2019 silverado

GM, Ram may have diesel launches at the same time

Just this week, GM announced that it would build a new six-cylinder diesel for its Silverado 1500. The next day, Ram launched the new 1500 — with no mention of the V6 diesel option.

Recent events have clarified the situation. Ram’s chief said that the diesel would appear later in the 2019 model year, and GM, today, said they had chosen a factory for the diesel — meaning it’s considerably further off than one would have assumed.

Ram is widely expected to start production of its new pickups this month; for GM, it’s months in the future. The difference here is that GM is following the auto-industry tradition of unveiling long before product is ready (which does prevent leaks), while FCA has been moving its unveilings closer and closer to actual production.

Who will get a diesel to market first is still up for grabs; FCA and VM are presumably tinkering with their diesel to overcome emissions issues, while GM is still going to tool up a plant.… Read the rest

2019 Ram 1500

The second shoe drops: 2019 Ram vs Silverado

Yesterday, Chevrolet dropped the first shoe — the 2019 Silverado — and today, Ram dropped the second — the 2019 Ram 1500.

What’s surprising is how much they have in common.

Both extended their length by four inches, used more high-strength steel in their frames, and cut weight — though Chevrolet took off over 400 pounds, and Ram only dropped 225, possibly because Chevrolet was more aggressive with the use of aluminum body panels (for the doors, tailgate, and hood); both increased their high-strength steel body content. Chevrolet used more aluminum in the suspension, while Ram used hollow stabilizer bars and composite upper control arms.

Chevrolet’s headline feature was having six engines, ranging from a 3-liter straight-six diesel to a 6.2 liter V8, with an optional ten-speed automatic. Ram made the eight-speed automatic standard across the board, and while they only showed two gasoline engines (the diesel was conspicuously absent), there are actually three powertrains now because the Hemi is available with or without a motor boost.… Read the rest

Honda, Volvo, Lincoln win NACTOY

The Honda Accord, Volvo XC60 and Lincoln Navigator have won top honors as the North American car, truck and utility vehicles of the year in Detroit.

The NACTOY awards, which fashion themselves as the Oscars of the automotive industry, are decided by ballot by 61 media jurors in the U.S. and Canada. The 2018 awards were the 24th announced at the North American International Auto Show.

The winnrs surprised some; the 10th-generation Accord beat the Toyota Camry and the Kia Stinger, the latter of which seemed to be the favourite among the 2,000 spectators at the award at the kick off of the media days at the Detroit auto show at 8 a.m. Monday.

The Volvo beat out the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and the Honda Odyssey for utility vehicle of the year. The Lincoln beat out its own stablemate the Ford Expedition and the Chevy Colorado ZR2 for truck of the year.… Read the rest

2019 chevrolet silverado

Silverado sets high bar for tomorrow’s Ram launch

It’s unusual, but two brand new pickup trucks are being unveiled within just 24 hours of each other — the 2019 Silverado/Sierra 1500, currently the #2 best selling pickup in North America, and the 2019 Ram 1500, the #3 best seller.

We’re still waiting to see what the Ram holds, but it will be hard to top the Chevy/GMC, with its new straight-six diesel, 450 pound weight loss, greater cargo volume, power tailgate, and longer wheelbase.  The company is providing six different powertrains, including a 3-liter diesel, and a choice of two V8s, both with the ability to shut off any number of cylinders (rather than the Hemi’s four-at-a-time). There are to be six engine options — three already mentioned, and presumably either hybrid or turbocharged four or six cylinder additions. The diesel and 6.2 V8 come with a ten-speed automatic and stop-start systems.… Read the rest

Ford’s rare “stop driving” recall

After a second death caused by a poorly engineered Takata airbag inflator, Ford urged 2,900 North American Ranger pickup owners in North America to stop driving until they can get replacement parts.

Both deaths occurred 2006 Ranger pickups, with inflators built on the same day. So far, the inflators, which can fire metal fragments into the driver, have caused at least 21 deaths — all but these two in Hondas.

Ford’s new recall covers 2,900 vehicles in the highest-risk group; Ford had already recalled 391,000 vehicles for the airbag issue. The company will pay to have Rangers towed, or will send repair teams out to the trucks.… Read the rest

ford diesel lawsuit

Ford latest for diesel-cheat suit

Ford is the latest Bosch customer to be named in a lawsuit for falsifying diesel emissions tests.

The class action suit, aimed at Ford, Robert Bosch GMBH (the German headquarters), and Robert Bosch LLC (the American subsidiary), was filed yesterday in the Federal court for the Eastern District of Michigan by attorney Steve Berman.  It covers 2011-17 Ford “Super Duty” trucks with diesel engines — an $8,400 option.

Legal firm Hagens Berman claimed that the companies sold “Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks with emissions-cheating devices that mask the release of illegally high levels of NOx.” NOx, or nitrides of oxygen, have been implicated in health problems.  Ford marketed the engine as “cleanest Super Diesel ever.”

According to Hagens Berman, independent testing revealed twice the legal limits of emissions, during normal driving.  The law firm is also suing Volkswagen, GM, Mercedes, and Fiat Chrysler.… Read the rest

bosch bsg

Bosch sale boosts Chinese auto industry

The Chinese auto industry took another step forward as Zhengzhou Coal Mining Machinery Group (ZMJ) purchased Bosch’s starter and motor generator division — a group which is bound to rise in importance as belt-starter-generator “mild-hybrid” systems become more popular.

Chinese groups have already purchased other suppliers as well as Volvo’s and Saab’s complete automobile businesses; with a large injection of cash and an extra plant in China, Volvo has been making a global comeback.

China has been thriving financially, as Western companies in every industry have moved production, service, and engineering to the nominally communist country’s designated capitalist areas. Even though wages in the country have gone up, a massive effort to build infrastructure and higher education have brought about other competitive advantages, including a wealth of production and development engineers.… Read the rest

Chevy returning to medium-duty trucks

Chevrolet is returning to medium-duty trucks with new class 4 and 5 pickups, to debut at the Work Truck Show in early March. Generally, this type of truck is sold with extensive aftermarket customization, to commercial customers. While Ford dominates this segment, Ram has done well since launching new chassis cabs (engineered in cooperation with Sterling) some years ago.

The new medium duty trucks have no gasoline engines, put combine Duramax diesels with Allison transmissions with two or four wheel drive, standard and crew cabs, and a variety of wheelbases.

Key selling points in this class tend to be cost of operation, maintenance, and durability, rather than raw power. Ram, for example, emphasized larger, longer-lasting brakes, larger gas tanks, and better-than-usual electrical systems, along with various “upfitter-friendly” features. Chevrolet’s spokesman said their own new trucks were designed to be “among the best in the industry” on a variety of comparison points.… Read the rest