Production

Ram begins production of second round of Built to Serve Edition military-themed trucks

Ram has launched its second run of the popular military-themed trucks.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The second installment of the 2020 Ram 1500 Built to Serve Edition trucks has entered into production at FCA's Sterling Heights (Michigan) Assembly Plant.

Each run of the Built to Serve Edition trucks includes unique badging, decals, and paint jobs meant to evoke the spirit of the five U.S. military service branches.

The second installment of the special edition trucks begin rolling out this month, coinciding with Flag Day, Sunday, June 14. A new "Built to Serve Edition" model, representing another one of America's land, air or sea-based military branches, will launch approximately every three months.

2020 Ram 1500 Built to Serve Edition

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Ram Built to Serve Edition trucks are built on the Ram 1500 Big Horn trim level. They come in the buyer's choice of 10 paint jobs: Gator, Diamond Black, Ceramic Gray, Patroit Blue, Anvil, Billet Silver, Tank, Flame Red, Spitfire, and Bright White.

Each model features a U.S. flag and Bulit to Serve decal on each of the rear quarter panels, 20-inch aluminum wheels with unique Technical Gray finish, body-colored wheel flares, all-black grille and surround, black bumpers, black-bezel premium lighting, black badges, black wheel-to-wheel side steps, and dual four-inch black exhaust tips.

The cabin of the truck is accented with unique corresponding color stitching in Light Frost, Light Ambassador Blue, Light Diesel Gray, Core Green, or orange.

There are Built to Serve Velcro panels on each front seat and on the rear shoulder panel where owners can apply their own patches to personalize their truck. Front seat-back panels are covered with PALS/MOLLE webbing that can be used to attach additional equipment or pouches.

Each model also comes loaded with Ram's 4x4 Off-Road Group content, including:

  • All-terrain tires
  • Electronic-locking rear axle
  • Hill-descent control
  • Front suspension skid plate
  • Steering gear skid plate
  • Fuel tank skid plate
  • Transfer case skid plate
  • Tow hooks
  • Heavy-duty off-road-calibrated front and rear shock absorbers

By appealing to past and present military members with the marketing of this truck, Ram is tapping into a significant population. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs calculates that approximately seven percent of the U.S. population is an active or reserve member, or veteran of the armed services.

Ram is selling the special edition as a $2,795 option.

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The Google logo appears for the first time on a car thanks to the partnership.

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

"Hey Google, where is my Fiat 500X Hey Google parked?" A new lineup of car models from Fiat celebrates the technology of Hey Google. The special editions are mainly just a publicity stunt (for both companies), but buyers will be able to place an order for the fresh 500 family models this month.

Each car in the special series is equipped with the Hey Google voice assistant. Owners can connect their car to the their Google Nest Hub (included in a welcome kit with purchase) and smartphone, should they so choose.

Owners will use the phrase "Hey Google, ask my Fiat…" to get answers regarding questions about where the car is parked, how much fuel is left, the location of the nearest workshop, and much more.

Fiat 500 Family Hey Google: Fiat 500

Photo courtesy of Stellantis

In addition to the tech, each Hey Google cars are equipped with unique exteriors and interiors. They have white paint jobs on their bodies and gloss black roofs and mirror caps. For the first time in automotive history, the Google logo is displayed on an automobile. The Hey Google badge is placed on the wheel arches of every model. Both B-pillars are also embellished with the multicoloured 'molecules' of the Hey Google logo.

The molecules are also displayed on the inside where they feature on the seats, which also have a label embroidered with "Hey Google". The dashboard fascia is matte silver with a white 500 logo.

At the center of the dashboard is a 7.0-inch touch screen display that features an animation where "Hey Google" appears then moves to the Google "G" then transforms to the Fiat logo.

Fiat will offer Hey Google editions of their 500, 500X, and 500L. The Fiat 500 hybrid Hey Google are priced from £16,005 OTR, 500X Hey Google priced from £21,765 OTR, and 500L Hey Google priced from £20,345 OTR

Deliveries are limited to the U.K. Ordering for the special series opens mid-April.

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New driver assist technology is coming to the Lexus lineup later this year.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

New Lexus Teammate driver assistance technology will debut on the 2022 Lexus LS 500h later this year. Its availability is constrained to all-wheel drive models.

The technology was developed based on the Mobility Teammate Concept. This automated driving concept is unique to Toyota sough to enhance communication between drivers and cars, "enabling them to reach out to each other for mutual assistance". The concept sees cars and humans interacting and partnering rather than having automation take over for drivers. This approach allows drivers to enjoy the experience of driving but allowing the vehicle to take over some functions of driver's duties at times. In this way, the tech works as both guardian and chauffeur.

2022 Lexus The company's flagship sedan will get the technology first.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2022 Lexus LS 500h

On the 2022 Lexus 500h, Lexus Teammate will offer two functions: Advanced Drive and Advanced Park.

Advanced Drive is design to "accurately detect driving conditions to plan and execute acceleration, braking, and steering commands to maintain the vehicle within the lane, follow other vehicles, change lanes, navigate certain interchanges and traffic jams and overtake slower vehicles." It's a Level 2 functionality that "allows for driving on limited-access highways with partial hands-free, eyes-on-the-road operation".

This description makes it sound a lot like the suite of lane keeping, lane centering, and adaptive cruise control technology that Hyundai offers rather than true Level 3 technology that General Motors's Super Cruise delivers.

Lexus will show operation of the technology on a screen with information displayed like this.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Advanced Park operates similar to how the Genesis GV80's hands-free parking assist technology works. The Lexus tech automatically controls steering, acceleration, braking, and gear changes with parallel parking or backing into a parking space. It uses a combination of 360-degree sensing technologies and a bird's eye view display to perform the task while allowing the driver to monitor progress.

"We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US. We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality," says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota Motor North America's Integrated Vehicle Systems team.

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