Auto Notes - October 2015

USA Mercedes. In a historic event on Aug. 11, AM General, operating as Mercedes-Benz’s (MB) first and only contract manufacturer in the U.S., rolled the first M-B R-Class off the assembly line at the state-of-the-art vehicle assembly plant in Mishawaka, Ind. On hand were Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Joe Donnelly, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, and numerous local community leaders.

Earlier this year, AM General and M-B struck a deal to move the R-Class luxury vehicle, currently only sold in China, from the M-B plant in Alabama to the world-class commercial plant in Indiana. The Mishawaka facility uses state-of-the-art welding, painting, and assembly techniques coupled with a lean manufacturing culture, and a highly skilled workforce.

Reputable tire. Pirelli Tire North America was recently named one of the most reputable companies in the U.S. by Reputation Institute. “Pirelli is honored to be part of the US Rep Trak 100 list for the first time ever,” said Pierluigi Dinelli, CEO and chairman of Pirelli Tire North America. “This reflects our commitment to the U.S. market where we have increasingly focused on new product development and launches specifically for North American drivers and manufacturers. This draws on our renowned technology, innovation, and product know-how that we have built over 140 years.”

The 2015 list of America’s most reputable companies is compiled annually by Reputation Institute, the world’s foremost research and advisory company focused solely on corporate reputations. In addition to its top 100 U.S. ranking, Pirelli also came in at 38th place in the global list complied by Reputation Institute.

Hot Cruiser. The 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser is “a luxurious bridge between civilization and adventure,” said Toyota officials in its recent press release. The 2016 model will feature a new eight-speed automatic transmission, Toyota Safety Sense-P collision system (frontal collision avoidance and pedestrian protection), a blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert, an Entune 2.5 multimedia system with Siri Eyes Free Mode and 9-inch display, standard rear-seat entertainment system with a 10-inch screen, and Q1 wireless phone charging, among its many standard features.

New design features on the A-pillar body include bumpers, grille, projector-beam LED lighting, and headlight cleaners. The model comes in just one version fully equipped with high-quality materials, including Deep Wood interior trims. The full-time four-wheel-drive model will be powered by a 5.7-L DOHC V-8 engine and features a Downhill Assist Control for handling low-speed off-road decents.

Auto archive. The historic Durant-Dort Factory One building in Flint, Mich., is being renovated by General Motors to create a modern archive to house the automotive collection currently located at nearby Kettering University.

GM is spending millions of dollars to develop the second floor of the building’s east wing into a flexible meeting area for GM, the community, and educational groups to conduct STEM-related classes, seminars, and research. The high-bay area in the west wing of Durant-Dort Factory One will be renovated to house classic vehicles and other artifacts from Flint’s carriage-building era. “Factory One truly is the epicenter of the automotive industry and, as such, it makes sense to create a world-class archive where anybody can learn how carriage builders in Flint launched the global auto industry,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president of Global Product Development.

Ultimate truck. Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions, has announced that it will auction “QuikSilver, the world’s ultimate truck,” at its 45th anniversary auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jan. 23-31, 2016. “QuikSilver will definitely turn heads at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “The experienced builder and hot rodder will recognize that few builds have this level of detail and craftsmanship. This truck represents some of the finest coach-building ever seen.”

A winner of numerous national awards, QuikSilver was a five-year project of Hot Rod Garage in Sand Springs, Okla., and features a 540 big block engine fed by a Crower eight-stack intake converted to electronic fuel injection.

Record sales. Vehicle sales for Subaru of America keep setting records with no slowdown in sight. The company had record June sales and in July posted its best-ever sales month in company history with 50,517 units sold, breaking the record of 50,246 set in August of 2014. August 2015 sales of 52,679 vehicles broke the all-time record set in July, plus it marked the 45th consecutive month of year-over-year growth for Subaru in the U.S., and was the 18th consecutive month of 40,000-plus vehicle sales. The YTD sales over 2014 are up 12.5 percent as of Sept. 3.

During the economic downturn, Subaru was the only automaker to have increased sales in 2009, posting a 15-percent increase for the year.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.