Commercial Trucks auto news

Pages:  1   2   3    ..  

GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings [UPDATE]

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its trucks in a bid to lower its base curb weight, and therefore its gross vehicle weight.

For those that need a refresher, GVW is the combination of a truck's curb weight plus its payload. Gross vehicle weight rating, meanwhile, is the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can handle, and it's also used to classify pickups. In Ford's case, tweaking the GVW by removing parts allows it to station the F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups. This is despite the fact that it's hewn from stiffer stuff than the average Class III and has the elevated towing capacity to prove it.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

UPDATE: This story originally stated that gross vehicle weight rating was a combination of curb weight and payload. To clarify, GVWR is a fixed figure, which a vehicle's curb weight and payload cannot exceed. The story has been edited to reflect this.

Read more..

GM also sheds parts from its pickups to boost payload ratings

08/01/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, Ford, GM, GMC, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

The row between Ford and Ram over who boasts the best-in-class tow rating for heavy duty pickups has revealed a number of things. Chief among them is a report that Ford removes items like the spare tire, jack, radio and center console from its vehicles in a bid to lower its base curb weight and therefore keep the truck's gross vehicle weight rating down.

For those that need a refresher, GVWR is the vehicle's curb weight plus its maximum payload. A lower GVWR allows Ford to station its F-450 among the so-called Class III pickups, despite the fact that internally, it has the makings of a more brutish Class IV truck.

Ford explains away these deletions, saying a customer could order their vehicle in such a manner. It has also come to light that Ford is not the only automaker to engage in such practices.

General Motors started deleting the rear bumper and swapping in alloy wheels for heavier steel wheels for its 2014 pickups (both light-duty and heavy duty models). This is despite originally claiming that it did no such thing, a statement GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson told Automotive News was a mistake.

Wilkinson, like Ford, justifies the practice, explaining to AN, "You can delete the rear bumper, which some business customers do so they can install a custom bumper or other equipment on the back of the truck."

What are your thoughts on this? Is the process for figuring out tow ratings and GVWR too easy to manipulate? We want to hear from you. Head into Comments, and let us know what you think.

Read more..

Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops

07/31/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Commercial Trucks, Nissan, Celebrities

Bret Michaels for Nissan Commercial

Mötley Crüe isn't the only 1980s hair-metal band getting into the world of auto promotion. Poison frontman and reality show star Bret Michaels is following their lead and doing some advertising of his own. Where the Crüe have been all over the airwaves in recent years with a Super Bowl ad for Kia and music licensing with Dodge, Michaels has taken a very different route by becoming the pitchman for Nissan Commercial Vehicles.

The videos run the gamut to advertise predominantly the NV line of full-size vans, but the NV200 shows up a few times too. The star of this new campaign is Michaels' full-length music video (above) for the song Tough Love. It's basically a parody of all of those '80s rock ballads where the bands would slow the tempo down a little and reveal their softer side. Michaels rocks out at the Nissan proving grounds in Stanfield, AZ, while showing off the evaluation process and strutting around like a proper rock frontman. There are also a bunch of shorter videos (below) with the singer highlighting each part of the vans' torture testing. Although, the dialogue in these come off a bit more stilted. With these '80s metal bands getting into advertising, can it be long before Warrant is shilling for Fiat or Ratt for Mazda?

Continue reading Bret Michaels Poisons Nissan's commercial trucking ops

Read more..

Mercedes rolls out versatile new Vito van

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Euro, Commercial Trucks, Mercedes Benz

2015 Mercedes-Benz Vito

Mercedes-Benz may be known for its luxury cars on this side of the Atlantic, but it's equally known around the world for making robust workhorses as well: trucks, buses and vans. It has started to turn Americans on to that idea with the successful transplant of the Sprinter van to North America, but it still has a whole range of commercial vehicles it doesn't offer here. It recently rolled out the Renault-built Citan to replace its Vaneo, replaced its Viano with the new V-Class, and it has now introduced a new Vito van as well.

More utilitarian than the V-Class, the Vito is a smaller alternative to the Sprinter and hits showrooms in other global markets in a wide array of configurations. For starters, it will be available in numerous lengths as a panel van, a passenger van or as a crew cab, a configuration that combines a four-door passenger compartment with a cargo bay in the back. It's also intriguingly available in front-, rear- or all-wheel drive, motivated by a pair of four-cylinder turbodiesels displacing 1.6 liters or 2.1 liters with power ranging from 136 horsepower up to 190. Regardless of engine selection, buyers can choose from either a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic.

In addition to a wider range of powertrain and bodystyle choices, Mercedes has also redesigned the new Vito to be safer and more comfortable than the model it replaces. It has a more aerodynamic shape for a lower coefficient of drag that pairs with the new engines to help reduce fuel consumption. That's particularly important to the vehicle's competitiveness among fleet buyers, because improved fuel economy leads to reduced running costs. Further, the new Vito can be kept on the road for 25,000 miles over two years in between service intervals.

Despite the suspension that's been redesigned for a more compliant ride, the new Vito doesn't skimp on the utility. In fact, Mercedes claims it's got the highest payload capacity in its class at over 3,000 pounds and a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of over three tons, depending on spec. Read all about it in the press release below and scope out the range in the high-res image gallery above.

Continue reading Mercedes rolls out versatile new Vito van

Read more..

2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke

07/29/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, Ford, Driving

2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty

What weighs 30,000 pounds? Big Ben's Westminster bell. A navy ship anchor. Or as we found out during our first drive program for the 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty, seven pallets of cinder blocks loaded onto a dual-axle gooseneck trailer. The test was part of a raft of towing demonstrations that showcased the new Super Duty's impressive tug capacity, which maxes out at 32,100 pounds. That's 1,200 more than its nearest rival, the Ram 3500, when equipped with its upgraded 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8. Such is the heavy-duty pickup truck business, a diesel-fueled game of one-upmanship with only three players: Ford, Chevrolet/GMC and Ram. And in this game, the one with the most torque wins.

Until 2014, Ford was the one to beat, with its 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel bringing 400 hp and a massive 800 lb-ft of torque to the table. Then last year, Ram did exactly that, serving Ford with a beefed-up Cummins turbodiesel inline-six in its freshened Ram Heavy Duty truck line with 385 hp and 850 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to tow up to 30,000 pounds. But Ford claims it had designed its engine to be relatively easy to upgrade when the time called for it, so for 2015, Ford bolted a larger turbo to the Power Stroke, bringing output to an insane 440 hp and 860 lb-ft of twist, all without reducing fuel efficiency. Maximum tow capacity rises from 24,700 lbs to an incredible 31,200 lbs for the F-450 dually.

As for GM's HDs? They lag behind the lot with their 6.6-liter Duramax V-8, producing 397 hp and 765 lb-ft of torque. Yeah, you know things are serious when the trucks with 765 lb-ft are the knock-kneed wimps of the lot.

Yet all this one-upmanship isn't as crystal-clear as the spec sheets would have you believe. Ford and Ram are currently involved in a pissing match over how these tow ratings are calculated, and the solution might not be arrived at without legal intervention. We prefer firsthand drive impressions over spec-sheet bench racing (towing?), so we headed to West Virginia to saddle up and ride.

Continue reading 2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty Power Stroke

Read more..

V6 engines will outpace V8s for the 2015 Ford F-150

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Trucks/Pickups, Tech, Commercial Trucks, Ford, Off-Road

2015 Ford F-150

How times have changed. Even five years ago, who would have thought the mighty V8 would be just another engine choice for buyers of the 2015 Ford F-150?

Ford is projecting about 28 percent of the next-generation trucks will have the 5.0-liter V8. That's nothing to sneeze at, but consider this: Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines - the new 2.7-liter V6 and the existing 3.5-liter V6 - will also each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales (56 percent total). That leaves only 15 percent of the pie for the 3.5-liter (non-EcoBoost) V6. The new F-150 goes on sale late this year.

Ford figures its two EcoBoost truck engines will each account for about 28 percent of the F-150's sales.

"In the truck business, it's historically been about the most horsepower, the most towing power and the most torque," Ford trucks marketing manager Doug Scott said.

Obviously those still matter, but Ford has significantly diversified the F-150's engine lineup in a bid to attract new customers and hedge against spikes in fuel prices. The move away from V8s began in earnest in the 2011 F-150, which received the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost with 365 hp and 420-lb-ft of torque to complement the traditional V8 model.

Adding the turbocharged EcoBoost three years ago was fraught with risks, as truck buyers are among the most loyal and resistant to change in the market. But it's paid off for Ford, and the EcoBoost model now makes up about 45 percent of the current F-150's sales.

With that in mind, Ford is adding another EcoBoost V6, the 2.7-liter engine, which will push out 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque, numbers that sound more akin to a traditional V8. With this engine, the truck can tow up to 8,500 pounds and will have a payload of 2,250 pounds. Ford envisions this model will be attractive to buyers who don't haul regularly, but still require some of the practical capabilities of a pickup.

"This is an engine that's really designed for that core customer," Scott said.

Ford's expansion of the F-150's lineup comes amid renewed competition from its traditional Detroit truck rivals. This year, Ram added an EcoDiesel model with 240 hp and 420 lb-ft, while General Motors will round out its 2015 truck portfolio with the Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, which are slightly smaller than their fullsize, Silverado and Sierra brethren. The moves come as federal fuel economy rules are set to tighten, and consumers continue to be wary of gas-guzzling vehicles.

Ford's new engine lineup will be enhanced by the use of aluminum for the F-150's body, which will reduce weight and improve fuel economy. Depending on the engine and cab size, the F-150 will be anywhere from 625 pounds to more than 732 pounds lighter, compared with 2014 models.

Read more..

2015 Ford F-150 specs revealed, EcoBoost 2.7L to make 325 hp and 375 lb-ft [w/video]

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Videos, Commercial Trucks, Ford, Off-Road

Our new man Greg Migliore is in attendance at a Ford media event at the Blue Oval's Dearborn, MI headquarters today, and he's reported in with a handful of the 2015 F-150 stats that we've been dying to know. Ford is slow-playing the news release here, but we can still offer up some interesting output and performance figures after half-year of waiting.

We have all be quite aware that Ford's shift to aluminum construction would save a lot of weight for F-150 models, and the results we're hearing now are duly impressive. For instance: in Super Crew trim, a 2015 F-150 is a whopping 732-pounds lighter than was its closest 2014-model-year equivalent. That's like hauling three middle-aged dudes to your bowling alley's league night for free. Polish your balls, guys.

Ford isn't willing to offer up any actual curb weights just yet, but if we take that 732-pound loss and extrapolate with the 5,128-pound curb weight of the 2014 F-150 Super Crew with the 3.7-liter V6, we can guesstimate that 2015 models will measure out in the 4,400-pound range. That's impressive.

We also learned just a bit about the new additions to the engine range. The base engine in the F-150 comes in the form of a naturally aspirated, 3.5-liter V6. That mill may be the little brother of the crew, but it still makes 283 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, giving the 4x2 pickup the a maximum payload of 1,910 pounds and a tow rating of 7,600 pounds.

Stepping up one rung on the ladder is the hotly anticipated 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, turbocharged to the tune of 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. In 4x2 guise, that blown mill allows for maximum payload and towing ratings of 2,250 and 8,500 pounds, respectively.

We're obviously still excited to learn actual miles-per-gallon ratings and curb weights for the Ford haulers, but in the meantime, you can scroll below to check out the official press release and an official video of the Blue Oval boys putting the EcoBoost F-150 through its towing paces at the Davis Dam in Arizona.

Continue reading 2015 Ford F-150 specs revealed, EcoBoost 2.7L to make 325 hp and 375 lb-ft [w/video]

Read more..

GM confirms 2015 Silverado, Sierra to get 8-speed automatic

07/18/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Trucks/Pickups, Tech, Commercial Trucks, Chevrolet, GMC, Off-Road

2015 Chevrolet Silverado

When viewed alongside the next Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500, there is one thing that seems to be missing from the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Where the F-150 will rely on turbocharging and aluminum architecture and the Ram sports an eight-speed automatic and an air suspension, the General Motors twins lack a big, calling-card feature. They're very good, very refined trucks, but one could argue that they're not terribly innovative.

And while it might not be as flashy a feature as air suspension or a lightweight skin, the Silverado and Sierra will get their own eight-speed automatic for 2015, a transmission that will be paired with the company's Ecotec3 6.2-liter V8. The new cogswapper will also find its way into the GMC Yukon Denali, but for now, there's no indication why the Cadillac Escalade, Suburban, Tahoe and standard Yukon are being left out.

According to GM, the new gearbox is about the same size and weight as the current Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed. By the time the new powertrain combination enters production late this year, the EPA will almost certainly have gotten around to certifying the vehicles' fuel efficiency. Until then, feel free to speculate. The current Silverado with the 6.2 and six-speed auto returns 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway. How much do you think the eight-speed will improve those figures? Scroll down for the official press blast from General Motors, and then head into Comments.

Continue reading GM confirms 2015 Silverado, Sierra to get 8-speed automatic

Read more..

Ram to go on a Rampage with new small pickup?

07/16/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Trucks/Pickups, Commercial Trucks, FIAT, Ram

Fiat Strada Rampage Prototype

When people look back at today's automotive industry, what do you think they'll remember us for? The emergence of hybrids? Ever more expensive and exotic supercars? The dawn of the self-driving car? All likely scenarios, but so is the blurring of lines between one bodystyle and another, giving rise to hardtop convertible coupes and crossovers of every shape and size. But one bodystyle the North American auto industry has stayed largely away from in the past couple of decades is a car nose and chassis with a pickup bed.

It's a bodystyle immortalized by the Chevrolet El Camino, but with few exceptions, we haven't seen too many of these automotive platypuses in recent years on our turf. Subaru tried with the Baja and the low-volume Honda Ridgeline soldiers along largely unchanged, but the genre's biggest adherents are still Down Under, where ute versions of the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon live. With a few other examples scattered to the four corners of the earth, that's really about it. But if these spy shots are anything to go by, it looks like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could be working to bring it back.

Spied undergoing testing in Michigan, what we appear to be looking at is a heavily disguised Fiat Strada being prepared - like the Fiat Ducato-based Ram ProMaster and the smaller Doblo-based ProMaster City - for Stateside duty as a Ram product. The Strada, for those unfamiliar, is a product of Fiat Automóveis in Brazil and is based on the Palio economy car. The nameplate has been around South America since 1996 and was originally designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro (long before Volkswagen monopolized his talents), and takes a more rugged approach in the form of the Strada Adventure.

The test mule pictured here (said by our spy shutterbugs on the scene to be packing a diesel and a stick) is obviously wearing some heavy body cladding, but that in and of itself - along with its presence in Auburn Hills near company headquarters with Michigan manufacturer plates - suggests something could be afoot. Of course, it's 100-percent possible that engineers are merely working on a foreign-market model at the company's US operations - especially with that drivetrain combination - but past rumors have hinted that the now-dead Dodge Dakota could come back as a different sort of vehicle. Most recently, it's been hinted that the project was shelved, possibly in favor of a Mitsubishi-based pickup, but that doesn't appear to be what we see here.

Whatever this is, it looks longer than a Strada, with a bigger bed and four proper doors instead of just two and appears to be riding higher on a jacked-up suspension - all presumably to meet North American tastes. Any taller and it'd look less like a ute and more like a truck... which may be good news to those who miss the Dakota, but in its present form, it looks more like a revival of the Rampage than anything else.

Read more..

2015 Ram Promaster City is ready to take a load off [w/videos]

06/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Minivans/MPVs, Commercial Trucks, Special/Limited Editions, Ram

2015 Ram ProMaster City Wagon

2015 Ram ProMaster City Tradesman CargoThere are a few segments of the auto industry that are growing rapidly. Weirdly, though, one of the most notable is the compact cargo van market. What use to be the sole terrain of the Ford Transit Connect and the occasional Dodge Grand Caravan-based Ram C/V Tradesman is becoming a notable battleground. Nissan has dove headfirst into the market with its NV200, which will also be sold as a Chevrolet City Express and Ford recently released a heavily redesigned, more user friendly Transit Connect. Now, Ram is releasing its entry into the compact cargo segment.

Like the Transit Connect and NV, the all-new Ram ProMaster City is billed as a diet version of the full-sized workhorse van, the ProMaster. Also like its big brother, the 2015 ProMaster City is based off a commercial offering from Fiat Professional, the Doblò (the full-size ProMaster is based on the Fiat Ducato).

But while the ProMaster gets a pair of six-cylinder engines and a wide array of wheelbase and roof heights, the ProMaster City is simpler. The sole engine choice is the familiar 2.4-liter, Tigershark four-cylinder that's found in the vehicles Fiat Chrysler's compact-wide platform, such as the Chrysler 200, Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee. Power output sits at 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque. According to Ram, the ProMaster City boasts class-leading output and can sprint to 60 in 9.8 seconds. Perhaps knowing that's a ridiculous stat in a cargo van, Ram also cites a more useful 3.7-second run from zero to 30 miles per hour. The Tigershark sends its power through a nine-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels.

There will be two configurations when the ProMaster City arrives in dealerships - the Tradesman Cargo and the Wagon. The former is a classic, two-seat cargo van with 131.7 cubic feet of cargo volume, which spans 60.4-inches wide and 87.2-inches deep. Moreover, there's 48.8 inches between the rear wheel wells. The 60/40-split doors can be opened to 180 degrees when necessary, although they only open to 90 degrees unless a release is pushed.

Regardless of its purpose, these doors come standard, along with a pair of sliding doors on both driver and passenger sides. For the passenger version of the van, a 60/40-split folding bench seat takes some of the cargo volume up. Still, there's about four-feet of depth when the seats are up and six feet when flipped up.

Take a look below for the official press release from Ram, as well as a quick pair of videos, the first of which is an overview of the new ProMaster City while the second video covers the history of Dodge/Ram vans. Scroll down and have a look.

Continue reading 2015 Ram Promaster City is ready to take a load off [w/videos]

Read more..

Pages:  1   2   3    ..