Jim Baldwin Buys Corr
As this issue went to press, breaking news out of Indianapolis reveals that major Southern California land developer Jim Baldwin has purchased the Championship Off Road Racing (CORR) Lucas Oil Racing Series and the production assets of Marty Reid Enterprises from Marty Reid. Baldwin, an avid off-road racer and fan of the sport, has ambitious plans to take professional short-course off-road racing to the next level with an infusion of operating capital.
CORR grew out of the long-running Short course Off-road Driver's Association (SODA) Series in the Midwest. Though CORR has sampled races in Vegas and Glen Helen, California, in the past, the move west didn't stick. Baldwin plans to remedy this with growth in Southern California. According to Baldwin, "California fans, sponsors, and racers have been waiting on CORR to bring its show to the West Coast. This will happen very quickly. Several potential Southern California locations are presently being looked at." CORR offers an impressive television package, with a total of 84 hours of exclusive coverage on the Speed Channel network.
Duramax Production Increases
DMAX, the joint-venture General Motors/Isuzu production plant in Moraine, Ohio, is being updated with $50 million in new equipment. The expansion will allow DMAX to increase production of the Duramax from 172,000 units in 2004 to 195,000 units this year, with production targets above 200,000 next year. The 6.6L Duramax turbodiesel is currently offered in Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD pickups. Hummer will put the Duramax in the special-edition H1 Alpha model, and the company is considering making the diesel an option on the H2 in the near future.
Quadrasteer Option Canned
Delphi's innovative Quadrasteer four-wheel steering system won't be an option on the next generation of fullsize General Motors pickups when the '07 models debut next year. Currently offered on the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra fullsize pickups, and Chevy Suburban and GMC Denali SUVs, Quadrasteer has proven to be a low-volume option.
The system turns the rear wheels as much as 12 degrees in the opposite direction of the front wheels to substantially reduce the turning radius. Towing was a target market for Quadrasteer, since the improved maneuverability makes backing a trailer and threading a long rig through tight spaces much easier. At high speeds, the rear wheels turn at a very slight angle in the same direction as the front wheels, reducing yaw and improving overall stability.
GM has an exclusive on the Quadrasteer technology, which prevented other manufacturers from adopting the system. Several manufacturers have expressed interest, and Delphi is hopeful Quadrasteer with be an OE option again in the near future.
GMC Envoy XUV Discontinued
Poor sales numbers are blamed for GMC's decision to pull the plug on production of the sliding-roof Envoy XUV. The power rear roof section XUV provides headroom for carrying tall cargo and incorporates an Avalanche-style mid-gate for flexible loading. The XUV found a market niche with pet owners and contractors, but that niche wasn't large enough to support continuation of the production line.
GMC projected the XUV would account for one-third of Envoy sales. Unfortunately, the current product mix is closer to 10 percent. The limiting factor seems to be the XUV's five-passenger seating configuration in a market that likes three rows of seats. The Oklahoma City production plant where GMC builds the XUV has switched over to production of the seven-passenger Envoy Denali XL.
Ram Daytonas Lap The Speedway
The first 75 production versions of the winged-wonder Dodge Ram Daytona were treated to track time at the Daytona Super Speedway prior to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season opener in February. The special-edition '06 Daytonas were used during driver introduction parade laps. Dodge also used the event for a dealer drive-away event, with participating dealers driving the first-production Ram Daytonas home to their dealerships.
New Fullsize Gm Suvs On The Horizon
Keep your eyes peeled for a new big utility vehicle from the General. At the recent Chicago Auto Show, GM officials confirmed that the North American International Auto Show, more commonly known as the Detroit Auto Show, will be the stage for the unveiling of the GMT900 line of fullsize SUVs. Large luxury SUVs offer sizeable margins and as such are a big money maker for GM. The next generation is said to push the comfort envelope with a much more refined interior and improved ride and handling characteristics.