Lots of American Muscle news today, with still more Le Mans news/drama.
Dodge Tells Dealers ‘Whats-Up’ with Demon Allocation Plan
Dodge has been incredibly serious in keeping the new Dodge Demon halo-car affordable for the well-to-do everyman. Despite being the fastest production vehicle in the quarter mile, as well as the first factory car to pop a wheelie, the Demon’s MSRP—including destination and gas guzzler tax—comes in at a relatively low $84,995. Serious options such as seats or the Demon’s Performance Crate—required to unlock full potential—ring in at a nice-to-see $1. Despite all of this, Hellcat production has shown us that mark-ups will certainly incur.
FCA has learned from the past and as Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT—FCA North America, says
“We’ve taken that information and created an allocation plan that is clear and concise, builds on Demon’s position as the Dodge//SRT halo and makes it easy for our customers to understand how they can put a Demon into their garage and, ultimately, out on the drag strip.”
This allocation plan is genius in its simplicity: the lower the price of the car sold, the higher priority that order will be given in production and delivery. Those closest, or below, MSRP will receive the earliest Demons. Combined with the fact that dealers and customers must sit down, agree on a price, discuss the details of the allocation plan, sign a document, get it notarized, and submit it to the Demon Concierge (how cool?) for approval for one of the 3,000 Demons in America, the chance of dealer mark-up is being fought by Dodge at every opportunity.
Demon orders open today, June 21st, 2017. Look for them soon.
Updated 2018 Mustang GT: 7,500 RPM Redline?
Ford has already shown its updated 2018 Mustang to mixed reviews on their stylistic choices (as shown in header), as well as detailing the availability of their MagneRide magnetorheological adaptive dampers, which used to be unique to the Shelby GT350. Now, photos from an early photo shoot with the car seem to show another technological development: a raised redline of 500 rpm, from 7,000 to 7,500. Previous photos released by Ford itself seem to confirm this, while the new port and direct fuel injection may enable the safe raising of the redline.
Look for the 2018 Mustang later this year.
Tesla’s Gigafactory Has Begun Production
Having broken ground three years ago outside of Reno, Nevada, Tesla’s Gigafactory has reportedly begun production of batteries. These batteries are being built solely to power Tesla’s entry into the mass-market, the Model 3, with annual production expected to reach 500,000 units—along with Tesla’s Powerwalls and Powerpacks. This production news was confirmed by Tesla cofounder JB Straubel at the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s 28th Annual Energy Fair, when he said production had started, “right now”.
These batteries are key to the Model 3’s $35,000 price tag, with cars expected to ship at the end of 2018.
Ford Production Updates: Trucks and Focus’ (Foci?)
Ford has announced updated production plans for various models throughout its lineup over the coming years. First among this is the announcement that the production of new Expeditions and Lincoln Navigators necessitate a $900M investment at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant. This investment not only secures sufficient model production, but also secures 1000 jobs at the factory.
In further cost-saving measures, Ford has announced that the next Focus for America will no longer be produced in Mexico and Michigan, as it currently is, with production instead slated to move to China. The movement of the Michigan production line will not affect any American jobs, as the line will be converted to Ranger and Bronco production, both coming out in 2018. Mexican jobs will be affected, as a planned new plant in San Luis Potosi has been cancelled, and production is leaving an existing plant in Hermosillo, Mexico.
This move saves Ford a planned $1B, and should have no adverse effect on production levels.
Thumbs Up in Pit Cost Toyota its LMP1 Car
In still-more Le Mans news, it has emerged that Toyota’s record-setting, pole-sitting #7 LMP1 car piloted by Kamui Kobayashi may have been taken out by a misunderstood thumbs up of encouragement. The incident begins when the #7 car is in its Pit during a safety lap. As it was not safe for him to leave, he was waiting for a signal to go. When a competitor, LMP2 driver Vincent Capillaire, came over to give him a thumbs up of encouragement, his racing suit at night looked like a safety marshal, and Kobayashi took it as a signal to go.
Immediate confusion broke out over the team radio, as they called their driver back; it was not safe for him to leave still due to the safety cars on track. Kobayashi was forced to stop and the confusion caused a few more stops and starts before he finally set off for real. These stuttering motions were not designed into the driveline, and it is thought that the clutch failure suffered by the #7 car shortly thereafter occurred because of the incident.
Capillaire expressed his regret, stressing that his action was a genuine act of encouragement to a driver having a fantastic race. Despite this, he admits the inappropriateness of his spontaneous action, accepting a fine by race stewards.
I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.