ExtremeTerrain is running a giveaway that ends on September 1, for the Barricade Trail Force HD Front Bumper and Rear Bumper with Tire Carrier. The rear bumper alone normally sells for $700-$800. It weighs 158 lb, including the tire carrier, and is made of heavy duty 3/16” steel and 2×0.120 tubing; it includes a two-inch standard hitch receiver and D-rings, and can accommodate up to a 37-inch tire. The unit is designed for the 2007-2014 Jeep Wrangler.
Ford recently issued a press release on the aerodynamics of their new F-150 pickups, saying they were the most aerodynamic F-150s in the line’s history.
Ford did not claim to be best in class, only the best in Ford history, implying that they are trying to avoid giving Ram time to cut their own wind resistance for 2015, or, more likely, that they were unable to match Ram 1500’s slippery skin.
The press release avoided stating the actual coefficient of drag (cD) of the new trucks. Neither the 2014 F-150 nor the 2014 Silverado 1500 come close to the 2014 Ram 1500’s drag coefficient of 0.360.
Both Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com and TrueCar.com see Chrysler posting not only its 53rd consecutive month of sales growth, but the highest percentage growth of any major automaker.
Chrysler’s sales gains continue to be driven by Jeep, which is uniquely situated to benefit from the strength of the crossover/SUV segment, the hottest of the U.S. light vehicle market.
Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, said Chrysler will report 184,000 sales, up 11.1% from last August and up 9.7% from July 2014. Market share will grow from 11.0% in August 2013 to 12.3% in August 2014, an increase of 1.3 points of share.
Gutierrez saw industrywide sales coming in at 1.49 million units, down slightly from August 2013. This translates into a predicted seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) of 16.5 million sales, the sixth month that the SAAR has been above 16 million.
“Although growth has slowed, sales remain steady and on pace to end the year strong,” said Gutierrez. “Growth is expected to continue to soften, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see automakers increase their incentive spending. Spending was restrained for the first part of the year, and has crawled upward in recent months. Sales also will be boosted by the Labor Day weekend, which is traditionally one of the strongest weekends of the year for vehicle sales.”
|KBB.COM AUGUST LIGHT VEHICLE SALES FORECAST|
|Sales Volume||Market Share|
|Toyota Motor Sales||221,000||231,537||-4.6%||14.8%||15.4%||-0.6%|
|Ford Motor Company||217,000||220,404||-1.5%||14.6%||14.7%||-0.1%|
|Nissan North America||122,000||120,498||1.2%||8.2%||8.0%||0.2%|
John Krafcik, president of TrueCar.com, was even more optimistic about Chrysler, predicting sales will rise to 191,000 units, a 15.4% improvement over August 2013 and a 13.9% gain over July 2014. Krafcik thought Chrysler’s market share would rise to 12.7%, an addition of 1.7 points of share.
TrueCar.com’s forecast said total August sales will come in at just over 1.5 million, essentially flat compared to the same period in 2013. with a SAAR of 16.6 million. TrueCar.com expected full-year sales to total 16.4 million cars and light trucks, about the same figure forecast by Allpar.com.
“While we continue to keep close tabs on inventories and incentives, we remain upbeat about auto industry sales, segment mix and profitability,” Krafcik said. “Despite one fewer selling day, sales are tracking to match last year’s epic August, while incentive spending changes reflect consumer demand shifting to higher-MSRP, higher-profit vehicle segments, which is a net positive for most full-line automakers.”
|TRUECAR.COM AUGUST LIGHT VEHICLE SALES FORECAST|
|Sales Volume||Market Share|
|Toyota Motor Sales||220,000||231,537||-5.0%||14.7%||15.4%||-0.8%|
|Ford Motor Company||213,000||220,404||-3.4%||14.2%||14.7%||-0.5%|
|Nissan North America||124,000||120,498||2.9%||8.3%||8.0%||0.2%|
As KBB.com’s Alec Gutierrez noted, manufacturers have been increasing incentive spending to boost sales. TrueCar.com estimated that rebates and special financing offers have increased 9.3% since last August but have fallen 0.2% compared to July 2014.
TrueCar.com estimated that General Motors is spending the most on incentives, shelling out more than a billion dollars in August with an average spiff of $3,676. Chrysler is second, with a $3,476 average, up 12.9% from August 2013 and 0.7% from July of this year.
|TRUECAR.COM ESTIMATED AVERAGE INCENTIVE – AUGUST 2014|
|Estimated||Change vs.||Change vs.||Total|
|Ford Motor Company||$3,105||5.9%||-11.3%||$661,360,358|
|Kia Motors America||$2,278||15.8%||0.0%||$118,431,747|
|Nissan North America||$2,273||-11.3%||0.9%||$281,860,268|
|Toyota Motor Sales||$2,186||19.4%||1.0%||$481,019,372|
|Hyundai Motor America||$1,738||14.2%||-0.3%||$119,937,211|
After Chrysler engineers pushed 707 horsepower out of the supercharged 6.2 Hellcat Hemi engine, insiders reported that the Viper team started looking at forced induction as well, despite past statements that the V10 would always be naturally aspirated.
The Viper currently runs 640 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque from its 8.4 liter V10 engine, which can trace its ancestry back through decades of Chrysler V8s. The power difference is not that large, and Viper has an edge in low-end torque.
We believed that, if produced, a supercharged Viper would be tuned lightly, for up to around 750 horsepower, to reduce costs; while some aftermarket tuners have produced thousand-horsepower Vipers, they have not had to contend with full manufacturer warranties on the entire vehicle, and in some cases have not done much to beef up the brakes and suspension to match.
Danno wrote that a supercharged Viper has been put onto the slow burner due to costs. Aside from the engineering and packaging issues, to create the system and to fit it under the hood, a supercharged Viper would require:
- A new and expensive transmission and differential, which would have to actually fit inside the car (ruling out, say, medium-duty truck transmissions)
- Substantial cooling system upgrades, which would be hard to fit into the existing space
- Ducting for a larger amount of incoming air
- Possibly a new frame, body, and suspension to deal with the added stresses.
While supercharged V10 engines had reportedly been delivered to Chrysler Engineering, it’s not hard to see how the cost of engineering and building a Viper could escalate to the point where it starts being a $250,000 supercar — something that would be even harder to sell than the current $100,000 Dodges.
One long-term solution for Viper supremacy could be following Ian Sharp’s original proposal for a “flybrid” car, where the racing car would be developed first and a production car derived from that. This car would add power by using an electric motor, rather than boosting the existing gasoline powerplant, avoiding the transmission issues and adding traction by using all four wheels for launches. Whether Viper owners would approve of this setup, and whether it could be done at a reasonable cost, is another question.
It is possible that the company is waiting for developments by transmission vendors which would allow them to handle the power, at least, within the available space — or for the next generation body, which could have enough room for the increased air intake, engine cooling, and plumbing.
The next highest rated pickup was the Ram 1500 with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, which scored an 81 and was rated as “Recommended.”
Consumer Reports wrote, “The Ram is the most civilized full-sized pickup on sale, yet it’s still plenty capable. Its coil-spring rear suspension helps cushion the ride and the spacious cab is luxury-car quiet.”
While they praised Ram’s fuel economy, eight-speed transmission, ride, quietness, room, and Uconnect telematics, they criticized the Ram’s ease of access (it’s a long way to the cab without the optional side steps), the heavy tailgate, and the $4,000 price tag for the diesel.
Consumer Reports got 20 miles per gallon in overall testing, the same figure Allpar hit in a recent test of the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman equipped with the VM Motori-sourced diesel. A magazine spokesman said these numbers were normally seen in mid-sized SUVs, and pointed out that the Ram was the only diesel full-size half-ton truck.
The next highest scores were from the recently designed Silverado/Sierra pickups, which came close to the Ram Hemi’s score (both were tested with the 5.3 V8). Ford’s F-150 XLT Crew Cab, tested with both the V6 turbo and five-liter V8 engines, scored far below both Ram and GM pickups. The Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra V8s anchored the bottom of the list.
In 1964, the year the Beatles came to North America, the Etobicoke (Ontario) plant was purchased by Chrysler Corporation to make pistons and castings. It had been built in 1942 to produce parts for military aircraft, and was expanded in 1965 and 1998 by Chrysler. The latter include a new piston cast process and new equipment for high-pressure die casting.
In 2010, the Company announced a $27.2 million investment for new tooling to produce front and rear crossmembers, along with quality, testing, and inspection improvements.
The plant employs over 500 people and covers 300,000 square feet; it makes aluminum die castings as well as crossmembers. Employees have led an initiative to restore the plant (whose slogan is “Casting the vision for tomorrow”) over the last year.