On August 21, 2014, Mike Volkmann told Allpar that QNX, which supplies Chrysler UConnect’s operating system, had developed a new system that “reduces engine harmonics below 150 Hz” by detecting ambient noise, then generating anti-noise signals (equal in magnitude and opposite in phase to the noise) through existing speakers.

The system will be available in the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, according to a recently issued press release:

“Mindful of improving refinement while preserving the Grand Cherokee SRT’s high-performance character, engineers developed an Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) system. Using the vehicle audio system and four strategically located microphones, it automatically introduces sound to the cabin.”

qnx noise reduction system

Prior systems generally relied on hardware processing, while this is a (mostly) software solution which taps existing software and signal processors.

The QNX system was designed to deal with changes in the number of passengers and cargo in the vehicle, seat positions, temperature, and such. It provides automaker with a choice of using a master calibration among many cars, or individually calibrating each car on the assembly line.

Allpar had predicted its use on cars such as the 300C and Grand Cherokee, as well as high-end Fiat brands, which share Chrysler’s QNX-based UConnect systems. The 2015 300C has yet to be released.

Thanks, Mike Volkmann.

When will Chrysler start making its next-generation minivans?

Allpar’s sources claim that the plant will shut down near the end of the year, and stay closed for months, preparing to make the new independent-suspension, AWD-capable minivans and full-size crossovers. Two Januaries ago, Sergio Marchionne said we could expect production around January 2015.

2016 Chrysler Town & Country

Last year, though, Mr. Marchionne said we could expect production around January 2016, and most media outlets seem to be sticking with this statement.

It’s possible that the renovation of the aged Windsor plant — still a facility known for high quality and engaged employees — is required just to produce new-minivan pilots, so that the plant must be refitted long before any prototype vans are made. With a February deadline, one would expect to have seen some serious minivan spy shots by now… perhaps.

The Town & Country is selling well, but it’s also been getting incentives, and for 2015 it will reportedly add a power sunroof to the top model while lowering its price. While the van is much more attractive than in the past, it is having a hard time winning over customers from the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. Dodge Caravan remains a sales leader, propped up by low entry prices and  fleet sales.

The image above shows JackRatchett’s latest thoughts on the future minivan, with a stylish crease unbroken from front fender to tail, dual Chrysler-wing shapes framing the rear license plate, and a 700C-style dual door handle.

Automotive News’ campaign against Ford and GM’s practice of stripping their trucks of key parts in order to increase their rated payload has, according to both companies, now been completely effective.

The influential weekly’s Larry Vellequette exposed the fact that GM and Ford both measured payload by fudging curb weights. GM was the first to say they would stop removing items from their trucks, such as bumpers. Ford, which had removed the spare tire, jack, radio, and console, promised to stop doing this, and instead use a standard curb weight to determine payload. (Payload and truck weight combined should equal the vehicle’s gross rated capacity.)

Ford also said it would stop using its own un-verifiable tests to issue tow ratings on the F-450, switching to the industry standard SAE J2807 method used by Ram and Toyota. The company had previously said it would move to this standard, but at the last minute reneged on their promise. Ford also said the 2015 F-150 would adhere to the standard, which is followed by Ram and Toyota.

The F-250 and F-350 will remain on the “Ford standard,” but their payload ratings will use curb weights, which include all liquids, required components, and 300 lb of driver and passenger.

Automotive News reported that Ford was the first to artificially boost their payload ratings by dropping equipment that can be deleted from truck orders, though normally companies only do so to replace it with their own gear.

The result of the change was a drop in the payload of the F-450 by 150 pounds ( Automotive News had calculated that 61 lb would have to be left off to avoid exceeding the 14,000-lb gross weight rating).  A Ford spokesman told Allpar that the seats accounted for 45 lb, the spare and jack were 103 lb, and the radio was 6 lb.

Ford continues to claim best in class towing, though they define their class as “full size pickups over 8,500 lb GVWR,” and Ram defines their class as “Class 3 pickups” (it is the pickup with the highest tow rating, ignoring classes).

The maximum payload on the F-450 is lower than that of a similar F-350 by over 1,000 pounds, despite the greater towing capacity and heavier-duty components, suggesting that the actual payload might be higher, pushing the gross weight rating over the 14,000 pound maximum for Class 3 (the top F-350 also has a GVWR of 14,000 pounds). The curb weight is, according to Ford, 8,611 pounds, which is over 400 lb more than any F-350.

Ram’s official response is, “Ram Truck stands firm on our claims within the 350/3500 segment with best-in-class 30,000 pounds of towing capacity, best-in-class 865 lb.-ft. of torque, and best-in-class payload of 7,390 pounds [around 2,000 pounds more than the claim for F-450].  Additionally, unlike our competitors,  our entire 2015 Ram Heavy Duty line up adheres to J2807 test criteria, not just one model.”

While the small-to-midsize Ram pickup project has, after many years, finally been decisively dropped — at least for now — Brazilian publication Autos Segredos  wrote that Ram will, at least in some markets, sell a version of the Fiat Strada, as the Ram 750 (apparently, one half of the Ram 1500). [Thanks, “crazy.bush”]  

The pickup will reportedly have minimal cosmetic changes, and is to be sold in the Caribbean as well as Mexico. The engine will be the 1.6 liter “E.torQ,” which is an evolution of the old Chrysler Neon engine.  The pickup will compete with the Chevrolet Tornado, also made in Brazil, and Volkswagen Saveiro, which have similarly sized engines.

There do not appear to be any plans to sell the small pickup in the United States or Canada.

corn in rambox

Ram volunteers picked 30,000 pounds of corn (matching the towing capacity of an optimally configured Ram 3500) on August 28, to feed hungry Detroit-area families.

The event took place in the fields of the Forgotten Harvest farm in Fenton, Michigan.



Tom Hessert and Austin Wayne Self finished in the top ten in the ARCA Presented By Menard’s Southern Illinois 100 that ran Sunday at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin Illinois.

Hessert was eighth across the finish line while Self was tenth. Both finished on the lead lap.

The race was won by Grant Enfinger in the No. 90 Motor Honey-Casite-Allegiant Travel Chevrolet.

Hessert is currently fourth in the driver standings; Self is sixth.

There were five Dodges in the race; three were among the 12 that encountered problems or mishaps. Out of the 30-car field, 18 were still running at the end of the race.

2014 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards: Southern Illinois 100
Finish Driver No. Team/Sponsor & Car Laps Status
8 Tom Hessert 77 Caregard-AxiomWarranty.com Dodge 100 Running
10 Austin Wayne Self 22 AM Technical Solutions Dodge 100 Running
18 James Swanson 6 Wayne Peterson Racing Dodge 90 Fuel
23 Katlynn Leer 97 Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge 64 Accident
25 Roger Carter 40 Carter 2 Motorsports Dodge 20 Overheating

Challenger back in Trans Am

Dodge and SRT are rejoining the Trans Am Series, with Miller Racing fielding two new Dodge Challengers  at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 15 and 16.  Driving will be four-time series champion Tommy Kendall, making his first Trans Am start since 2004 in the TA2 series class. The cars appear to be driven by 5.7 liter Hemi engines. [...]

Is this the 2017 Ram?

Though the Ram 1500 just had major upgrades, another refresh is due in 2017, to deal with the new F-150s and a possible Chevrolet Silverado update. So far not much is known about these trucks, except that they will likely include the Pentastar engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have undergone weight reduction therapy [...]

Supercharged Viper? (Updated)

With the supercharged 6.2 Hemi delivering 707 horsepower to the Dodge Charger and Challenger, the Viper boys are reportedly looking for ways to get back on top. While the Viper may be superior on a tight racing course, the straight-line performance of Charger and Challenger, in five-seaters with all the amenities, large trunks, and automatic or manual transmissions, is a challenge for Team [...]

2017 Ram revisioned

Artist suzq044 has provided an alternative view of what the 2017 Ram may look like. This refresh will counter new F-150s. The trucks will almost certainly include the V6 engine upgrade, might include the rumored 5.7 Hemi V8 upgrade, and are likely to have more high-strength steel and aluminum to cut weight. The 2017 Ram is also likely to have aerodynamic improvements to increase highway [...]

The future Durango and Caravan

It has been years since Allpar first reported on the future launch of a new Jeep Wagoneer, and the dropping of the Dodge Caravan. With Wagoneer on the books, Chrysler planners may have had mixed feelings about the sudden success of the Dodge Durango. They wanted to drop the Durango for a more-profitable Wagoneer (essentially a Durango with the Grand Cherokee suspension design [...]

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