that the light-truck market still belongs to the Big 3.But how solid is their lead over the Japanese? In 1996, domestic brands controlled 87% of the market. Looking at thenumbers for the first half of 2005, domestic market share has dropped to 85%. Compare that with any other marketsegment, and it's clear that Ford, GM, and Dodge are doing something right (although relatively soft compact-trucksales also have a lot to do with t

Eric Bryant

Jun 17, 2005

Honda Ridgeline - designing an unconventional pickup

The story behind the creation of the Honda Ridgeline seems to be attracting

Eric Bryant

Jun 17, 2005

Switch manufacturer named in Ford cruise lawsuit

A new lawsuit has been filedthat blames a woman's death on adefective Texas

Eric Bryant

Jun 17, 2005

CNN claims millions of Fords a fire risk

CNN has reported that an investigation has revealed a defect in millions of more Ford trucks and SUVs that couldresult in fires, even when the engine is not running. These fires can be caused by a $20 cruise-control deactivationswitch in the SUV or a truck. This type of switch was installed in millions of Fords from 1992 until 2003. The problemhas already resulted in more than a million recalls, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened anexpanded investigation int

Ben Huh

Jun 16, 2005

2006 Dodge Ram Pickup

Walter J Keegan Jr.


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