Recall Monday: Ford fires, slipping; Ram’s revised recall

2022 Ford Mustang

The weekly summary of NHTSA recalls brings up Ram’s engine compartment fires, a low-probability but high-damage event caused by bad intake heater grids; Ram announced this last week. It affects 2021-23 Ram pickups and chassis cabs with Cummins diesel engines only—no gasoline engines are affected.

It also brought up some Ford recalls eerily reminiscent of times passed—a combination of rollaway and fuel tank fires which may remind some of the time Tauruses were slipping into Reverse even as Pinto fires were in the news. In this case, it’s the 2023 Ford Transit with poorly welded fuel tanks, compared with two rollaway recalls—one in the 2020-22 Ford Explorer, caused by a computer flaw; and one in the 2022-23 Bronco, Explorer, F-150, Mustang, and Lincoln Aviator (in short, the company’s hottest vehicles and a Lincoln) where a loose bolt in the transmission may let the vehicle just roll away….

Consumer Reports vs JD Power quality rankings

J.D. Power and Consumer Reports both released the results of their surveys recently, and there’s not much in common. 

The leader in J.D. Power’s three-year dependability study was Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, followed by Genesis, Hyundai’s luxury brand, and then Kia. BMW was just about average. 

For Consumer Reports readers, BMW was right at the top, followed by Subaru (well below average by J.D. Power) and Mini. Lexus was at #4, with the same score as Honda—a brand that, by J.D. Power lights, was below average. One key factor: the CR reports include not just reliability but also their own opinions about the cars’ characteristics.

Dodge Introduces the First Teaser of the Final Special Edition Muscle Car

Dodge Last Call Teaser One

The new Dodge teaser is the video below, and it is just 11 seconds long. We see a creepy face fade in from the darkness during the first four seconds and as it vanishes, we hear the familiar start-up roar of a modern Hemi engine. Frankly, it sounds a whole lot like my Hellcat Challenger when it starts, but everyone who has been waiting for this last special edition car is expecting something Hellcat-based.

GM has good JD Power Dependability year; Mopars mixed; Ford, VW much worse

2023 J.D. Power Dependability

GM had a very good J.D. Power Dependability report, which is based on reported problems per vehicle over three years. (It is reported as problems per hundred vehicles to avoid having people make jokes about “two and a half problems per car.”) Stellantis brands were a mixed bag, with Dodge coming in above average, Ram and Jeep at the average, and Chrysler down in VW-Jaguar-Mercedes territory. Ford had an absolutely awful year.

Flashback Friday: the “other” GTX, Super Bee, and Polara

The Valiant was all very fine, but didn’t cover the whole market. As a result, South American dealers decided to adapt the car to sportier and more luxurious segments, taking names from bigger American cars; that brought the Polara, Coronado, Super Bee, and GTX. (Never mind that two of these names were taken from Plymouth; all were sold under the Dodge name.) 

These weren’t sticker packages; the sheet metal and fascias were changed to make the cars look more like 1968 Chargers than 1968 Valiants or Darts, and they were based on the sportier first-generation “narrow body” Valiants. 

But wait, there’s more! Stellantis CEO claims Dodge will grow

Dodge Charger Daytona

The auto industry is going through a major time of transition, especially at Mopar, with the end of the Hemi V8s, the birth of EVs, and muscle car rivals switching to electric or hybrid variants with historic names—not to mention making crossovers with coupe names.

Sedans and coupes are dying breeds, along with those musical V8 powerplants; they are being replaced by SUVs and crossovers and pickups. These are markets where Dodge is not really playing now, outside of the Durango. How does the muscle brand hope to survive in this new world? Tim Kuniskis referenced the hammerhead shark: evolution. It isn’t as cut and dried, though.

Forza Motorsport “8”—Our Dodge, Ram and Jeep Wish List

2022 Ram 1500 TRX

The new trailer claims that Forza Motorsport will have 500 vehicles at launch, over 100 of which are new to the franchise—at least 100 cars, trucks, and SUVs that have not been featured in Forza Motorsport 1 through 7. The list of performance vehicles in Forza Motorsport 7 is so lengthy that it is hard to come up with more than a hundred cars, trucks and SUVs for the new game, but we can think of a few models from Dodge, Ram and Jeep that would fit nicely into the next generation Forza title.

Jeep’s latest “death wobble” solution

The Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator share a suspension which is fairly unique today, though common when the wartime jeeps were created. It combines solid axles in front and rear, a design which is easy to modify and capable off-road, but not necessarily ideal for on-road driving. When the steering and suspension parts are worn, they … Read more

New turbo-Compass gas mileage revealed

2023 Jeep Compass interior

The 2023 Jeep Compass has a new version of the GME 2.0 liter turbocharged engine, finally providing the torque and horsepower one would expect; the sole transmission is an eight-speed, dubbed 8F30, likely supplied by Hyundai. The Compass Limited lists for $35,495; all Compass trims now have standard all wheel drive. The turbo engine produces … Read more

The ZTunes Hellcat Resets the Dodge Charger Quarter Mile Record

Zdung Ho Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

The Go Mango 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat which is owned, driven and tuned by Zdung Ho has long been the quickest and fastest Hellcat sedan in the quarter mile, but at the first Legion of Demons event of 2023, the man known throughout the community as “Z” continued improving on his personal best time … Read more