Archive for June, 2018|Monthly archive page

Ram 1500 Uconnect Screen Hits a Home Run ‘Double’

Just as home base is baseball’s ultimate winning destination, the unique Home button on the 2019 Ram 1500’s Uconnect touchscreen is the opening play to a road map full of helpful digital destinations.

Weather forecasts, directions, favorite tunes, driving comfort – the Uconnect Home button lets you program all your favorite apps for quick and easy access when you need them. What makes the Home button unique is a ‘double play option offering the chance to view two different apps simultaneously on the 12-inch display with new split-screen capability.

Brad Gieske, FCA Experience design manager, takes the Uconnect Home button for a spin to show how easily and quickly you can hit a home run with every trip you take in your all-new Ram 1500.

Next week, Gieske puts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two newly integrated Uconnect systems, through their paces. Don’t miss it!

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye First Look: Possessed by a Demon

Hellcat is becoming a full litter for Dodge.

The Dodge brand, which FCA is winnowing down to a sports car brand, is building on the success of the Challenger SRT Hellcat and subsequent Demon by expanding the family.

After the Challenger began as a 2008 model. Dodge added the Hellcat for 2015, and the Demon came out as an 2018 model. “For ’19 we’re going to do a Redeye. It’s a Hellcat that’s been possessed by a Demon,” said Steve Beahm, head of Passenger Car Brands-Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat for FCA North America.

“We’ve got a Hellcat body, basically suspension and platform, and then we’ve got the Demon engine,” Beahm says in an interview with Motor Trend. “It’s a little bit different calibration than the Demon engine.”

The supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 generates 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque in the 2019 Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, making it the most powerful production V-8 now that Dodge has stopped production of the Demon. It has an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Quickest muscle car

CA says the Challenger Redeye is now the quickest muscle car with a claimed 0–60 mph time of 3.4 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph with a top speed of 203 mph. The Demon, capable of 840 hp and 770 lb-ft on high-octane race fuel, has a claimed 0-to-60 mph in 2.3 seconds. Its 3,300-unit production run ended in May.

“In terms of performance, the Demon was intended for the track even though it was street legal,” Beahm said. The Redeye grew out of a desire to provide a car that would be out on the road, not just on the track or in somebody’s garage. Dodge designed the Redeye as a mainstream vehicle with a lot of the same performance features in the Hellcat or Demon.

The Redeye “is a wide body as well, so you get the 3.5-inch-wider wheels, more rubber on the ground,” Beahm said. It has Pirelli P Zero tires.

It does not have the Demon’s Drag mode suspension tuning for weight transfer on launch or TransBrake which mechanically locks the output shaft of the transmission as the throttle goes up to build and hold more power for launch in Drag mode, but the Redeye does have line lock.

Not limited run or special edition

Like the Hellcat, the Redeye is not a special edition or limited run, Beahm said. “It’s not limited to certain volumes.” He expects the Redeye to account for 7 to 8 percent of total Hellcat sales.

The Redeye goes into production in Brampton, Ontario, this fall for delivery by the end of the year. It will top the 2019 Challenger lineup that still includes the SRT Hellcat, which boosts its performance to 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque. That is made possible with a new dual-snorkel hood that pays homage to muscle cars from the mid-’60s and early ’70s and is fully functional, providing maximum air intake. The left snorkel goes straight into the induction system and allows the engine to give the extra 10 hp.

The previous bulging aluminum hood from the Hellcat migrates to the Scat Pack for ’19. Dodge is also making the widebody available on the Scat Pack for the first time. The R/T Scat Pack Widebody shares the same fender flares as the SRT Hellcat Widebody, which add 3.5 inches to the overall width and is shod with Pirelli P Zero 305/35ZR20 tires mounted to 20 x 11-inch forged Devil’s Rim aluminum wheels. Also for ’19, Challenger GT RWD and R/T models get a standard high-performance suspension.

Ramming the Hellcat engine into a pickup

The Hellcat engine also migrates to Ram for a performance pickup to go up against the Ford F-150 Raptor. The Ram TRX will go into production by 2022, according to FCA’s latest five-year plan. Says Beahm: “We’ve got great engineers that provided us with an outstanding engine that has a bunch of performance. The Ram guys think that’s a good fit for them to take advantage of it as well, and we’re good with that.”

Is there room to further expand the Hellcat family? “We’re always challenging our engineers. We’re always challenging our people on the marketing side to come up with what the people want. That’s one thing the Dodge team has done well,” Beahm said, noting Dodge has the largest social media following, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram of any brand that allows interaction with customers. ”Our job is to listen to them, and when we can go down some paths they want us to, if it’s good for our brand, we’ll do it. That’s a lot of what’s happened over the last few years with Hellcat, Demon, and then the Redeye because a lot of the Demons are in storage rooms, a few of them are on the track. I want to see some Redeyes out on the road.”

Beahm also will continue the SRT brand, which pushes the performance edge, which is crucial to Dodge.

Taking up where Kuniskis left off

Beahm took over management of the passenger brands in February. He replaced Tim Kuniskis, who was promoted to global chief for Maserati and Alfa Romeo. Kuniskis is credited with taking the moribund Dodge brand and creating niche performance cars that generated a lot of buzz for the brand. He said his goal was to “tattoo the Dodge name into the subconscious of every performance enthusiast.”

Beahm is another good fit. “I started racing with my dad when I was 16 and did it for about 20 years and only gave it up because I ran out of time,” he tells Motor Trend. “My first car was a ’69 [Plymouth] Road Runner and the second one was a ’70 [Dodge] Challenger. Then I went on the dark side and raced a couple GM models for a while but I started on the Mopar side and whatever my dad had available, I was willing to drive at the time.” Eventually career and family responsibilities left little time for racing, but he still follows it today.

When Sergio Marchionne, chairman and CEO of FCA, asked Beahm to take over the passenger brands, “It was a quick ‘yes.’”

Dodge, Chrysler not focus of five-year plan

The latest five-year plan, which takes FCA through 2022, is focused on the automaker’s four volume brands: Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati. The brands overseen by Beahm are relegated to predominantly NAFTA-region brands with smaller portfolios and sales and fewer resources. It requires some spit and ingenuity to maintain older platforms and create new vehicles.

It means Challenger and Charger, as well as the Chrysler 300, remain on the same, aging platform, with sheetmetal updates and other enhancements to keep them as fresh as possible.

“Dodge’s role is to be prominent as America’s sports car brand. That’s what we’ve labelled it in the past few years, and I truly believe that’s where the brand is at today and where it’s headed for the future,” Beahm said.

Viper is dead

That does not mean the return of the Viper. “At this stage, as Mr. Marchionne indicated, the Viper is not in the [next five-year] plan.”

And although the Durango fits the profile with its SRT version, the Journey’s future at this point is only being confirmed through the 2019 model year. The plan remains to discontinue the Grand Caravan minivan when more capacity is needed at the Windsor, Ontario, plant that also makes the Chrysler Pacifica, and the brand could add a Pacifica-based Chrysler crossover. Beahm said his job is to grow the Chrysler brand, which may or may not continue to include the 300 sedan.

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Top Summer Car Care Tips

Summer’s high temperatures can take a toll on everyone – and everything, including your car. Extreme heat can push a car past its limits, and that can lead to some drivers finding themselves stranded at the roadside. The following tips can help you avoid becoming one of those drivers.

  • Make sure your battery is prepared for high temperatures. Battery problems don’t always occur in the winter.
    In fact, summer heat can have a more negative impact on your battery than freezing winter temperatures. Heat and vibration are a battery’s worst enemies, leading to internal breakdown and eventual failure. While you can’t do much about the heat, you can make sure your battery is securely mounted to minimize vibration. Another potential problem is faster evaporation of battery fluid, which leads to corrosion on terminals and connections. Clean any corrosive buildup from battery terminals and cable clamps, and ensure the clamps are tight enough that they will not move. If a battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last. This test can be performed at any AAA Approved Auto Repair facility, or AAA members can request a AAA Mobile Battery Service technician visit them to test their battery free of charge. For more information on the AAA Mobile Battery Service, visit
  • Keep your engine cool. Cooling systems protect engines from overheating and should be flushed periodically, as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Between flushes, make sure the coolant is filled to the proper level by checking the overflow reservoir. If necessary, top off the reservoir with a 50/50 mix of water and the coolant type specified by the vehicle manufacturer. CAUTION! – Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot – boiling coolant under pressure could cause serious burns. Rubber cooling system components are susceptible to heat-related deterioration, so periodically inspect hoses and drive belts for cracking, soft spots or other signs of poor condition.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Driving on under-inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout, especially when road temperatures are extremely high. Check your car’s tire pressures (including the spare) at least once a month, because tires typically lose about one pound of pressure per month through normal seepage. For the most accurate reading, check tire pressures when the tires are cold. Always follow inflation pressure recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the tire information label located in the glove box or on the driver’s door jamb. Do not use the inflation pressure molded into the tire sidewall, which may not be the correct pressure for your particular vehicle.
  • Make sure fluids are at appropriate levels. Most engine fluids lubricate and serve as coolants by helping carry heat away from critical components. When fluid levels are low, the cooling effect is reduced, which increases the possibility of overheating. Periodically check all vehicle fluids, including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid, to ensure they are at appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.
  • Maintain a comfortable driving environment. During extreme summer heat, an air-conditioning system can be more than just a pleasant convenience. It can reduce fatigue, which plays an important part in driver alertness and vehicle safety. If a car’s air conditioning is not maintaining the interior temperature as well as it once did, it may mean the refrigerant level is low or there is another problem. Have the system checked by a certified technician. In addition, if your car has a cabin filter, it should be inspected and replaced as needed to ensure maximum airflow and cooling during the summer months.
  • Be prepared for summer breakdowns. Even with preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so AAA recommends drivers have a well-stocked emergency kit in their cars. The kit should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools and a first aid kit.

    Many maintenance tasks needed to prepare a car for extreme summer heat are relatively simple and can be performed by the average driver, but some are best left to a trained automotive technician. AAA offers a free public service to assist motorists seeking a qualified auto repair facility. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities must meet stringent professional standards and maintain an ongoing customer satisfaction rating of 90 percent or better. To locate a AAA approved repair shop, visit

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The Very Last Dodge Demon And Dodge Viper Just Went For $1 Million At Auction

There’s something special about having the very last of something, especially if those somethings are a 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and a 2017 Dodge Viper. Fiat Chrysler has ceased production of the two, and the last examples of each, sold as a pair, recently fetched $1 million at auction. Update: The winner was Dan Snyder, a Dodge collector.

Over the weekend at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction in Connecticut, the Demon and the Viper were part of “The Ultimate Last Chance” lot, a lot no doubt named by a third grader. In addition to the last Viper and Demon ever made, the lot included several other piece of memorabilia, like authentication kits, letters, certification cards, iPads loaded with videos and pictures and custom branded merch.


Both of the cars are painted Viper Red. The Demon was hand-painted after it left the factory in Canada. The cars went for a neat $1 million, but FCA isn’t keeping the money. One-hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the United Way.

That means someone spent a million bucks for a combined 1,485 horsepower, which breaks down to about $673 per HP. That’s still more of a bargain than a Bugatti Chiron. Nothing is more bang-for-your-buck than good, old American muscle.

The winning bidder was Dan Snyder, a noted Dodge collector and enthusiast. He has a collection of over 70 cars, including over 30 Vipers and Hellcats. And now, he has two Dodge Demons, according to Dodge Garage.

Indian Motorcycle Sponsors Fourth Annual Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis

 Indian Motorcycle®, America’s First Motorcycle Company®, today announced its support and sponsorship of the fourth annual Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis. The veteran operated non-profit organization uses “motorcycle therapy” to help fellow veterans adjust to post-war life.


Many of the veterans joining the Veterans Charity Ride for the first time are amputees, paraplegics, or suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress and other issues veterans face after leaving the military. These new veterans will pair with veteran mentors who have already been through the Veterans Charity Ride program and receive one-on-one support to help their transition back to civilian life.


“We built a program specifically designed to assist wounded and amputee combat veterans with their needs and the issues they deal with on a daily basis. We give them the tools and a support structure to help get their life back on track following their tour of duty and life overseas,” said Dave Frey, Veterans Charity Ride Founder. “Many of our veterans used to ride motorcycles before their injuries and thought they never would ride again. Through support from companies like Indian Motorcycle and Champion Sidecar, we are able to get these vets back on bikes and enjoy the freedom of the open road.”


The Veterans Charity Ride will depart from Las Vegas on July 28 and travel through the most scenic roads of the western United States on Indian motorcycles. The eight-day ride to Sturgis will include a multi-day stop in Moab, Utah; where the participating veterans will experience the camaraderie of the group through off-road adventures and outdoor activities. The motorcycle ride will continue through Colorado, visiting Eagle and Fort Collins, and make its way through the Black Hills in South Dakota. On August 4, members of the Veterans Charity Ride will experience a “Hero’s Welcome” upon their arrival to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The journey not only delivers the freedom of the open road and cathartic experience only a motorcycle can deliver, but allows the veterans to bond by sharing stories and engage in peer-to-peer discussions.


“Veterans Charity Ride is a life-changing program for those who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Reid Wilson, Senior Director – Marketing and Product Planning for Indian Motorcycle. “Supporting the U.S. military has always been core to our brand DNA, and it’s an honor to give back by supporting a noble cause.”


The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis was conceived and developed by veteran Army Paratrooper Dave Frey and Emmy Award-winning producer and director Robert Manciero of Full Vision Productions, leveraging the therapeutic effects of motorcycle riding to create an adventure of a lifetime for wounded veterans.


Primary sponsors of the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis include Indian Motorcycle and Monster Energy Drink, with additional sponsorship and support provided by Champion Trikes & Sidecars, Cycle Gear, Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys, Wrangler Jeans and the Sturgis Buffalo Chip.


To support the Veterans Charity Ride, donate, or to learn more visit and Riders can also follow along on Indian Motorcycle’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and Veterans Charity Ride’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Renegade’s new engines: more power, torque

The first Jeep to have FCA’s brand-new Global Small Engine (GSE) series will, unsurprisingly, be the Renegade — which was, after all, based on Fiat dimensions, heavily reworked for “trail readiness.”2019 jeep renegade

The current model has a long-in-the-tooth 1.4 turbo, criticized by some for its responsiveness, and a 2.4 liter Tiger Shark option; outside the US, it also has a Fiat diesel.

Both gasoline engines could easily be replaced by the new GSE series. The 1.0 liter version is a yawner with just 120 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque; it does, at least, reach peak torque at 1,750 rpm.

The 1.3-liter GSE T4 is much more exciting, with 150 and 180 horsepower versions,  reaching 199 pound-feet of torque at 1,850 rpm.  That 180/199 version easily beats the current 1.4 turbo and the 2.4 as well — while getting 20% better gas mileage.

2019 renegade tail

The 1.3 liter engine, again, outperforms the current 2.4 by a good margin. Both may be sold in North America for the time being; the company has not released USA powertrain information yet.

The new engines are, in keeping with Chrysler tradition, aluminum-block designs with 1.8-mm thick iron linings bonded to the block. The engines have bedplates to cut noise and vibration, and use a 70-mm bore with a stroke-to-bore ratio of 1.24 and a 10mm crank offset.  The 1.0 liter engine is a three-cylinder, while the 1.3 is a four-cylinder; they share a common combustion-chamber design, four valves per cylinder, and a single cam.

Other features of the new engines include a high-tumble air intake, direct fuel injection, a low-intertia turbocharger with an electrically controlled wastegate actuator, and a water-cooled supercharger in the intake manifold for faster responses.

The new gasoline engines have MultiAir III; it continues independent valve opening and closing for each cylinder, but adds the ability to open the intake valves in advance for low-load efficiency, or to delay the intake valve closing for higher peak output.

An Allpar source wrote that the mild-hybrid version would have 48-volt engine electricals, but will not have the new belt-starter-generator system, which is apparently not worth the added cost.

For the moment, buyers outside North America can also get a choice of Fiat diesels, one with just 120 horsepower, another with 140 or 170 horsepower.

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Truck Thursday: 2019 Ram 1500 Uconnect Display – It’s Personal!

Do what you want when you want to do it. Now that’s not an invitation most of us hear very often, if ever!

The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 says consider yourself invited to do just that any time you desire with the fourth-generation Uconnect’s ‘personalized’ programming capability.

What’s the weather ahead like? Customize my map view. Put the apps I use most front and center. With Uconnect, you’re in full command of how you get to where you’re going the way you want to get there!

Brad Gieske, FCA Experience design manager, demonstrates just how easy it is to live life your way with the all-new Ram 1500 Uconnect system.

And be sure to join us next week when Gieske shows off the Uconnect system’s unique ability to ‘double’ your search capability with dual-screen technology.

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Things to Keep in Your Car in the Summer

With the easier travels and milder weather in the Summer, it’s easy to forget that you can still have emergencies.

You can have a flat tire, engine issues, or someone get hurt at the park. It’s important to have an emergency kit in your vehicle all year, and update it for the Summer months.

A way to fix a flat tire is a priority.

In the past, I would have said to make sure you keep a full tire for a spare, rather than a “donut” spare. But, what if you have a newer vehicle and you don’t have one? Our van didn’t come with a spare, nor does it have a space to carry one. That boggled my mind, until I realized that there are so many who wouldn’t even know how to change a tire anyway. So, we make sure that our emergency kits in our vehicles carry a tire repair kit and a can of Fix-A-Flat. This will at least get you to a place to completely fix or replace that tire. That is a requirement of my teens before they can get their license…they have to be able to fix and/or change a tire on their own.

You need to carry water at all times.

I don’t necessarily mean leaving plastic water bottles in a vehicle where they can get hot and possibly leach toxins into the water. Anytime we leave our house, my family and I each grab a water bottle (like these) and fill it up before we go. Even just a couple of miles. You never want to be stuck in 90+ weather for any length of time without water. If we are going more than just running errands, I fill a couple gallon sized glass jars as well. Not only for us, but for that rare instance that the vehicle would overheat, it can be a lifesaver.

Along with water, snacks are a must.

I don’t know if it’s the growing season for them or what, but my kids can eat me out of house and home, especially in the summer. If we are stuck somewhere for more than 30 minutes without food, they can get groucy. So, we make sure to have non perishable snacks tucked away, such as granola bars and crackers. If we get stuck somewhere, waiting on either fixing a tire, cooling an engine or other emergency, snacks can keep our minds off of how long it is.

A pair of walking shoes is also a good idea.

I usually put my older gym shoes in there, just so they can stay in there. What would I do if I needed to walk for help, as when if I committed a huge sin and ran out of gas? Walking in shoes like flip flops, sandals or other summery shoes can lead to very sore feet. So, if that happens, out come the walking shoes and pair of socks tucked away to make that easier. I try and keep a pair for each family member, but my boys generally wear hiking boots and gym shoes all year long anyway.

Speaking of running out of gas,

DON’T. Get into the habit of filling up when the needle shows 1/2 a tank full. That will save you so much frustration in the long run. It’s no fun to run out of gas, and it can actually damage some of the newer models. Keep the tank no less than 1/2 full all year long, please.

If you have an older model vehicle, or are planning a long trip

keeping an extra quart of oil for your vehicle is a good idea. We make sure our daughter has at least one quart in her vehicle all year long, but especially in the summer. Her older car seems to go through it faster when it’s hotter.

And, last but certainly not least…a first aid kit.

This needs to include band-aids, some bug bite salve (get the recipe here), and a roll of toilet paper minimum. I would also include some sun burn spray (get the recipe here) as well as some hand sanitizer (get the recipe here). There should also be a external cell phone charger that is fully charged and extra charging cord. Another thing to keep in your first aid kit is at least $10 in cash, just in case. You just never know when you need to grab another bottle of water, or snack while waiting for the service station to finish with your tire…

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Ultimate Last Chance: Two iconic Dodge cars, one big boost for the United Way

This week, someone helps supercharge the work of the United Way.

The “Ultimate Last Chance” charity auction – paring the final 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon and the last 2017 Dodge Viper – opens for bids on Saturday, June 23, at the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction in Uncasville, Connecticut. The auction will be broadcast on the Velocity network, with the Challenger SRT Demon/Viper duo set to be on the block at 3 p.m. Eastern.

The winning bidder takes home two amazing high-performance vehicles with a combined 18 cylinders and 1,485 horsepower. But there’s more than just the cars to show off.

There are authentication kits for the vehicles. Each kit includes a letter of authenticity, assembly line build sheets, Demon- and Viper-branded electronic tablet loaded with videos and photos, and carbon fiber Certicards.

The Demon kit also includes the Track Tech Manual, created by the editors of Hot Rod magazine, and a framed letter from the National Hot Rod Association that “bans” the Challenger SRT Demon from competing at NHRA tracks without the required equipment.

There is also a special Demon Crate, signed by FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne. The Demon Crate contains drag strip-specific parts and tools for the Challenger SRT Demon.

Each vehicle also comes with aluminum wall art pieces. The Challenger SRT Demon piece the official time slip and Guinness World Record Certificate, along with a photo and embossed logo. The Viper piece includes build photos, a list of Viper achievements and an embossed logo.

We recently followed the final Challenger SRT Demon as it traveled down the assembly line at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario.

Since the car left Brampton, it has been hand-prepped and painted Viper Red (production code LRN) to match the final 2017 Dodge Viper, making the final Challenger SRT Demon a truly unique car.

Even if your bank account won’t support you joining the bidding, it will be interesting to watch and see who gets to add these historic cars to their collection, and what the final number is when the hammer falls.

Remember to check our friends at for updates as the week goes on and the time for the “Ultimate Last Chance” charity auction gets near.

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2019 Jeep® Cherokee is ‘fun to drive’ and easy to park

When the Jeep® team began work on the 2019 Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Cherokee Engineering Manager Rich Silbert said they “really touched everything and tried to think of everything.”

Silbert provided that assessment as he recently took to the road in a new Cherokee Overland to highlight some of the new features and amenities in the most capable midsize SUV available.

2019 Jeep® Cherokee Overland

Some of the new features available on the Jeep Cherokee include:

  • A 2.0-liter turbo engine with 400 N•m (295 ft-lb) of torque with 270 hp
  • The front and rear of the vehicle have been “rethought”
  • The license plate was moved up to the liftgate
  • The hands-free liftgate is operated by making a kicking motion under the bumper to open
  • Park assist and unpark assist
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Five USB ports

“I think this one fits more into the Jeep stable,” Silbert said.

Learn more about the new Cherokee by visiting

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