Archive for September, 2014|Monthly archive page

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Auction Actually Raised $1.65M

he Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat that sold over the weekend actually raised more money for charity than first reported. . . a lot more!

After crossing the block at the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction for an incredible $825,000, Dodge has announced that the Engelstad Family Foundation has matched the auction pricing bringing the total amount raised for charity to $1.65 million. With the generous donation, the grand total means the Challenger SRT Hellcat has raised more money for charity than any other car in Barrett-Jackson history. As icing on the cake, Barrett-Jackson waived all bidding and consignment fees so 100 percent of the sale price will go on to benefit Opportunity Village, a not-for-profit organization that serves people with significant intellectual disabilities in the Las Vegas area.

The winning bidder of the auction was none other than Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and several Chrysler Group dealerships. The auction package included a 6.2-liter supercharger engine cover and a HEMI Orange painted base presentation box with a VIN0001 electronic vehicle build book and a video documentary on an iPad Mini that shows the step-by-step build process of the car.

“The $1.65 million raised by auctioning this one-of-one Dodge Challenger Hellcat at this year’s Barrett-Jackson auction means the most powerful muscle car ever will also have a very powerful impact on the people who benefit from the services of Opportunity Village,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO, Dodge and SRT Brands, Chrysler Group LLC. “The VIN0001 muscle car was not only one of the hottest cars that rolled through the Barrett-Jackson auction lanes, it is also the ultimate collectible 2015 Dodge Challenger as Dodge is ensuring there will never be another one like it.”

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Checking Tire Pressure

Picture this. It’s a brisk fall morning, and and you’ve overslept a few minutes, because let’s face it, the bed is warmer than the air outside. You rush through your morning routine. When you finally get into your car, you are greeted by an ominous warning on your dash: Low Tire Pressure. You get out and walk around the car checking your tires to see if they look low. But they look fine, so you take the risk and drive to work, wondering if you are about to experience a flat tire. Later that day, you get in the car to go to lunch and the light is out. All is forgiven, and you promptly forget about it…until the next time it happens.
What is happening?

Sound familiar? If it does, don’t worry. You are not alone. It happens to millions of people every day, most often when we get the first hint of a fall chill in the morning air. In 2005 automakers began installing tire pressure monitoring systems on new cars. By 2012, all passenger cars sold in the U.S. were required to have a tire pressure monitoring system. Most cars use a sensor mounted inside the wheel to monitor pressure. When air pressure inside a tire drops by a predetermined amount the light comes on , and stays on, until the pressure is corrected.
Why does it happen in the fall?

The tire pressure light can, and will, come on anytime the pressure falls below the threshold set at the factory. There are many reasons for a tire to lose pressure. Punctures, leaky valve stems, and poor sealing at the bead just to name a few. There is also a certain amount of air that is lost directly through the rubber itself, but by far the most common cause of pressure loss is the contraction of the air due to cold weather. The air in your tire is comprised of many elements, including water, which has a tendency to expand and contract with temperature changes. When it gets cold, the air inside your tire contracts and the warning light comes on. The tire can lose up to a pound for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Friction caused by driving, as well as afternoon heating, can frequently return the air in tires to enough of its original density that the light turns off, making the problem go away. For now…

Why should I care?

In the days before tire pressure monitors, many of us went about our normal lives completely unaware of what was happening without repercussions. Should knowing suddenly make us take notice? Absolutely. Properly inflated tires handle better, last longer, and reduce the risk of spontaneous failure. Oh, it saves money on gas too!

Why do my tires have green or blue caps?

In the mid 2000s filling tires with nitrogen got very popular. Nitrogen is a popular and inexpensive alternative to air with some additional benefits. Nitrogen is dryer than air, reducing the impact water has on inflation. Nitrogen is also bigger at a molecular level. This fact reduces the amount of gas lost to microscopic leaks. The bottom line is that nitrogen is more stable than the air we breathe, and many people feel it is a better choice for filling tires. When a shop fills tires with nitrogen they will typically replace the valve caps with ones that are green or blue. This is to let the next person filling your tires know what is in them. Mixing air and nitrogen is perfectly safe, but doing so dilutes the nitrogen and offsets the benefits.

Don’t throw away your tire gauge

Now that you have a tire pressure monitor, and maybe even nitrogen, in your tires, do you still need a tire pressure gauge? Yes you do. Checking your tire pressures periodically can help you stay ahead of a low tire light coming on. While doing so, why not take a minute and look at the tread too? Try the Lincoln penny test. Simply insert a penny in your tire tread, upside down. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s hair it means there is not enough tread depth left, and it is time for a new tire.

Tire pressure affects handling and braking, critical factors to a safe trip. Properly inflated tires last longer and are much safer. Plus, it’s estimated that under-inflated tires waste 2 billion gallons of gasoline every year. So do yourself and your wallet a favor by checking your tire pressure often, especially in the fall.

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2015 Durango additions

Refreshed  in 2014 with a standard eight-speed automatic and other improvements, the 2015 Dodge Durango has had few “core” changes but two package changes and a new Black Forest Green Pearl paint (SXT, Limited, and Citadel only). The popular Rallye and Blacktop packages are now available across more models.



The Rallye appearance package carries over from 2014’s SXT, except that the headlamps are ow halogens with LED daytime running lights. It is now available on V6 Limited Durangos, as well as SXTs. The package includes a roof-rack delete, 20” black aluminum wheels, bright-tipped dual exhaust, and body-color grille surround,  front and rear fascia, wheel lip moldings, sill moldings, and “shark fin” antenna.

A new interior on SXT Rallye includes black Capri leather seats with suede inserts and light gray stitching, with matching door and center console armrests.

The Blacktop package is now available on SXT, Limited, and R/T; it includes a body-color shark-fin antenna, LED daytime running lights with black bezels, and gloss-black grille, fog-lamp surrounds, 20-inch wheels and center caps, Durango badges, side mirrors, and grille surrounds. The SXT gets a new leather interior similar to the Rallye interior, but with slate accent stitching, brushed silver door and instrument panel appliqués, black headliner and A-pillars, and perforated suede seat inserts.

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Autumn Driving Safety Tips

– Make adjustments for the light. Did you know that we lose a minute of daylight every day until the clocks are set back in November? Fewer hours of daylight make it more difficult to see pedestrians, cyclists and children playing in the late afternoon. Also, later sunrises mean that drivers need to adjust to the brighter sun at different times of the morning. Always keep a pair of sunglasses in your car to shield your vision.

– Avoid driving over wet leaves. Fall foliage is beautiful but once those leaves start falling and get wet from rain, they can become a serious driving hazard. Wet leaves are slippery and reduce traction.

– Don’t Veer for Deer. If a crash with a deer is unavoidable, remember don’t swerve. Be sure to brake firmly and hold onto the steering wheel with both hands. Come to a controlled stop and move the vehicle out of traffic to a safe location.

– Prepare an emergency kit for your car. Carrying an emergency kit in your car trunk or cargo area can be a real lifesaver. Be sure to include a flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit, jumper cables, extra washer fluid, nonperishable food, a jug of water, and a few basic tools such as wrenches, a ratchet/socket set, screwdrivers, and pliers.

– Watch for frost. Low nighttime temperatures cause frost on windshields and roads. Be sure to clear your windshield completely before driving. Also, slow down when approaching bridges and overpasses, as these structures are more prone to collect frost on the roadway surface. Stay alert for shaded areas that could create black ice during early morning and evening hours.

– Plan ahead for changing weather conditions. Have your car winterized before the winter storm season sets in. Keeping your car in good condition decreases your chance of being stranded in cold weather. Also, be sure to have a first-aid kit, thermal blanket, a working flashlight, a shovel and sand in your car.

– Watch for construction work zones. Construction work zones may still be active. Consult MDOT’s Mi Drive traffic Web site to plan your route. Please remember to slow down and pay attention in work zones. The life you save could be your own.

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September is National Preparedness Month: Make Sure Your Car is Ready if Disaster Hits

Would your car be ready if you had to leave at a moment’s notice? If you were stranded in your car, would you be prepared? During National Preparedness Month in September, the non-profit Car Care Council is reminding drivers of the importance of regular maintenance and do-it-yourself checks, as well as a stocked emergency kit.

“Emergencies and natural disasters come in a variety of forms, and you don’t always have time to prepare,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “It is important and gives you peace of mind to know that your vehicle is always ready for the task.”

The Car Care Council recommends checking the following to make sure your car is ready for the unexpected:

Tire Tread: Tire tread helps your car grip the road. Having low tire tread is especially dangerous when driving in wet, flood-like, snowy or icy conditions. Check your tread easily with a penny.

Tire pressure: Pressure that is too low or too high can affect gas mileage, tread wear and vehicle performance. Check your tires once a month when they are still cold, using the PSI (pounds per square inch) number located on the driver door or in the owner’s manual.

Fluids Check: Check your car’s fluids once a month or take a peek when you fill the gas tank. Top off fluids, such as your oil and coolant, and visit a technician if you suspect a leak.

Belts: A broken engine belt can literally stop you in your tracks. Look for signs of excessive wear or looseness.

Brakes: Your vehicle’s brakes are very important for safety; make sure they are ready in any condition. Have your brakes inspected by a technician once a year, and be aware of any signs of brake trouble, including noise, pulling and vibration while braking.

Battery: Even in a non-emergency, it is stressful when your car does not start. Extreme temperatures, such as summer and winter, can wear the battery. A technician can test that the battery is charging at the correct rate. If your battery is three years or older, it may need to be replaced.

Emergency Kit: A vehicle emergency kit should include jumper cables, a road atlas, first-aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, water, non-perishable food and blankets. Keep a copy of the Car Care Council’s new Car Care Guide in your glove box for information on vehicle systems and maintenance. Order your free copy online at

For more information on how to stay safe behind the wheel when a disaster hits, download the information sheet from the American Public Health Association’s Get Ready program:

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit

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Dodge Brothers Club issues Centennial Poster



The Dodge Brothers Club is celebrating the Dodge Centennial with a special, limited-edition poster showcasing the largest gathering ever of early Dodge Brothers vehicles.

The Centennial gathering photo was taken June 26 at Meadow Brook Hall, the home built by  Matilda Dodge Wilson, John Dodge’s widow, in Rochester Hills, Michigan. It was one of the highlights of the Club’s six-day Centennial Tour event that ran from June 22 to June 27.

“The poster spotlights the biggest gathering of 1914-1938 Dodge Brothers vehicles ever, at least that we are aware of,” said Barry Cogan, the club’s president. “Our annual club gathering was very special this year, as it coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Dodge brand. This limited-edition offering provides the perfect way to commemorate the centennial of the vehicles produced by John and Horace Dodge, and demonstrate how their legacy lives on today.”

The Club’s 35th annual summer drew nearly 325 attendees from six different countries, including a contingent of about 30 owners from Australia and New Zealand. There were 91 registered Dodge Brothers vehicles, of which 80 can be seen in the poster.

The 36ʺ x 12ʺ limited-edition poster will be available for a donation of $5 plus S & H, at the Dodge Brothers Club’s online store, They will also be available at the Fall Hershey Region AACA Meet, scheduled for October 8–11, at the Dodge Brothers Club display.

The Dodge Brothers Club was founded in 1983 and incorporated in 1986 for the research and preservation of Dodge Brothers Motor Vehicles and Graham Brothers Commercial Vehicles, dating from 1914-1938. The club hosts an annual meet each year, alternating between locations east and west of the Mississippi River.

Michigan’s Must Visit Cider Mills

The beginning of fall is a colorful time of year for us in Michigan.  A cascade of color falls over our trees and foliage while a different palate of reds, yellows, greens, golds and amber falls upon our markets and weekend trips.  Yes we are talking about baskets, bushels, buckets and barrels of apples!  See our quick list below of 9 cider mills that are sure to help you get your cider fix.

The sweet nectar of Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala and Honey Crisp apples awaits!!

Michigan Cider Mills

-Franklin Cider Mill-

The Franklin Cider Mill in the Franklin Historic District north of downtown Detroit opened in 1837 as a gristmill, and has been pressing apples into cider since 1895. Today, all 21 varieties of apples used are hand-picked, fresh and 100 percent organic. For a special treat, visit in late September for Honey Crisp cider and take home apple pie or a bag full of their signature cinnamon spice donuts.

-Spicer’s Orchard & Cider Mill-

The Spicer family has been growing fruit in southeastern Michigan for five generations. The first farm was near Detroit and fruit was taken by horse and wagon downtown. The first market was located near the corner of Grand River road and Novi road. They have put together a collection of photos taken in the 1950s of their first market in Novi, click the history tab on the website. We hope you enjoy viewing some photos of Spicer’s heritage.

-Yates Cider Mill-

Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills is a place where you can experience everything that fall has to offer. Water-powered since 1863, the mill presses 300 gallons of fresh blended apple cider per hour. Visitors can enjoy donuts, apple pies, and other treats as they walk along the creek side trails and feed the variety of animals at the petting zoo.

-Parshallville Cider Mill-

Historic Parshallville Grist Mill & Cider Mill-Tom Walker’s Grist Mill is a Michigan Historic Site. It is commonly known as the Parshallville Cider Mill, located in Parshallville, a small picturesque community, sitting on the banks of the North Ore Creek in Livingston County. The 136 year old mill is one of the few remaining water-powered mills in Michigan . This mill also has a rich history as a flour mill, known as Success Flour. It eventually became a grist mill, grinding grain for animal feed. These grains are still listed on the mill wall today. This cider mill attracts autumn visitors from all over the state. They make cider, spiced donuts, caramel apples, and homemade apple pies on site. In addition, you can choose from a variety of antique apples for baking and eating and a variety of Michigan made products.

-Uncle John’s Cider Mill-

Back in the early 1900’s, Uncle John’s Cider Mill was used as a Cattle Barn where they raised cattle, sheep and even draft horses. Today, they have gently converted it to a Cider Press, Donut Shop and sitting area. However, the charm still remains.“Good fruit makes good juice,” according to Mike Beck, co-owner and cider maker at Uncle John’s. Year after year, Uncle John’s continues to win awards for both their fresh cider, as well as their fermented Hard Apple Cider.They continue making cider the ol’fashioned way, They do not use preservatives or additives, and do not pasteurize. Stop by in September and October to explore the five-acre corn maze and straw bale maze, take a wagon ride, walk the nature trail, visit the pumpkin patch and enjoy a number of festive fall family events.

-Dexter Cider Mill-

Historic Dexter Cider Mill near Ann Arbor is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in the state. Today the cider mill keeps its more than 120-year old cider making tradition by using an oak rack press and blending three to five different locally grown apple varieties in every pressing. Along with their natural cider, they offer fresh apples and from their own bakery, doughnuts, caramel apples, apple nut bread, home made apple pies and a slew of other locally grown and locally made products.

-Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill-

Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill has been family owned and operated since 1946 and was the first pick-your-own orchard in Michigan. This Macomb County favorite located in Armada is perfect for a family outing with fresh pressed cider and donuts and a full slate of bakery items to choose from. Since its opening, Blake Farms has evolved into a family entertainment farm featuring train rides, pony rides, hayrides, cornfield mazes, several animated attractions and many other family oriented activities. Throughout the years, Blakes has grown and expanded their operation offering Michigan’s #1 nighttime attraction, Blake’s Nighttime Haunted Hayride & Three Story Haunted Barn, for your Halloween excitement.  They invite their customers to bring the family to the country to experience an enjoyable day on the farm where friends can be made and memories are created.

-Friske Cider Mill-

Friske Orchard – At Friske’s farm and orchards, they grow and harvest approximately 5.5 million pounds of fresh Michigan fruit and produce annually, which is the weight equivalent to the copper used in about 28 Statues of Liberty!  In addition, they also produce about 50,000 gallons of Friske’s premium Apple Cider blends, which is enough
cider to fill an eight-story square office building … unless, of course, the windows are open! Combined, their orchards span over 300 acres, and include a partial historical Michigan centennial farm, a state of the art processing and storage facility, and homes for farm family and staff.

-Robinette’s Apple Haus Cider Mill-

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery – Jim Robinette built a cider mill on his farm in 1971 when he took his family on a tour of cider mills in south east Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  The addition of a cider press to the farm transformed it into a retail destination and from then on, they have constantly added new products and services yearly. They make fresh cider starting the Tuesday after Labor Day, and continue through April or early May.  The blend of apples changes as the season progresses, and is always striving for a balance of sweet and tart.  You may watch cider being made throughout the fall, and about once a week in the winter. They use no preservatives and no additives, so the cider is 100 percent pure apple! Their cider is also the starting point for their apple-based wines and hard ciders.  The UV Light treatment removes almost all natural yeasts from cider, providing an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to make their own apple wine or hard cider.

Stop in for a cup, quart, or gallon!

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Five Years Later, Chrysler’s Gamble on Ram Trucks Is Paying Off

WARREN, Mich. — In December, the sprawling, four million-square-foot factory here where workers assemble Ram pickup trucks, along conveyors that weave for more than 30 miles, suddenly went quiet.

Thousands of workers looked on where a makeshift stage, draped in black, had been assembled. Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group’s chairman and chief executive, stepped up to address the crowd.

In the dark days of Chrysler’s bankruptcy — when the company barely escaped extinction thanks to a taxpayer bailout and the purchase by Mr. Marchionne’s Fiat of a major stake, which later turned into ownership — such a staged display and work stoppage could have meant trouble. But not this time.

Mr. Marchionne was there to acknowledge an industry award for the truck, but, more important, to convey a simple message to the workers: well done.

“Today I wanted to come to Warren to personally thank all of you,” he said, and in his signature style joked about the criticism that followed his decision in 2009 to create the stand-alone Ram division. “The skeptics, who were already predicting our company was going down the tubes, thought for sure that we’d been smoking something funny.”

In 2009, when Ram was carved out from Dodge into a stand-alone division, it was a big gamble — and far from a sure thing. Some industry critics scoffed at the idea of a brand dedicated to pickup trucks. Others were puzzled: After the bailouts, the trend was to consolidate brands to streamline automakers’ offerings, but Chrysler was adding a new one.

Five years later, the verdict is in: The gamble paid off. Ram trucks have captured an ever-greater share of the full-size pickup market dominated in the past by General Motors and Ford, and are on track to seize even more. By adding innovative features not found in other pickups, and aggressive pricing to lure truck buyers, who are among the most loyal in the automotive business, Chrysler’s Ram has managed to go from also-ran to a threat in only a few years.

Here in Warren, the plant is now churning out Ram pickups 20 hours a day, six days a week, with occasional Sundays — barely able to keep up with demand.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, when the new Ram division’s trucks were hitting the streets, the company eked out a paltry 11 percent of the market share for full-size trucks. The two other Detroit automakers were lapping Chrysler around the track, with shares of 42 percent for G.M. and 37 percent for Ford. Since then Ram has conquered more and more of the market every year. In August, when sales surged 33 percent over a year earlier, Ram commanded 21 percent of full-size pickup purchases in the United States.

Most of that success has come at the expense of G.M.’s Chevrolet Silverado pickup, which despite its own recent redesign has lost market share this year. Ford’s F-Series pickups remain the overall market leader, but their sales have also dipped this summer as the automaker prepares to introduce a new generation of trucks made with an aluminum body.

Reid Bigland, Chrysler’s head of United States sales and head of the Ram division from April 2013 to last month, said that what made the new division different was an intense focus on pickups, which under the Dodge umbrella and its muscle-car heritage had never quite received their due.

“Selling trucks is just a different business than cars,” Mr. Bigland said, “and we had a group of people who could come to work and do nothing but think about pickup trucks.”

One result was features competitors did not have, like air suspensions, cargo cameras, eight-speed transmissions and, last year, a diesel engine that gets 28 miles a gallon on the highway.

On the factory floor itself, new, lean manufacturing methods transplanted from Fiat began revolutionizing the Warren plant’s operations — not only creating more efficient ways of building vehicles and increasing quality but also giving workers a stake in decision-making.

“The floor has a voice now,” said Tracie Fern, a Warren worker who helps find ways to make jobs on the assembly line more efficient. “When someone has a suggestion, they listen to us.”

Go back to the 1980s, and the Dodge Ram was not even an also-ran. “It was just a blip on the radar back then,” said Karl Brauer, senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book. “Ford and Chevy didn’t think about, or care about, what Ram was doing.”

The first real attention-grabber was the 1994 Ram, which featured the aggressive, curved “big rig” look the Ram still incorporates today. But while the muscular design change drew attention and increased sales, the truck languished in a distant third.

When the stand-alone experiment began in 2009, the near-death experience of the bankruptcy and taxpayer bailout had left its mark on Chrysler. Ram executives said they knew they would have to deliver results, and quickly.

“You either come out swinging or you roll over,” said Robert Hegbloom, a Ram executive who last month became head of the brand. (Mr. Bigland was tapped to lead Fiat’s Alfa Romeo unit in North America.)

A conference room in the basement of Chrysler’s headquarters was turned into a makeshift “Ram war room.” The new team members gathered regularly to brainstorm ideas, figure out ways for the trucks to distinguish themselves, and perhaps most important, zero in on what truck buyers wanted.

Mr. Marchionne, well known for his blunt style and attention to detail, held monthly meetings with the Ram executives, where he expected updates.

For light-duty pickups, the team decided to hone in on a priority they were hearing from truck customers. “It was all about fuel economy,” Mr. Hegbloom said, explaining that buyers used to willingly sacrifice gas mileage for hauling capability. Now they wanted both.

Ram engineers went to work, and by adding a host of features — shutters that close the front grille at high speeds to reduce drag, an eight-speed transmission and ultimately a new turbodiesel engine — they managed to increase the trucks’ hauling performance while also topping the charts on fuel economy.
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Designers also focused on upgrading the interiors. That was because the nature of pickup trucks was changing. A pickup used to be a bare-bones affair: Bench seats were common, back seats generally nonexistent. Now, so-called crew cabs are ubiquitous, and the comfort and technology match those of any sport utility vehicle.

“They’re really a lot like luxury vehicles these days,” said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst with

Jeff Jagoda, a fourth-generation autoworker, now at the Ram factory in Warren, has seen the evolution firsthand. He bought his first truck in 1975, and with its crank windows, bench seat and exposed steel inside, he said the last word to describe it would be luxury. “When I brought it home my mother said: ‘What are you doing with this thing? You’re not a farmer,’ ” he said. “But that’s what trucks used to be, something people bought to get work done, nothing more. Today, they’re something else entirely; you’ve got all the comforts of home if you want.”

Sean Kilmain, who lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, bought his new Ram 1500 in July after test-driving Ford and G.M. trucks. He said he wanted something that could be comfortable for family skiing trips to Vermont but also capable of towing his boat or hauling gear.

“When you’re looking to take two dogs and your nephews along for the ride, space becomes an issue,” Mr. Kilmain said. “This will be the truck that we take places.” What sold him on the Ram, he said, was that he felt the truck offered more features for less money than the competition, and that the fuel economy was also impressive.

“I didn’t want to get a gas guzzler, but also wanted something that could do pretty much anything I wanted,” he said. “Haul some stuff, carry some people.”

Mr. Brauer, the Kelley Blue Book analyst, predicted that Ram might give G.M. a run for its money, and could possibly seize the No. 2 spot in coming years — something that would have been unthinkable a decade ago.

“Ford is just a monster in the pickup category, and always will be. But what we could see is a Ford main show, with G.M. and Ram left to fight it out,” he said. “If that’s the case, then Ram is winning.”

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Big rebates on 2014s

With the 2015s coming, and in some cases already here, Chrysler is slapping major rebates onto some 2014s.

The 2014 Chrysler 300, for example, comes with $3,250-$5,000 cash back, as dealers hasten to clear their lots and make room for the 2015s, due in three months. Town & Country minivans are running $1,000-$3,500 rebates, and Caravans at $500-$2,000, but this may simply be a way to keep Sienna and Odyssey from regaining the sales lead. 2015 minivans will also have rebates, albeit smaller ones (up to $1,500).

The outgoing Avenger retains its $2,500-$4,000 rebate, while Charger’s ranges from $750 to $3,500 and Challenger’s ranges from $1,000 to $2,500. Charger and Challenger both have 2015 models arriving soon — neither of which has rebates.

Durango and Grand Cherokee, not long ago in such demand that the factory could not produce enough, both have rebates on the 2014s, going up to $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. The ’15s have no rebates so far, but Grand Cherokee has discounted financing.

2014 Jeep Patriot and Compass are carrying $500-$2,500 ($500-$2,000 on Compass) on the hood; the 2015s have $500 cash back. There are few differences between the model years. Likewise, 2014 Cherokee has up to $1,500 cash back while 2015, whose main gain is a stop-start system on the V6, has up to $500.

Among the Rams, rebates are relatively low this month (ending September 30), with Ram 1500 going from $750 to $1,500; Ram 2500 and 3500 ranging from $1,000 to $3,000; and Cargo Van at $2,500. The 2015s already have rebates, $1,000-$1,500 for 2500 and 3500, and $1,500 on Cargo Van.

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Top Booster Seat Mistakes

1. Letting your child use a regular seat belt too soon.

Why it’s unsafe: Seat belts are designed for an adult and can cause seriously injuries if they don’t fit properly.

What AAA recommends: Use a booster seat until the adult seat belt fits properly with the lap portion of the belt fitting low across the child’s hips and the shoulder belt across their sternum and collar bone. Proper belt fit may not be possible in some cases until age 12 or 13.

2. Allowing children to place the seat belt under their arm or behind their back when using a booster seat.

Why it’s unsafe: Improperly worn seat belts can cause injuries! A seat belt placed under the arm can cause fragile ribs to break which can in turn cause additional injury. A seat belt behind the back eliminates upper body protection and can cause serious spinal injury or even ejection.

What AAA recommends: Make sure children wear their seat belt properly with their booster seat and remain in proper position the whole trip.

3. Skipping a booster seat when carpooling or riding with friends

Why it’s unsafe: Most crashes occur close to home and can occur at any time – even a one-time exception could result in serious injury.

What AAA recommends: Don’t compromise safety for convenience. Use a booster on every trip and make arrangements in advance when carpooling to ensure your child has their booster seat.

4. Using a low back booster in a seat without head rests.

Why it’s unsafe: Riding in a backless booster seat in a vehicle with no head restraint can cause head, neck and spinal injuries in a crash or sudden stop.

What AAA recommends: Make sure your vehicle has head restraints to protect your child before considering using a backless booster seat. If not, use a high back seat that offers head/neck protection.

5. Not buckling in empty booster seats.

Why it’s unsafe: Booster seats that are not in use can go flying in a sudden stop or crash and cause injury if they are not buckled in the vehicle.

What AAA recommends: Buckle up booster seats even when children are not riding in the car to keep yourself and other passengers safe.

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