Auto Industry News: Jeep in Hot Water with Super Bowl Ad, Crawling with King of the Hammers & More

Jeep finds itself in hot water with its Super Bowl ad, while King of the Hammers crowns an emerging front runner. Nissan shakes things up with an all-new factory-approved suspension kit, and Mercedes toys with pulling from the Detroit Auto Show. All this and more in this week’s auto industry news!

Jeep Hates Fish in Super Bowl Ad…Apparently

Jeep is in hot water with fish advocates. It sounds like a National Enquirer tag, doesn’t it? Not all were impressed viewing Jeep’s “Anti-Manifesto” Super Bowl ad, with a seemingly typical off-roading montage. Chris Wood, CEO of Trout Unlimited, wrote a letter to Jeep expressing his distaste. In the note, Wood states that the vehicle in the ad crosses a stream in a way that is potentially harmful to wildlife. Now, Jeep did post a disclaimer within the ad (and we all know how readable those are) claiming it was a man-made course (meaning no dead fish). But since the commercial’s debut, they have yet to respond to Trout Unlimited directly. Let us know what you think.

No Roads, No Problems with King of the Hammers

King of the Hammers was this past weekend, and as usual, it did not disappoint. The grueling 202-mile course in SoCal put some of the world’s best off roaders to the test. And even in extreme desert heat, the masses still flocked to “four-wheel-drive Burning Man.” Jason Scherer and co-driver Jason Berger captured the victory with a 7:08:25. This marked 13 minutes ahead of the 2nd place finishers, Erik Miller and “Rugged” Robert Ruggier – who were last year’s winners. Maybe don’t let your kid drive this one just yet… but here’s a vehicle fit for a future Queen of the Hammers!

Titan Lift Kit Option Middle Finger to Aftermarket

In the spirit of discussing off the beaten path, we have to mention the new Nissan Titan. The 2018 model now features a factory-approved lift kit, which, in the opinion of many, is one more example of how automakers are stepping on aftermarket toes. Developed by ICON Vehicle Dynamics, the factory kit can lift a truck up to three inches with adjustable height coilover shocks, custom rod end bearings, and special Delta Joints. And in an additional effort to beat aftermarket contenders to the punch, it can be installed right at the Nissan dealership.

This ease of access poses the (somewhat) age-old question: what are aftermarket suspension companies doing to remain relevant in such a changing landscape? You’ll just have to stop back over The Engine Block in a few weeks, as we have a one-on-one with Tom Bennett of ReadyLIFT to dissect this very topic. But our money is on survival of the aftermarket kits… If big setups such as these are your jam, check out the new Lund International Truck & Jeep Show on Velocity. Sundays at 8!

Mercedes Potentially Pulling from Detroit Auto Show

TV Shows, Blogs, and YouTube shows may be taking over the traditional car show… yikes! And to drive that point home, it appears that Mercedes’ pyrotechnic 2018 G-Wagon showing might have been its last in Detroit. “We have to look at whether a trade show like Detroit fits with the cadence of our launch calendar and whether there’s a more effective format for our needs,” said Mercedes. Technically, they haven’t ruled out Detroit 2020, but the fans aren’t bone heads. Even worse, this appears to follow a trend. Mazda, Volvo, Porsche, Jaguar, and Land Rover missed Detroit this year. The erosion of such legendary fanfare is sad, but hopefully it will spark innovative ways of teasing what’s next.

Around the Circuit

There’s one auto tradition that’s never going out of style, however… Daytona! We are one week away and things are really heating up. The 24-year-old Alex Bowman, driving No. 88, formerly Dale Earnhardt Jr’s number, claimed the pole position over the weekend. Denny Hamlin, 2016 Daytona champion, nabbed second.

In Supercross, Justin Bogle had a nasty crash over the weekend, but luckily sustained no major injuries to the head, according to concussion tests. Signs do indicate, however, a broken humerus, and his return timetable is unknown.

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