Auto blogThu, 23 Jan 2014 16:04:00 EST
Super Bowl XLVIII is barely a week away, and some of the early ads are already leaking out. It's timely then that The Street has released rankings of the top five Super Bowl advertisers since 2009, showing Chrysler and Hyundai/Kia taking two of the spots with $131.7 million in cumulative spending.
Since 2010, the cost to air a 30-second Super Bowl ad has risen from $3 million in 2009 to about $4 million in 2014, and about a fifth of advertisers opt for a one-minute ad, which doubles costs. Last year, the ads brought in $292 million, and they have brought in roughly $2 billion since 2010.
Chrysler has spent $64.3 million since 2009 to make it the fourth highest spending company in the last five years. In that time, the company has rebranded itself as it emerged from bankruptcy with the Imported from Detroit ad campaign that premiered in 2011 and last year's God Made a Farmer Ram Trucks ad. Its 2012 Halftime in America sparked national debate about whether it was also a reference to the upcoming presidential election.
Throughout the last half of the 20th Century and extending into the 21st, our country has had an on-again, off-again love affair with redneck culture. Urban Cowboy begot The Dukes of Hazzard which bled into the Ernest movies, which, in turn, paved the way for the long locks of Joe Dirt and Kid Rock. These days Duck Dynasty is the ignoble standard bearer for the hillbilly way of life - a group that would undoubtedly feel right at home in the latest offering from Ram, the 2014 Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition.
Custom designed for the hunters, fishers and other outdoors-folks that make up the Ram customer base (according to the company's press release) the latest instantiation of the Mossy Oak boasts a liberal daubing of camouflage. The camo rides on top of your choice of Black, Black Gold Pearl, Prairie Pearl and with either a Canyon Brown or Frost Beige interior. All of the Mossy Oak Edition trucks are 4X4s with a Crew Cab body, perfect for hauling your hunting buddies out into the wild places of the world.
Fashionable redneck culture doesn't come cheap apparently; the Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition starts at $39,985 with a $1,195 destination fee.
New monster trucks seem to join the Monster Jam circuit every year, but it's not often that one gets the official blessing of an automaker. That's about to change, however, as Chrysler's truck division has teamed up once again with Hall Brothers Racing - which already fields the championship-winning Raminator and Rammunition trucks - to field the series' first new Original Equipment Manufacturer monster truck in over a decade.
Dubbed Mopar Muscle, the new Ram monster truck will debut at the Monster Jam in Detroit on Saturday at Ford Field, at the first of six such events in which Mike Miller (who, incidentally, named his son Hemi) will drive the truck throughout the year.
Here's what you need to know: Based on a 2014 Ram HD pickup (or at least made to look like one), Mopar Muscle stands 10 feet tall and weighs over 10,000 pounds, and it's powered by the legendary Gen II 426 Hemi that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. But instead of leaving the massive 7.0-liter engine as is, Hall Brothers Racing enlarged it to 565 cubic inches - a mind-boggling 9.3 liters - and supercharged it to 2,000 horsepower. That's a whole lot of muscle no matter what it's packed into. Check it out in our high-res image gallery above. You can also check out the full schedule of events in the press release below to see if the truck is coming to your area this year.
Among all the debuts at the Detroit Auto Show next week, Ram will remove the ghillie-suit veil from its 2014 Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition, but the truck's bigger - and more fitting - debut will take place later in the week at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas. The new Mossy Oak Edition is aimed at hunting, camping and fishing enthusiasts, and it will go on sale within the next couple of months with a base price of $39,985, not including $1,195 for destination.
With plenty of accolades already in the bag for 2013 (including Motor Trend Truck of the Year and Truck of Texas), the 2014 Ram 1500 is definitely getting plenty of attention, and the new camouflage job from Mossy Oak should help get a few more eyeballs on this truck. Starting with the Ram 1500 4x4 Crew Cab Outdoorsman, this special edition is only offered in three exterior colors - Black, Black Gold or Prairie Pearl (shown above) - to go with the Mossy Oak camouflage along the lower edges of the body as well as the upper edge of the cargo bed. Unlike the previous Mossy Oak Edition (2011-2012), buyers can now opt for the innovative RamBox system in which to store plenty of hunting, camping and fishing gear.
Inside, there's more camo on the center stack and door panels, and the headrests are embroidered with the Mossy Oak logo. Like the Outdoorsman, the Mossy Oak Edition comes standard with cloth seats in two available colors, but it adds in a new option: Katzkin leather in Espresso Tuscany with the Mossy Oak logo embroidered into the seatbacks. Scroll down for more information on the 2014 Ram 1500 Mossy Oak Edition.
What do the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Ram 1500 all have in common? Yes, they're all Chrysler products, and two of them are based on the same platform. And we're sure you could find more similarities between them all, but the common trait we're looking at here is that, while they all come standard in rear-drive form, they're also available with all-wheel drive. And it's the transmission in those models that's the subject of the latest recall notice issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The output shaft on the eight-speed automatic transmission supplied by ZF to Chrysler for the AWD versions of the 300, Charger and Ram 1500 is apparently prone to fracture. That in the end could leave the vehicle without power and could, according to the NHTSA investigation, increase the chance of a crash. The vehicle could also roll away if even if left in Park without the handbrake applied.
That's why Chrysler is calling in 4,194 examples of those three models from the 2013 model year. Dealers will be responsible for inspecting the transmissions and, where necessary, replace the entire unit. See the full recall notice below for all the details.
With the Car and Driver Ten Best decided, the North American Car and Truck of the Year finalists announced and Cadillac, Ram and Subaru chalking up wins with Motor Trend, it's fair to say that the automotive awards season is in full swing. The next set of trophies to be handed out will be from Ward's Automotive, which has announced the winners of its 2014 10 Best Engines.
The latest contest was marked by the widespread emergence of diesel power and the continued success of turbocharged engines. There was even an electric motor on this year's list. In fact, only three of the ten winners were naturally aspirated and only two winners returned from last year.
"We weren't looking to throw the bums out, as they might say about an election. We were just really impressed with the flood of new powertrains," said Ward's Automotive Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter. Those new powertrains include the 83-kilowatt electric motor from the Fiat 500e, the 1.0-liter, EcoBoost three-cylinder from the Ford Fiesta and the 2.0-liter turbodiesel from the Chevrolet Cruze.
For the first time ever, Motor Trend has named a back-to-back winner of its Truck of the Year competition, handing the crown to last year's winner, the Ram 1500. Ram's entry to the pickup battle bested a range of new or heavily improved models, including its big brothers, the Ram Heavy Duty and Ram ProMaster van.
Other contenders included the twins from General Motors, the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, the Toyota Tundra, the Ford Transit Connect, the Nissan NV200 and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Just how did a truck that technically hit the market in 2012 best a range of vehicles from 2013? With new technology.
MT wasn't testing the same Ram it tested in last year's competition - it was driving the new EcoDiesel V6, complete with an eight-speed automatic transmission. When ran through the battery of testing, the torquey diesel Ram proved to be the victor for its ample torque and excellent fuel economy, while the team at Motor Trend also highlighted its air suspension and overall sense of style and luxury.
As Sergio Marchionne flies back and forth between Turin and Auburn Hills, he doesn't just bring Chryslers back with him to Italy to sell as Lancias. He also brings Fiat products to sell Stateside under various Chrysler labels, chief among them Ram.
The former Dodge truck brand launched the Fiat Ducato as the Ram ProMaster earlier this year, giving it a greater foothold in the commercial vehicle market and a replacement for the Sprinter which Mercedes-Benz took back from its Chrysler-partnership days. Now Auburn Hills has announced that Ram will begin selling the Fiat Doblo on this side of the Atlantic as the Ram ProMaster City.
The Doblo, which was twice named International Van of the Year, has sold over 1.3 million units worldwide. Whether that includes the rebadged version which Vauxhall and Opel sell as the Combo is another matter, as is the question over how much longer Fiat and General Motors will continue that particular partnership as the ties between Fiat and Chrysler deepen.
One of the more curious developments at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week was the return of the Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck. General Motors ended production of the Colorado and its cousin, the GMC Canyon, early last year. At the time, the decision seemed to be the final curtain for small and midsize domestic pickups, as it followed Ford's decision to kill the Ranger and Chrysler's decision to end production of the Dodge Dakota.
Bigland argues the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is essentially competing for the same buyers as the Colorado.
Does Chevy's revival of the Colorado mean a new dawn for the segment overall? Yes and no. The Colorado's reinvention essentially provides a peek at how automakers tackle the same problem in two different ways. GM's approach is to create a new midsize pickup. Chrysler's approach, on the other hand, would seem to focus more on the prospective buyer than the product itself.
American Expedition Vehicles showed off its simply named Ram Concept at this year's SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Starting with a 2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab and a 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel, the Michigan-based team at AEV, which has made a name for itself building ultra-capable Jeeps, promises that this Ram is a "complete vehicle package."
As part of that "complete vehicle package," the AEV Ram has been lifted three inches in front and two in the back, in order to give it a level ride. The suspension tweaks don't end there, though, as the geometry has been changed and custom shocks fitted, while AEV modified the truck's steering to make it more precise.
It rides on massive BF Goodrich rubber and 17-inch AEV wheels. The front bumper is from stamped steel and can accommodate a winch and auxiliary lights, as needed. Other body mods include flared fenders that can handle the larger rubber.