Auto Industry News
We’re ready to spit a few auto industry news stats your way, but first we pause for a nod to Netflix. Yes, Netflix. While it may seem like an odd opener, wait for it…wait for it. The powerhouse that brings us joyful entertainment in the form of Orange is the New Black, Chelsea Handler stand-up and Mr. Peabody & Sherman (funny stuff folks, funny stuff) is getting ready to launch Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with the hilarious creator, producer, writer and performer Jerry Seinfeld.
If you ever wanted an excuse to binge eat a pound of M&M’s and wash them down with more than a few adult beverages, then now is the time. Watch as Seinfeld joins friends for a Cup of Jo and a classic car ride, all while giggling like school girls as they share funny stories. Get ready for a guaranteed good time. “Coming Soon to a Netflix Near You.”
From Cars and Coffee to trophy mud, that’s how we roll. The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor took home Four Wheeler “Pickup Truck of the Year” while the smaller off-road demon, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, snagged 2017 SUV of the Year. But in the world of exotic builds, the yellow behemoth takes first prize.
What has the body of a 2001 Ford Ranger, a modified chassis of a 1987 F-350, a Super Duty grille custom cut and fit and 9.5/44-15 TSL Bogger tires mounted to Raceline 15×14 monster beadlock wheels? Tatonka.
“For others that are less fortunate, there is a PTO-driven 30,000-pound winch with 300 feet of cable mounted between the frame rails out back,” said Four Wheeler Network. Go venture because this bright yellow reaper can’t wait to come lookin’ for you.
Off-road buzz brought us to Wilson’s ‘02 Jeep TJ Wrangler, an overlanding machine giving enthusiasts something to chat about on the forums. It’s an impressive build list but if you’re an aftermarket shop owner then maybe something a little more over the top interests you. And the Keystone BIG Show is the place to be for all-things automotive. Attendees have been known to come face-to-face with some awfully mean custom Jeep builds. Hint, hint the Fab Fours booth unleashed the Grumper and Vicowl at the Big Shows before formal production ever started!
Engine: 4.0L I-6, Spectre cold-air intake, MagnaFlow after-cat exhaust
Transmission: NV3550 5-speed manual
Transfer Case: NP231 with TeraLow 4:1 conversion, and extreme short shaft kit
Suspension: MetalCloak 3 1/2-inch suspension lift, adjustable aluminum upper and lower control arms, Bilstein 5100 shocks
Axles: (front) Dana 30, 4.56 ARB Air Locker, chromoly ’shafts; (rear) Dana 44, 4.56 ARB Air Locker, chromoly shafts
Wheels: KMC XD Enduro
Tires: 35-inch BFGoodrich KM2
Built For: Adventure/Overlanding
There’s Cool Cars and Just Cars
In our industry, there’s cool cars and then, well, just cars. It’s fair to say there’s two distinct camps on the issue of electric and autonomous vehicles. In fact, the advancements in this particular area have us wondering when we’ll be awarding some really off-beat manufacturers for autonomous four wheeling. With the way things are heading, we fear it may not be as far fetched as once thought. True enthusiasts, the ones that live to feel violent horsepower rise from under the hood, are shaking their heads as the whole electric, autonomous car movement keeps moving forward. Uber’s shooting for the stars, folks, one pretty Mercedes at a time.
Uber’s desire to launch self-driving taxi fleets all over the globe is no secret. And the company is currently spending big money to develop the necessary technology. But have no fear Uber lovers; it won’t limit its popular ride-sharing network to only self-driving cars. “Instead, Uber will allow other firms, including automakers, to introduce and operate their own self-driving cars on the network,” according to Motor Authority author Viknesh Vijayenthiran. “And the first to sign up is Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler. Uber and Daimler announced an agreement on Tuesday for the intended supply and operation of self-driving Mercedes cars on Uber’s network. Daimler is the first automaker to sign up, though we’re sure it won’t be the last,” he continued.
Unfortunately for Silicon Valley king Tesla and luxury leader BMW, they seem to have fallen short in the safety category this week. “Two all-electric cars, the 2017 Tesla Model S and the 2017 BMW i3, failed to achieve the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s awards criteria for Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+,” according to Motor Trend. Yet its competition rose to the occasion. “Two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime and the Chevrolet Volt, have the ability to run on hybrid power or on all-electric power (for short distances), were awarded the IIHS’ highest honor of Top Safety Pick+,” continued Motor Trend.
Are Ya Ready for Some Football?
What’s for sure is that traditional automakers and aftermarket manufacturers will be front and center this weekend as the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons in the Big Game. While Hyundai Motor America is the official auto sponsor of the event, and that means we’re sure to watch our fair share of Elantras traipse across the screen, no one is an exclusive sponsor on ads. Lucky for us, nine auto manufacturers spent $86.4 million on Big Game ads last year. So we’re sure our friends at WeatherTech have at least one good one up their sleeves.