This Just In
Each year, trade journal Automotive News polls its industry contacts to learn about future product development. The newspaper's recent crystal-ball gazing has turned up the following tidbits.
•Ford will put two V-6s in '11 F-150s: the 3.7L found in the Mustang and the 3.5L EcoBoost, both with six-speed automatic transmissions.
•An all-new F-150 is coming for 2015 or 2016.
•It looks like the '11 Ranger will be the last, and plans for a future compact Ford pickup are "uncertain."
•Since Super Duty just went through a major redesign, no changes are planned until the '14 model year.
•GM will put a natural-gas engine in the Silverado/Sierra for 2012 and redesign the pickups for 2014.
•Plans to put the Tahoe/ Yukon on a crossover platform (as Ford did with the Explorer) have been shelved; instead the SUVs will remain on a large-truck platform and be redesigned for 2014 along with the pickups.
•GM will discontinue its compact Colorado/Canyon pickups in 2012 and, like Ford, has no solid plans for a replacement. Look for a compact car (!) from GMC, based on the Granite concept vehicle, for 2013.
•Jeep will follow the introduction of the new Grand Cherokee with a "freshened" '11 Wrangler later this year. The Wrangler will get the Pentastar V-6 as well as new hardtops color-keyed to the Jeep's body.
•Liberty will be replaced by a Fiat-based vehicle in 2013.
•Plans for an all-electric Wrangler (remember the ENVI prototype?) have been shelved, with Chrysler opting instead to improve its CAFE numbers with smaller vehicle platforms powered by efficient, Fiat-based internal combustion engines.
•Ram 1500 trucks will be revised for 2012 and will also be offered with the Pentastar V-6.
•A Cummins diesel for 1500 models is under consideration.
•Dakota will go away next year and may be replaced by a smaller, Fiat-based unibody pickup.
•The Tread Lightly! online land-use awareness course has gone through a major overhaul, the first since the course was developed in 2003. Tread Lightly! 101 now includes the updated TREAD principles, expanded learning scenarios, and more coverage of activities such as horseback riding, hunting, and shooting. The course takes about 30 minutes, and everyone who completes it is entered to win a free Cabela's hat. Go to www.treadlightly.org and click on the "101 Online Course" link.
•In case your memory of the Tread Lightly! TREAD principles is a little rusty (ours was, shame on us), here you go: Travel and recreate with minimum impact; Respect the environment and the rights of others; Educate yourself, plan, and prepare before you go; Allow for future use of the outdoors by leaving it better than you found it; Discover the rewards of responsible recreation.
Wisconsin Declares War On Military Vehicles
That may be overstating it a bit, but we hear from our friends at SEMA that Wisconsin's Department of Transportation was considering a proposal to restrict the registration of former military vehicles. In response, the SEMA Action Network is backing counter-legislation that would allow former military vehicles to be registered and operated in a manner similar to antique vehicles registered in the state; that is, driven only on special occasions and for the purpose of testing, maintenance, and storage. The legislation's definition of former military vehicle includes vehicles that were manufactured for any country's military force, so long as they are maintained to accurately represent their military design and markings.
Battles Fought In W.E. Rock Western Finals
There's nothing predictable about the W.E. Rock racing series. While some events are dominated by a single driver, the Western Finals, held at the Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, marked the fourth W.E. Rock race in a row with a different Unlimited and Pro Modified winner than in the previous events.
At the end of the Unlimited Shootout, Dion Wakefield got by Brent Bradshaw in a very close finish. In the Pro Modified class, Jesse Haines claimed the win over Nick Campbell, taking it down to the wire and winning with his shootout score.
New at this event was the Dueling Shootout, where W.E. Rock put a Pro Modified car on one course and an Unlimited car on an adjacent course and gave them six minutes (instead of 10) to finish the course while also battling against each other. "This was very exciting to watch and will be something we will definitely see more of in the future," said Rich Klein, W.E. Rock promoter.
W.E. Rock's season finale and the crowning of the Western Champions took place at the Grand Nationals, hosted at Miller Motorsports Park, October 1-2. Some 60 rockcrawlers from all over the country were slated to compete.