Auto Industry News: Reinvention, Event Action and Crazy Diesel Build

This week’s auto industry news is focused on the concept of reinvention as a sure way to stay relevant. And automakers certainly are relentless in their craft, from luxurious daily drivers to purpose-built track hellions. Vehicles continue to take new shape, from wicked fast Nissan GT-R’s to the evolution of the best-selling Ford F-150 and the rise of Euro-style vans as an efficient and ergonomic way to conduct business. Now a daily driver Trackhawk edition takes SUV performance from grocery-getter to road runner. And the street legal Demon houses power “that places bragging rights ahead of public safety,” according to Automotive News.

Or let’s take Elon Musk, for example, who just teased yet another over-the-top Tesla prototype during a recent TED Talk. And no, we aren’t referring to their light-duty pickup concept. Rather an all-electric, heavy-duty, long-range hauler. Bonkers, right?

Innovation across vehicle platforms has ignited some healthy competition in the process. So much so, as Chevrolet prepares for a wave of new sales with the 2017 Colorado ZR2, Ford Motor Co. announced a temporary layoff of 130 workers at its manufacturing plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. “The automaker is taking the truck plant down to one shift to match lagging output with slower customer demand,” reported The Detroit News. A sad truth, with truck sales slowly cooling after years and years of unprecedented growth. “Ford said sales of its medium-duty trucks had fallen about 11 percent through the first four months of 2017 compared to the same time period in 2016, and sales of the E-Series cutaway and stripped-chassis are likewise down about 5 percent,” said Truck Trend.

Trickle-Down Effect

No worries, competition is alive and well in the aftermarket. The off-road category is a little crowded these days; everyone is looking to get a piece of the action. And while that won’t change in 2017, the term “uniqueness” is beginning to wane a bit. “It doesn’t mean the Jeep®/off-road market won’t grow, but differentiation is needed. There’s a lot of copy cats out there,” said George Lathouris, Director of US Sales at Keystone. A longtime name in the biz might have pulled ahead of the pack.

“Superwinch, the largest privately-held winch manufacturer in the world, announced the unveiling of the company’s EXP Series, a new premium winch line that is packed with innovation. In fact, the company has a record 8 patents filed with the new winch line,” said Four Wheeler Network. “There’s no winch that can match the EXP Series in innovation, features and performance,” says David Burns, Superwinch President & CEO. The Superwinch EXP Series features 8,000, 10,000 and 12,000 pound capacities; it’s rated to IP69k and has wire or synthetic rope. That includes integrated design or non-integrated design for remote solenoid box installations.

Event Action

And that’s great news because spouses are going to need all the pullin’ power they can get to pry us away during the next couple weeks. Get ready for some high-octane, stack-blowing, wheels-up kinda action this month. And it starts with NASCAR at the “unpredictable, unforgiving, unbelievable” Talladega Superspeedway today at 2 pm EST.

NMRA/NMCA

All the cars and stars of NMRA Ford drag racing returned to famed Maple Grove Raceway for an ultimate Blue Oval slugfest. Today’s qualifying schedule is in full throttle, so make sure to remain up to date with current results via the NMRA Facebook page. Don’t forget, NMRA Super Nationals kick off in Hebron, OH on June 8th. Its sister organization, NMCA, heads to the Bluegrass Nationals at Beech Bend Raceway Park in Bowling Green, KY on May 18th. Looks like it’s time for a big muscle car showdown!

Indy 500 Corvette - Courtesy of Motor Trend

Formula 1/Indy

In other auto industry news, “Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso’s decision to skip this year’s Monaco Grand Prix to race in the Indy 500 shocked the motorsports world and likely gave a few other F1 drivers dreams of Indy glory,” reported Motor Trend.

Expect to see the Corvette front and center at the 101st Indy 500 on May 28th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chevrolet has a proud history with Indy, as “the brand’s founders, Arthur and Gaston Chevrolet, competed during the early years of the 500-mile race with the former completing it 1911 and the latter winning it in 1920,” continued Motor Trend. So it’s no surprise “the Indianapolis 500 will feature a 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport as its official pace car, the 14th time the model has done so since 1978.”

NHRDA

In diesel news, NHRDA’s Jarid “The Iron Man” Vollmer claimed the win at Texas Diesel Nationals. The next round takes place at Tulsa Raceway Park on May 19 and 20th. Speaking of smoke stacks, Keystone Category Manager Dave Burke is putting in overtime on his far-from-stock 1997 Dodge RAM 3500 Cummins. Actually, his new dually fenders arrived last week and are ready for install. Follow this build of a lifetime on Instagram @davescummins12!

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