Nissan Titan to get Cummins turbodiesel V8 in 2015

By: Richard Truett, Automotive News on 8/21/2013
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Chrysler Group may have to share with Nissan Motor Co. the stylish chrome capital C and black block letter Turbo Diesel logo that has adorned Ram heavy-duty pickups for nearly a quarter century. It was unclear today if there will be marketing implications to Nissan using the Cummins name on a competitive truck.

Nissan announced earlier today that its Titan pickup will get a Cummins turbodiesel in the 2015 calendar year. “We will definitely leverage the Cummins brand name,” said Nissan spokesman Dan Bedore.

Cummins has been the sole supplier of diesel engines for Chrysler’s Ram pickup since 1989 — and the Cummins name is seen as a key reason why many customers buy the truck. The Cummins diesel engine has a reputation for long life, low maintenance and good fuel economy while towing heavy loads.

The Ram with a Cummins diesel is rated at 850 pounds-feet of torque and can tow an industry-best 30,000 pounds. Silver Cummins Turbo Diesel badges are attached to the fenders of Ram trucks with the engine. Chrysler officials would not comment on Nissan’s deal with Cummins or whether the name on a competitor’s truck could hurt Ram’s sales or dilute the brand’s exclusivity.

Ram spokesman Nick Cappa said buyers associate the Cummins engine with ability to tow and haul huge loads. “People buy heavy-duty trucks for their capability, and that’s what we deliver,” he said.

The Cummins engine Chrysler uses in the Ram is a 6.7-liter inline-six, while Nissan’s Cummins diesel is a 5.0-liter V8 based on a different design. Chrysler uses the Cummins engine only in heavy-duty versions of the Ram. Nissan doesn’t offer a heavy-duty version of the Titan, and the Cummins engine will provide greater towing ability and higher fuel economy than the Titan’s gasoline V8.

Later this year, Ram will offer a V6 turbodiesel from VM Motori in the light-duty or 1500 versions of the Ram.

Working on logo

Cummins spokesman Dave Groggin said the company will work with Nissan on the logo, but he said it is too early to say if there will be any differences. “It’s our logo, not a Ram logo. We worked with Ram on the logo and we’ll work with Nissan,” he said. “Clearly both automakers see value having our logo on the side of their vehicles.”

Details of the next Mississippi-built Titan, which hasn’t been fully revamped since its 2003 introduction, aren’t being disclosed at this time, the company said.

“Truck owners told us there’s a demand for the performance and torque of a diesel in a capable truck that doesn’t require the jump up to a heavy-duty commercial pickup,” Fred Diaz, vice president for North American Nissan sales and marketing, said in the statement. “There is no question that the new Titan will turn heads.”

Missed expectations

Nissan missed expectations a decade ago with Japan’s first pickup that appeared to match the size and power of the trucks that are a cornerstone of U.S. sales for General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler. Nissan never met an initial target of selling 100,000 Titans a year, and delivered just 10,020 this year through July, a sixth the volume of Toyota Motor Corp.’s Tundra, and a fraction of the sales of Ford’s F-Series, GM’s Silverado and Chrysler’s Ram pickups.

Titan sales fell 42 percent in July compared with the same month last year and have dropped 21 percent for the first seven months of the year, according to the Automotive News data center. Nissan’s total U.S. sales have risen 9 percent over the same seven months.

U.S. full-size pickup sales jumped 23 percent this year through July, according to Autodata Corp., as an improving economy encourages buyers to replace their aging trucks. Large pickups account for a majority of earnings for U.S. automakers, according to Morgan Stanley.

The diesel engines will be built at a Cummins factory in Columbus, Ind., for installation at Nissan’s Canton, Miss., plant.

Diesel appeal

Owners of large pickups are among the most loyal to GM, Ford and Chrysler. Nissan hired Diaz, 47, earlier this year after the executive headed Chrysler’s Ram brand and Mexican unit. Toyota, which is readying a revamped Tundra, has no plans to add a diesel powertrain at this time, said Bill Fay, the company’s group vice president for U.S. sales, in an interview in San Diego.

Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said fuel efficiency requirements continue to push automakers to consider new, alternative drivetrain solutions. “By offering a Cummins turbo diesel in the next Titan, Nissan is increasing both performance and fuel efficiency for its truck just as the segment is seeing rapid growth,” he said in a statement. “Customer loyalty among truck buyers remains a barrier to brands like Nissan and Toyota, but a 5.0-liter turbo diesel, offering approximately 550 pound-feet of torque, could change truck buyers’ consideration list when the next Titan hits showrooms next year.”

The diesel engines will be built at a Cummins factory in Columbus, Ind., for installation at Nissan’s Canton, Miss., plant. Nissan didn’t provide investment figures or say whether additional U.S. manufacturing jobs would result from the project. Cummins is also based in Columbus, south of Indianapolis. Nissan’s North American unit is based near Nashville, Tenn.

Bloomberg contributed to this report

(Nissan’s deal with Cummins could have marketing implications for Ram originally appeared on Automotive News.)


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GM to release new line of smaller pickups; evaluating names

DETROIT, MI – General Motors plans to roll out a line of completely revamped midsize pickup trucks, with gas mileage and features designed to take sales from Toyota’s market-leading Tacoma.

The trucks will replace the aging Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Mark Reuss, GM’s North American president, said Tuesday that the trucks will be able to do 95 percent of the work that a big truck can do.

Sales of midsize and small pickups slumped after the recession as businesses curtailed spending. Ford Motor Co. stopped selling its Ranger small pickup in the U.S. in December of 2011 to focus on sales of its full-size F-150.

Now truck sales are recovering as parts of the U.S. economy, particularly the housing sector, recover.

The new GM trucks are aimed at different audiences. The Canyon will go after more functional work buyers, while the Colorado will target younger “lifestyle” buyers who use trucks to haul recreation equipment and play outdoors, Reuss said. Both will have a list of options so people can customize them to their activities, he said.

The Colorado will “attack the West Coast with a lifestyle truck that’s really beautiful and fun,” Reuss said, without giving many details. “We’re targeting a new generation of buyer with a new truck,” he said.

The trucks, due out sometime next year, will be slightly larger than a Tacoma with engines and transmissions that get better mileage than GM’s full-size trucks, he told reporters after a speech in Detroit. A V-8 version of GM’s new big pickups gets 23 miles per gallon on the highway. Mileage for the six-cylinder engines in the big pickups hasn’t been released yet.

Reuss said GM is evaluating whether to keep the Colorado and Canyon names.

The new trucks will be dramatically different from GM’s newer midsize pickups already on sale in Asia, he said. They will be built at GM’s factory in Wentzville, Mo., which now builds full-size vans. Adding the pickups will create 1,260 new jobs.

So far this year GM has sold only 2,200 Colorados and just over 600 Canyons. Sales of each are down nearly 80 percent as the aging trucks are phased out. Tacoma sales, however, are up almost 23 percent to just over 39,000 from January through March, according to Autodata Corp.

Overall pickup truck sales are up 11 percent so far this year to almost 499,000.


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Is The Next-Generation Chevy Colorado Two Years Out For The U.S. Market?

Back in October we reported that Chevrolet will be building and selling the next-generation Colorado mid-size pickup truck in the U.S. At that time we had no timeline to go along with the announcement. Today, GM Inside News (GMI) is reporting that the new Colorado is two years out for U.S. buyers.

With production of the current Colorado ending this year, many assumed the new Colorado would launch the new mid-size truck as a 2013 model year as it is in many other markets. But it was just six months ago that GM announced the retooling of the plant in Wentzville, MO where the new Colorado will be built. It’ll take a little while for the retooling to take place.

Chevy Colorado Concept Pickup Truck

Another key reason the new Colorado won’t be launching in the U.S. at the same time as it will in other markets is the design, as the new Colorado isn’t specifically designed for the North American market. GMI said Chevrolet will launch an updated version of the new Colorado in the U.S., which will meet all U.S. standards. The updated version will then proliferate to other key markets.

GMI reports the new North American Colorado will feature a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 3.6-liter V-6. Outputs and transmissions aren’t finalized yet, but you can bet the trucks will likely have at least six-speed automatics. It is unknown at this time whether the 2.8-liter diesel engine that is in the Colorado in other markets will make it to the U.S. market.

Mid-size truck fans were disappointed when Ford announced it will not be bringing the global Ranger pickup truck to the U.S. This leaves Ford truck buyers with the F-150 and Super Duty as the only truck options at the Ford dealership. While Chevrolet’s decision to bring the new Colorado to the U.S. likely won’t change Ford’s decision, stranger things have happened.

A delayed U.S. launch of a new General Motors product is nothing new. The Chevrolet Cruze launched in Europe long before it reached the U.S. market, and the Chevy Spark has also been on sale in foreign markets for quite some time now.

Stay tuned for more updates as the launch of the new Chevy Colorado draws closer.


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Roll-X Hard Rolling Tonneau Cover

The Roll-X hard rolling tonneau cover is the newest category of tonneau covers to emerge from the minds that have brought you the most innovative and functional tonneau covers anywhere in the world to date. The Roll-X truck bed cover literally combines all the best features of a convenient soft rolling tonneau cover with the advantages of a heavy duty, lockable, impact resistant, full functioning hard tonneau cover.

For the first time ever, you can now gain easy access to your truck, without any heavy lifting or effort and gain the much needed stability and security that comes from having an incredibly well built, heavy duty aluminum cover on the back of your truck.

  • The Roll-X literally grips the rails as it is unrolled to cover your truck, so that you cannot great into it, no matter where you try to pry it open.
  • It will not rattle, shake, or flop around like a soft cover and is incredible in all weather conditions.
  • It’s fantastic fit and appearance exudes a contemporary look that is refined and designed to make your truck look like a million bucks!
  • It is easy to install, requires no drilling, is there when you need it and gone when you don’t.
  • The Roll-X hard rolling truck bed cover ensures full access to your bed and your stake pockets and has no canisters or components that take up any valuable space in the truck bed.

If you’re looking for a tonneau cover that literally is the most advanced, most functional tonneau on the market, then look to the all new hard rolling Roll-X. It’s new for 2012 and without question, BAK Industries best foot forward since the advent of the worlds best selling BakFlip tonneau cover.

More Info on the Roll-X Tonneau Cover

  • Heavy-duty hard aluminum construction capable of handling over 400 lb of evenly distributed weight.
  • Full, unobstructed use of your entire truck bed without blocking visibility!
  • State of the art dual locking security.
  • Outstanding all season weather resistance.
  • Ding resistant, Scuff resistant.
  • Easily operates from either side of the truck.
  • Rolls up fully for loading large items in the back of the truck.
  • Folds as well as rolls for incremental bed coverage.
  • Flush mount Razor-Slim design. Follows interior contours of truck bed for a perfect fit.
  • Provides full access to stake pocket holes.
  • Works with racks, tie downs, bed rails, bed caps, bedliners and the BakBox toolbox.
  • Easy no drill, clamp on installation.


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Top Six Spokesmen for Full-size Trucks

Setting brand loyalty completely aside, which of the famous voices and faces of full-size trucks appeal to real truck owners? Granted, they were all hired to sell a product, and their effectiveness as a marketing tool is a worthy debate topic for financial analysts.

We’re just wondering: Who would be the most interesting, informative and entertaining celebrity at a table full of knowledgeable truck enthusiasts? Who do you think can carry on a lively and intelligent conversation about full-size pickups without all the flame throwing and marque bashing that often clogs the web these days?

We’ve narrowed down the field to six: Denis Leary, Mike Rowe, and Toby Keith for Ford, Howie Long and Tim Allen for Chevrolet; and Sam Elliott for Ram. This is simply a just-for-fun comparison.

There’s no number-crunching of empirical data, and our exercise has few subjective criteria. It just boils down to who’s closest to being the archetype truck owner that we’d love to have around the campfire and carry on an insightful conversation about trucks.

No. 6: Denis Leary

It’s funny, the spokesman least likely to know anything about trucks is probably the voice behind the most effective truck commercials we’ve seen lately. While Denis may know his way around a firetruck, we doubt he has a strong opinion on electronic versus manual-shift transfer cases. Yet, this smash-mouth comedian’s highly recognizable timbre and trademark hyper delivery fits perfectly with Ford’s rapid-fire storytelling images that basically carpet-bomb the viewer’s senses with the simple but hard-hitting feature-function-benefit message. These ads are so potent that they’ve spurred Parodies, and Denis’ contributions have been mocked as well. Despite the popularity of the ads and Denis’ biting commentaries on life, we’re guessing this chain-smoker wouldn’t last two cigarettes into a hardcore truck discussion about the regen cycles of particulate filters.

No. 5: Sam Elliott

Since Sam doesn’t physically appear in the Ram TV ads (we only hear his voice), we base much of our perception on images culled from his movie career. That means he’s likely to spend more time on a motorcycle or horses than behind the wheel of a pickup. But that doesn’t diminish the impact that his deep, resonating voice can have with truck shoppers. Sam has a set of pipes that would make John Facenda bow down and pray to Detroit. Heck, Give him the right script, and he’ll sound like an authentic, rugged truck owner. The beauty of this ad strategy is that Ram can create memorable, artistic images to complement Sam’s rich voice.

Sadly, however, we don’t get to know Sam very well, and we can’t determine if he could tell a Posi from a Locker. A conversation with him would probably drift away from trucks to his leading ladies. But dang, those Ram commercials are a work of art with his voice leading the way.

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2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited Set for 2012 Chicago Auto Show Debut

Just the Facts:

  • The 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Limited, which is aimed at “affluent pickup truck buyers,” will make its debut in February at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
  • Pricing for the Laramie Limited, which goes on sale in the second quarter, has not been announced.
  • The top-of-the-line Laramie Limited gets leather seats, ambient cabin lighting and a gauge cluster that says “Designed in Detroit.”

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — The 2012 Ram Laramie Limited, which is aimed at “affluent pickup truck buyers,” will debut in February at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.

Pricing for the Laramie Limited, which goes on sale in the second quarter, has not been announced. However, pricing is likely to start around $45,000. The 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn, the current top-of-the-line model, starts at $44,120, including a $995 destination charge.2012 Ram Laramie

The range-topping Laramie Limited gets leather seats, ambient cabin lighting and a gauge cluster that says “Designed in Detroit.” It also includes a navigational radio, remote start, back-up camera, power adjustable pedals, heated steering wheel, front ventilated and heated seats and rear heated seats.

The Ram Laramie Limited will be available in 1500, 2500 HD and 3500 HD single- and dual-rear-wheel, crew cab and mega cab versions, along with four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive and short- and long-wheelbase models.

“Ram Laramie Limited offers customers an even wider selection of luxury models,” said Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Ram Truck Brand in a statement on Thursday. “We expect a lot of interest in the Laramie Limited.”

Earlier this month, Chrysler reported that Ram truck sales increased 21 percent in 2011 versus 2010. The automaker sold 257,610 Ram trucks in 2011 versus 212,952 in 2010. It did not break down sales by individual models.


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Big Money for Classic Pickups at Top Auctions

A 1932 Ford pickup went under the hammer for $250,000 and set the pace for a record truck sale at last week’s 2012 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction.

Overall, buyers paid almost $5.4 million (including the auction commission) to take the keys of 149 trucks and pickups sold at the auction last week. That equates to an average of $36,241 per truck.

“Barrett-Jackson has always been a marker for collector car trends, and this year we experienced the growing fascination with pickup trucks,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson.

The top-selling custom pickup (Lot 1305.5, shown above on the auction block) was built by Stinger’s Hot Rod Shop. The truck emulates a Harry Miller Indy racing truck if such a class existed in the 1930s. It was estimated that 90 percent of the truck was hand-built. It features a Donovan inline-four-cylinder, Tremec five-speed transmission, quick-change rear end, Bendix-style brakes, 19-inch Dayton wire wheels and paint from Rad Rods by Troy. With the 10 percent auction commission, total price to the buyer was $275,000.

In all, 25 trucks sold for more than $50,000 (including commission). A 1953 Ford F-100 (Lot 1259) built about 10 years ago by Ford Racing and McLaren Performance Technologies went for $132,000. Called the FR100, this unique truck features a stretched cab, independent front and rear suspensions from a Mustang and a 5.0-liter dual-overhead-cam engine rated at 425 horsepower. Ford actually built two trucks: A silver one that was featured at SEMA and in many magazines, and this black one that was introduced at the 2003 F100 Super Tour, according to auction records. This FR100 had been to Barrett-Jackson before, selling for $226,800 in the 2006 auction.

Another six-figure sale was a 1970 El Camino LS6 (Lot 1239) that sold for $106,700. Other top sellers included a 1948 Chevy cab-over (Lot 430.2) for $97,900; a 1958 Chevy Cameo (Lot 701.1) for 93,500; a 1956 Ford F-100 (Lot 956) for $77,000 and a 1940 Ford (Lot 1235.1) for $71,500.

“We have been watching classic pickup values steadily go up for a few years now, and this was definitely the year of the pickup in Scottsdale,” said McKeel Hagerty of Hagerty Insurance, which tracks auction sales throughout the country. “Compared to 2011, the average prices are up, and the buzz around pickups was talked about just as much as the multimillion-dollar sales.”

Besides Barrett-Jackson, four other major auctions were held last week around Scottsdale, Ariz. Analysts say more than $180 million in total sales were registered, up considerably from $157 million last year. Jackson says trucks made up more than 10 percent of the consignments and sales at Barrett-Jackson, but that percentage is likely to be lower at the other auctions. Just one truck sold at the prestigious Gooding  & Co. auction, where an aluminum-bodied 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL sold for more than $4.6 million. The lone truck entry was a 1957 Chevy Cameo (Lot 116) that sold for $49,500.

Over at Russo & Steele, nearly 40 trucks were sold. Official final results weren’t available to us, but Hagerty analysts said the top seller was a 1947 Chevy (Lot S718) at $132,000. Based on reports from Hagerty and Russo & Steele, a sampling of other top-selling trucks at Russo included a 1948 Ford (Lot S706) for $126,000, a 1940 Ford (Lot S626) for $66,000, a 1949 Ford (Lot SN825) for $63,250 and a 1930 Ford (Lot TH337) for $53,250.

More pickups crossed the block at Silver Auctions. A 1935 Ford (Lot 330) drew a top bid of $37,260, followed closely by a 1948 Chevy (Lot 260) at $36,990, according to Hagerty analysts.

Overall, analysts said trucks accounted for more than $6.8 million in auction sales last week, well up over last year.

“Classic pickups are currently one of the hottest trends in collecting,” Hagerty said. “For many years, old trucks were primarily used for utility purposes, but collectors are now buying them to restore and show. The great thing about classic pickups is they are affordable, easy to work on, have great style similar to the cars of the era, and appeal to a wide audience.”

Here is a list of all trucks that sold for more than $50,000 at the Barrett-Jackson auction:

Price* Lot# Year/Model
$275,000 1305.5 1932 Ford
$132,000 1259 1953 Ford F-100
$106,700 1239 1970 Chevrolet El Camino LS6
$97,900 430.2 1948 Chevrolet cab-over-engine (COE)
$93,500 701.1 1958 Chevrolet Cameo
$77,000 956 1956 Ford F-100
$71,500 1235.1 1940 Ford
$66,000 413.2 1954 Chevrolet 3100
$66,000 1242.2 1955 Ford F-100
$66,000 704.2 1958 Dodge Sweptside
$63,800 423.2 1946 Chevrolet
$62,700 1045 1956 Ford F-100
$60,500 1555 1956 Ford F-100
$58,300 75 1956 Ford F-100
$57,200 700 1936 Ford
$57,200 71.1 1957 Chevrolet Cameo
$57,200 713.1 1956 Ford F-100
$56,100 708 1941 Ford tanker truck
$55,000 1554 1954 Ford F-100
$55,000 410.1 1936 Ford
$55,000 1551.1 1930 Ford roadster
$55,000 409.2 1955 Chevrolet Cameo
$52,800 705.2 1955 Chevrolet Cameo
$51,700 702.2 1949 Diamond T
$50,600 705 1957 Chevrolet 3200

*Includes 10% auction commission. To determine the hammer price, multiply the final sale price by 0.90909.


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Ford Pursues Blast-Proof Vehicles Contracts

Ford Motor Co. (F) is leading a push by commercial-truck makers to challenge defense contractors for a potential $54 billion in work replacing U.S. military Humvees with blast-proof all-terrain vehicles.

The Army and Marine Corps plan to open competition Jan. 20 in the second development phase for their Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. Truck manufacturers Ford, Navistar International Corp. (NAV) and Oshkosh Corp. (OSK) may take on teams led by defense companies General Dynamics Corp. (GD), Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) and BAE Systems Plc (BAESY) that won the three first-stage contracts.

Congress added language to this year’s defense spending bill prodding the military to embrace “off-the-shelf technology demonstrated by industry” to develop vehicles that can better protect troops from improvised explosive devices. Ford has met with aides on Capitol Hill and Pentagon officials to pitch its case for building the battle-ready trucks and bypassing the usual acquisition process.

The effort by Ford, the second-biggest U.S. automaker, “is a very intriguing strategic move,” Brian Johnson, an auto industry analyst for Barclays Capital Inc. in Chicago, said in an interview. “The benefits are finding an additional market for your most profitable vehicles, such as large pickup trucks, especially at a time when the retail demand is at the mercy of gas prices.”

The pressure to use commercially available parts or prototypes may be a harbinger for ground programs that survive planned defense spending cuts of at least $490 billion during the next decade as the Obama administration places added emphasis on air and sea power in the Pacific.

55,500 Vehicles

Defense contractors counter that effective troop protection can’t be bolted on to a commercial truck design.

“We don’t believe that there is an off-the-shelf commercial vehicle today that will fulfill the requirements of the JLTV program,” Kathryn Hasse, a program director for Lockheed, said in an interview. “It’d be nice to use a commercial chassis to do it. The reality is, it’s just not rugged enough.”

Lockheed’s design incorporates off-the-shelf equipment where appropriate, including a diesel engine by Cummins Inc. (CMI) and a transmission by Allison Transmission Inc. (ALSN), she said.

The Army and Marine Corps together plan to buy about 55,500 new vehicles to replace some of about 175,000 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles built by AM General LLC. The Humvees proved to be vulnerable to inexpensive improvised explosives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In a presentation circulated in November on Capitol Hill, a team led by Ford proposed bearing the full cost of about $400 million to build production-ready prototypes without the government funding normally awarded during the development process. It said its vehicle would provide better protection to troops at a lower price and weight than competitors.

Lockheed’s Design

Almost two-thirds of all U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan were caused by bombs and explosive devices, including more than 3,000 troops killed and more than 31,000 injured, according to Pentagon statistics through Jan. 3. Many of the incidents involved attacks against vehicles.

“We’re coming back mangled and just beat up, missing limbs, and we need the right tools, the right vehicles, out there for it,” said Octavio Sanchez, who as a Marine staff sergeant was critically injured in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2005 when the Humvee he was riding in struck a roadside bomb.

Sanchez, who lost his right hand and part of his left and suffered third-degree burns to 67 percent of his body, now works for Hardwire LLC, the maker of a “blast chimney” that channels the force of explosives to better protect Humvee occupants.

Less Weight

The Pentagon spent more than $44 billion to build heavier trucks known as mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, or MRAPs, to better protect troops from roadside blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new light truck is intended to weigh about 20,000 pounds (9,072 kilograms) fully loaded and offer protection comparable to that of the MRAP, which can weigh 30,000 to 50,000 pounds, too heavy for many roads and bridges in Afghanistan, or to travel off-road. Empty, the new vehicle would be light enough to be carried by CH-47 Chinook and CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters and on ship decks.

The Senate Appropriations Committee in September sought to cancel the program, citing “excessive cost growth.” The services worked together to simplify the design to a single base model; lower the targeted manufacturing cost to $230,000 to $270,000 per vehicle, excluding armor kits; and shorten engineering and manufacturing development to about 32 months from 48 months.

The updated strategy aims “to give industry greater latitude to demonstrate what’s achievable on a light platform,” Army Colonel David Bassett, project manager of tactical vehicles in Warren, Michigan, said in an e-mail.

Three Contracts

Ford said it would need about 32 months to build prototypes before beginning government testing, about a year longer than the military may require.

The Army plans in June to award as many as three contracts, each valued at as much as $65 million, for a total of $195 million, for the engineering and manufacturing development phase, according to Bassett.

That’s in addition to the $217 million the Army already awarded for technology development, including $74.6 million to General Tactical Vehicles, a joint venture of Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics and AM General of South Bend, Indiana; $77.4 million to London-based BAE Systems; and $65.4 million to Lockheed of Bethesda, Maryland, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Raytheon, Alliant

Ford, which was among the builders of the military’s Jeep for World War II and the Vietnam-era M151 truck, left the market in the 1980s when the Pentagon started buying Humvees from AM General.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker, which is second in U.S. sales behind General Motors (GM) Co., was part of a team led by defense contractor SAIC Inc. (SAI) that lost its bid for the new vehicle’s initial technology development phase in 2008.

Now, Ford plans to join with defense contractors including Raytheon Co. (RTN) of Waltham, Massachusetts, and Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) of Arlington, Virginia, according to information from the presentation distributed on Capitol Hill.

The Ford model’s curb weight, not counting passengers or equipment, would be 10,600 pounds. A combat-ready vehicle would cost less than $250,000, according to the presentation given by Ford and Future Force Innovation Inc., a closely held company in New York led by Robert Linton. Linton declined to comment for this article.

Ford’s ‘Long History’

Ford has a “long history of working with the government and we continue to look at new ideas and projects,” Mike Levine, the company’s manager of truck communications, said in an interview. Levine declined to comment on Ford’s intentions regarding the military vehicle or on the presentation.

Prototypes of similar vehicles were on display in October at the annual conference of the Association of the United States Army in Washington, including the Light All-Terrain Vehicle made by Oshkosh, which has spent more than $60 million developing it, according to John Urias, president of the Oshkosh, Wisconsin- based company’s defense segment.

Oshkosh, which was founded in 1917 and made commercial vehicles such as fire trucks and snowplows for most of its history, has become the Pentagon’s leading supplier of heavy- duty, medium-duty and light tactical trucks, including mine- resistant vehicles.

Ford may use its work on military trucks to “push their design and engineering thinking,” improving towing capacity and off-road mobility for its pickup trucks, Johnson, the auto industry analyst, said. Ford can tap into its purchasing power as the manufacturer of more than 5 million vehicles a year with a global supply chain, according to its presentation.

To contact the reporters on this story: Roxana Tiron in Washington at; Brendan McGarry in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at


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Tekonsha P3 Electric Brake Control Controller

The Tekonsha P3 is a breakthrough among proportional trailer brake controls, offering a system that’s smooth and proportional with a multi-functioning LCD display featuring the most advanced easy-to-use diagnostics.Tekonsha P-3 Trailer Brake Controller

Consumer preference drove the innovations that are incorporated into P3 including the capability of switching between an electric brake system or a hydraulic brake system.

P3’s convenient features include a dash-hugging design, unique easy-to-use clip-mounting system, quick disconnect for a safe storage when not in use and the original “boost” feature that allows the driver to increase the initial power delivered to the trailer brakes. Including a range of diagnostic features, a pre-assembled wiring harness and a limited lifetime warranty, the P3 is for 2, 4, 6 and 8 brake trailers.

  • Distinct, easy to see LCD display with multiple color and contrast options
  • User can customize to choose English, French or Spanish display
  • Allows the user to switch between Electric and Electric Over Hydraulic trailer brakes
  • Highly advanced, easy-to-understand, roadside diagnostics
  • Easy access, “Up-Front” controls
  • Tekonsha’s original “Boost” feature allows for different levels of customized braking
  • Compact, dash-hugging design
  • Unique, easy-to-use, clip-mounting system
  • Quick disconnect for easy storage; convenient storage pouch included
  • Covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty


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Sportz 57 Series Truck Tent Press Release


Napier Enterprises’ Sportz Truck Tent, the number one selling Truck Tent in the World, is now even better!   With new features such as an access panel to the cab and freestanding awning, it adds even more convenience and flexibility to your outdoor adventures.

Why camp in an ordinary ground tent or an expensive RV when you can camp right in the back of your truck?  The Sportz Truck Tent assembles in the back of your open-bed pickup truck, creating a comfortable, restful sleeping area for two people with over 5.6 feet of headroom!   With its patented sewn in floor, you won’t have to worry about cleaning out your truck bed before using it.

Napier Truck Tent Model 57

With six models to fit almost every truck on the market, it’s no wonder that the Sportz Truck Tent is the market leader. The durable tent comes with a full rain fly to keep you dry even in the wettest weather. New features include two side vents and two large windows with a middle divider to allow for optional ventilation and a rear access door allowing you to access the truck’s cab for additional storage.  The new 6’ x 6’ awning secures to the tailgate for added flexibility, providing plenty of shade.

The Sportz Truck Tent III packs into a new expandable lightweight carrying bag so you can take it anywhere you go.  Store it behind your seat for any unexpected adventure!  Perfect for: fishing, hunting, tailgating, off-road adventures and family camping. Join the hundreds of thousands of people that have already discovered how Sportz Truck Tents add convenience and flexibility to their outdoor adventures.



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