Thursday, August 16, 2007

Angie and her Viper!


Angelina Jolie filmed more scenes for “Wanted last night in Chicago’s Loop till the wee hours of the morning.


In the action scene, Jolie drives her red Dodge Viper and punches her window out.


After she busts through the window she shoots at her assasin co-star.


Look it’s a RedEye box in the background!


It’s a wrap!

Angie and her Viper!


Angelina Jolie filmed more scenes for “Wanted last night in Chicago’s Loop till the wee hours of the morning.


In the action scene, Jolie drives her red Dodge Viper and punches her window out.


After she busts through the window she shoots at her assasin co-star.


Look it’s a RedEye box in the background!


It’s a wrap!

Automakers, UAW support raising fuel economy standards

Author: RP news wires
Hundreds of autoworkers, business people and government officials from the greater Chicago area demonstrated on the morning of August 16 at Federal Plaza in Chicago, urging federal lawmakers to protect jobs and consumer choice by supporting the bi-partisan federal legislation introduced by Representatives Baron Hill (D-Indiana) and Lee Terry (R-Nebraska) to raise fuel economy in cars and trucks.

“The Hill-Terry bill – H.R. 2927 – is a sensible approach to improved fuel economy,” said Mark Haasis, Illinois legislative director of the United Auto Workers. “It calls for tough standards but it recognizes that cars and trucks have different roles and should be regulated separately when it comes to fuel economy.”

Congressman Don Manzullo, one of the co-sponsors of H.R. 2927 from Illinois 16th District added, “H.R. 2927 is a win-win bill – it gives consumers more miles per gallon and a continued variety of vehicle choices. The bill also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on foreign oil but without putting thousands of American jobs at risk and pricing millions of consumers out of the new vehicle market.”

The Hill-Terry bill, co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of more than 160 congressional representatives, requires increases in car and truck standards such that the total fleet falls between 32 to 35 miles per gallon (mpg) by model year 2022 and requires cars and trucks to be treated separately. The bill would require automakers to improve fuel economy in all sizes of vehicles – from the smallest subcompacts to the largest SUVs and pickups – and it would provide funding for advanced technologies, such as high-strength, lightweight materials, plug-in hybrids, clean diesel engines, and hydrogen fuel cells.

“Everyone wants better fuel economy and the auto companies are committed to be part of the solution to make that happen,” said Anthony Hoskins, plant manager of the nearby Chicago Assembly Plant where the Ford Taurus, Taurus X and Mercury Sable are built. “We’ve already brought many fuel-saving technologies to the marketplace – from hybrids to clean diesels to flex-fuel vehicles – and more are on the way. Hill-Terry sustains this progress, rather than diverting resources in order to meet unreasonable legislation from Washington.”

Hoskins was referring to a Senate-passed bill that would call for a 35 mpg average – cars and trucks combined – by 2020. Independent studies have indicated that the Senate bill would raise vehicle prices, eliminate jobs and damage the U.S. economy. A Lehman Brothers study concluded that Ford, Chrysler and General Motors would have to cut production of their large pickups and SUVs by 60 percent.

Jerry Roper, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce said the Senate bill, if enacted into law, would have a “ripple effect,” damaging businesses, large and small, throughout the region. “The U.S. auto industry is the bedrock of this area’s economy. If the production of vehicles and components built here is cut, you hurt thousands of businesses, from the assembly plant itself all the way down to the corner bakery.”

“Every congressional representative in our area should understand why we need the Hill-Terry bill to become law,” said Frederic Brereton, mayor of Belvidere, Ill., where Chrysler’s Belvidere Assembly Plant builds the 30-plus mile per gallon Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. “We need it so these good people can continue to build the outstanding vehicles that Americans want and need. It’s high time we looked after the jobs and economic well being of the hard-working people of Belvedere and the greater Chicago region.”

As evidence of recent progress to improve fuel economy, parked nearby the demonstration were several of the latest and most efficient vehicles to enter the marketplace: a Chrysler flex-fuel Town & Country minivan, and a Dodge Caliber built in Belvidere, Illinois; the Chicago-built Ford Taurus X, and a Ford Escape Hybrid; and a GM Saturn Aura Hybrid. Some consumers and local businesses also parked their light trucks at the rally to underscore the need for affordable full-sized work vehicles.

Check out the new Dodge Dakota

consumer issues

Scripps Howard News Service
Thursday, August 16, 2007

Here's a tip for you savvy consumers.

If you can come up with $22,780 for the new 2008 Dakota Crew Cab, the Dodge Boys will throw in a couple of milk crates.

Not impressed? Wait until you see the crates.

Positioned under the rear seats, the containers look like nothing more than a stack of black plastic panels after you flip up the seats. Lift the top panel and each stack becomes a fully formed container anchored securely to the truck's floorboard. Push down and the crates flatten to their previous positions.

The crates provided excellent security for my groceries, particularly the 2-liter bottles of soda that tend to roll around on car seats and floorboards, gaining such explosive force that by the time you get home, you have a cola bomb in your grocery sack. This time, mine were nestled snugly in their milk crate, emitting nothing more menacing than a pleasant "spffft" upon opening.

While I tend toward skepticism in most "ease-of-use" demos, this one proved really accurate. No levers or releases to search for, no Rubik's cube schematic to interpret. Simply flip, lift and utilize.

Truck purists may gnash their teeth over such milk-crate epiphanies, but this is the kind of thing at which Chrysler excels. Just when you think every device that could ever appear on a vehicle has, the elves of Auburn Hills come up with something utterly ingenious, like the "Chill Zone" beverage cooler and drop-down liftgate speakers in the Dodge Caliber.

The real value of devices such as the crates, from a marketing standpoint, is that they grab your attention long enough that you begin to notice other distinctive traits, like the longest standard cargo bed in the class, the dual-position tailgate that can stabilize oversized objects that extend beyond the bed and the 7,500-pound towing capacity that tops the mid-size market.

As in past years, Dakota is the largest pickup in its class. That class, previously known as "small" trucks, is really more of a mid-size category, whose sales leader is the Toyota Tacoma. Dakota has about 10 percent of the market and is aiming for 12 percent with the redesigned Dakota, officials said.

"It's a declining segment but still a very viable segment, with more than half a million units," said Mark Seguin, senior manager for Dodge Truck marketing. "At one time, we were over a million units."

Like other brawny vehicles, the Dakota has taken a hit at the fuel pump. But Dodge and its Chrysler parent are not wimping out at this year's tractor pull. The alpha male of engines is the 4.7-liter, 302-horsepower V8 that crushes anything in the category. The engine got a 31 percent boost in horsepower during the makeover and saw its torque rise 13 percent to 329 foot-pounds.

Despite the steroid rush, fuel economy is said to have improved by 5 percent. The engine also qualifies as a flexible fuel vehicle because it can run on E85 ethanol.

If you don't need that many ponies, you can opt for the 3.7-liter Magnum V6 rated at 210 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque.

Stylistically, the Dakota clearly shares a gene pool with the Ram but offers its own flair. The Ram-like grille is embraced by a nicely arched clamshell hood. The front and rear fenders are well tailored and slightly chamfered in the Caliber style.

The extended cab's optional "Full Swing" rear access doors open nearly 170 degrees to allow easy access. With rear seats folded, up the extended cab offers up to 30 cubic feet of storage space.

"We've designed it not as a mini-Ram, but as a lifestyle vehicle," Seguin said. "It's about having some fun and doing what you need to do."

In terms of ride quality, the Dakota is clearly trucklike, which is the way a body-on-frame vehicle is supposed to be. If you want a car-like truck, try the Honda Ridgeline.

Sold in rear-drive or 4-wheel-drive, the Dakota comes in extended cab or crew-cab layouts with six trim levels: ST, SXT, SLT, TRX/TRX4, Sport and Laramie. Prices range from $20,080 for rear-drive extended cab and $22,780 for crew cab models with V6 engines to $30,370 for 4x4 Laramie extended cabs and $31,745 for 4x4 Laramie crew cabs.

Despite the advantages of the Dakota in the mid-size market -- power, versatility, ingenuity -- Dodge has its work cut out for it in the ultra-competitive arena.

But you've got to figure that under its new boss -- former Home Depot chairman Bob Nardelli -- the newly independent Chrysler will remain serious about trucks.

WHAT'S NEW: Complete makeover, new design, more power, new features.

PLUSES: Power, ingenuity, capacity, price.

MINUSES: Fuel economy, truck-like ride.

BOTTOM LINE: In a league of its own.

Full Test: 2007 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab


2007 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab

Inside Line tested the new Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab which got a substantially revised turbodiesel engine and a new transmission.

Read the Dodge Ram Full Test on Inside Line.

2007 Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

Posted by Donna Aug 16, 2007 11:08 am

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Instrumental Intensity

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With Season on the Line at NHRA Nationals; Stevens is Primed, Johnson Strives to Hold Countdown Position

by Darren Jacobs, Don Schumacher Racing

CENTER LINE, Mich. -- Team Mopar NHRA POWERade Pro Stock driver Richie Stevens Jr. has one more shot to qualify for the next phase of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship at this weekend’s Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa. One thing is certain: when the smoke clears, the New Orleans native will have laid it all on the line at Maple Grove Raceway in a battle to keep his Pro Stock title hopes alive.

To keep his title dreams alive, round wins are a must at Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals for Richie Stevens Jr.
Allen Johnson looks to maintain fourth spot in the Countdown this weekend
Richie Stevens Jr. stats
Allen Johnson stats
Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals event details

Stevens is behind the wheel of the Don Schumacher Racing-owned Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T. He trails another Mopar HEMI–powered driver, Larry Morgan, by 56 markers for the eighth and final spot in the Countdown to Four, the first phase of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship. Stevens must reel off some round wins this weekend, and also hope Morgan falters, if he is to continue on in the Countdown battle.

Allen Johnson, driver of the Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T, suffered a rare first-round exit at last week’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Although Johnson has already earned a berth in the Countdown, a solid outing at Reading is crucial if he is to hold on to his fourth spot in the Countdown.

To keep his title dreams alive, round wins are a must at Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals for Richie Stevens Jr. Stevens Jr. is well aware of the importance of the race this weekend. He just refuses to let the pressure affect him.

“I’m just going to treat it like any other race and just go there and try to win it, just like our goal is for every other race,” said Stevens, who took part in test sessions at Chicago in both his and Johnson’s Dodge Stratus R/Ts earlier this week. Stevens’ car is tuned by Johnson’s J&J Racing team, with power plants supplied by Roy Johnson [Allen Johnson’s father].

A top spot in qualifying is a key to advancing rounds. According to Stevens:

“I need to try and qualify as high as possible to gain every point I can to get into the Countdown deal. The No. 1, 2, or 3 qualifying spot would be ideal, so we could get somebody in the bottom half who we could maybe outrun. We’ll just try to go rounds on Sunday. We’re going to probably have to make it all the way to the finals to out do Larry. It’s down to the last one, and the pressure’s up. We just have to go there, and try not to think about it, and just do the best we can, and hopefully the outcome will be good for us.”

Allen Johnson looks to maintain fourth spot in the Countdown this weekend The watchword for Johnson this week at the Toyo Tire NHRA Nationals is balance. The Greenville, Tenn., native, already in the Countdown, is experimenting with set ups on his Mopar/J&J Racing Dodge Stratus R/T before the playoffs begin. He must also have a strong outing at Reading to maintain his fourth spot in the Countdown. It’s a critical tightrope act: Johnson must put together runs that allow him to try new things on his car while not sacrificing results.

“We are sort of in a testing mode in my car, getting the engines and some other parts dialed in,” said Johnson. “We had some new parts on the car [at Brainerd], trying some things. The team is testing at Chicago with Richie, trying to get things sorted out. But I’m not solidified in my spot yet. We can’t have another first-round loss at Reading, or Jason [Line, currently fifth in points] could get around us.”

The test-and-trial approach has paid off for Johnson and his J&J Racing team.

“I think we learned some things [at Brainerd] that will help us in the Countdown,” Johnson said. “A better way to state it is that we learned something that will not help us.”

Richie Stevens Jr. stats

Trailed Larry Morgan by 56 points for the eighth and final spot in the new NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoff system following the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Recorded a career best ET and speed of 6.598/209.20 in qualifying second at Englishtown in June
Has seven quarterfinals and two semifinals appearances in 2007 (to date)
Had two wins (Dallas, Las Vegas) in the final five events of 2006
Finished in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock top 10 for the fifth time in his career in 2006
Has six career wins and 11 career final round appearances

Allen Johnson stats

Has a 21-14 round record in 2007
Has clinched a spot in the NHRA POWERade Countdown playoffs
Captured his fifth career win at the 28th Annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals in July
Took his third career No. 1 qualifier spot at the Mile-High Nationals and set the Bandimere Speedway track record
Has 11 quarterfinals, six semifinals, and three finals appearance in 2007 (to date)
Finished sixth in the 2006 NHRA Pro Stock points standings

Patent Updates

1 7,255,194 Full-Text Steering system for a zero-steer vehicle
2 7,252,338 Full-Text Seat assembly having an adjustable height and angle armrest
3 7,247,112 Full-Text Method and apparatus for cooling and lubricating a hybrid transmission
4 7,244,905 Full-Text Method for estimating nugget diameter and weld parameters
5 7,243,981 Full-Text Vehicle body deformation control assembly
6 7,243,978 Full-Text Door assembly for a vehicle
7 7,242,321 Full-Text Key fob with directional vehicle locator
8 7,241,240 Full-Text Flexible chain guide
9 7,241,092 Full-Text Cargo retention device
10 7,240,954 Full-Text Sport bar close out seal
11 7,240,949 Full-Text Adjustable seat assembly
12 7,240,906 Full-Text Hydro-pneumatic suspension system
13 7,240,544 Full-Text Aerodynamic noise source measurement system for a motor vehicle
14 7,239,055 Full-Text Motor cooling system
15 7,237,447 Full-Text Engine start/stop system


(words only): NASSAU

Standard Character claim: Yes

Current Status: Opposition period completed, a Notice of Allowance has been issued.

Date of Status: 2007-02-20

Filing Date: 2006-05-05

The Notice of Allowance Date is: 2007-02-20

Transformed into a National Application: No

Registration Date: (DATE NOT AVAILABLE)

Register: Principal

Law Office Assigned: LAW OFFICE 106

Attorney Assigned:
LAVACHE LINDA M Employee Location

Current Location: 700 -Intent To Use Section

Date In Location: 2007-08-15



1000 CHRYSLER DRIVE CIMS 483-02-19
United States
Legal Entity Type: Ltd Liab Co
State or Country Where Organized: (NOT AVAILABLE)


International Class: 012
Class Status: Active
Basis: 1(b)
First Use in Commerce Date: (DATE NOT AVAILABLE)






2007-08-13 - TEAS Extension Received

2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart Caught Before Its 2008 Debut

Spy Video: 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart

Date posted: 08-15-2007

The often talked about, but never seen 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart. Forget what you might remember about the previous Lancer Ralliart, as this new version will offer more than just a revised suspension and a modest horsepower increase.

Prototypes spotted in the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of Death Valley reveal only modest changes to the Ralliart's styling. Slightly more aggressive bodywork, larger wheels and tires, and dual exhaust pipes are the most obvious changes.

Under the hood, we expect the 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer Ralliart will get a turbocharged version of Mitsubishi's latest 2.0-liter four-cylinder with an output of around 220 to 230 horsepower. The proximity to the 224 hp generated by the Subaru Impreza WRX is no coincidence, as Mitsubishi is directly targeting Subaru's highly successful midlevel performance.

The dual-clutch gearbox being introduced by Mitsubishi for the Lancer Evolution isn't likely to find its way into the Ralliart, however, so expect to see either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox.

Further evidence of Mitsubishi's aim to unseat the WRX is the Ralliart's use of all-wheel drive. Yes, unlike previous Ralliart models that were saddled with only front-wheel drive, this Ralliart will send power to all four of its wheels. Expect a slightly less advanced version of the Lancer Evolution's AWD system in order to keep costs down.

With the debut of the Lancer Evolution scheduled for October, the official unveil of the Ralliart model shouldn't be far behind.

2008 Chrysler Town & Country Ltd.

5th generation minivan becoming like a living room

2008 Chrysler Town & Country Ltd. Quick Facts

Base Price: $35,670
Price as Tested: $39,510
Horespower: 251 Hp
Torque: 259 lbs.-ft.
0 to 60: N/A
ABS Brakes: Standard
Side Curtain Airbags: Standard
EPA Fuel: 16/223 m.p.g. city/highway
Towing Capability: Yes
Off-Road Capability: No
Bicycle Transport: Yes
First-Aid Kit: No

Call me a geek, but I love minivans. On the practical side, minivans hold lots of people and lots of gear: as much or more than most sport-utility vehicles. My friend, Kathy Graham, rolls her Harley into the back of her Dodge Caravan and drives it to races. The Caravan has second and third-row seats that stow in the floor, producing a large tall cargo area. Needless to say, putting a couple of bicycles in back is a non-issue.

Minivans get better fuel economy than most sport-utility vehicles because they’re more aerodynamic. They’re not as good for off-road driving or towing, but they can easily navigate the occasional dirt or gravel road.

Minivans also tend to float under the radar. Did I mention that I’m a geek with a lead foot?

Chrysler invented the minivan: the first models rolled out in 1983. While other manufacturers have introduced formidable competitors in the segment, Chrysler and Dodge are the brands people buy most. The first driver’s side sliding door, sliding overhead bins, integrated child booster seats, and Stow ‘N Go seats that fold into the floor are a few of the reasons why.

The fifth-generation Dodge and Chrysler minivans begin shipping to dealers this month, with nationwide availability in September. A more powerful V-6 engine, six-speed automatic transmission, Swivel “N Go seating and a second-row table that stows in the floor should whet the appetites of buyers looking for a living room on wheels.

Chrysler invited a group of journalists and their families to experience the new minivans in San Diego. Attendees ranged from toddlers to senior citizens. The drive route was equally diverse: a mixture of freeways and twisty canyon roads through mountains to the east, gridlock traffic and sparsely populated rural byways.

I drove the Chrysler Town & Country Limited with my husband Rob serving as navigator. The Limited is the plushest grade among the new Chrysler offerings. Our car featured the new four-liter V6 engine with a six-speed automatic transmission, seventeen-inch wheels and tires. Options included the Swivel N Go second-row seats, DVD entertainment system, Sirius back seat TV and a power-folding third row seat that collapses into the floor.

Hot rod kitchen

The Swivel N Go seats turn the back of the minivan into a family kitchen. The second-row seats swivel 180-degrees and lock into the rear-facing position. It’s a simple operation. A strap to the outside of the seat cushion releases the seat so that it can pivot to the rear. The seats meet the same federal safety regulations in both forward and rear-facing positions.

The new Swivel N Go literally transforms the Town and Country into a living room.

Our minivan had leather trim, but available YES essentials fabric might appeal more to people with active lifestyles. The stain and odor-resistant fabric is perfect for those of us who shed several gallons of sweat on an average morning.

A table that stows under the floor mounts in between the second and third-row seats. It works like a beach umbrella. A pole locks into pins on the floor of the minivan, and the tabletop mounts on top of it, swiveling and locking into a second pin-mount. Chrysler’s kitchen on wheels also features two DVD players with separate inputs over the second-row seats, and a third screen in back that plays three channels of Sirius satellite radio. To think: when I was a kid, I counted license plates.

Unlike the Stow N Go system, the Swivel N Go seats don’t collapse into the floor. Still, there’s plenty of cargo space with the third-row seats tumbled into the floor, and the second-row seats folded flat or pivoted backwards. A roof rack is standard on the Limited grade.

The third-row power seat that collapses into the floor also flips back for the Sunday tailgate party. The upgrade ten-speaker surround sound system is standard on the Limited model, with Sirius satellite radio. The power rear liftgate makes the back seat easy to access for passengers, and saves the person loading cargo the effort of digging for keys with armfuls of gear. A button on the D-pillar closes the liftgate.

There are large cup or bottle holders outboard of the third row seats, with storage trays large enough to hold small electronic devices. There is a twelve-volt power point and a 115-volt inverter in the C pillar, in case someone wants to plug in a computer.

Front and rear climate controls ensure that all passengers ride comfortably. Though the temperatures in San Diego aren’t as hot as they are in Phoenix, the areas close to the desert got up to about 100 degrees. It was easy to cool down the car and maintain a comfortable temperature.

The power front seats are easy to adjust. Drivers have eight power adjustments and power adjustable pedals on the Limited grade, with a standard tilt steering column. The mirrors are easy to adjust for good visibility around the car. A rear back-up warning system includes a rear-view camera, eliminating blind spots to either side and below the rear window.

Cup and bottle holders are abundant, in the center console and in all four doors. The gearshift is on the instrument panel to the right of the gauges, clearing up floor space for additional storage. A large, two-piece glovebox keeps valuables out of sight.

An overhead storage bin holds sunglasses and flips down to serve as a conversation (kid-watching) mirror. An overhead console adds additional storage, and slides back to the second row.

Power to spare

The new four-liter engine has plenty of power for accelerating into traffic or climbing steep grades. The power was so good that I almost forgot I was driving a minivan. The six-speed automatic transmission is seamless: there is very little shift shock. Because of its weight, the car has a tendency to push or understeer, especially when descending a grade and cornering. I found myself fighting the wheel when I was going through some of the canyon grades. To be fair, I was driving pretty aggressively: faster than most people with a van full of kids would.

Fuel economy is 16/23 miles-per-gallon city/highway using the stricter 2008 standards. Buyers who want to spend less at the pump should opt for the smaller 3.3-liter engine, which averages about a mile-per-gallon more. The 3.3-liter engine is also flex-fuel compatible: it can run on up to eighty-five percent ethanol.

Standard disc brakes stop the car quickly and evenly. The independent front suspension and twist-beam rear axle provide a comfortable ride for all passengers. Stabilizer bars keep the car flatter in the corners. Steering is soft, but not excessively so. The car goes where the driver puts it. I never had that disconnected feeling that comes from power steering with too much assist.

A towing-prep package raises the towing capacity to 3600 pounds, meeting our ALV standards. Vehicles equipped with the towing prep package have self-leveling shock absorbers, making it easier to climb and descend steep grades.

The under-floor storage means sacrificing ground clearance on all of the models. Clearance is six inches: a good off-road vehicle has at least eight. That makes the minivans less than ideal for boulder or root-strewn trails. Graded dirt roads or moderate amounts of snow shouldn’t be a problem.

Lifetime powertrain warranty

The minivans come with a new lifetime powertrain warranty: an industry first. The new warranty applies to all Chrysler and Dodge vehicle sold after June 26, with the exception of SRT cars, the Dodge Sprinter, rental or diesel cars. The warranty protects the owner against any powertrain failures caused by the factory. Coverage is limited to the first registered owner or lessee.

Pricing for the Town & Country Limited begins at $35,670. Cost for the test car was $39,510, including a $730 destination charge. Town & Country minivans are rolling off the assembly line at Chrysler’s St. Louis, Missouri plant.

Bulkley had idea, Chrysler listened

It's common in the auto industry for a manufacturer to call local dealers for their ideas. What the manufacturers are looking for are ways to stir up the market and improve sales and the company's image.

The dealers provide ideas from time to time, but often that's the end of it.

But a recent suggestion by dealer Bob Bulkley — head of the family-owned Expressway Dodge in Evansville — to offer a Chrysler lifetime powertrain warranty apparently got the attention of Chrysler officials.

Bulkley is being credited by some company officials for helping to formulate the idea behind the company's new lifetime powertrain warranty, which was introduced a couple of weeks ago at Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealerships nationwide.

The warranty — the first of its kind in the industry — lasts as long as a person owns a vehicle. The coverage includes the motor, transmission, differential and all the drive lines, according to Bulkley.

The warranty is being applied to new 2007 and 2008 Chrysler products.

Chrysler previously had guaranteed vehicle powertrains for 36 months or three years, though some other companies, including General Motors, offered warranties for up to 100,000 miles.

The 63-year-old Bulkley first made his pitch for the unusual warranty in February during a brainstorming conference call, which included Kurt Spieler, Chrysler's district field manager based in St. Louis.

Bulkley recalls telling Spieler: "This is just going to sound absolutely nuts. But, before you hang up on me, listen to what I'm saying. It (idea) may sound absurd but it is way more practical than you might think."

After Spieler heard Bulkley's lifetime warranty suggestion, there was a minute of silence. Then Spieler told Bulkley: "You know, I like the idea. With the right kind of guidelines in place, it could show that the manufacturer has great confidence in its product."

Spieler said it was the first time he had heard a lifetime warranty suggested. Bulkley later brought the idea to the attention of Mike Buchanan, Chrysler's district operations manager. Soon the idea traveled up the channels of corporate communication, was fine-tuned along the way, and it eventually became a reality, said Spieler.

"Bob's input was very respected," he said. "When a good idea like his comes along we try to send it up the flagpole."

Bulkley said his dealership had been combating competitors' powertrain warranties, whose lifespan was longer than Chrysler's.

Since the lifetime powertrain warranty recently came out, Expressway Dodge's sales have increased by 30 percent to 35 percent.

Having a role in the formulation of the warranty offering is a great feeling, Bulkley said. Will there be a bonus for him?

"Oh, no. We're all in this to sell automobiles," Bulkley said.

Jeep May Bring Back Wrangler-Based Scrambler Pickup

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — Rumors of a Jeep-based pickup truck have been circulating since the debut of the Gladiator concept in 2005, but this test mule caught in the California desert suggests work on a production model may be under way.

Although the test mule caught undergoing hot-weather testing is clearly based on the latest JK chassis, whether it will make its way to the U.S. is unclear. The prototype is right-hand drive and is equipped with leaf springs, so it's most likely a military-spec model designed for the export market.

The Jeep JT Concept truck, which has been making the rounds at various events this year, was built from just such a vehicle. When asked if the JT indicated plans for a production model, Jeep's engineers said no decisions have been made, but they built the JT using minimal modification to show just how plausible a modern-day Scrambler could be built.

Even if a production version of the Scrambler gets the green light, don't expect to see it in showrooms until at least 2009 at the earliest.

What this means to you: Jeep saw what adding an extra two doors did for Wrangler sales, maybe it's hoping the addition of a utility bed can further expand the Wrangler's appeal.

Right-hand drive setup and hood-mounted snorkel suggest this is a military-spec Jeep instead of preproduction prototype. (Photo by KGP Photography)
This is clearly the same chassis as the current Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, but with the rear doors welded shut, it's not much for hauling the family. (Photo by KGP Photography)
Leaf springs out back and a utility bed inside are two more signs this Jeep isn't headed for showrooms anytime soon. (Photo by KGP Photography)

Win a 2008 Chrysler Town & Country with Regis and Kelly!

Posted Yesterday 03:57 PM by Melissa
Filed under: Minivans/Vans, Chrysler
The show, "Live with Regis and Kelly" is giving away 20 all-new 2008 Chrysler Town & Country Limited minivans for 20 days as part of its 20th anniversary starting September 4th.As part of the show's 20th anniversary, you can win one of the minivans by playing, "Live's 20th Anniversary Flashback Trivia A Go-Go", by registering, with the chance of being selected as one of the daily trivia callers. Starting August 20th, watch the show for the "20 FLASHBACK MOMENTS!" segments for clues for the trivia answers.

CLICK HERE for the Official Rules.

Or Visit to enter.

About the All-New 2008 Chrysler Town & Country:
The all-new 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans once again prove they have the right ingredients to be the best vehicles to move people and cargo. With 35 new and improved features, the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country aren't just practical vehicles, they also have the right mix to be "family rooms on wheels," with something for everyone to enjoy.

"The all-new 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan spice up the minivan recipe by offering an all-new contemporary appearance, five different models, three distinct seating and storage systems, unmatched entertainment systems and the safety you expect and deserve," said George Murphy, Senior Vice President ? Marketing, Chrysler Group. "Add in three powertrain options, clever interior features and industry-leading functionality, and you have a recipe that will be a favorite with any family.

The newest ingredient for functional family seating is the all-new Swivel 'n Go seating system. Swivel 'n Go offers second row seats that swivel 180 degrees to face the third row with a removable table that installs between the two rows, covered storage bins in the floor of the second row, third-row uncovered storage and fold-in-the-floor third-row seating. Swivel 'n Go also offers an available industry-first integrated child booster seat in the second-row quad chair and an available minivan-exclusive one-touch power-folding third-row 60/40 bench seat.

"Chrysler Group engineers turned the tables on traditional seat systems to come up with a technology that lets families have more choices of how to spend their time while traveling," said Larry Lyons, Vice President ? Front-wheel-drive Product Team, Chrysler Group. "With Swivel 'n Go, second- and third-row passengers can face each other to have a conversation, play games or have a meal on the go."

Safety is a key part of any minivan recipe, and that continues to be true with the 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country. All-row supplemental side-curtain air bags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with traction control and brake assist, LATCH child seat anchor system and a patented, energy-absorbing steering column are among the standard safety features included in the 2008 Dodge and Chrysler minivans. Innovations like an industry-first integrated child booster seat, ParkView rear back-up camera, a rearview interior conversation mirror, integrated child safety seat and ParkSense rear back-up system also ensure peace of mind while traveling.

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

The first production Mason, financed by Edward R. Mason and designed by Frederick S. Duesenberg, is completed at the Mason Motor Car Company factory in Des Moines, IA
Edward Y. Davidson Jr., Illuminating Engineer for the Macbeth-Evans Glass Company of Charleroi, PA, dies in Chicago, IL at age 27
Racer Giancarlo Martini is born in Lavezzola, Italy
Automobile advertising pioneer Ross Roy dies in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI at age 85

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

Advanced powertrains to play key role in Chrysler's plans

Author: RP news wires

Moving into a new era, The New Chrysler is banking on advanced powertrains – including hybrids and clean diesels – to meet demanding customer expectations for quality, performance and fuel economy, according to Frank Klegon, executive vice president for product development. Klegon outlined a $3 billion powertrain offensive and other aspects of The New Chrysler’s direction in a speech at the 2007 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich.

“At The New Chrysler, our focus is on a strategy that will enable us to be competitive long into the future,” Klegon said. Private ownership will create advantages for The New Chrysler, “the most significant being an ability to bring more of our resources to bear on the ‘business of the business’,” he said.

Klegon’s presentation came just three days after employees of The New Chrysler celebrated “First Day,” marking the transfer of majority ownership to New York-based Cerberus Capital Management, while former owner DaimlerChrysler AG maintains a significant minority stake.

Blending traditional values, fresh perspective

As part of the transition, Bob Nardelli was appointed chairman and CEO, with Tom LaSorda staying on as vice chairman and president of The New Chrysler. “This is an ideal arrangement that brings fresh eyes to The New Chrysler, while providing the continuing leadership of an experienced team that thoroughly understands our company and our industry,” according to Klegon.

Klegon drew a parallel between the leadership team and The New Chrysler’s approach to its business, blending “traditional values” and “a fresh perspective” in order to reinvent the business.

“As we go forward, we remain connected to the same principles that have sustained Chrysler right from the beginning – namely, a commitment to innovation, the ability to act with speed and flexibility, and a passion to be the best,” Klegon said. “But we realize that we can’t just be the same company that we were before the 1998 merger with Daimler-Benz. The competition is tougher, and it’s global. We’ve got to be even better.”

The company’s new blueprint for success – its Recovery and Transformation Plan (RTP) – was unveiled in February and implementation is well under way. “Under the RTP, we’ve identified more than 22,000 ideas toward achieving our objective,” Klegon said. He cited other measures of progress including manufacturing efficiency, voluntary headcount reductions, quality, an improved market mix with less dependency on fleet, and expanded penetration in international markets.

Hybrids, diesels in future plans

A $3 billion commitment to new powertrains – including more fuel-efficient engines, transmissions and axles – supports The New Chrysler’s emphasis on new products. Two weeks ago, the company became the first OEM to announce a limited Lifetime Powertrain Warranty on most new Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles. “This new warranty demonstrates our commitment to customers and the confidence we have in our ability to produce quality, reliable and durable vehicles – starting with the powertrain,” Klegon said.

Within the next decade, hybrids and diesels will each account for up to 15 percent of the North American market, Klegon predicted. In the hybrid area, he identified these initiatives:

• As part of a joint venture with General Motors, Daimler and BMW, a two-mode hybrid system for the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen is planned for next year, mated to a 5.7-liter HEMI with Multiple Displacement System (MDS). The two-mode system leapfrogs current technology and is expected to produce a 25 percent improvement in fuel efficiency overall and nearly 40 percent improvement in the city.

• A mild hybrid system, with less of the cost/weight penalty incurred by a full hybrid drivetrain, will be offered on an upcoming vehicle within the next few years.

The New Chrysler intends to remain a leader in the application of clean diesel engines and in the promotion of renewable biodiesel fuel, Klegon said. The current U.S. diesel lineup includes Dodge Sprinter, Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty. The BLUETEC Ram Heavy Duty, with a 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel engine, meets 2010 emissions standards for heavy-duty pickups for all 50 states, three years early. In addition, Dodge will introduce an all-new, 50-state Cummins turbodiesel engine in light-duty pickups after 2009. In the 2009 model year, the BLUETEC diesel-equipped Jeep Grand Cherokee also will meet emissions standards in all 50 states.

Klegon noted that the company has designed its European offerings to meet customer preferences there for diesel engines. “It’s safe to say that we’ll see a continued migration of some of those products brought here to the U.S. market, where we are also exploring additional penetration of our 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine, and the possibility of a four-cylinder diesel,” he said.

Conventional Engines

While demand for hybrids and clean diesels will grow in the coming decade, conventional gasoline engines will still make up an estimated 70 percent of the market. Klegon reviewed The New Chrysler’s initiatives in that area:

• The New Chrysler has significant volume and capacity to keep up with increasing demand for the four-cylinder World Engine. Klegon noted that engine is direct-injection capable.

• A new, more fuel-efficient version of the E85 flex-fuel 4.7-liter V-8 engine is being introduced, featuring a 30 percent increase in horsepower and a 10 percent increase in torque.

• A significantly upgraded version of the renowned 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, with gains in fuel efficiency, refinement, horsepower and torque, will debut in the 2009 model year.

• An all-new family of fuel-efficient “Phoenix” V-6 engines will join The New Chrysler lineup in 2010. The company has broken ground on several of its new plants including steel going up at its Trenton site. Among the engine’s features: MDS, an aluminum die cast block, dual variable valve timing and a two-stage oil pump which provides fuel efficiency gains.

The New Chrysler’s investment in fuel-efficiency gains also includes a new dual-clutch transmission that will be produced with Getrag and will appear in significant volumes on 2010 vehicles, and a common axle program with Mercedes-Benz. In addition, fuel efficiency will be improved by at least 5 percent more through initiatives such as weight reduction; aero drag improvements; reduced rolling resistance and brake drag to lower road-loads; optimized accessory loads by electric load management; and minimized drive train losses.

“We’re moving with real urgency to improve fuel efficiency across our lineup, with powertrain upgrades and innovations playing a big part,” Klegon said. “We’re driving into an exciting new era at The New Chrysler, with the support of a great new partner and with a solid plan. And we’re making the investments necessary to pave the way for future success.”

Sweepstakes at Beaudry Chrysler Jeep Dodge Dealership

Author: RP news wire
To recognize The New Chrysler and its recently announced Lifetime Powertrain Warranty, Benson's Tonyalee Sloan, of Beaudry Chrysler Jeep Dodge invites Chrysler, Jeep(r) and Dodge owners, friends and area residents to attend a special celebration.

On July 26, Chrysler announced a new Lifetime Powertrain Warranty on most new 2007 model year (MY) and 2008 MY Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles in the U.S., Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands. The longest in the industry, the Chrysler Lifetime Powertrain Warranty covers the cost of all parts and labor needed to repair covered powertrain components -- gasoline engine, transmission and drive system (AWD, RWD, FWD and 4x4).

Residents whom are encouraged to visit the dealership on Aug. 15, between 6 and 9 p.m. Attendees of The New Chrysler Premiere Event will have the opportunity to drive new products and enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win one of 15 Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge vehicles. Adult licensed drivers can enter the sweepstakes by filling out a form and submitting it at the event. Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships across the country will participate in this sweepstakes program.

"To celebrate this exciting time, we are offering those in our community the ultimate door prize, the chance to win one of 15 new Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles," said Tonyalee Sloan, Beaudry Chrysler Jeep Dodge. "Our dealership is proud to be a partner with a great American company, The New Chrysler."

The sweepstakes offerings include the following vehicles: the Chrysler 300C; Chrysler Aspen; Chrysler Crossfire; Chrysler Pacifica; Jeep Commander; Jeep Compass; Jeep Grand Cherokee; Jeep Liberty; Dodge Caliber; Dodge Charger; Dodge Dakota Crew Cab; Dodge Durango; Dodge Magnum; Dodge Nitro and the Dodge Ram Mega Cab.

The sweepstakes drawings will be conducted by Centra Marketing & Communications, LLC, an independent judging organization, by Aug. 31, 2007. Winners will be notified no later than Sept. 15, 2007.

Sweepstakes entrants and prize recipients must be legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, age 18 or older and must possess a valid driver's license at the time of entry to be eligible.

Employees of Chrysler LLC, and related entities and their immediate families are not eligible.

Peru struck with a 7.5 Mb Earthquake....


Geographic coordinates: 12.226S, 76.648W
Magnitude: 7.5 Mb
Depth: 178 km
Universal Time (UTC): 15 Aug 2007 23:41:20
Time near the Epicenter: 15 Aug 2007 18:41:20
Local time in your area: 15 Aug 2007 23:41:20

Location with respect to nearby cities:
46 km (28 miles) ESE (108 degrees) of LIMA, Peru
147 km (91 miles) NNW (338 degrees) of Chincha Alta, Peru
158 km (98 miles) W (264 degrees) of Huancayo, Peru

event ID : US 2007gbcw

This event has been reviewed by a seismologist at NEIC For subsequent updates, maps, and technical information, see:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spy Shots: Production Jeep JT pickup caught testing!

click above image for high-res gallery

Everyone fawned over the Jeep JT Concept when they saw what it could actually do. Jeep fanboys and casual admirers alike all recognized that such a small, light-duty pickup would do wonders for the Jeep brand, and if these spy photos from KGP Photography are anything to by, then it appears Jeep is listening. Read the report from KGP below and check out the gallery of high-res spy shots that confirms Jeep is at least developing a Wrangler-based pickup.

We got up-close and personal with what appears to be a mule for a Wrangler-based pickup truck, right along the lines of the Jeep JT truck concept. The rear doors of a four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited have been welded shut, and the black composite roof structure has been extended forward to the B-pillar. The roll-down side glass has been replaced with a solid window.

More after the jump...

[Photos: KGP Photography]

Gallery: Jeep JT

A peek inside shows what appears to be a makeshift truck bed, with a load floor that has been extended, allowing no room for any rear seats. More details that suggested a pickup truck are new leaf-springs that have been added, to accommodate heavier payloads in the rear.

Jeep's JT concept was designed to use as much of the existing Wrangler Unlimited's platform, to allow for a seamless transition from concept to production. From what we have seen here, it looks like that process is under way.