Commercial Break

Watch: New Jeep Gladiator commercial debuts during Thursday Night Football

Jeep is running a new Gladiator ad during NFL games.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Restless? Take a seat in a 2020 Jeep Gladiator. That's the theme of the new commercial the company debuted during the first NFL game of the 2019 season.

Called "Seats", the spot is meant to tug at the heartstrings of adventurers at heart by showing them what is capable when they're behind the wheel or riding in a Gladiator, the company's new midsize pickup truck.

"As the name evokes, our all-new Jeep Gladiator is meant for action, to conquer," said Marissa Hunter, Head of Marketing, FCA North America. "Whether you choose to go open-air, doors-off, through rock, sand, snow or the urban jungle, Jeep Gladiator's rugged utility and functionality is not meant for those in the spectator seats. Gladiator is 100% Jeep 4x4 and 100% truck. A game-changer that embodies the truest spirit of freedom – something only found in a Jeep vehicle."

Take a look at the new commercial:

2020 Jeep® Gladiator | Seats www.youtube.com

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is now available at dealerships nationwide. It has a starting MSRP of $33,545 and comes in four trim levels: Sport, Sport S, Overland, and Rubicon. It has an additional shipping charge of $1,495.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Chevrolet Suburban is just one of the models caught up in the recall.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

No automaker wants to have to recall its vehicles. But, they do so willingly (most of the time) in order to prevent a larger problem from presenting itself. Sometimes the repairs are immediately needed, like when there's an imminent fire risk, while other times they seem like they can be put off a bit, like when a sticker needs to be replaced on a door jamb. No matter the recall, buyers should act as soon as they receive notice of a recall on their vehicle.

Today, it was announced that approximately 7 million SUVs and trucks would be part of a recall regarding Takata airbag inflators. GM has been fighting the recall for four years.

In a statement, General Motors said:

"The safety and trust of those who drive our vehicles is at the forefront of everything we do at General Motors. Although we believe a recall of these vehicles is not warranted based on the factual and scientific record, NHTSA has directed that we replace the airbag inflators in the vehicles in question. Based on data generated through independent scientific evaluation conducted over several years, we disagree with NHTSA's position. However, we will abide by NHTSA's decision and begin taking the necessary steps."

The recall is part of a larger Takata airbag recall that has affected over 60 million Takata air bag inflators in tens of millions of vehicles in the United States alone.

To date, 18 people have been killed by rupturing Takata inflators in the U.S. The inflators have also caused hundreds of injuries, including lacerations and other serious injuries to occupants' face, neck, and chest areas.

The Takata airbag recall was initiated in 2015 when the company entered into a Consent Order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizing there was an issue with inflators installed in vehicles across 12 different automakers. A Coordinated Remedy was initiated that prioritized and phased the Takata recalls by vehicles most at risk to least at risk.

The automaker has been fighting the recall since shortly after the defect information report (DIR) was submitted, in May 2016. At that time, GM asked that the NHTSA defer its decision on the inconsequentiality of the inflators used by the company until GM was able to complete its testing and engineering analysis in August 2017. That request was granted due to the extraordinary circumstances of the recall.

GM and the NHTSA went back and forth with testing results and clarifications through 2018. A second DIR was filed by Takata in 2017, which triggered another filing by GM, this time a petition for exemption. The process repeated in 2018 and 2019, with GM looking to exempt all but a few of their models from the recall.

Those vehicles are "GMT900" models that contain "SPI YP" and "PSPI-L YD" inflator variants. The GMT900 is a General Motors-specific platform that underpins a number of light- and heavy-duty pickup trucks and SUVs including: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500, GMC Sierra 2500/3500, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Avalanche, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade, Cadillac Escalade ESV, and Cadillac Escalade EXT. The petition involves approximately 5.9 million model year 2007–2014 vehicles.

GM undertook a number of weathering, aging, and safety tests as part of its research into the recall. Those results were then submitted to the NHTSA.

According to the filing released this week regarding the petitions, a manufacturer does not have a "statutory obligation to conduct a recall for a defect unless and until it 'learns the vehicle or equipment contains a defect and decides in good faith that the defect is related to motor vehicle safety,' or NHTSA orders a recall by making a 'final decision that a motor vehicle or replacement equipment contains a defect related to motor vehicle safety.'"

It is because of this, that the NHTSA says that, "a manufacturer bears a heavy burden in petitioning NHTSA to determine that a defect related to motor vehicle safety (which necessarily involves an unreasonable risk of an accident, or death or injury in an accident) is nevertheless inconsequential to motor vehicle safety. In accordance with the plain meaning of 'inconsequential,' the manufacturer must show that a risk posed by a defect is not important or capable of being ignored."

GM was up against a steep hill to begin with. Of the three known occasions in which the NHTSA has previously considered petitions contending that a defect is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, the Agency has granted only one of the petitions. That action occurred nearly three decades ago, in what the Agency refers to as "a vastly different set of circumstances".

GM submitted thousands of pages of research and context to the NHTSA in support of their case as well as supporting testimony from an engineer who is an expert in airbag construction and safety.

Despite the efforts, the NHTSA determined that GM has not demonstrated that the defect is inconsequential to safety in the GMT900 vehicles. A number of reasons were given for the determination including that GM was unable to identify how the unique construction of the inflators in their vehicles made them less prone to rupture, how solar-insulating glass in the large cabin of the vehicles was decreasing the environmental impact on the inflators, and the small sample size of the inflators tested (just 0.07 percent of the total GMT900 population). GM also argued that replacing the inflators exposed owners to risk due to the possibility of improper dealership installation of the replacement inflator.

In its final decision, the NHTA said,

"The defect here poses an unsafe condition caused by the degradation of an important component of a safety device that is designed to protect vehicle occupants in crashes. Instead of protecting occupants, this propellant degradation can lead to an uncontrolled explosion of the inflator and propel sharp metal fragments toward occupants in a manner that can cause serious injury, including lacerations to the face, neck and chest, and even death. This unsafe condition—hidden in an air bag module—is not discernible even by a diligent vehicle owner, let alone an average owner.

"Moreover, nineteen manufacturers (including GM for other populations of their vehicles) have conducted similar recalls of other non-desiccated PSAN inflators. NHTSA has been offered no persuasive reason to think that without a recall, even if current owners are aware of the defect and instant petition, subsequent owners of vehicles equipped with GMT900 air bag inflators would be made aware of the issue.226 This is not the type of defect for which notice alone enables an owner to avoid the safety risk. A remedy is required."

Within 30 days of the date of this decision (November 20, 2020), GM shall submit to NHTSA a proposed schedule for the notification of GMT900 vehicle owners and the launch of a remedy required to fulfill those obligations.

To find out if your vehicle is part of a recall, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

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The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 has been added to the four-wheel drive family.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

It's perfectly balanced. The 470-horsepower, 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 also has 470 pound-feet of torque. That's a lot, but really the whole rig is a bit extra. Some might say it screams, "please don't buy a Bronco."

With typical Wrangler Rubicon looks on the outside, the Rubicon 392's big selling point is its engine. The 6.4-liter V8 can get from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep is equipping the Rubicon 392 with a 21.5-gallon fuel tank to help with the thirsty engine's range. To save on fuel, the Rubicon 392 uses cylinder deactivation to switch into four-cylinder mode when the V8 isn't needed.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 The SUV features a standard 2.0-inch lift.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The noise out back is courtesy of a two-mode performance exhaust. A functional air scoop feeds the engine and keeps it cool.

All that power requires a stronger frame than the typical Wrangler has. It gets upgraded frame rails, improved cast-iron steering knuckles, and beefier front upper control arms. Stopping power comes from the SUV's larger-than-usual brakes - the Rubicon 392 has 14-inch rotors instead of the Rubicon's typical 13.4-inchers. A 2.0-inch lift is standard.

Jeep has given the model an Off-Road Plus button that lets you lock the rear of the Wrangler Rubicon 392 while it's in four-wheel drive high gear. This functionality will prove especially helpful to desert trekking enthusiasts who get slippery sand under the tires but have to keep up their forward motion so they don't sink and get stuck.

It's also Moab-ready. The Wrangler Rubicon 392 doesn't have the Rock-Trac transfer case that's in the typical Rubicon, but it makes up for it with the availability of low-end torque courtesy of the new V8. Add in the standard Select-Trac transfer case, locking rear differentials, and front sway bar disconnect and adventuring on rocks just became more manageable.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is competent on rocks and sand.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The entire rig rides on 33-inch BF Goodrich KO2 tires that sit at all four corners one 17-inch beadlock-capable tires.

Jeep's revisions to the Wrangler for this model have given it better approach and departure angles than the standard Rubicon. It can also ford 32.5 inches of water thanks to its new Hydro-Guide air intake system.

On the inside and outside of the Rubicon 392, there are bronze-colored accents. Inside, it's bronze stitching on leather-appointed surfaces. The seats get performance-inspired, integrated upper bolsters. The SUV's gauge cluster has gotten a new numbering design while a leather-wrapped performance steering wheel (a first in the Wrangler) is home to wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

At the center of the dashboard is an n8.4-inch infotainment screen that allows Jeep Off-Road Pages to be viewed. Those pages display pitch, roll, altitude, GPS coordinates, drivetrain power distribution and more.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 is available in nine exterior colors: Black, Bright White, Firecracker Red, Granite Crystal Metallic, Punk 'n Metallic, Sarge Green Metallic, Snazzberry Metallic, Sting-Gray Metallic and Billet Silver Metallic, all with a black interior.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 includes 11 features that are normally options on Wrangler:

  • Leather interior
  • Infotainment Group
  • HD electrical switch bank
  • Body-color hard top
  • Body-color flares
  • Steel Bumper Group
  • LED Lighting Group
  • Cold Weather Group
  • Remote proximity entry
  • Safety Group
  • Advanced Safety Group

Mopar is standing ready to offer factory-backed parts and accessories for the new model. Customers can shop from the portfolio of Jeep Performance Parts including LED off-road lights, Rubicon winch, Ultimate Dana 44 Advantek front axle with gear ratios available up to 5.38, new off-road beadlock-capable wheels suitable for larger tires, tube doors, off-road bumpers, and rock rails.

Pricing for the model has not yet been announced. The 2021 Wrangler Rubicon starts at $42,195. Expect the Wrangler Rubicon 392 to be higher than that price tag. It is set to arrive in showrooms in January 2021.

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