Friday, November 16, 2007

2009 Dodge Ram spy pics from TopGear









Court: Redo truck fuel economy standards

Harry Stoffer
Automotive News
November 15, 2007 - 2:40 pm ET
UPDATED: 11/15/07 4:01 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court panel today overturned government fuel economy standards for light trucks in the 2008-11 model years.

The three-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in California ruled that the standards didn’t properly assess the risk vehicles pose to the environment.

The standards were considered innovative in that they set different fuel economy targets for vehicles of different sizes.

Overall, automakers were to improve light-truck fuel economy from 22.2 mpg in 2007 to about 24 mpg by 2011.

But in the lawsuit, some states and environmental groups that want tougher standards said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration failed to account for the threat of carbon dioxide emissions in doing cost-benefit analyses.

CO2, a byproduct of burning fuel, is considered to be the most prevalent greenhouse gas, contributing to global warming.

The panel ordered NHTSA to write new rules "as expeditiously as possible and for the earliest model year practicable."

Dave McCurdy, president of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, warns that further changes in the 2008-11 standards could have the adverse effect of delaying automakers' progress in improving fuel economy.

"Announced more than 19 months ago the 2008-2011 light truck fuel economy rule represented the largest fuel economy increase in the history of the CAFE program," he said in a statement. "It has become the basis for product planning through 2011.

"Any further changes to the program would only delay the progress that manufacturers have made towards increasing fleet wide fuel economy."

A spokesman for the Justice Department said the Bush administration is considering "all its options" in the matter.

Local man loses control of Viper, crashes into tree

Photo by Jared Taylor /
McAllen firefighters remove the driver of a 2006 Dodge Viper that collided with an oak tree along Nolana Ave. around 8 a.m. Friday

November 16, 2007 - 8:59AM
McALLEN - An area man lost control of his dark gray 2006 Dodge Viper and collided with an oak tree around 8 a.m. Friday.

McAllen emergency personnel responded to the scene, located along Nolana Ave., just east of 6th Street.

The driver attempted to pass another vehicle when the Viper fishtailed and he lost control of the vehicle, McAllen Police Sgt. Jose Arenas said.

The vehicle then smashed into an oak tree along the road, causing significant damage to the driver's side of the car.

"That's what happens when you have that many horsepower under the hood and you don't know what you're doing," Arenas said.

Emergency personnel used special equipment to tear into the vehicle to free the driver.

"That's two years of my salary right there," Arenas said. "That will cause a lot of tears to a lot of car buffs."

Police would not release the identity of the driver, but said his injuries appeared to be minor. The Viper is registered to Chris Burns of McAllen, records show.

A 2006 Dodge Viper convertible is valued at $71,235, according to the Kelley Blue Book Web site.

Chrysler Program Manager Hints at ORT (not SRT) Jeeps

Posted by mike on 2007/11/16 8:33:11 (106) reads

Steve Houtman, Program Manager - Jeep Performance/Dodge Off-Road Parts, recently posted an article on the official Chrysler LLC blog site that he's looking into starting an Off-Road Technology (ORT) program similar to Chrysler's SRT (street and racing technology).

I’ve spent a lot of my career advocating for more emphasis on our Jeep brand off-road customers. Several years ago, I was sitting at my colleague’s desk, and we got to talking. Why not do something like SRT on the Jeep side of the house? We could call it ORT for “Off-Road Technology.” Instead of big engines and big brakes, we’d put big lifts and big tires and sell these production vehicles to serious off-road customers at low volumes.

Our vice president, Craig Love, liked the idea. With his encouragement, we’ve been refining our idea and developing a business case to present to management, which we will do this month. Hopefully, our “ORT” idea will get kicked up to the next level. I’ll let readers know what happens. Hey, it was a group of enthusiasts got the Wrangler Rubicon started. So maybe, a group of enthusiasts can get this idea moving, as well.

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Taizo Ishida of Toyota is born in Kosugai, Chita, Aichi, Japan
Ettore Bugatti signs a contract with Peugeot to produce his 30th design as the Peugeot Bebe
David Perry Williams of the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Company is born in Detroit, MI
Ferdinand Porsche is issued a United States patent for his torsion-bar suspension
Leonard Dyer, inventor of the “H-pattern” gearshift gate and other automobile improvements, dies in Winter Park, FL at age 82

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

2009 Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid Preview

2007 Dodge Durango
2007 Dodge Durango

New hybrid posts 40-percent fuel gain.

Chrysler has pulled the wraps off its upcoming Dodge Durango HEMI Hybrid and Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid models.

In the Durango and Aspen hybrids, the new hybrid powertrain incorporates Chrysler's 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, also featuring the automaker's Multi-Displacement System, which shuts down half of the engine's cylinders during low-load conditions such as coasting or low-speed cruising. Together, the V-8 and electrical motor system produce 385 horsepower.

The so-called two-mode hybrid system employed in the Durango and Aspen, developed in conjunction with General Motors, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz at the jointly operated Hybrid Development Center in Troy, Michigan - and similar to the one being used in the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids - is a 'full-hybrid' one, meaning that in addition to turning the V-8 off completely at stoplights, it can use the electric-motor system to propel the vehicle alone without the gasoline engine for short, low-speed distances.

All the components of the system, including electric motors, the transmission, the battery system, energy management devices, and system control units were developed at the center, and the electric motor system and transmission were designed to fit in the packaging space of a conventional automatic transmission. The modular design employs electric motors that transfer torque directly to a series of gears in the four-speed automatic transmission, as commanded by a control unit, for seamless mode transfers between electric and gas power.

The 300-volt battery pack, which is charged during braking and deceleration and maintained in a particular range of charge by a sophisticated management system, is packaged so as to not compromise passenger space. Under the hood there is a rectifier to convert the AC current to DC for standard 12-volt vehicle accessories.

At 5553 pounds, the Aspen HEMI Hybrid tips the scales at about 500 pounds more than the Chrysler Aspen Limited 4WD. Towing capacity for the non-hybrid model maxes out at 8950 pounds, but the Hybrid model is still approved for trailer towing and good for a still-impressive 6000 pounds. Both models have four-wheel drive, through a single-speed transfer case. The system normally sends 52 percent of torque to the rear wheels.

Despite the greater weight, the efficiency gains for the Hybrid model look impressive, with the fuel economy estimate for the 4WD Hybrid models at a tentative 18 city, 19 highway. Just looking at the posted numbers, that places the Hybrid's improvements at nearly 40 percent in the city and about five percent on the highway versus the HEMI model. Currently the Aspen and Durango 4WD are rated 13/18 when equipped with the HEMI V-8, which already includes the MDS system, and the V-6 model, with rear-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic, gets 14 city, 19 highway.

"Combined with Chrysler's Multi-displacement System (MDS), our advanced two-mode hybrid technology immediately delivers a more than 25-percent fuel economy improvement to our full-size SUVs - and up to a 40-percent improvement in the city," said Frank Klegon, Chrysler's product development chief, in a company release that accompanied the announcement.

Chrysler had previously been criticized for cutting a previous Durango hybrid model, under development earlier this decade and originally due in 2003. That vehicle had a mild hybrid system and lower estimated fuel efficiency than the new HEMI Hybrid, despite using a V-6 engine.

The new Hybrid models will begin arriving at showrooms next summer.

Video: Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR in all its glory


As for as American muscle cars go, the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR street-legal track car is the current top dog but it might not wear that crown for long. Chevy’s upcoming Corvette ZR-1 is expected to crank out up to 650hp, eclipsing the V10 Dodge’s output by no less than 50 horses, but that can’t detract from the sheer aggression and rawness of the ACR Viper, captured in this latest video.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

LA Auto Show: 2008 Dodge Journey Live Reveal

journey1.jpg Dodge VP Frank Klegan just revealed the Ram boys first mid-size crossover, the Journey. Built off the same chassis as the Avenger and Sebring, this station wagon on stilts even sports the same engine/transmission options ranging from ho to hum. All the usual Chrysler bells and whistles are present, like MyGig, 4 power outlets and those heated/cooled cupholders. The killer app? Are you sitting down? You can store 24 cans of beer soda on ice under the back seats. We're not being sarcastic. We really like that feature. As for the rest of the Journey? Let's just say that like the Rubik's Cube motif Dodge chose for the reveal, we're puzzled.

2008 Dodge Journey

LA Auto Show: 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Hemi Hybrids Revealed


Here's a question for you: how do you feel about a hybrid Hemi? Somebody please answer for Danio as I know his head just popped. With the electric motor, both vehicles can summon up 385 horsepower. No mention of torque (either at the reveal or in the press release) but both "two-mode" big 'ol hybrid boys showed up towing toys. The Chrysler got a horse trailer while the Dodge had a boat. ChryslerCerebusDodge is claiming that gas mileage in the city will be up by 40% while highway numbers will improve by 25%. The actual numbers? ChryslerCerebusDodge didn't say, which of course reminds me of an old Simpsons bit. "Each newspaper contains a certain percent of recycled paper." To which Lisa asks, "What percent is that?" The answer, "Zero. Zero's a percent."

Hemi Hybrids