DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it was recalling about 792,000 pickup trucks and sport/utility vehicles because of a fire risk from overheating of the speed control switch.
The recall involves some of Ford (Research)'s biggest money-makers, 2000 model-year F-150 pickup trucks, Expedition and Navigator SUVs, and 2001 model-year F-Series Supercrew pickup trucks equipped with speed control.
Overheating of the speed control switches may spark fires under the hood of the vehicles, Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said. "We did determine the switch may be susceptible to overheating," Kinley added.
One person may have been injured in connection with the recalled vehicles, according to Ford.
The automaker will be notifying the owners of the vehicles in the beginning of February to have the electrical connector from the speed control switches disconnected, Kinley said.
Ford is in the process of acquiring replacement speed control switches, according to the automaker.
"Once replacement switches are available, we will issue a second owner notification to have the switch replaced and the speed control reconnected," Ford said in a statement.
Last month, Ford recalled more than 600,000 Escapes and Mazda Tribute SUVs from the 2002-2004 model years because the accelerator cable may prevent the engine from returning to idle, which could increase stopping distance and result in a crash.
Ford stock fell about 1 percent in afternoon New York Stock Exchange trading.
by Hannah Chapman
GOVERNMENT plans to crack down on motorbikes and 4x4s using ancient green lanes were given an overwhelming thumbs down yesterday.
Off-road groups said the proposed legislation was not needed, and groups campaigning to ban vehicles from the tracks said it did not go far enough.
Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael said yesterday that inappropriate use of public rights of way by motor vehicles would be curtailed through new legislation.
Use of the lanes by motorbikes and 4x4s has been a controversial issue for years, with campaigners fighting for an end to vehicle activity to protect them from damage.
Mr Michael said: "We need a rights-of-way network that responds to the needs of the 21st Century, not a network based solely on historic use patterns.
"It is not right that future use for leisure purposes by four-wheel drive vehicles, quad bikes and motorbikes is established because horses or horse-drawn vehicles used a route long before motorised vehicles were commonplace."
But Mike Bartholomew, chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Green Lanes Alliance, a campaign group set up two years ago to demand an end to offroading in the Dales, said motor vehicles should be banned from all green lanes.
He said they should all be reclassified as restricted byways, where motor vehicles are not allowed.
"The national parks are not going to be any better off," he said. "The Minister is not going to change the status of existing vehicle rights of way. He should have reclassified all unsurfaced byways as restricted byways and the problem would have been solved."
Ian McCormack, chairman of the North-East 4x4 Club, said: "There is really nothing wrong with the existing system. Certain user groups think that they are the only ones who should have access. Our stance has always been that it is equal access to all, whether that is cyclists, off roaders or horseriders."
Last year, North Yorkshire County Council brought in traffic orders banning off-roaders from four green lanes in the Yorkshire Dales.
Last month, a petition signed by 3,700 people living in the Dales was handed to the national park authority, seeking a green lanes ban on recreational motor vehicles.
Jeep®’s award-winning* Cherokee Pioneer has been improved for 2005 with a new 2.8-litre diesel engine with variable geometry turbo, which has increased both the payload and towing capacity of the four-wheel drive commercial vehicle.
The Cherokee Pioneer is now based on the 2.8-litre CRD Sport model and comes with multi-stage airbags, front fog lights, headlamp levelling, air conditioning, ABS, electric front windows and a single CD player as standard. It is available with either a six speed manual gearbox or five-speed automatic transmission. This Euro IV engine replaces the 2.5-litre diesel unit across the entire Cherokee range.
The new VGT engine uses an electronically controlled variable geometry turbocharger to improve control of boost pressure, reduce emissions and improve full load engine power and torque. Injectors on the 2.8-litre diesel have also been improved so that fuel burns more thoroughly, producing fewer particulates and lower emissions than previous generation diesel engines.
Simon Elliott, Managing Director for Chrysler Group in the UK, said: "The Cherokee Pioneer is aimed at customers who need a commercial vehicle that is able to carry, and tow, a significant load. The increased torque of the new 2.8 CRD engine helps to make it an even more capable vehicle for towing, while the Jeep’s off-road ability makes it ideal for anything from a farm to a building site."
Compared to the previous 2.5-litre engine, the Pioneer’s payload has increased from 359 kg to 380 kg for the auto (370 kg for the manual) and the maximum towing weight has increased from 2688 kg to 3360 kg for the auto (it remains 2688 kg for the manual). The top speed has also increased to 108 mph (the 2.5-litre engine offered 101 mph) and CO2 has fallen from 250 g/km to 246 g/km while torque has increased from 251 lb.ft to 295 lb.ft.
The Cherokee Pioneer was the UK’s first commercial Jeep and was launched in 2004 with a 2.5 CRD engine. It features a completely flat cargo area with a full-length galvanised metal floor. This floor space is 1.2 m long, 1.2 m wide and 1 m high, creating 1954 litres of load space. The cargo area is finished with a hard-wearing minimum slip carpet for load security. In order to qualify as a commercial vehicle the rear seat and seatbelt anchor points have been removed, and the rear quarter and rear door glass have been replaced with body colour aluminium panels. The rear doors however remain, making the load area easily accessible.
The interior of the cabin is a medium slate cloth and there is an optional floor to ceiling, metal mesh removable bulkhead available for £200. Metallic paint and alloy wheels are also optional extras.
Sources tell the Spies that the wicked cool Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser concept will be officialy announced at the Chicago auto show.
What the others haven't told you that the Spies have found out, is that they will offer a hybrid version as well.
Photos are pics of the 2003 concept...
We first reported on it during our 2003 Detroit auto show coverage and picked it as our FAVORITE concept.
We urge you to run down to your Toyota dealer a put a deposit down on one because this will be one HOT SUV/Crossover!
Check out the info from the concept in 2003...we'll see how close the production model comes to it.
From our 2003 Detroit auto show issue:
Toyota Unveils FJ Cruiser Concept at North American International Auto Show
Toyota unveiled the FJ Cruiser concept sport utility vehicle (SUV) at a press conference at the 2003 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
The FJ Cruiser concept was initiated and developed jointly by Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., and Calty Design Research, Toyota's North American design center in Newport Beach, Calif. The FJ Cruiser was developed as a basic, capable and affordable off-roader aimed to explore new possibilities for a next-generation SUV aimed specifically at young buyers with active outdoor lifestyles.
"The FJ Cruiser is a thoroughly modern concept vehicle chiseled from nearly a half-century tradition of rugged performance provided by the legendary FJ 40, the original 4Runner and 4x4 compact pickups," said Jim Press, executive vice president and COO for Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. "The FJ Cruiser concept effectively connects two growing markets in the United States…the light truck segment and the emerging youth market."
"The FJ Cruiser takes on an authentic functional form, yet adopts several styling cues from the original FJ," said Jin Kim, the FJ Cruiser’s 25-year-old exterior designer. "Some of these cues are notable on the front end by its wide and narrow grille, round headlights, and offset combination lamps. Additional inspiration can be found through its upright windshield and two-tone cap roof. Traits are also noticeable in the rear with wrapping rear corner windows. The modern shape of the FJ Cruiser is woven into a compact package. Its proportionately long wheelbase and wide track produce enhanced stability and a powerful stance."
Utility features include spotlights on both outside mirrors, an asymmetrical front spotlight, and a front-end towing winch. The rear glass panel is a two-piece unit that retracts into the roof and the rear hatch for easy access to the rear cargo area. Easy rear passenger entry into the two-door SUV is achieved with rear access doors.
Power is supplied by a 3.4-liter V6 engine equipped with a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) supercharger that creates 250-horsepower. The engine is paired with a four-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel-drive with low range. The FJ Cruiser rides on a modified Tacoma pickup platform and is equipped with rear coil-over long travel suspension, 20-inch wheels and 33-inch tires, and a TRD cat-back exhaust.
Calty designer William Chergosky extended the rugged and straightforward theme to the interior. "The cabin is designed specifically for basic functionality and flexible utility," said Chergosky.
"The structural beam instrument panel has a sophisticated, handcrafted appearance. The faceplate with round inset instrumentation communicates precision and ruggedness. The steering wheel and center-mounted shifter, and attached look door panels feature tool-like simplicity with an industrial feel. A portable remote GPS is removable for wilderness hiking."
All front and rear seats fold completely flat creating ample cargo space and maximum usability. With no gaps and a durable floor covering, the FJ Cruiser can be converted into a utility deck large enough for two people in their sleeping bags.
"It is important for Toyota to raise the emotional pulse of the emerging youth market," said Press. "The FJ Cruiser is a thoughtful approach to versatility that allows the customer to decide how the vehicle fits into their active lifestyles."
TOYOTA FJ CRUISER CONCEPT SPECIFICATIONS
Wheelbase 2700 106.3
Overall Length 4340 170.9
Overall Height 1828 72.0
Overall Width 1920 75.6
Tires…33 X 12.50 R20 inches
Rumors are flying around that the Cayenne gets a refresh next year and the changes will be mostly cosmetic.
We're told the suv will look more like the 997 front...
The all-new Land Rover Discovery 3 TDV6 S Automatic was named the What Car? Car of the Year 2005 at an awards ceremony in London last night.
What Car? group editor Steve Fowler, said: "To be a good car isn't good enough – our Car of the Year 2005 must be great. We're looking for the car that has done more than any other to improve standards in its class and has no major weaknesses."
He added: "The Discovery is three cars in one. On the way to work it's an executive saloon. With the kids in tow it's a family-friendly MPV. Come the weekend it's a hard-as-nails 4x4. No other new car is as many things to as many people – that's why it's our Car of the Year 2005."
Like other years, the What Car? awards 2005 were very hotly contested, with all the category winners short-listed for the grand prize. Land Rover beat outstanding opposition from Volkswagen's Golf GTI, the Mini One convertible, Porsche's 911 3.6 Carrera Coupe, BMW's 525d SE auto, Jaguar's XJ6 and many others to the evening's main award.
Land Rover's managing director, Matthew Taylor, said: "From Mexico to Scotland, the Discovery 3 has picked up many prestigious accolades. The UK is our home market, and What Car? is the voice of the British consumer – it is a great honour to have their endorsement, and with an order book for the Discovery 3 well into March 2005, it seems that we have the vote of the buying public too."
Priced at £33,490, the Discovery 3 TDV6 S Automatic comes with a generous specification and a host of new safety features and technologies. Highlights include a comprehensive occupant safety package benefiting from the vehicle's Integrated Body-frame architecture, door-mounted anti-intrusion side beams and eight airbags. Complementing the occupant safety package are Dynamic Stability Control, Active Roll Mitigation, Electronic Traction Control, Brakeforce Distribution, Anti-lock Brakes, Terrain Response™ and park distance control technologies, putting the Discovery 3 amongst the safest SUVs on the market.
This latest award adds a second What Car? Car of the Year trophy to Land Rover's cabinet, following the Freelander's success in 1998 when it became the first and only 4x4 ever to pick up one of the industry's most coveted awards, until now.
Priced from £26,995 to £46,995 the all-new Land Rover Discovery 3 is on sale now at Land Rover dealerships across the UK, and in over 100 markets around the world. This latest award comes on the back of other notable successes around the world, including BBC Top Gear Magazine's Best 4x4, What MPV & 4x4? magazine's SUV of the Year, MotorTrend magazine (USA) SUV of the Year, Overlander magazine (Australia) 4WD of the Year, Scotland's SUV of the Year, Mexico's SUV of the Year and many others.
Editors' note: The Discovery 3 TDV6 S Automatic, priced at £33,490, comes with a generous specification including active four-corner air suspension, Terrain Response™, cruise control, automatic climate control, park distance control, bi-xenon headlights and 18" alloy wheels. Fuel consumption (combined cycle) is 30.0 mpg on the TDV6 manual (27.2 mpg with automatic transmission) and CO2 emissions are 249 g/km (manual) and 275 g/km (automatic).
Detroit, Michigan, 9 January 2005 – Just 12 months after revealing the Range Stormer concept car at the NAIAS in 2004, Land Rover is back this year with a remarkable and updated product range, comprising three new products not seen before at Detroit.
All new on the stand, and probably the most eagerly awaited of the Land Rover products at the 2005 NAIAS, is the Range Rover Sport. Inspired by the Range Stormer concept car, the Range Rover Sport sees Land Rover entering the performance segment of the SUV market for the first time with its very own 'Sports Tourer'.
Also new on the Land Rover NAIAS stand is the Range Rover for 2006, which is the first significant update to the award-winning Range Rover since its introduction in March 2002. The Range Rover for 2006 receives new petrol powertrain technology, refinement enhancements, improvements to its NVH characteristics and some refreshed exterior styling. In addition and also new since the company's last visit to Detroit is the international award-winning Land Rover Discovery 3, on-sale since November 2004 and currently sold out well into 2005.
Speaking from Detroit, Land Rover's managing director, Matthew Taylor, said: "What an incredible 12 months this has been. Last year, at this very venue, we promised exciting new models. Now we have three new production vehicles to show. Such is the pace of change at Land Rover."
He added: "The Range Rover Sport, we believe, will appeal to customers who want the on-road dynamics and refinement of luxury sedans, but who also want the capability of a Land Rover. We see it as a less frenetic, more refined alternative to existing performance SUVs. It is ideal for fast, comfortable, long-distance driving and practical enough for everyday use. Yet it is also exceptional off-road, offering better all-terrain ability than any competitor and the broadest range of capability in its class."
Land Rover dealerships around the world opened the order books for the Range Rover Sport on 26 November 2004, and thousands of confirmed orders have already been made, without any customers actually seeing the vehicle in the metal – until now in Detroit.
The Land Rover Discovery 3 is already on sale around the world and the Range Rover for 2006 and the Range Rover Sport will follow in mid-2005.
The Chrystler Group today took the automotive press by storm with the introduction of a new and unexpected concept vehicle, the Jeep Hurricane.
With two 5.7-liter 335-HP V-8 engines - HEMI squared - the Hurricane travels from a stand-still zero MPH to 60 MPH in less than five seconds, said Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche.
The concept, which bows here at the North American International Auto Show, features split solid axles, with a V-8 at each end of the truck. It has a mechanically controlled four-wheel torque distribution system.
Chrysler said the split solid axle design affects the rotation direction of each propshaft, applying a downward force to each wheel.
Hurricane has the unusual ability to spin on its axis -- Chrysler calls it a "turntable feature." It also has four-wheel steering to help out if it gets "between a rock and a hard place," Zetsche said.
With 370 lb.-ft. of torque per engine, the Hurricane can run in four-, eight- or 16-cylinder mode.
It has a carbon fiber chassis and body and a 14.6-inch ground clearance for extreme offroad activities. Its 20-inch wheels have, with tires, a 37-inch diameter.
Chrysler opened its first press preview today with a gray-green Jeep Gladiator, an extended-cab pickup with the familiar Jeep vertical grille and offroad capabilities. The regular pickup bed is 5 ft. 8 inches; it can extend into the cab to an overall length of 6 ft. 8 inches; if the tailgate is also dropped, the maximum cargo length is 8 feet ll inches.
A rear-hinged door behind the front passenger door has a 180-degree opening. The concept has special storage compartments, a spare tire mounted outside and behind the driver's door and an expandable truck bed space.
Gladiator is powered by a 2.8-liter, four-cylinder turbo diesel engine that cranks out 295 lb-ft of torque and 163 HP.
Chrysler design chief Trevor also introduced the two-seater Firepower with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 under the hood. It is based on a (Dodge) Viper platform, and travels from zero to 60 MPH in under 4.5 seconds.
The countdown for the second Volvo Ocean Race has begun.
In perfect timing for the Barcelona Boat Show in early November, Volvo Cars is presenting the first in a series of specially designed Volvo Ocean Race models – a Volvo XC90 T6 with unique “ocean blue” livery.
The XC90 will be followed by a Volvo V70 Ocean Race and a Volvo XC70 Ocean Race model.
“The Volvo Ocean Race represents values that reflect what our customers are looking for in their cars. It’s all about an active lifestyle, adventure and passion. The campaign cars radiate all this and we know from experience that they are highly attractive models”, says Gerry Keaney, Senior Vice President Marketing, Sales & Service at Volvo Cars.
When the Volvo Ocean Race was held the first time round, the company sold twice as many of its special campaign cars as planned. 4,500 Ocean-Blue Volvo V70 and XC70 models were delivered before the winning boat, “Illbruck”, crossed the finishing line in Kiel, Germany, on 9 June 2002.
Exciting new interior designs
“This time we have an even better offer than before, with particular focus on a range of interior details in exciting materials, for instance blue-tone aluminium inlay panels and upholstery in materials resembling exclusive yachting clothes. With this offer we expect to sell considerably more cars compared to the previous Volvo Ocean Race Edition”, says Gerry Keaney.
As before, the marine atmosphere is radiated by the special Ocean-Blue body colour combined with silver mouldings, roof rails in brushed aluminium and the Volvo Ocean Race emblem on the front doors.
Production of the specially built Volvo Ocean Race models will start in mid June 2005.
Huge, polluting and dangerous, eh? That’s what uninformed people, mostly politicians, make of 4x4s. This baby Fiat is a timely poke in the eye for them all, then. It’s the new Panda 4x4, and as small, clean and friendly as ‘off-roaders’ get.
This isn’t the first Panda 4x4. Fiat launched the original in 1983 and sold it here until about 10 years ago; you still see the odd one around, tatty but clung to by enthusiastic owners who one suspects would feel lost without it. What after all could replace such an unpretentious but fun workhorse?
The lack of on-road biased 4x4 rivals at this end of the market is one reason Fiat are confident the Panda 4x4 MkII, the all-wheel drive version of Europe’a Car of the Year, will get a similarly enthusiastic following. But there are no delusions of volume here: this car will sell in tiny numbers to people with a specific need, while next year’s Panda SUV – a 4x4 with body kit – will do the same but to Kensington and Chelsea types. Not even Ken Livingstone could object to it.
Price and features
Fiat believe the point of cars like this is that, above all, they are cheap, which is why they have come up with just a single model. The only engine is a 1.2 petrol, the torquier 1.3 MultiJet diesel having been ruled out on the grounds it would push the price too high, even though on the continent it is expected to account for a third of sales.
But to sweeten the circa £9000 pill the UK version comes with an impressive list of standard kit: alloy wheels, anti-lock brakes, power steering, electric front windows and mirrors, foglights, remote central locking,, split folding rear seat and fully adjustable steering wheel and driver’s seat. It comes with two front airbags, but side and curtain airbags are available at extra cost.
Mechanically the 4x4 is sophisticated, too, with its all-independent suspension and disc brakes all round, both features remarkable in a car of this cost. No stability programme, though: Fiat have yet to make that work with the 4x4 drivetrain. The 4x4 system is based around a viscous coupling that sends power to the back wheels when the front tyres start to slip. There’s a British connection here: GKN helped develop it.
On the road
The 1.2-litre petrol engine has 60bhp, little enough to make it one of the slower cars against the stopwatch with 0-60mph in 20 secs. The fear is that with a meagre 76lb ft of pulling power, it will have the real-world feel of a lazy slug.
Not so. Sure, you have to plan overtaking carefully and motorways are not this car’s forte, but, with just two on board at least, it’s eager and responds well up to about 60mph. A handy and very light gearshift encourages its zippiness, despite some gaps between the ratios.
The steering is good, the ride more than tolerable and there’s not too much body roll around the corners. It’s a fun drive. Biggest disappointment is engine noise – a real buzz past 4000rpm.
For one so cheap, the seats, driving position and interior layout are excellent, and the car is light and easy to drive in all situations, helped by high-set seats and big windows. There’s okay room for four average adults, and the back seat is split for more boot space.
…and off the road
Fiat say it’s a capable off-roader, and they’re right. This is a mountain goat of a car that’s surprisingly solid feeling and level-riding, even when being thrashed down rocky tracks. The suspension thumps over big bumps, but the 4x4 system provides good traction at all four corners, and there’s ground clearance enough (160mm) for not getting caught up on modest rocks. Of course, in extreme going it’s no Land Rover – or is it? Do not underestimate what an advantage it is off-road to be this small.
With nothing to beat in the cheap 4x4 class, the best advice until now has always been buy a decent used 4x4 instead. The Panda 4x4 changes that. It’s a classless car, as at home up a Welsh mountain as in a posh Alpine ski resort as. It’s the best cheap 4x4 on the market by a country mile, but don’t buy it for its performance.
What MPV & 4x4