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Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Unless you've been living in an off-the-grid cabin in the woods for the last couple of weeks or abstain entirely from social media activities, you've probably seen someone you know dump a bucket of ice and water over their own head recently. While the origins of the so-called Ice Bucket Challenge are shrouded in a history typical of Internet memes, its effectiveness in raising money and awareness for the ALS Association has been astonishing.
Celebrities from the worlds of entertainment, sports, technology and more have generated untold millions of video views in support of the organization that is helping patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease), and generated a much needed influx of cash, as well. Recent reports have some $15.6M raised in the last two weeks.
Of course, the big-hearted world of automotive celebrities has taken part in the drenching charity effort as well. Follow on below for some of the biggest names on four wheels getting iced for charity, with a smattering of your favorite Autobloggers thrown in for good measure.
Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic storm in US history, and its total economic impact is just now coming into view. According to Automotive News, Toyota, Chrysler, Nissan and Honda are set to scrap around 15,000 new vehicles ruined by the storm. Nissan alone accounts for about 40 percent of those, with 6,000 Nissan and Infiniti models deeded "un-saleable" due to damage. The company saw 56 dealerships shuttered due to the storm, but 51 of those have since reopened.
Toyota, meanwhile, had some 4,000 vehicles at its Newark port facility, and of those, 3,000 may be scrapped. An additional 825 were dealer inventory when they were ruined. Honda and Acura dealers are reportedly sending 3,440 vehicles to the salvage yard. By comparison, Chrysler weathered the storm fairly well with 825 units destroyed, while Hyundai suffered only 400 lost units and Kia scrapped around 200.
As you may recall, Fisker also suffered some losses, and Automotive News reports the manufacturer saw 320 Karma models damaged beyond repair. Ford and General Motors have yet to come up with estimates, and no automaker has commented on the full cost of replacing the vehicles.
Not only have we been told that the 2015 Ford F-150 is tougher, more durable and up to 700 pounds lighter than the current truck, Ford COO Mark Fields said it's also "CAFE-positive." That means, for the first time in the history of corporate average fuel economy standards, the F-150 would be a positive contributor on Ford's CAFE balance sheet instead of being a vehicle it needs to counterbalance with frugal offerings.
Fields' comments made at the Detroit Auto Show were among quotes from other Ford execs that confirmed the carmaker will be using aluminum for more of its vehicles. CEO Alan Mulally said it would "proliferate across our lineup," with speculation being that we'll see it applied to crossover and sport utility models first, since they'll benefit the most. Even gaining the massive scale of using aluminum on the world's best selling vehicle for its first effort - on average, the company sells two times as many F-150s in a single day as Land Rover sells of its aluminum Range Rover in a month - Ford will be looking to further spread the cost of its five-year development investment in aluminum technology. And that should mean better handling and fuel economy for those of us who don't need to wear hardhats at the office.