costs may make brothers out of the Dodge Ram and Nissan Titan
sales and a continuous drive to improve manufacturing efficiencies
and lower costs may push Chrysler and Nissan into a joint manufacturing
partnership that sees the next Nissan Titan sharing underbody
components with the 2009 Dodge Ram.
Through November Nissan had sold almost 61,000 Titans in the U.S. - about a third
of the sales volume of the new Tundra.
Newsweek magazine quoted Nissan’s CEO, Carlos Ghosn, saying he has considered
axing the Titan all together, but with sales numbers that high and Chrysler’s
parent company, Cerberus, hungry for financial returns, it’s conceivable
that Chrysler could make a viable pitch for shared manufacturing to Nissan.
Nissan could also gain quick access to a diesel engine partner through a relationship
with Chrysler. Cummins is going to supply light duty diesel V8s for the Dodge
Ram and Nissan North America VP of product strategy, Larry Dominique, recently
said the company is no longer considering a Navistar diesel for the Titan.
This is one story we’ll continue to follow closely throughout 2008.
Glimpses of the 2009 Ford F-150 and 2009 Dodge Ram
of Ford and Dodge trucks won't
have to wait much longer to find out what’s under
all the cammo
to debating how the latest production pickups stack
up against current trucks, the second most favorite pastime of
truck enthusiasts is talking about which rigs are just around
the corner. That meant plenty of chatter and speculation throughout
2007 about the future 2009 Ford F-150 and 2009 Dodge Ram.
The next generation Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram are both scheduled to debut in January
at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But spy photographers
have already caught the F-150 almost fully uncovered on its way back from a photo
shoot and Chrysler created its own worst case scenario when a full frontal shot
of an uncloaked Ram (see picture at top) was accidentally released by a Chrysler
staffer on a Mopar accessories website.
Online rumors and speculation points to moderate underbody and mechanical changes
for the Ford F-150 while the Dodge Ram is expected to receive several innovative
and non-traditional new features, including reports of a coil sprung
rear axle and side saddle storage boxes in the sides of the bed.
New Diesels Recalled for Fire Risk
new diesel engine and low temperatures create a hot safety
concern for Ford
after Ford introduced its revised 2008 Super Duty, more
than 37,000 F-250, F-350, and F-450 pickups with 6.4-liter Power
Stroke diesel V8s were voluntarily recalled after reports and
a video documented three cases of flames shooting out the tailpipes,
like a blow torch.
The problem didn't help Ford’s strained relationship
with engine supplier Navistar. Within days of the recall announcement
a video of one of the trucks spitting fire surfaced on YouTube,
giving the world a dramatic look at how serious the safety risk
The cause of the problem was traced to uncontrolled amounts of diesel fuel leaking
into the diesel particulate filter, where high temperatures in the soot trap
ignited the fluid. Super cold starts (in temperatures as low as minus 30-degrees-F)
had cracked turbo seals in two of the trucks. The third had a temporary obstruction
in a fuel injector.
Ford’s solution was a software patch for the Power Stroke’s engine
control module. The patch doesn't fix the root cause of the leaks. Instead,
it shuts fuel and air flow to the motor when it senses that temperatures have
climbed too high in the DPF. If the truck is in motion during a DPF ‘thermal
event’, a console message alerts the driver to pull over immediately while
the engine powers down and the DPF cools off. Once the DPF has cooled, the truck
can be restarted and driven to a Ford dealer for service.