July 2017 Newsletter

July 2017 Newsletter

Ford Ranger to Reappear in North America?

A popular fleet pickup may soon be making a comeback.

Ford’s decision in 2011 to discontinue the Ranger—its midsize truck offering— disappointed a dedicated following of fleet operators in the US and Canada. Since then, the pickup segment has heated up…and stayed hot. In the Ranger’s absence, models such as Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado, and Nissan Frontier have filled the midsize market gap.

But the Ford entry didn’t completely disappear. A re-designed Ranger—produced in Thailand, South Africa, and Argentina—is in service everywhere but North America today.

At the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, Ford publicly announced that the new Ranger would be available in the US and Canada in 2019, with production taking place in Michigan. Configurations remain unclear, but a regular cab is probably not planned. Ford will improve headlights and other styling details, and will likely offer a range of engine options: conventional gasoline, Ecoboost, and possibly diesel.


Ford Ranger

Don’t judge a vehicle by its price…

Don’t select a car for your newly-minted driver based on price alone.

That’s the message from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in its recently published recommendations about the selection of used cars, especially for teens. IIHS notes that while 83% of parents purchase a used vehicle for a first set of wheels, many of these cars lack newer safety features. This choice can deprive drivers of the technology they need the most.

Key recommendations from IIHS:

  • Larger vehicles correlate with improved crash performance.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – standard since 2012 – is a “must-have.”
  • Review NHTSA safety ratings before buying a used car.

The latest update includes 49 "best choices," starting under $20,000, and 82 "good choices," starting under $10,000 for teens.

Australia and New Zealand’s safety advocate—the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, or ANCAP—taped a 40 mph partial-overlap crash test between two Toyota Corollas. One car was a 2015 model, and the other was from 1998. The video helps establish the importance of modern safety technology. Click here to watch video.


Gen Y and Z Embrace Tech-Assisted Driving

What’s more valuable in driving—experience…or an array of smart chips and sensors? How you answer the question has a lot to do with when you were born.

So says a JD Power study, reporting that more than half of Gen Y (56%) and Gen Z (55%) vehicle owners trust self-driving technology. But confidence in Autonomous Vehicles drops quickly with Gen X (41%), Baby Boomers (23%) and Pre-Boomers (18%).

Drivers in all age ranges show interest in tech-assisted features such as smart headlights, night vision, and predictive vehicle control. Among the key findings of the 2016 US Tech Choice Study:

Interest in Alternative Mobility Types Chart

Top 5 Most Desired Features, Pre-Price Chart

Technology & Safety: Federal Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technology Mandate Under Review

Avoiding collisions: Will tomorrow’s cars and trucks have the technology make it a reality?

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently concluded the comment period on a proposed rulemaking, weighing the pros and cons of Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) technology.

The proposed regulation, introduced in 2016 by the Obama Administration, would require manufacturers to install V2V technology on all vehicles within four years.


NHTSA received over 400 comments from interested businesses and groups by the April 2017 deadline. Most responses fell into one of two camps:

  • Proponents included both safety advocates and many vehicle manufacturers—who to date have spent over $1 billion developing V2V technology.
  • Opponents include telecommunications carriers who covet the radio bandwidth V2V technology would require; and free-market advocates who contend the fledgling technology has not evolved enough to warrant regulation.

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