Automotive News


NorthAmerican-130

As you may or may not know (Really, you don’t know?), AutoAcademics’ prime media outlet is YouTube (www.youtube.com/autoacademics) where we post all of our informative and entertaining automotive reviews.  However, when Toyota invited us to take a tour of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (TMMTX) in San Antonio recently, we had to oblige, as this plant specifically makes both the midsize Tacoma and full-size Tundra pickup trucks.  And while I will not get into the full history, this plant sits on the same site as what used to be the oldest working ranch in Texas (est. 1794) and is also what the Tundra 1794 Edition trim designation is based upon.

This wasn’t the first time AutoAcademics had been invited on a plant tour.  Any number of times we’ve gazed upon the massively expansive buildings as we approach from a quarter of a mile away.  They tempt your curiosity to see what is inside, yet at the same time warn those without special invitation to keep their distance, as the fencing, and much smaller and manned guard house come into view.

Once inside, we’ve also experienced the housekeeping process where we learn of what we can, and IMG_1783more importantly cannot do while inside the plant.  In this case, all forms of recording devices were off limits.  This included cameras, camcorders, and cell phones.  Thankfully pen and paper were allowed, because my use of mnemonic devices is not all that good.

On this particular tour with Toyota, we saw the graceful, yet noisy ballet of robots, each choreographed to its own song, taking this from here and putting it there; or attaching these together to make one of those.  There were vehicles travelling throughout the 2.2 million square feet of workspace, some piloted by humans and others by magnetic strips along the floors, but all were honking or making some other type of noise to announce their intentions at that moment.  We’ve seen this before.

What I, personally, hadn’t seen before was the paint facility.  Because it is a clean room, visitors typically are not allowed inside, yet for some reason we were permitted entry.  We were asked to take special precautions because automotive paint is VERY sensitive to certain types of chemicals.  Silicone, dimethicone, and pretty much any other chemical that ended with “–cone” were on the “refrain from using” list.  So this meant we had to check and, if necessary, replace our deodorants, hair products, lotions, colognes and after shaves – pretty much all of the stuff that helps us look and smell pretty.  I figured if the plant workers could do it, so could I, although I was a little apprehensive making such changes in the summer heat of San Antonio.  Thankfully, my new “–cone-free” deodorant worked.

2NorthAmerican-18This particular plant runs almost 24 hours a day for two shifts, six days a week.  The facility is closed on Sundays for maintenance.  With a production run of 200k trucks per year (60% Tacomas) TMMTX is running pretty much at capacity.  So in order to keep up with demand, Toyota plans to meet a production goal of 260k trucks by the end of 2016.  Obviously, the only way this can be accomplished is via mandatory overtime.  Yet something tells me the team members required to take up the slack are ok with that.  Let me explain.

During the recession in 2008, when sales of pretty much everything were down, layoffs became the unfortunate norm, but not at TMMTX.  Even though the plant had just opened five years earlier and was shut down for the only time in its history from August to November of 2008, not a single plant worker was let go.  All team members continued to report to their (adapted?) shifts, training on the lines.  When that got old, they took their skills outside the plant walls and worked in the community, assisting family, friends, and strangers alike, during a time when many needed it most.  And all the while, Toyota continued to pay them.

You see, while Toyota is a Japanese-owned company, it has a vested interest in Texas, as well as North America, as a whole.  The manufacturer has a significant impact on no less than 15 states, making everything from engines and transmissions, to suspension parts, to 70% of the total vehicles that it sells, through its network of 1,500 Toyota and Lexus dealers, in the United States.  What Toyota doesn’t make, such as lighting, HVAC systems, brake components and other electronics, it purchases from suppliers right here in the U.S.

2NorthAmerican-129

3,200 people are currently employed at TMMTX’s main plant, with a total of 7,000 people (vendors, suppliers, etc.) on the site’s 2000 acres.  There are 16 variations of the Tacoma and 25 of the Tundra made at this plant, and a new truck comes off the line every 60 seconds, equating to approximately 3,500 trucks in just 3-1/2 days.  Those are some rather impressive stats, and while I’ve been on a number of tours, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas in San Antonio appears to be more than just a plant.  It’s a member of the community.

 

Check out some of my live posts during the tour experience below:

A visit to the “Alamo” in a 2016 Toyota Tacoma Limited

 

Exploring Mission de Concepcion in a 2016 Toyota Corolla

 

Outside the Alamodome in a 2016 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

 

Take a look at AutoAcademics’ video update of the 2016 Toyota Tundra 1794 Edition.

 

LIKE AutoAcademics on Facebook, FOLLOW AutoAcademics on Twitter, and by all means, SUBSCRIBE to AutoAcademics‘ YouTube channel.  Thanks!

20160623_132331

If you aren’t currently the proud owner of a shiny new 2017 25th Anniversary Limited-edition Dodge Viper, yet would still like to buy one, you’d better set your alarm for mid-July, as 31 more will be made and put on sale at that time.  Hopefully you like snakeskin,  the color green, and huge wings because the most aggressively-styled ACR is what’s left.  Dodge announced the demise of the current-gen Viper last October due to paltry sales.

Officially, the all-new ACR version of the Snakeskin Edition will include a custom snakeskin-patterned SRT stripe, ACR Package, Extreme Aero Package, carbon ceramic brakes, ACR interior, serialized instrument panel Snakeskin badge, and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer’s name above the driver’s side door.

While speaking last week with Ralph Gilles, Head of Design for Fiat/Chrysler and former President and CEO of SRT, at the Chelsea Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Michigan, he stated that they [Dodge] would make more [Vipers] if people bought them.  Seems as though Mr. Gilles held true to his word because all of the initial 206 special-edition Vipers sold in less than a week after they went on sale last Friday.

Four variations were made – 1:28 Edition ACR, VoooDoo II Edition ACR, Snakeskin Edition GTC, and GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR.  The 1:28 ACR led the spree, selling out in just 40 minutes.  This is not surprising, however, as production of these cars was kept to very low numbers with only 31 units of the 1:28 Edition ACR available.  Numbers like those all but ensure that some of these cars will be prized on an auction block 20 or 30 years from now.

So are you feeling lucky?  Or maybe you’re feeling fast?  Well, you’ll probably need to be a bit of both to get your hands on one of the 31 upcoming Snakeskin Edition ACRs.  Good luck!

Here’s an overview video of the 2017 Dodge Viper Special Editions:

 

Contact http://www.autoacademics.net for more info or to schedule a test drive near you.

LIKE AutoAcademics on Facebook, FOLLOW AutoAcademics on Twitter, and by all means SUBSCRIBE to AutoAcademics’ YouTube channel.  Thanks!

You can read the official press release below:

Dodge Viper 25th Anniversary Limited-edition Models Sold Out

In Response to Customer Requests New Snakeskin ACR Added to Special-edition Viper Lineup

  • 1:28 Edition ACR (American Club Racer) – all 28 units sold out within 40 minutes
  • VoooDoo II Edition ACR – all 31 units sold out within two hours
  • Snakeskin Edition GTC – all 25 units sold out within two ordering days
  • GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR – all 100 units sold out within two ordering days
  • Orders for the 2017 limited-edition models opened on Friday, June 24
  • Responding to customer requests, Dodge is introducing Snakeskin ACR Edition and will build as many as 31 units
June 30, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Dodge Vipers certainly do go fast, both literally and figuratively. After first going on sale Friday, June 24, 206 special-edition 2017 Dodge Vipers designed with exclusive content to celebrate the 25th anniversary and final year of Viper production are totally sold out.

Leading the selling spree was the new 1:28 Edition ACR. All 28 units sold out in just 40 minutes. All 31 units of the VoooDoo II Edition ACRs had new owners within two hours. The Snakeskin Edition GTC (25 units) and GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR (100 units) took only two ordering days to sell out. All 22 units of the Dodge Dealer Edition ACR sold out within five ordering days.

“From just 40 minutes to five days, the 25th Anniversary special-edition Dodge Vipers sold out incredibly fast, insuring their future collectability,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “Our customers are asking, so we’re adding one more special edition — the Dodge Viper Snakeskin ACR.”

An all-new ACR version of the Snakeskin Edition will be made available with up to 31 units to continue the 25th Viper Anniversary celebration. Orders for the Snakeskin ACR special edition will open in mid-July.

New 2017 Viper Snakeskin Edition ACR

  • Color was inspired by the original 2010 Snakeskin ACR
  • Features new Snakeskin Green exterior with a custom snakeskin-patterned SRT stripe, ACR Package, Extreme Aero Package, carbon ceramic brakes, ACR interior, serialized instrument panel Snakeskin badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • As many as 31 units of this new special-edition configuration will be produced for 2017
  • Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original Snakeskin Viper ACR were built in 2010

As one of the most unique and exotic high-performance machines on the road today, Dodge announced on June 21 that the brand is honoring the Viper’s rich, colorful and exceptional performance heritage on and off the track by building these limited-edition models in the following exclusive configurations:

Viper 1:28 Edition ACR – 28 units sold out within 40 minutes

  • Pays tribute to the current production car single lap record of 1:28.65 set by champion driver Randy Pobst in a 2016 Dodge Viper ACR at historic Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Calif., in October 2015
  • Features black exterior and painted rear wing with red ACR stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, 1:28 Edition exterior sill decal, ACR interior with red accent stitching, serialized instrument panel 1:28 Edition badge, along with a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • Looking back in Viper history: Using the same track record theme, Dodge previously produced 33 units of the 2010 Viper ACR 1:33 Edition to tout its previous track record of 1:33.915 set by SRT dynamics engineer Chris Winkler at Laguna Seca Raceway in November 2009

Viper VoooDoo II Edition ACR – 31 units sold out within two hours

  • Modeled after the original 2010 Viper VoooDoo edition
  • Features black exterior and graphite metallic ACR driver’s stripe with red tracer outline, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, VoooDoo II exterior sill decals, ACR interior with silver accent stitching, serialized instrument panel VoooDoo II badge and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original VoooDoo Viper ACR were built in 2010

Viper Snakeskin Edition GTC – 25 units sold out within two ordering days

  • Color was inspired by the original 2010 Snakeskin ACR
  • Features new Snakeskin Green exterior with a custom snakeskin-patterned SRT stripe, Advanced Aerodynamics Package, GT black interior, serialized instrument panel Snakeskin badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • Looking back in Viper history: 31 units of the original Snakeskin Viper ACR were built in 2010

Viper GTS-R Commemorative Edition ACR – 100 units sold out within two ordering days

  • Designed to pay tribute to one of the most distinguishable and iconic Viper paint schemes of all time – the white-and-blue combination of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GT2 Championship Edition
  • Features Pearl White exterior with Blue Pearl GTS stripes, Extreme Aero Package, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Exterior Carbon Package, unique red Stryker badge decal, GTS-R exterior sill decals, USA flag B-pillar decals, ACR interior with red accent stitching, Header Red seat belts, serialized instrument panel GTS-R badge and a custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • Looking back in Viper history: 100 units of the 1998 Viper GTS-R GTS Championship Edition were produced to commemorate the Viper winning the 1997 FIA GT2 championship

Dodge Dealer Edition ACR – 22 units sold out within five ordering days

  • Available exclusively through Dodge’s highest sales volume Viper dealers, Tomball Dodge of Tomball, Texas, and Roanoke Dodge of Roanoke, Ill.
  • Features Viper White exterior with Competition Blue center stripe, Adrenaline Red driver stripe, Carbon Ceramic brakes, Extreme Aero Package, ACR interior with red accent stitching and custom car cover that matches the exterior paint scheme and showcases the customer name above the driver’s side door
  • Serialized instrument panel ACR badge

Industry-first ‘1 of 1’ Viper Customization Program Continues
Continuing for the 2017 model year is the exclusive Viper “1 of 1” customization program that enables buyers to create their one-of-a-kind “Snake” from the ground up. With 16,000 exterior color options, including matte exterior finishes, 24,000 custom stripe colors, 11 wheel options, 16 interior trims and seven aero packages, three brake packages and four suspension options, there are more than 50 million ways for buyers to customize their one-of-a-kind Dodge Viper. Each “1 of 1” model Viper features a personalized instrument panel badge with customer’s chosen name to commemorate their exclusive design. No two customers can order the same configuration, including color, in the same model year.

ACR Model Returns as Ultimate Street-legal Racer
The Dodge Viper ACR returns in 2017 as the indisputable “ultimate street-legal race car” with significant aerodynamic and suspension upgrades. Relaunched in 2016, the third edition (1999-2002, 2008-2010) of the Viper ACR has taken the performance car world by storm with more track records than any production car in the world — a total of 13 road course lap records as certified by the Sports Car Club of America.

About Viper
All 2017 Dodge Vipers are powered by the iconic all-aluminum 8.4-liter V-10 engine that delivers 645 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque — the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports car engine in the world. Standard safety features include electronic multistage stability control, traction control and a new four-channel anti-lock brake system.

Since 1992, Dodge and SRT have built approximately 30,000 Vipers at the Mack Avenue Assembly(1992–1994) and Conner Avenue Assembly Plant (1995–current), both in Detroit.

About Dodge Brand
The Dodge brand is America’s mainstream performance brand. With the purification of the brand and consolidation with SRT, Dodge is getting back to its performance roots with every single model it offers. The Dodge and SRT brands offer a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out within their own segments. Dodge is the “mainstream performance” brand and SRT is positioned as the “ultimate performance” halo of the Dodge brand, together creating a complete and balanced performance brand with one vision and one voice.

From muscle cars to compact cars, minivans, crossovers and full-size SUVs, the Dodge brand’s full lineup of 2016 models deliver best-in-class horsepower, class-exclusive technology, unmatched capability and a slew of cool features, such as LED headlamps, Dodge signature racetrack tail lamps, dual exhaust, 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment centers and 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable gauge clusters, to name a few. For the 2016 model year, customers will be able to drive the new 2016 Dodge Charger and Challenger, as well as the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat. The Dodge brand lineup also includes the Dodge Dart, Durango, Grand Caravan and Journey, including the Crossroad model, and its flagship, the Dodge Viper.

The 2015 Toyota Sienna Limited Premium has a lot of things, such as comfort, flexibility, and safety technology.  But does it truly have swagger like Toyota wants you to believe?  With gas prices lower once again and demand for crossovers and SUVs higher… uh, once again, do the minivan’s responsible capabilities still outweigh its domesticated stigma?  Or is the current-gen Toyota Sienna, with all its bells and whistles, actually a chic ride?  Watch as Chris foregoes his own “swagger wagon” on a family trip and tries to remain cool during his time in the Sienna.

Contact www.autoacademics.net for more info or to schedule a test drive near you.  LIKE us on Facebook, FOLLOW us on Twitter, and by all means SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. Thanks!

We all have memories and impressions of the Honda Civic.  It will forever be remembered as a small car that many of us experienced initially as a first car that provided reliable transportation to wherever we needed to go.  If it wasn’t your first car, then maybe it was a friend’s or family member’s.  Either way, it was rarely, if ever, a car that many aspired to own if money were no object.  We’d even venture to say that those with $25k-$30k might very likely choose something other than the Civic to spend that hard earned cash on.

Well, we’re here to tell you to forget all that you thought you knew about the Civic, because while it is still a small(-ish) mode of reliable transportation, it is also now much more than that.  And dare we say, worth that $25k+ price tag, too!  Don’t believe us?  Then check out AutoAcademics’ video review below and see for yourself.

Contact www.autoacademics.net for more info or to schedule a test drive near you.  LIKE AutoAcademics on Facebook, FOLLOW AutoAcademics on Twitter, and by all means SUBSCRIBE to AutoAcademics YouTube channel.  Thanks!

Let’s Talk Cars! Watch as AutoAcademics runs through the 7 best cars at the 2016 Atlanta International Auto Show.

Categories Judged:
Best Luxury Vehicle
Best Truck
Best SUV/Crossover
Best Green Vehicle
Best Performance Vehicle
Biggest Bang for the Buck
Judge’s Choice

Don’t forget to LIKE AutoAcademics on Facebook, FOLLOW AutoAcademics on Twitter, and SUBSCRIBE to AutoAcademics’ YouTube channel. Thanks!

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

ATLANTA — Journalists from the Greater Atlanta Automotive Media Association (GAAMA) previewed the 34th annual Atlanta International Auto Show and selected the best of show in several categories.

More than 400 new 2016 import and domestic cars, light trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles are on display at the Georgia World Congress Center, as well as several preproduction vehicles, cool cruisers and exotic and high performance cars.  The show runs through Sunday, March 13.

“It was a very exciting, diverse and eclectic selection of vehicles,” said incoming GAAMA President Christopher Lawrence, CEO of AutoAcademics, an automotive consultancy that aims to educate and assist consumers in making intelligent, unbiased, and logical automotive choices. “Every year we are excited and impressed by the new technology, sleek designs and powertrain efficiencies. The judges had a tough job and after much discussion, we selected the best in each category.”

The 2016 winners are:

Green:  2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

Luxury: 2017 Lexus LC 500

Performance:  2017 Acura NSX

Biggest Bang for the Buck: 2017 Hyundai Elantra

Truck:  2017 Ford F-Series Super Duty

SUV/Crossover: 2017 Infiniti QX30

Judges Choice: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

###

The objective of GAAMA is to further professionalism of the automotive media, provide a forum for newsworthy people and products connected with the automotive industry and to bring together people whose activities are related to the field of automotive journalism, public relations and related fields for the mutual benefit of all parties.

As you know, we at AutoAcademics love car shows and the season for exploring new products from auto manufacturers around the world is well under way!  Check out the latest from AutoAcademics’ friends at Automotive Rhythms:

What’s headed down the road at the 2016 Washington Auto Show? Well, Kimatni Rawlins, Leeann Brzozowski and Automotive Rhythms invite you behind the scenes to witness the latest technologies, luxuries and necessities shaping your new ride. We hope you are looking forward to next month when the best of international engineering convenes in the nation’s capital. So gear up and rev your emotions for the auto show in D.C. January 22nd via the 31st.

 

 

Kimatni D. Rawlins: Pres. & Pub.

KRaw@ARtvLive.com

Web / FacebookARtv / Instagram / Twitter / LinkedIn
PR Newswire “Sites We Like”

Next Page »