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Nissan Switch, company's first on-demand subscription service, launching in Houston

Houstonians are going to be the first in the country to try out a new Nissan subscription service.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Volvo and Porsche are already doing it. Now, Nissan is getting in on the vehicle subscription service model with a new program called Nissan Switch. The service will debut in Houston.

"Nissan Switch is another way that Nissan is testing alternatives to the notion of traditional mobility, without long-term financial commitments for our customers," said Andrew Tavi, vice president, Legal, External Affairs and Business Development, Nissan North America, Inc. "This program provides more choice, convenience, and flexibility. For those who want a sedan during the week and an SUV or sports car, like the GTR, on the weekends, Nissan Switch provides the solution."

2020 Nissan GT-R Track Edition Nissan's new subscription service allows drivers to get behind the wheel of a variety of vehicles, including the GT-R.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

By signing up for the Nissan Switch program, subcribers can test models including the Nissan Leaf Plus, Titan, and GT-R. Nissan has recently redesigned many of the vehicles in their lineup including the Versa, Sentra, and Altima. The Frontier got a new engine for the 2020 model year and Murano, Maxima, and Titan have gotten significant updates in the past 18 months.

The program works similar to how on-demand media programming works. The price tier of the service subscribed to dictates the vehicles that can be switched out. There is no long-term contract or commitment.

For $699 per month, subscribers have access to the Altima sedan, Rogue and Pathfinder SUVs, and Frontier truck. Spending $899 per month allows for testing of the Leaf Plus electric vehicle, Maxima sedan, Murano and Armada SUVs, Titan truck, and 370Z sports car. Those wishing to test out the GT-R must elect for the $899 per month Premium service level and pay an additional $100 per day with seven-day consecutive maximum use.

Subscribers won't be driving just rental car spec base models. Each vehicle will be featured in a well-equipped trim level, some with Nissan's ProPilot Assist driver-assist technology that has features including lane centering, lane keeping, and blind spot warning.

After a $495 membership activation fee, the monthly subscription includes the vehicle (unlimited switches, as often as a new vehicle each day), delivery, cleaning, insurance, roadside assistance, and regular maintenance.

Customers can enroll at www.nissanswitch.com through August 2020.

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The Ford Explorer Timberline joins the 2021 Explorer King Ranch as a new model for 2021.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Following in the footsteps of the Raptor and Tremor versions of Ford trucks, the 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline debuts with a host of new equipment designed to make the popular SUV a more capable off-roader. Like what Subaru is doing with its Wilderness packaging, Ford will carry over the Timberland trimmings to multiple models.

"Ford is delivering on more capable SUVs with Timberline. Consumer data has shown us that now more than ever, customers want to get outside and explore nature with friends and family," said Kumar Galhotra, president, Americas & International Markets Group, Ford Motor Company. "Timberline hits a new sweet spot with these customers who want an ideal combination of passenger space, moderate off-road capability and great manners around town."

The Explorer Timberline has a new Forged Green Metallic exterior color. It has a blackout treatment on the headlights and taillamps, as well as the Ford oval. Timberline badges feature on the C-pillars and lift gate. Red Ember tow hoods are at the front and rated at 150 percent gross vehicle weight.

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

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LED fog lamps, a Carbonized Gray grille, and dealer-installed Ford Performance auxiliary lights with a 160,000-candelas output come on the vehicle.

The 2021 Explorer Timberline comes standard with four-wheel drive with torque vectoring technology that works to distribute the right amount of torque to each wheel. It also has a Torsen limited slip rear differential, which helps prevent wheel spin.

Ford's Terrain Management System is also standard, allowing drivers to select between seven drive modes depending on road conditions. The Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport have a similar system. Hill Descent Control is also standard.

Steel skid plates line the front and rear underbody of the vehicle protecting the engine and transmission. Ford has given the model a 0.8-inch ride height increase and heavy-duty shocks that were originally developed for the Explorer Police Interceptor. Steering calibration, stabilizer bars and springs are specially tuned for Timberline – including an exclusive front rebound spring that helps prevent sudden jarring off-road.

The new Explorer has an approach angle of 23.5 degrees and maximum departure angle of 23.7 degrees, plus minimum ground clearance of 8.7 inches.

The rig rides on high-sidewall Bridgestone Dueler P265/65R-18 all-terrain tires with a tread pattern designed to balance off-road traction and on-road quietness. The shoes are wrapped around high-gloss painted aluminum wheels that feature a laser-etched Timberline logo.

Explorer Timberline is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine that produces 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

For customers who need to tow RVs, ATVs and boats to their adventures, the standard Class III Trailer Tow Package brings 5,300 pounds of towing capability.

The interior sports a Deep Cypress color way that is matched with an Ebony headliner, overhead console, pillar trim, grab handles, visors, and moonroof shade. The instrument panel has a Stone Mesh appliqué while other colors feature elsewhere. Satin Silver Twilight is on the center stack, steering wheel bezel and door armrest trim; Deep Cypress on door trim panel inserts; Deep Tangerine stitching on the seats, steering wheel and door trim; and Timberline logos on the front seats.

Rubber floor liners are standard and ActiveX cloth seats inserts are designed to be cleaned easily and keep bottoms in place on rough terrain.

Standard Ford Co-Pilot360 and Co-Pilot360 Assist+ technology features that include Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and Speed Sign Recognition, Lane Centering, Evasive Steering Assist and voice-activated touch screen navigation. A 360-degree camera also comes on the model.

Buyers can choose three Outfitters packages – Outfitters SkyBox, Outfitters MegaWarrior and Outfitters FrontLoader. All three packages combine all-weather floor mats, crossbars and the selected Yakima rooftop accessories for customers to take even more equipment with them on their next adventure.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline is available to order now and arrives at Ford dealers this summer joining the Explorer King Ranch and new Platinum grades in the company's lineup.

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Subaru has teamed up with Sleepypod to create a series of pet accessories.

Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

Subaru loves pets. That's evident from the multiple pet-centric fundraisers and adoption events that the company hosts throughout the year as part of its core Love Promise, which focuses charitable efforts and company goals on a number of core areas including Subaru Loves the Earth, Subaru Loves Learning, and Subaru Loves Pets.

The company today announced the launch of a new line of pet accessories that are designed to keep pets comfortable in their vehicles. The 11-item line features unique items equipped for Subaru vehicles that ensure that owners can take their best friends and goodest boys and girls on road trips and remain protected.

Subaru Sleepypod cat holder Subaru and Sleepypod worked together on a number of the accessories.Photo courtesy of Subaru of America Inc.

"Protecting pets is a key component of our Subaru Loves Pets commitment, and that includes protecting pets on the road," said Joe Daugherty, Director – Accessories, Subaru of America, Inc. "At Subaru, we know that pets are part of the family, and as our owners head out for warmer weather adventures with furry friends in tow, we want to keep them safe and comfortable for the ride."

The pet-friendly gear and accessories were designed using state-of-the-art technology. The roster of items for sale includes:

  • Pet-Friendly Padded Cargo Liner ($249.95)
  • Console Lid Protector ($49.95)
  • Collapsible Pet Kennel ($159.00- $179.99)
  • Pet-Friendly Padded Seat Protector ($229.95)
  • Pet Ramp ($299.95)
  • Sleepypod Pet Harness ($74.99- $94.99)
  • Sleepypod Pet Carrier and Mobile Pet Bed ($199.99)
  • Sleepypod Pet Travel Bowl ($29.99- $39.99)
  • Seat Cover - Rear ($199.00)
  • Rear Bumper Protector Mat ($69.95)
  • Pet Lover License Plate Frames ($34.95)
All prices are for the accessories as placed in the Subaru Forester. Cost may vary by vehicle.

"Sleepypod carriers and car harnesses are packed with proprietary technology that is the result of an intensive engineering effort by Sleepypod's design team to help keep pets safer when traveling in cars," said Michael Leung, Sleepypod co-founder and lead product designer. "The launch by Subaru of a new pet accessories line is a tremendous demonstration of their dedication to the well-being of pets."

The accessories are now available for purchase at Subaru Parts Online and at Subaru retailers nationwide.

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