Auto Notes - September 2016
Cadillac award. Altair and the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) have announced the winners of the 4th annual Altair Enlighten Award, the auto industry’s only award program that acknowledges innovation in vehicle weight reduction. The winner of the Full-Vehicle category was the 2016 Cadillac CT6.
The CT6 was one of 21 entries for the award and it won its category based on a strategic approach to weight reduction. Simulation methods, including topology and multi-disciplinary optimization studies, were used throughout the vehicle’s design to ensure an efficient use of materials to minimize weight without compromising performance.
Viper 25th edition. The 2017 Dodge Viper 25th Anniversary Limited Edition models sold out within five days when they went on sale in late June. The 1:28 Edition ACR (American Club Racer) sold out in 40 minutes with only 28 units available, while the 31 units of the VoooDoo II Edition ACRs sold in two hours.
The Snakeskin Edition GTC Viper (25 units) were gone within two days, as were the 100 GTS-R Editions. “Our customers are asking, so we’re adding one more special edition – the Dodge Viper Snakeskin ACR special edition,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars for Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat, FCA-North America. That unit went on sale in mid-July and sold out quickly. There were also 22 Dodge Dealer Edition ACR units that were available from the two highest volume Dodge dealers selling Vipers that sold with five days.
The exotic Viper, considered one of the most high-performance sports cars in the world, and noted by Dodge as the indisputable “ultimate street-legal race car,” will have its final year of production in 2017. It will be the last FCA automobile made in Detroit as other Dodge and Chrysler cars will all be assembled in either Canada or Mexico. Selected SUVs, minivans, and trucks will continue to be built in U.S. plants.
Truck accessories soar. SEMA announced in late July that sales of performance parts and accessories for light trucks grew 10 percent in 2015 and totaled $6.7 billion. Sales of 2.5 million new pickups in 2015 likely fueled the growth of add-on products, SEMA said, the fifth consecutive year of product sales gain.
An in-depth report on light trucks and other industry segments is available in the new 2016 SEMA Market Report.
Green tire warranty. TreadWright Tires, based in Houston, launched its new 24-month optional Road Hazard Warranty Certificate, July 28, for its lineup of new TreadWright Tires. It provides protection against unforeseen road hazards such as potholes, nails, debris, or impact with foreign objects that lead to premature tire failure.
The leading manufacturer of green tires for light trucks and SUVs, TreadWright uses 70 percent recycled content and premium brand tire casings for all of its tires. The company said its green process produces tires that get 20 percent more mileage than import tires and up to 40 percent savings over other tire brands. TreadWright Tires are “made in America” at its Houston-based plant where the company has produced its specialty tires for more than 40 years.
“TreadWright Tires are greener, more American, and more rugged than any tire in its class,” said Anthony Showen, CEO of the company. “With this new optional warranty, our customers are not only covered on the manufacturing end with our workmanship warranty, they’ll also be covered for anything else the road can throw at them.”
All-new cars. There is no shortage of all-new cars (and trucks for that matter) available for the 2016-2017 model years. They range from the hottest sports cars to sedans and wagons to coupes.
A few of the car highlights include the all-new models of the Acura NSX AWD sports coupe priced at $157,800 with a twin-turbo V-6; the Alfa Romeo Giulla, a compact luxury sport sedan; the $214,820 Aston Martin DB11 coupe with a V-12 engine; the Audi A4 sedan and the pricy R8 coupe convertible; the BMW Z5 convertible that replaces the Z4; the Buick LaCrosse sedan that is lighter than the car it replaces and has an eight-speed automatic transmission; and the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback, an electric vehicle with a claimed range of 200 miles that will be available later this year.
Other all-new car models include the Fiat 124 Spider convertible that returns to the market after some 30 years; the $300,000 Ford GT coupe with a twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6; the Honda Clarity sedan, the second generation of the company’s hydrogen fuel vehicle; the Hyundai Ioniq hatchback, available as a hybrid and PHEV; the Infiniti Q60 coupe with multiple handling options; the Kia Cadenza sedan and Kia Niro, the automaker’s first hybrid; the classy Lincoln Continental sedan; the Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and wagon models with remote parking pilot; the Tesla Model 3 EV, priced much lower than other Teslas; the Subaru Impreza sedan and hatchback assembled in the U.S.; and the Volvo S90 sedan and V60 wagon, both with new 3.0-L engines.