Ram trucks gathered at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, today for a special event.
Ram pickup owners came from as far away as Canada to to set a new Guinness World Record for the largest parade of pickup trucks.
The parade was part of Ram Truck’s participation as the “Official Truck” of the Academy of Country Music Awards.
A total of 451 Ram trucks were in today’s “Ram Truck Round-Up” at the AT&T stadium (formerly, and probably better, known as Cowboys Stadium), in Arlington, which is located between Forth Worth and Dallas.
The parade route started on the east side of AT&T Stadium in Arlington and traveled approximately 3.2 miles around the stadium and neighboring Globe Life Park grounds.
The new record beats the previous benchmark of 438 pickups.
This year is the 50th anniversary of the ACM Awards. They will be broadcast live tomorrow, Sunday, April 19, at 8:00 PM Eastern on CBS.
Ward’s Auto has added the Jeep Renegade Limited to its “Ten Best Interiors List” for 2015.
The Renegade was one of two Chrysler-brand vehicles to make list: the other was the new Chrysler 300 Platinum.
Drew Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Ward’s Autoworld magazine, said:
“The interior checks off all our boxes in terms of being roomy, comfortable and having excellent ergonomics — even the voice-activation system works flawlessly. But, the attention given to interior details and design is truly spectacular for a vehicle in this class. Whimsical design elements, bold, contrasting colors and stunning metallic bronze trim convey a sense of fun and adventure that sets it apart. The Renegade isn’t a ’cute ute,’ it’s the Cherokee’s badass little brother.”
Ward’s Auto editors spent two months evaluating and judging 42 vehicles. Scoring was based on a wide variety of factors including fit-and-finish, comfort, material selection, ergonomics, information/displays, value, safety and overall design aesthetics.
At $33,205, the Renegade Limited was one of the least-expensive vehicles on the list. Only the Honda Fit EX-L had a lower sticker.
Last month, the editors of Kelley Blue Book‘s kbb.com said the Renegade was one of their “10 Favorite New-for-2015 Cars” and “10 Best All-Wheel-Drive Vehicles Under $25,000.”
Chrysler’s new top-level Platinum interior also received high praise from Winter:
“In a world overpopulated with giant SUVs, the Chrysler 300C Platinum reminds us how glorious big sedans can be. The ’15 model takes the superb interior of the previous version up another notch with even more features, comfort and sumptuous materials. The quilted leather trim and patterned upholstery are similar to what we see on German luxury sedans costing three times as much. The huge touchscreen and Uconnect infotainment system is about the best at any price. Yet it also has wonderfully practical details, such as stout grab handles and a truly sturdy sunglasses holder. ‘I could live in this car,’ says one judge. Yes indeed. And live well,”
Today’s new Jeep Renegade ad campaign for North America will use a song, “Renegades,” published by Interscope Geffen A&M Records. The initial 60-second launch commercial, “Renegades,” airing tonight, is built around the song “Renegades” by the Brooklyn indie rock band X Ambassadors.
The campaign will use television, print, radio, experiential, digital, social, and website channels. Both the song and the vehicle are available for sale now.
The 60-second launch spot uses footage of “millennials,” the X Ambassadors, and the 2015 Jeep Renegade traveling across the United States, with text such as, “long live the pioneers, rebels and mutineers, go forth and have no fear, come close and lend an ear, And I said hey, hey hey hey, living like we’re renegades.”
Thirty-second spots, including “Endurance Race” and “Beach,” as well as a 30-second version of “Renegades,” will launch in the coming weeks.
X Ambassadors have spent the last two years on the road, and have had two EPs published. Their debut full-length album will be released later this year, and they will appear at Bonnaroo and this summer’s Milky Chance tour. F
One of FCA’s goals for 2020 is to achieve top-quartile positions for its cars and trucks in each region, according to the company’s annual sustainability report. The only two 2014 results reported for this goal are rates of repair in the first 90 days of ownership, which declined by 13% across the world, on average. This includes all mass-market brands (Fiat, Dodge, Ram, and such).
Complaints are handled more quickly, as well. Globally, FCA reported that at least 80% of calls were picked up within 20 seconds, while complaints settled within five days went from 51% to 77%.
The “Net Promoter Score” — a measure of whether buyers would promote their purchases to others — rose “by as much as 14%” where it was measured.
The report did not specifically mention what the comparisons were against, but it is likely to be versus 2010. Longer-term repair records were not reported.
FCA also noted that a new global Customer Care platform is to be adopted; so far, it has been launched in Latin America, and planned for China and Japan for 2015. A business case has been completed, with requirements set up, for North America and Europe, while a study has been started for Australia.
The Renegade led another explosive month for Jeep in the European market. Jeep sales skyrocketed 214% in March, according to today’s report from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA).
Jeep’s growth streak has now run for 17 consecutive months, and, while it started from very small sales, the increase is far outpacing any other brand in European.
The achievement is even more significant considering that sales growth in March 2014 was 45%.
9,256 new Jeeps were delivered last month, with the compact Renegade accounting for about 5,500, or 59% of the total. In 2014, the year that Jeep passed a million worldwide sales, March European deliveries totaled just 2,951.
Jeep rose from a 0.2% share of the European light vehicle market in March 2014, to a 0.6% share in March 2015.
Jeep reported strong growth in all of the major European markets. Registrations were up 249% in Italy; 113% in Germany; 860% in France; 397% in Great Britain and 260% in Spain.
As a group, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands posted a 16% increase last month, well ahead of the total market’s 11% increase. The Fiat 500 family (500, 500L, 500X) brought in 54% of all Fiat brand sales. There were about 5,000 registrations of new 500X, the Renegade’s sibling.
FIAT CHRYSLER EUROPEAN REGISTRATIONS MARCH 2015
Dodge (gray market)*
*Dodge figures are estimated. Data Source: FCA Italy, ACEA
GKN Driveline of Redditch, England, announced yesterday that it had become the first Tier One supplier to deliver a complete all-wheel-drive (AWD) system to an automaker
In just 24 months, GKN designed and began producing the intelligent AWD systems for the Jeep Renegade and the Fiat 500X. It supplies the complete driveline, including the disconnecting AWD setup and front-wheel-drive variants; every component of the system was designed by GKN and is made in their facilities.
Global program director Hannes Prenn noted, “This is the first time a supplier has been responsible for the design, development and production of a complete all wheel drive system.”
GKN said its global development centers, a streamlined change and approval processes, and having its own in-house software staff helped keep the design-to-delivery time down.
To meet the space requirements of the Jeep and Fiat, GKN uses a monobloc housing that integrates the propshaft’s constant velocity joint instead of a traditional power transfer unit.
By custom-tuning the system software, GKN says its hardware can be used for other vehicles from from city cars to compact off-roaders, which have different torque needs.
Serious HP Horsepower Performance released a chassis dyno video today of their E85 tuned Hellcat Challenger making 753 RWHP, which, by traditional measures, is an astonishing 886 hp at the crank — 81 hp and 70 lb-ft more than their standard 93 octane tune. (Estimates of SAE horsepower are by rule of thumb.)
E85, or gasoline with 85% ethanol, can, with proper tuning, generate much more power than 93-octane premium gasoline, albeit with about a 70% increase in fuel volume. Along with the fuel change, they added an additional fuel pump that adds pressure and volume to the system, upgraded injectors (larger capacity and E85 capable), upgraded driveshaft, and the HP Tuners 2.25 software.
Power is limited by transmission shifting; if HP Tuners is able to provide transmission-computer support, horsepower levels should rise and quarter-mile times should fall. Some are already predicting thousand-horsepower Hellcats. (Increasing the power of the engine is likely to reduce its life, and most likely the life of surrounding systems, and is almost certain to void the entire powertrain warranty.)
American Expedition Vehicles (AEV), best known for its offroad Jeep Wranglers, is now converting Ram pickups.
At the 2014 SEMA show, AEV showed an Australian-outback-inspired Ram 2500 with a tray-back body that replaced the standard pickup bed, 17×10 Katla wheels with 41-inch Super Swamper IROK tires, and a 66-gallon fuel tank.
AEV was founded in Montana, where conditions can be challenging, and still designs and tests its parts in their facility in Missoula, though their main offices, manufacturing, and warehousing are now in Commerce Township, Michigan. From its beginning 15 years ago until now, AEV was focused solely on the Jeep Wrangler.
AEV parts for the Ram 2500 and 3500 include a rugged front bumper with fog lights, the DualSport 3-inch heavy-duty suspension system that retains the 2500’s coil-spring rear suspension, and a raised air intake with two different air inlet options (a traditional air ram or a self-cleaning, high efficiency dust filtration system).
Two different wheel styles are also available; both can hande tires up to 37 inches in diameter with or without fender flares. Their Ram catalog also includes an Extang tonneau cover for the 6-foot, four-inch Ram pickup bed, with or without the Rambox storage system.
A 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird fetched a winning bid of $480,000 at the Mecum Auction in Houston on Saturday. It was the second-highest selling price of the day, beaten only by a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Phaeton that brought $500,000.
Lot No. S105 was one of 58 Superbirds built with the 426 CID/425 horsepower Hemi with dual four-barrel carburetors, a factory 4-speed manual transmission and the A33 Dana 60 Track Pack, which included a 3.54 rear axle.
The B5 Blue Fire Metallic car is equipped with power steering, power brakes with disks up front, the Hurst pistol-grip shifter, Rallye instrument cluster with the Tic-Toc-Tach and 15-inch Rallye wheels with Goodyear GT F60-15 tires. The car has the black vinyl top that was a Superbird standard and a black interior with white bucket seats.
The original factory build sheet is included. The car’s serial number shows it was one of the last Superbirds built, leaving the factory on December 16, 1969.
Chrysler has voluntarily recalled 2013 and 2014 Dodge Vipers because the electronic door handles may malfunction, causing the doors to open suddenly while the 640 horsepower supercar is being driven.
Dodge started an investigation into the 2013 and 2014 Viper after getting three complaints that the doors of the Dodge supercar wouldn’t stay closed or had popped open at low speeds. They discovered that the sealant around the electronic door latch assembly hadn’t protected against moisture, so that the assembly can short out, which can lead to the doors opening on their own or not latching when the door is closed.
There were no accidents or injuries stemming from this problem. There are 1,762 Dodge Viper supercars affected, with 1,451 in the United States, 160 in Canada, 17 in Mexico, and 59 outside of North America. There have only been 1,526 examples of the modern supercar sold in the US and that includes 2015 models, so it is likely that every 2013 and 2014 Viper in the world is subject to this voluntary recall.
The company hasn’t gone into any detail on the repairs, but the fix for the 2013-2014 Dodge Viper likely consists of removing the electronic latch assembly, checking for signs of moisture, replacing any soiled components, and using a better sealant when reinstalling the latch assembly, with no charge to the customer.
CustomsToday has reported that Ram pickups with the 6.7 liter Cummins diesel or 6.4 liter Chrysler Hemi are indeed being imported to Fiat Chrysler Australia, through the efforts of an independent company licensed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
Ram pickup trucks are being sent to both Australia and New Zealand, with exclusive rights to convert and sell coming through a business owned by former FCA executive Clyde Campbell and Ateco Automotive owner Nevill Crichton. The actual, official Australian FCA division is not officially involved but reported its support of the program.
The Ram is being converted to right hand drive in Australia, most likely through Walkinshaw, which imports Tata vehicles and is the parent of HSV. The first trucks to be imported will be the Ram 2500 and Ram 3500 pickups. The Ram 1500 might be handled by FCA Australia itself. (Thanks, patfromigh)
A Dodge Challenger Hellcat with 11 miles on the odometer brought $110,000 Friday at the Mecum Auction in Houston. The winning bid for the Challenger Hellcat was the highest for any car on the auction’s first day, beating a 1963 Chevrolet split-window Corvette by $10,000.
In addition to the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi and a Tremec 6-speed manual trasmission, the Phantom Black Pearl car was fitted with 20 inch Brass Monkey SRT forged wheels. It was in as-delivered condition with dealer stickers and markings on the car and came with the factory build sheet and shipping order.
The Mecum Houston Auction runs through Sunday at NRG Park.
Rams are reportedly to be sent to Australia, where there is a growing market for big pickups — but conversions to right-hand drive and other changes will be made by Holden Special Vehicles (HSV), a company with ties to General Motors.
According to News.com.au, Fiat Chrysler New Zealand (FCNZ) has exclusive rights to convert and sell Ram pick-ups in Australia. FCNZ was created two years ago by Clyde Campbell and Neville Crichton; Mr. Campbell would not identify the conversion house. (News.com.au referred to the trucks as “Dodge Rams.”)
Holden Special Vehicles, which is owned by the Walkinshaw Group, can take on contract work outside of GM, and the rumor mill says HSV is already working with Fiat Chrysler New Zealand on the conversion process.
Prior to this new arrangement, Ram trucks could be imported to Australia only via the gray market, and sales were limited to 200 vehicles per year under a special dispensation in Australian law. Now, since the converted Rams would meet all Australian vehicle requirements, there wouldn’t be any limits of the number of vehicles that can be sold.
The first models are allegedly to go on sale in September this year. More details and prices will be announced closer to the launch, but it’s estimated the first trucks will sell for about $120,000 Australian, equivalent to about $92,000 in U.S. currency.
Large, American-style pickups are in demand in the mining industry, which needs heavy duty trucks, and by grey nomads, older Australians retirees who have sold their homes to follow a life on the road, picking fruit. The grey nomads typically live in large travel trailers and need large pickups to tow them. A Ram pickup has a higher payload and far more towing capacity than the smaller pickups currently on the Australian market.
Additional information supplied by New Zealander Graeme Roberts of just-auto.com
A South Carolina man is suing Fiat Chrysler over an incorrect Monroney sticker on a 2014 Ram 1500.
In Besley v. FCA US LLC, Robert K. Besley, Jr. of Aiken, South Carolina, says he bought a 2014 Ram 1500 Big Horn from Triangle Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Graniteville in January 2014.
The Monroney (“window”) sticker on Besley’s truck said it was equipped with an optional 3.55 rear axle, an upgrade Besley paid for when he bought the Ram.
Nine months after he bought his new truck, FCA notified him that the Monroney sticker was incorrect, saying his Ram had the standard 3.21 rear axle. As compensation for the error, FCA offered Besley 750 “Mopar Dollars” that could be used for service or accessories.
Besley’s complaint is that FCA never offered to replace the axle.
Generally, Monroney errors must be detected in a short period of time after purchasing a new vehicle. Since it was unreasonable for Besley to know his truck had the wrong rear axle, the time between purchase and discovery is unlikely to be an issue.
What is an issue is the extent of FCA’s liability. Even though Monroney errors are not uncommon, legal opinions agree that compensation is generally limited to the value of the missing option. Even in a case of deliberately providing false information, the maximum federal penalty is $1,000. FCA offered compensation well in excess of the $50 cost for the upgraded rear axle.
Besley is suing for actual and punitive damages and is hoping his action will be certified as a class-action suit, which holds the possibility for Besley to receive a much larger settlement.
FCA had no comment on the lawsuit and declined to say how many 2014 Rams had been shipped with incorrect Monroney stickers.
The suit, case number 1:2015cv01511, claims personal property damage and was filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina. The presiding judge is J. Michelle Childs.
Mark Rosekind, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, told reporters that the agency may reopen its investigation into fuel-tank ruptures on Jeep Grand Cherokees and Libertys.
Bloomberg News reported on Rosekind’s comments, made during a briefing yesterday at the New York Auto Show and possibly spurred by a $150 million judgement against Fiat Chrysler in a case involving a 1993 Grand Cherokee that burned following a high-speed rear-end crash. The NHTSA had previously said the 1993 Grand Cherokee was not a safety risk. Georgia law forbade Chrysler from presenting a great deal of evidence which may have changed the outcome of the trial.
The investigations covered model-year 1993-98 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Libertys. Fiat Chrysler agreed to a voluntary fix in 2013, but declined to issue a recall, saying the Jeeps met all federal safety standards at the time when they were built.
Rosekind said the agency is not concerned about the fix itself, but the pace at which affected Jeeps are being repaired. Bloomberg quoted Rosekind as saying the work “should be done faster, and we want to see that 100 percent.”
FCA spokesman Eric Mayne said the company has made 5.4 million attempts to contact owners of the covered vehicles through mailings, phone calls and e-mail. To date, about 388,000 vehicles have had the NHTSA-approved fix installed. However, consumer participation in a recall is voluntary: Neither FCA nor the NHTSA has the legal authority to demand the vehicles be returned for repairs.
The renewed scrutiny may have its origins in Congressional pressure. Politicians have criticized the the way the NHTSA has handled recent actions including the massive recalls of GM vehicles for defective ignition switches and various brands of cars using Takata airbags. Some have been pressing the NHTSA to implement a mandatory recall of Jeeps, expanding the number of vehicles affected. The NHTSA has responded by saying the agency is understaffed, and the volume of recent recalls has overwhelmed its resources.
The 2015 Dodge Charger, the 2015 Dodge Challenger, and a handful of other Mopars from Furious 7 appeared in the videogame Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious. Now, these cars are coming to the full Forza Horizon 2 game as part of the April Fast and the Furious car pack.
The 2015 Dodge Charger and 2015 Dodge Challenger made their video game debut last month when Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious was launched for Xbox One and Xbox 360. This movie-themed package was a standalone game, so you didn’t need to own Forza Horizon 2 to enjoy the Fast and Furious game. The downside is that since the new movie package was not actually part of Forza Horizon 2, you couldn’t use any of the Furious 7 cars in the full game. The Fast and Furious game was a ton of fun – especially for free – but it didn’t add anything to the full FH2 game.
All that changed yesterday, as the Furious 7 cars from the free standalone game are coming to Horizon 2 with the April car pack, so you can drive the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, Dom’s 1970 Charger, or any of the other Mopars in the open world layout of the Horizon Festival.
Most monthly car packs for Forza Horizon 2 include six cars, but the Fast and Furious car pack includes eight cars, while the price is unchanged at US$5.
Those who don’t want to pay for the pack can download Brian O’Connor’s 1998 Toyota Supra for free, but to get the Mopar muscle cars and the armored Jeep, you will need to fork out the $5 for the whole package.
Both the standalone expansion pack game and the April car pack include the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T, the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, a supercharged 1970 Dodge Charger, an armored 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, a 1970 Plymouth AAR Cuda, a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner, and the 2014 Maserati Ghibli S, as well as the aforementioned 1998 Toyota Supra.
All of these vehicles are “Fast and Furious Edition”, meaning that they all have the look of a movie car, including the push bars on the 2015 Challenger, the armor plating on the Jeep and the unique front end of Dom’s ’70 Charger.
One other “problem” with the Fast and Furious expansion pack game is that you cannot modify any of the cars, but you can modify every car on Forza Horizon 2 and you can modify the vehicles of the Furious 7 DLC.
You can only change the external appearance so much and in some cases, the performance modifications are limited (for instance, you can’t tinker with the engine on Dom’s 1970 Charger), but you can improve the output of most of the cars and you can improve the handling of all of them – including tuning. This was what I expected from the standalone game and it is finally here, bringing with it seven new Mopars.