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Toledo Jeep workers pushing city to buy land to secure Wrangler future

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2013 Jeep Wrangler

Based on what we've seen so far, were Chrysler to move Jeep Wrangler production out of Toledo, the effect would be devastating to the city's morale, which has never been quite the same after it was forced to become part of Ohio following the Toledo War.

The latest push by the former chunk of Michigan has seen 100 members of the UAW rally ahead of a city council meeting, Automotive News reports. The members, from the Toledo factory's Local 12, are pushing for the city to approve a land purchase of 28 acres, valued at some $738,000. If the go-ahead is given, the deal would grant the factory room to expand ahead of a rumored switch to an aluminum construction for the next-gen Wrangler, due in 2017.

This most recent move follows up on the UAW's previous efforts, which have included proactive moves on the part of Ohio Governor John Kasich and Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins. For its part, Chrysler has remained largely mum on the issue of moving Wrangler production, simply saying that neither it nor the Grand Cherokee will lose their "Made in the USA" tag.

A recent Automotive News report, however, suggested that despite shifting to a more aluminum-intensive architecture, Wrangler production was likely to stay put. Even if it isn't, Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne has gone on record as saying that his company will find another vehicle to produce in Toledo, meaning that no jobs are likely to be lost. If true, this suggests that much of the uproar isn't about employment and economic impact, it's specifically about keeping the iconic Wrangler a Toledo-made product.

Toledo Jeep workers pushing city to buy land to secure Wrangler future originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 27 Nov 2014 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Autoblog Podcast #407

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Autoblog Podcast logo

Episode #407 of the Autoblog Podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, and Sebastian Blanco talk about the Michelin Challenge Bibendum, the Toyota Mirai, and the BMW 3 Series falling off the Car and Driver 10Best list. We start with what's in the Autoblog Garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our UStream channel, thanks for taking the time. Check out the rundown below with times for topics, and you can follow along down below with our Q&A. Thanks for listening!

Autoblog Podcast #407:



Topics:
In The Autoblog Garage:
Hosts: Dan Roth, Steven Ewing, Sebastian Blanco
Runtime: 01:07:55

Rundown:
  • Intro and Garage - 00:00
  • Challenge Bibendum - 18:32
  • Toyota Mirai - 28:20
  • C/D 10Best - 44:52
  • Q&A - 53:52

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Continue reading Autoblog Podcast #407

Autoblog Podcast #407 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Here’s why you shouldn’t try to drift a Jeep Cherokee

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Jeep Cherokee drifter

There are many reasons why an XJ-generation (or really any other) Jeep Cherokee doesn't make for a good drift machine. It's tall, it's four-wheel-drive... it's a Jeep, okay? But someone apparently forgot to tell that to this guy.

Uploaded to LiveLeak, this video shows some poor schmuck who took his Cherokee to a (mostly) empty parking lot and tried to drift it. Needless to say, things didn't go quite as he planned, but they probably went exactly as you might have expected.

Thankfully, nobody appears to have been hurt. Or at least, we assume so, since the guy apparently survived to put the video up online.

Continue reading Here's why you shouldn't try to drift a Jeep Cherokee

Here's why you shouldn't try to drift a Jeep Cherokee originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Here’s why you shouldn’t try to drift a Jeep Cherokee

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Jeep Cherokee drifter

There are many reasons why an XJ-generation (or really any other) Jeep Cherokee doesn't make for a good drift machine. It's tall, it's four-wheel-drive... it's a Jeep, okay? But someone apparently forgot to tell that to this guy.

Uploaded to LiveLeak, this video shows some poor schmuck who took his Cherokee to a (mostly) empty parking lot and tried to drift it. Needless to say, things didn't go quite as he planned, but they probably went exactly as you might have expected.

Thankfully, nobody appears to have been hurt. Or at least, we assume so, since the guy apparently survived to put the video up online.

Continue reading Here's why you shouldn't try to drift a Jeep Cherokee

Here's why you shouldn't try to drift a Jeep Cherokee originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ram 1500 bests new F-150 in MT pickup shootout

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Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

2015 Ford F-150Ford's 2015 Ford F-150 is a technological tour-de-force, what with its aluminum-intensive construction and its powerful and efficient new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine option. But now that it's hit the market, it's time to get down to brass tacks and find out how just the latest F-150 actually stands up to its rivals in the hyper-competitive fullsize segment.

Motor Trend is among the first to round up the Ford (in Lariat 2.7-liter 4X4 guise here) and put it up against the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman EcoDiesel 4x4 and 5.3-liter-equipped Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 to find out how Dearborn's new-think truck measures up.

The test put the trio through over 1,000 miles of tough driving in California and Arizona in a variety of conditions from just cruising around unladen to hauling a trailer. MT found all three trucks to be competent, but the most praise got heaped on the Ram and the Ford, with the Chevrolet falling a step behind its competitors in many tests.

Among the Ford's most-liked features was its 2.7-liter, twin-turbo V6 that helped make the F-150 easily the quickest of the group, with some editors saying the engine felt about the same whether driving around with cargo in the bed or not. There was some minor turbo lag during acceleration while trailering, but that issue affected the Ram, too.

The Ram's powertrain was lauded, as well. The EcoDiesel was torquey around town, and the 1500's combination of an eight-speed automatic and air suspension was judged to be the best of the lot. It was the most difficult to get into the bed, though.

The Ram also won the fuel economy award by netting 20-miles-per-gallon city and 28-mpg highway in the test to beat its Environmental Protection Agency ratings of 19/27. The Ford's EcoBoost managed 17/22, one mpg off each from the EPA numbers, and using a lot of throttle really depleted its efficiency. As MT notes, however, it would take time for the diesel's mileage savings to pay off at the pump for these two trucks.

In the end, the Ram just barely eked out the win, with the title partially earned because of "the Ford's unknown maintenance and aluminum repair costs," according to MT. Go check out the full comparison to read all of the details, then let us know what you think in Comments.

Ram 1500 bests new F-150 in MT pickup shootout originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2018 Jeep Wrangler to get 8-speed auto

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2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler

Remember when the Jeep Wrangler had a three-speed automatic? That wasn't that long ago - as recent as the 2007 redesign - but Chrysler is keen to leave those days behind on the dusty trail. The current model ushered in a four-speed, then a five-speed, but the latest intel indicates that an eight-speed automatic is in the cards.

According to a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and cited by Automotive News, Jeep plans on fitting its eight-speed automatic transmission to the next-generation Wrangler. Chrysler already uses the ZF-sourced slushbox on the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500, Chrysler 300, and versions of the Dodge Challenger, Charger and Durango. But according to the SEC filing, the Auburn Hills automaker intends "to use this transmission in all of our rear-wheel-drive vehicles, except for heavy-duty versions of the Ram pick-up truck and the SRT Viper."

AN says that Chrysler wanted to slot the transmission straight into the current Wrangler, but it wouldn't fit. Between the transmission and shift to aluminum construction, the next-generation Wrangler promises to deliver a significant reduction in fuel consumption. In correspondence with Autoblog, however, company spokesmen declined to comment on the eight-speed's suitability towards either the current Wrangler or the upcoming one.

2018 Jeep Wrangler to get 8-speed auto originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Feds chastise Marchionne over Jeep recall, only 13% repaired so far

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Jeep Grand Cherokee

Following the significant outcry surrounding the General Motors and Takata airbag safety crises this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seems to be taking a much more aggressive role in pushing owners to repair their recalled vehicles. In the agency's latest move, it's urging Jeep drivers to get their models fixed. Acting NHTSA administrator David Friedman even sent a letter to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne pressing him to get more of the SUVs fixed.

The problem goes back to the recall of the 2002-2007 Liberty and 1993-1998 Grand Cherokee because of the possibility for the fuel tank to rupture in some rear crashes. The campaign affected over 1.5 million vehicles, but Chrysler initially refused NHTSA's request for a repair campaign. The automaker eventually came up with a fix that involved adding a trailer hitch to provide extra protection to the tank. The feds believe the danger "will be reduced by the remedy now offered by Chrysler," according to the statement.

However, this latest push comes out of NHTSA's concern that only three percent of the affected vehicles are repaired, although Chrysler maintains some 13.4 percent have actually been fixed. The agency is asking the automaker to reach out to owners "proactively," and get them to bring the Jeeps in dealers. According to the the feds' statement, the company "has nearly 400,000 parts available" to perform the fixes, and it's still producing more.

Friedman's letter to Marchionne goes even further, alleging NHTSA has received reports that dealers are turning customers away who request the recall. He asks the CEO to prove within 15 days that these claims are false. "Given the low rates of repair that Chrysler has reported more than a year after the recall, significantly more aggressive steps are required," says a portion of the note.

According to The Detroit News, Chrysler has subsequently promised to speed up the recall work, vowing that all dealers will have at least 12 repair kits in stock by Monday. Further, it has announced plans to ramp up its notification campaign with Facebook ads and public service announcements.

Scroll down to read NHTSA's full statement on the matter, and Friedman's letter to Marchionne can be read in PDF format, here.

Continue reading Feds chastise Marchionne over Jeep recall, only 13% repaired so far

Feds chastise Marchionne over Jeep recall, only 13% repaired so far originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 22 Nov 2014 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler, Nissan minivans earn ‘dire’ crash test results, says IIHS [w/video]

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2015 Toyota Sienna

First introduced in 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small-overlap frontal crash test has become the bane of many auto engineers' existence. It's a particularly steep design challenge because it forces just 25 percent of a vehicle's front end to take the brunt of a 40-mile-per-hour impact. The newly released results of four family-minded minivans underscore just how difficult the crash test is: only one scored an Acceptable rating, and the other three did very poorly.

The 2008-2015 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan, plus the 2011-2015 Nissan Quest, all received Poor ratings in the test, the IIHS' lowest possible score. The three of them showed significant crash intrusion into the driver's area. The dummy in the Nissan actually had to be cut out of the vehicle, with an IIHS spokesperson remarking, "the structure collapsed like a house of cards." In the Fiat Chrysler Automobile vans, the steering wheels moved out of the way, making the airbag less effective and letting the driver's head hit the dashboard. While it was not actually crashed, the agency is also giving the 2009-12 Volkswagen Routan a Poor score because it shares a structure with the FCA models.

The newly released results of four minivans underscore just how difficult the small-offset crash test is.

The refreshed 2015 Toyota Sienna (shown), conversely, earned an Acceptable rating and is also a Top Safety Pick+ because of its optional forward collision warning and automatic braking system. While the crash test dummy moved around during the impact more than the agency would have liked, sensors showed a low risk of injuries.

The IIHS tested the Honda Odyssey last year, and it earned a Good overall score, the agency's best ranking. It's also a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle. The only member of the minivan segment left to test is the latest Kia Sedona, and the Institute is reportedly waiting a little longer for Kia to make changes to improve the model's performance.

When reached for comment, Nissan spokesperson Steve Yaeger provided Autoblog with the following statement:

"Nissan is committed to vehicle safety and believes that consumers should have information about crash protection so they can make educated buying decisions. Nissan is proud of the 2014 Quest's "good" rating in the IIHS front moderate overlap and side impact tests as well as a "good" head restraint rating.

As for the performance of the 2014 Quest in the 'small overlap frontal test,' Nissan will continue to review these and other results from IIHS testing as we seek opportunities for improvements."

Chrysler Group also provided us with the following statement:

"No single test determines overall vehicle safety. Chrysler Group minivans meet or exceed all government-mandated safety requirements. They are unchanged, structurally, from previous model-year vehicles that received the highest performance ratings bestowed by the IIHS in tests simulating the four main crash types - side, rollover, rear and moderate-overlap front."

Scroll down to see graphic video of the tests for yourself and read the IIHS' announcement.

Continue reading Chrysler, Nissan minivans earn 'dire' crash test results, says IIHS [w/video]

Chrysler, Nissan minivans earn 'dire' crash test results, says IIHS [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 15:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jay Leno gifts army vet Challenger Hellcat on Today Show

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Jay Leno, The Today Show, Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Jay Leno, besides being a grade-A car guy, is also a pretty standup American. The late-night host has been a fixture on USO tours, visiting troops in the Middle East and Afghanistan. His latest move, though, is a step beyond even a trip to a war zone.

After teaming with Al Roker's Shine A Light campaign, which raises money for the USO, Leno sought out a worthy serviceman or woman to receive a special gift. After choosing from a pool, Cpl. Ethan Laberge was selected, at random, to meet with Leno and go for a spin in the world's most powerful muscle car, the 707-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat.

Cpl. Laberge was seriously wounded after shrapnel from an Afghani suicide bomber sliced through his left leg and arm. On top of that, the blast left the US Army corporal with a traumatic brain injury, and he's since gone through more surgeries than anyone should be forced to endure. Yet, he still suffers from lingering pain.

Leno met with the young soldier, and the two had lunch and went for a spin. Not a bad deal, but it was only going to get better for Cpl. Laberge. Take a look at the video, straight from a segment on NBC's The Today Show.

Continue reading Jay Leno gifts army vet Challenger Hellcat on Today Show

Jay Leno gifts army vet Challenger Hellcat on Today Show originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dodge SRT Performance Pages: Autoblog Technology of the Year finalist

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Performance Pages shown on Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Dodge dropped a 707-horsepower bomb on us this year, by way of the supercharged, 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 engine found under the hood of the 2015 Challenger coupe and Charger sedan. That's an absolute ton of power, and no matter how well-heeled a driver you may be, these Hellcat models demand respect in order to be tamed. But don't worry, Dodge has your back. Enter, the SRT Performance Pages.

Built into the cars' Uconnect infotainment system - itself a recipient of the Technology of the Year award in 2012 - Performance Pages are standard equipment on SRT-badged products. Here, drivers can see performance data like 0-60 and quarter-mile times and can keep an eye on engine vitals, as well as monitor the G-forces they're throwing down. They can even review lap times at a track.

Hellcat models take things a step further, with the ability to control the output of the engine, and manage things like suspension setup, traction control, and even the use of the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles on vehicles equipped with the automatic transmission. What's more, Hellcats are sold with two key fobs - one red, one black. The red key automatically unlocks all 707 hp from the big V8, while the black key hushes that fury to a still-impressive 500 hp. Beyond that, the Hellcat's Performance Pages feature a Valet Mode that locks out several of the Uconnect system's functions and further limits the engine's output to 300 hp.

During our Technology of the Year testing in Petoskey, we looked at aspects of the Performance Pages including intuitiveness of layout, control response time, breadth of options, and so on. The verdict? SRT Performance Pages offer all the functionality a serious driver would want, and are incredibly simple to navigate and understand. And as enthusiasts, we applaud technology that allows us to get the most out of any serious performer - even ones with absolutely insane power.

Dodge SRT Performance Pages: Autoblog Technology of the Year finalist originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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