New Grand is Top Pick
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has awarded a Top Safety Pick award to the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. Vehicles that earn this award "meet the highest standards for crash test performance," said IIHS president Adrian Lund. "This award means that buyers of the '11 Grand Cherokee are getting state-of-the-art safety for the best protection in the most common kinds of crashes, and electronic stability control, which our research shows can help prevent crashes altogether."
This Just In
•A couple of Chevrolet rocket scientists-I mean vice presidents-issued a memo in June decreeing that the term Chevy could no longer be used by employees to describe the division. Why? To maintain brand consistency. The memo, leaked to the New York Times, said, "When you look at the most recognized brands throughout the world, such as Coke or Apple for instance, one of the things they all focus on is the consistency of their branding." Yeah, right. Tell that to the Coca Cola people. Chevy (that's right, you heard me) backpedaled a day later, saying the memo had been "poorly worded" and was meant to solidify the brand's identity as it grew internationally.
•Keep an eye out for MahiN-dra advertising. According to Automotive News, the Indian automaker will launch a campaign to "introduce the brand name to U.S. consumers" two to three months before the truck's U.S. launch. The trade journal reports the compact diesel trucks will go on sale "at the end of the year" through a network of some 300 Mahindra dealers.
• Toyota's unintended acceleration issues are no longer just Toyota's problem. New safety legislation is coming through Congress that could require all automakers to equip their vehicles with brake override equipment and "black box" data recorders. Most automakers already have the brake components on their vehicles or plan to add them soon. The data recorders are causing the most concern because of privacy issues and cost. One lobbyist, quoted in AN, said the recorders could add thousands of dollars to the cost of every vehicle. According to SEMA, if the legislation passes, the recorders could be required on all new vehicles starting in 2015.
•Gale Banks has long been a proponent of diesel performance, but he also realized years ago that a loophole existed that threatened the diesel aftermarket: There was no emissions compliance test available to certify parts as smog-legal in California. Since 2002 Banks and SEMA have been working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to produce a viable test, and the agency finally approved Banks' testing efforts earlier this year. "This test series marks a new era in performance diesel emissions compliance and sets the stage for our entire industry to now comply," said Banks. "To celebrate our recent success, I am pleased to announce that the Banks Six-Gun diesel tuner for the new 6.7L Dodge Cummins has passed utilizing the new testing format and will be the first diesel tuning product to be issued an [Executive Order] using this testing protocol."
•Now that mileage and emissions regulations have been set for the '12-'16 model years, the Obama administration is working on guidelines for '17-'25 vehicles. Automakers are actually happy with this ruling. It gives them one national standard to achieve (the CARB is working with the EPA so California's rules won't be tougher than the rest of the country) and ample lead time to implement the engineering necessary to hit the targets. No efficiency or emissions goals were announced, though they'll likely be higher than the '16 CAFE average of 35.5 mpg.