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U.S. News & World Report names Lexus 2021 Best Certified Pre-Owned Program winner

Lexus has once again placed atop the U.S. News & World Report Best Certified Pre-Owned Program rankings.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The best certified pre-owned (CPO) programs offer a lengthy warranty, perks, and dependable used vehicles. Lexus offers all those things, helping it earn the U.S. News & World Report award for Best Certified Pre-Owned Program for 2021.

"Lexus has a well-deserved reputation for reliability that makes Lexus models appealing CPO cars," says Page Deaton. "On top of that record of dependability, Lexus offers used car buyers an excellent CPO warranty, as well as a long list of CPO program benefits, like free maintenance visits and a free loaner car."

2021 Lexus LS The Lexus LS is getting a revision for the 2021 model year. Photo courtesy of Lexus

As part of the Lexus CPO program, used car buyers get up to two years of warranty coverage, with no mileage limit nor deductible. They also include complementary roadside assistance, a loaner car, and four factory maintenance service visits in the first two years or 20,000 miles of ownership.

Lexus offers a full lineup of vehicles including the IS, ES, GS, LC, and LS cars and UX, NX, RX, GX, and LX SUVs. Lexus recently introduced the 2021 Lexus IS. The Lexus LS full-size flagship sedan is getting a makeover for the 2021 model year. The automaker also brought the new 2021 Lexus LC Convertible to market this year. Other revisions to the Lexus lineup are expected to be announced soon.

In addition to its Best Certified Pre-Owned Program award, U.S. News & World Report evaluates the Best Vehicle Brands, Best New and Used Cars for Teens, and Best New Cars for Families. This year Lexus did not place in the Best New and Used Cars for Teens rankings, but their mass market sister brand Toyota had several winners. The same is true for the Best New Cars for Families award winners.

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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

The long process to design, engineer, and award a contract for the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) next-generation mail delivery vehicle (NGDV) has finally come to an end. The government has awarded Oshkosh Defense a contract to produce the Next Generation Delivery Vehicle for service. Oshkosh Defense is a a wholly owned subsidiary of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE: OSK).

The NGDV project is the USPS's first large-scale fleet procurement in three decades. Over the next 10 years, the contract allows for the delivery of between 50,000 and 165,000 new vehicles.

"Oshkosh operates with unparalleled commitment to those who depend on our products and services to build, protect and serve communities around the world. We are honored to have been selected by the USPS to support their important work by manufacturing American-made Next Generation Delivery Vehicles that will connect every home and business across the United States for decades to come," said John Pfeifer, President & Chief Operating Officer, Oshkosh Corporation.

U.S. Postal Service's Next-Generation Mail Delivery Vehicle

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service

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The new mail trucks will have multiple powertrain options, just like many passenger vehicles on the road today. There will be a battery electric vehicle (BEV) version that runs exclusively on electric power and a fuel-efficient low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) variant.

Under the contract awarded today, USPS has committed to paying Oshkosh Defense $482 million as a first step toward the new vehicles' production. The money will be used to finalize the production vehicle design and complete factory build-out, all of which is necessary before production gets underway. The process is similar to ones mass market vehicle manufacturers use.

"Our century-long history of delivering products to customers, operating in some of the most demanding and severe conditions on the planet, uniquely positions us to bring exceptional reliability, safety, and maintainability to USPS's Next Generation Delivery Vehicles," said John Bryant, Executive Vice President, Oshkosh Corporation, and President, Oshkosh Defense. "Partnering with trusted suppliers, we have developed a purpose-built solution to support the current and future needs of the USPS," Bryant concluded.

In addition to a new exterior and powertrain options, the NGTV also gets modern features and amenities like a rearview camera, walk-in cargo area, air condition, telematics, and a sliding cargo door. There's also a host of safety technology and equipment including airbags, automatic front and rear braking, blind spot warning, a 360-degree camera, and forward collision warning.

Production of the next generation delivery vehicle is expected to begin in 2023.

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Volkswagen has added new model to its Enthusiast Fleet.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Volkswagen has a number of enthusiast concept vehicles planned for 2021. The first is a Jetta GLI that revives the spirit of the rare Mk4 Blue Lagoon GLI.

Since 1984, Volkswagen has been offering a sportier version of the traditional Jetta, called the Jetta GLI. The company took the same approach to it as it took to the Golf GTI but added the benefits of a sedan. In 2002 VW released the GTI 337, a limited special edition model - just 1,500 were produced. It was outfitted with 18-inch BBS RC wheels, RECARO seats, and a Votex body kit, the car served as a design jumping off point for the next-generation GLI.

That next-gen model, with GLI spec, would arrive in 2004. The Mk4 Jetta GLI brought sporty driving to the U.S. market with a body kit, wheels, and seats that were similar to the 2002 model. It was released with a Blue Lagoon paint job that, for reasons not made totally clear, was soon replaced by a medium dark shade of blue called Jazz Blue.

2021 Volkswagen Enthusiast Fleet: Jetta GLI

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

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"The Jetta GLI has been an enthusiast favorite throughout its 37-year history," said Sean Maynard, Enthusiast and Motorsport Marketing Specialist. "Paying tribute to the Mk4 with this build concept celebrates the passion that goes into these vehicles."

VW is honoring the rare model by modifying a 2021 Jetta GLI Autobahn, with a manual transmission, natch, into the fan favorite for the annual Enthusiast Fleet. Andres Valbuena, former Volkswagen product launch manager lead the team and executed the modifications in just over a month.

The car started its life as a 2021 Jetta GLI coated in Deep Black Pearl paint. Its new Blue Lagoon exterior color is courtesy of a vinyl wrap, which was color matched using a fuel filler door off a 2004 GLI. After looking through the inventory of numerous suppliers, Vlabuena found the perfect blue - ORAFOL Midnight Blue Metallic. The wrap has been installed on the entire car, including interior door jambs and side body pieces.

Air Design installed the car's exterior side skirts and rear trunk spoiler and Fifteen52 was tasked with installing a Critical Aero Design (CAD) front lower spoiler. AlphaParts found the BBS CH-R 20-inch alloy wheels the car needed to be complete and wrapped with Continental ExtremeContact Sport 235/35Z R20XL 90Y tires, and upgraded the car's original suspension to now include an H&R Springs Street Performance Coil Over suspension.

Inside the vehicle, RECARO Ergomed ES leather front seats, and a Black Forest Industries weighted golf ball shift knob.

"The color is incredible," said Valbuena. "The Recaro's, wheels, and styling changes are amazing, but when you see it outside in the sun that color is something else."

You can catch the one-of-a-kind model, along with the rest of the 2021 Volkswagen Enthusiast Fleet, at enthusiast events around the country this year.

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