In an effort to boost sales, Dodge has announced a special “Fuel Price Protection” program for their trucks.
Dodge’s latest marketing ploy is bad news for consumers.
Simply put, you get a special credit card when you buy a new Dodge (not every new Dodge, but most). You can use this credit card to buy fuel for $2.99 a gallon at any service station for three years following your date of purchase, regardless of the actual market price. Sounds great right? Everyone else is paying $4-$5 a gallon for gas (or diesel), but you’re only paying $2.99 (provided you buy normal 87 octane gas – they’re not paying for premium). Except for the fact that it’s really not that great of a deal.
Of the 42,000 traffic-related deaths each year, approximately 18,000 are said to be caused by alcohol. Considering most of these deaths (if not all) could be prevented, it makes sense to consider mandatory alcohol detection systems in all cars.
Studies have shown that current alcohol detection systems, known as interlock devices, do a great job of preventing drinking and driving. However, most consumers and manufacturers have resisted installing these systems in all cars. Vehicle manufacturers dislike interlock devices because of there bulk and expense. Consumers dislike them because they’re very intrusive. Many drivers (most of whom are responsible and sober) resent having to breath into an interlock device in order to start their car, and understandably so.
But what about a more passive system for detecting alcohol? No bulky breathing device, no expensive equipment. Just a simple set of completely passive sensors that keep people from drinking and driving. Technological advances in alcohol detection are making this idea a reality.
The new Ram hybrid won’t be available at all Dodge dealers.
Our recent post about the new Dodge Ram Hybrid got us thinking – what’s it going to be like to buy one of these things? According to a recent Automobile Magazine blog post, Chrysler doesn’t intend to sell many hybrid versions of the new Aspen/Durango hybrid. They’re even trying to limit the number of dealers that can stock the vehicle. The Ram hybrid shouldn’t be any different. Imagine going to your local Dodge dealer and being told “Sorry, we don’t stock the Ram hybrid. You’ll have to go somewhere else.” Crazy.
UPDATE: This story is no longer correct. When Chrysler filed bankruptcy in 2009, the partnership to develop Nissan pickups was dissolved. Nissan intends to debut their next-gen Titan in 2014, which will likely include an HD version with an available diesel engine.
…original story continued…
There’s lots of exciting news that’s come out in the last two days from the Chrysler corporation. First of all, the Dodge Ram 1500 will be offered as a hybrid in 2010. Secondly, Chrysler and Nissan will be collaborating on future products – specifically Chrysler will be making the next Nissan Titan – basing it off the Ram. Check out the poorly photo-shopped picture to the right..
Ram Hybrid Notes:
- The new Ram Hybrid will use the same battery pack and technology as the hybrid versions of the full size Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen.
- The new Ram Hybrid will use a large NiMH battery pack in conjunction with the MDS (multi-displacement) 5.7 Hemi. That means it will run in 4-cylinder mode on the highway and in hybrid 8 cylinder mode in the city.
- Based on that assessment, towing and hauling capacity – a normal limitation of hybrid vehicles – should be solid. Just don’t expect gas mileage to be substantially better while towing and hauling than the current Ram.
- The hybrid Aspen/Durango is expected to rate at 19mpg city, 18mpg highway. The hybrid Ram should be about the same. Conservatively driven, you might be able to average 20mpg. Not bad for a full-size truck.
New Ram-based Nissan Titan Notes:
- The new Titan will be based off the Dodge Ram and assembled at a Chrysler plant in Mexico.
- According to the press release, the next gen Titan will be based off the Ram but will be “Nissan designed.” Considering the Ram’s recent redesign, we find that very hard to believe.
- The new “Nissan Ram” – cough – Titan, will be released in 2011.
- The current Nissan Titan plant in Canton, Mississippi will stop building the Titan in and will be re-tasked to build a new line of commercial trucks.
More and more, we’re thinking Toyota dropped the ball when they decided to kill the hybrid Tundra for the immediate future. When they backed off developing the hybrid Tundra for 2010-2011, they handed technological leadership off to their rivals. Perhaps the reasoning was that the new Tundra diesel will get 20mpg, therefore making a hybrid Tundra (assuming similar performance) unnecessary. That would support the theory that the new Tundra diesel will have a medium sized engine – about 4.5L. That would be the only way to get that kind of mileage. Still, if Toyota expects to maintain their lead in technology, they should be first to market.
As for the new Nissan Ram, we’re guessing there are a lot of really mad Nissan owners right now. Nissan has basically abandoned their own design – not a very good endorsement of the product. Titan owners – feel free to chime in.
Here’s irony for you – a New Zealand man, tired of being ticketed for not wearing a safety belt (he’d been clipped for this offense about 30 times), decided to create a fake seatbelt that he could wear to convince the police that he was actually wearing his safety belt. You guessed it – he later died in a car accident. Had he been wearing an actual safety belt (rather than a clever fake), he’d probably be alive. Thanks to Jalopnik for finding this one.
Maybe all those mandatory safety belt laws aren’t so bad after all.
Nano technology is your friend, and we can prove it. Check out this wiperless windshield. Wonder what that costs? Also, can you imagine how expensive it will be to replace? We’re thinking this isn’t going on a truck anytime soon…
Ford’s super cool Sync system (which costs $28 to make, but costs $395 to buy), is going to be available on a new yet-to-be-disclosed brand of cars. Could Toyota begin offering this feature next year? If so, will they be charging an arm and a leg for it (like Ford has done)? Keep in mind the $30 cost estimate doesn’t include licensing Microsoft’s software engine.