Check out these new tid-bits we ran in out May/June issue of Truck Trend. And check out the magazine when it hits news stands March 31st for even more highlights that we couldn’t post online!
NEWS BY THE NUMBERS - Trucks Selling Well?
At the start of 2009, the days supply (a measure of how many vehicles a manufacturer has in inventory related to sales rateâ€”60 is ideal, lower indicates it could be in demand) of new vehicles in the U.S. had not been affected by the first rounds of government assistance. Since truck and big-vehicle production were slowed by last summer's gas prices and the tanking economy, and the economy and winter hit convertibles and playthings particularly hard, inventory wasn't tied up in trucks. The top five vehicles for having a low days supply were the Yukon XL (35 days), BMW X3/5/6 (37), E-Series/Club Wagon (39), Escalade ESV (45), and the Volvo XC90 (47). At the other extreme, Honda had a yearlong supply of S2000 inventory (361 days), followed by the Mazda Tribute (301), Mazda RX-8 (286), Saturn Sky (284), and Mazda MX-5 (274).
LEGALWATCH - Ford and Navistar Done
The two companies reached a settlement to cease their legal wranglings, essentially ending a contract that had Navistar supplying diesel engines to Ford since 1979. Problems stemmed from Navistar's lawsuit over Ford's development of a 4.4-liter diesel for use in the F-150 that would take the place of an engine Navistar had been developing, and from pricing and warranty disputes surrounding the Power Stroke engines Navistar had already supplied for Super Duty E- and F-Series.
However, statements also said Ford will make a payment to Navistar as a result of the restructuring, and that the companies would continue working together on diesel engines in South America and on an existing partnership that builds medium-duty trucks and handles parts for trucks and engines.
Cadillac's Newest Truck
We're guessing the Knight XV has nothing on President Obama's ride, the latest in a long history of Cadillac limousines used to chauffeur the Chief Executive about. Of course it's hardly any Cadillac beyond the grille, leather, wreath-and-crests, and estimated eight mpg, and details are sparse, as you'd expect. Best guesses have it built on a TopKick/Kodiak medium-duty chassis to handle the weight "it carries everything from armoring to an emergency blood supply”and powered by a GM diesel; the Duramax is available in those trucks, but the 6.5-liter might be more familiar to the military motorpool and fit better between the fenders. Its 19.5-inch Goodyears wrap wheels fitted for run-flat operation.
Big Rigs Prefer SCR
A recent survey by Quixote Group Research found that buyers would prefer selective catalytic reduction (SCR) more than two-to-one over increased EGR as a means to control emissions, finding the benefits of that approach outweigh having to replenish diesel exhaust fuel tanks on an infrequent basis. Most big-rig engine manufacturers (including Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Mack, and Volvo) have chosen this approach to meet 2010 emissions requirements. At the automotive consumer level, SCR seems preferred in vehicles of more than roughly 3400 pounds while additional EGR is preferred below that point.
F-150's 5.0-Liter V-8
Looks like there will be another engine option for the F-150. Codenamed Coyote, this four-valve, 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 is said to be offered in the 2011 Mustang and theÂ F-150.Â Power is estimated at 400 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque, with fuel economy close to that of today's 5.4-liter engine.
Mark LaNeve, vice president North American Sales, Service and Marketing, GM, in Detroit: "We don't have ten cents to waste."
Chrysler and Fiat Alliance
Fiat and Chrysler announced a nonbinding agreement wherein Fiat gets a percentage stake in Chrysler without investing any cash. Fiat has small cars (including the 500 it really wants to sell in the American market), small diesels and commercial vans, and a European network, while Chrysler brings the North American distribution network to the table. Key words like "nonbinding" and "initial stake" mean it could go nowhere or Fiat may end with a controlling interest in Chrysler.
Ram 1500 Diesel Delayed
The light-duty Dodge Ram pickup expected to be sporting a Cummins 5.0-liter V-8 has been delayed, perhaps until the 2011 model year, to control costs on emissions components. In the same class, GM remains committed to bringing a diesel half-ton for 2010, whether market demand is high or low.
8-speed KIA Borrego
Hyundai is said to be working on an eight-speed automatic transmission destined for its Genesis lux sedan. Since the V-8 also gets used in the Kia Borrego, expect it there perhaps by 2010.
Volkswagen boss Jacoby has said VW will not buy Chrysler's minivan business. Chrysler builds the Routan for VW.
No More Raids
The Raider pickup will be gone after the 2010 model year. With 2008 sales of fewer than 3000 units, about 10 percent of what sister-vehicle Dodge Dakota did as its own sales plummeted, it might not be worth the paperwork to keep it past 2009. Maybe Mitsubishi could do a contract buyout with Chrysler.
Audi has announced plans to bring a Q5 hybrid here by late 2010, and later this year, the U.S. will get BMW's X6 hybrid. It will share its transmission with Mercedes-Benz's ML450 BlueHybrid, which is slightly different from those shared by the Tahoe/Escalade and Durango/Aspen. The X6's engine will be the twin-turbo V-8. No word on how all this affects whether diesel engines will be available.
Ward's Auto's 10 Best Engines list includes one pickup powerplant (Chrysler's Hemi) and a few found in crossovers, including the 2.5-liter HEV Escape Hybrid and BMW's 3.0-liter twin-turbos (diesel and gas) from the X5 and X6. We expect to move into crossovers in the next year include Audi's new 2.0-liter turbo, Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbodiesel, and Cadillac's 3.6-liter V-6. Hyundai's 4.6-liter V-8, also on the list, is the optional engine in the Kia Borrego.