Automotive

Ford launches the all-new Ford Ranger FX4 MAX

Off-road beast

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What is it like to live the Ranger Life? Ford believes that it should be lived-out to the qmax with the all-new 2021 Ford Ranger FX4MAX! The all-new 4×4 variant bolsters Ford’s dominance of the local 4×4 passenger truck market.

The 2021 Ford Ranger FX4MAX slots itself between the range-topping Ford Ranger Raptor and the Wildtrak and offers the best of both worlds in terms of performance and hauling capacity as well as safety and convenience features.

The FX4 MAX’s suspension brings an off-road stance and capability with the new 2.0-inch monotube FOX TM shock absorbers in both front and rear. The rear suspension has a remote reservoir and leaf springs, enabling rapid recovery from extensive and prolonged off-road use. These are teamed with tuned coil-springs at the front. The leaf springs have been modified to provide greater compliance off road, while balancing payload and towing capability.

Complementing the FX4 MAX’s suspension are 17-inch alloy wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. The BFGoodrich tires provide outstanding traction on unsealed surfaces and feature tougher sidewalls.

Ranger FX4 MAX’s exterior catches the eye with the iconic F-O-R-D grille and a full-length tubular sports bar finished in matte black that allows easy access of the load box. Body-mounted metal hoop side steps with non-slip finish toughen the look and showcase the FX4 MAX’s commanding presence and attitude.

Inside you are treated to materials new to Ranger line with carbon-accents and Miko Suede inserts with FX4 MAX embroidery on the seats. Sports pedals provide better grip as well as all-weather floor mats for convenience and for when things get rough. The leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as the door inserts and dashboard integrate Black Alley inserts for a fresh and dynamic contrasting design.

Unique to the FX4 MAX is the auxiliary switch pack. Fitted on Ford trucks globally, including the legendary F-Series, this feature gives FX4 MAX owners the ability to easily connect and operate auxiliary accessories and equipment in a seamless and integrated solution. To support such additions, the FX4 MAX features a specific 250A alternator to support power supply to multiple accessories and reduce reliance on the vehicle’s battery.

Just like the Ranger Raptor and Wildtrak 4×4, the Ranger FX4 MAX is equipped with the 2.0- liter Bi-Turbo diesel engine, capable of generating 213PS of power and 500NM of torque. This is seamlessly mated with the 10-speed automatic transmission and thanks to the rugged and re-tuned suspension mated to leaf springs in the rear, it reinforces the powertrain and enables the FX4MAX a 981kg payload as well as 3,500kg of towing capability.

The Ranger FX4 MAX is also equipped with a host of smart and safety features that elevate the driving experience, while keeping both drivers and passengers protected on the road.

For convenience and connectivity, the Ranger FX4 MAX features an 8-inch color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, Smart Keyless Entry with Push Button Start, SYNC 3 with Voice-Activated controls, Bluetooth with Phone/Audio streaming, two USB ports, and six speakers.

The Ranger FX4 MAX also offers unmatched safety and security with driver-assist features such as Cruise Control, ABS + EBD, Electronic Stability Control Including Roll-over Mitigation and Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control, driver and passenger airbags, Rear Parking Sensors, and Child Seat ISOFIX Anchorage Points.

The Ranger FX4 MAX comes in six colors, including Arctic White, Absolute Black, Aluminum Metallic, Meteor Grey, Blue Lightning, and True Red. It will be available in all Ford dealerships nationwide starting March 10, 2021 at a launch price of PhP 1,698,000.

Automotive

Volkswagen lied about rebranding its America division to ‘Voltswagen’

The carmaker should just stop lying

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On March 29, Volkswagen’s America division released a press note saying that the company shall be changing its name to ‘Voltswagen.’ The rebranding was to stress its commitment to electric vehicles.

As it turns out, the press release was fake and the carmaker purposely leaked it ahead of April 1, which is universally celebrated as April Fool’s day. Mark Gillies, a company spokesman, confirmed Tuesday that the statement had been a pre-April Fool’s Day joke.

The stunt was supposed to be a marketing campaign for the new electric SUV — ID.4. While the name change may have been deemed a joke, Volkswagen states that the underlining theme was the emphasis on EVs.

However, the joke wasn’t funny for many because the announcement prompted the company’s stock to go up by almost five percent in one day. Following the name change, many investors believed Volkswagen is serious about the EV space and has future potential. Those who fell for the news and invested in the company are now left in limbo.

The joke has received a lot of criticism because this isn’t the first time Volkswagen has lied to the public. The German carmaker was infamously found guilty of Dieselgate, a high-profile scandal wherein the company was caught cheating and manipulating emission tests via dedicated software changes.

In a nutshell, diesel cars were emitting much more pollutants than they should, but regulators were not able to detect this due to special modifications. Volkswagen admitted that about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were fitted with deceptive software. The scandal cost the company US$ 35 billion in fines, penalties, and recall of millions of vehicles.

April Fool’s day is a joke and it’s normal to see companies come up with unbelievable or even bizarre ideas to grab the limelight. Although, it’s easy to distinguish between humor and serious news on April 1 since jokes are expected by everyone. Volkswagen’s timing was extremely poor and gave little opportunity for media organizations as well as investors to consider it humor.

The poorly planned publicity stunt could boomerang for the automaker. US securities regulator, the SEC, has often fined companies for fake disclosures that mislead investors. In 2018, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was fined US$ 20 million when he tweeted about turning the company private, without any funding actually lined up. The tweet boosted Tesla’s stock temporarily and created a false market frenzy, prompting a crackdown by regulators.

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Automotive

Xiaomi is venturing into smart vehicles

Ready to ride on a Mi Car?

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Image by GadgetMatch

It was just rumors a few weeks back but we now have confirmation from Xiaomi that they are indeed entering into the business of making smart vehicles.

An announcement shared by a Xiaomi representative to GadgetMatch reads the following:

The board of directors of the Company has resolved to commence the smart electric vehicle business. The Company will set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to operate the smart electric vehicle business. The initial phase of investment will be RMB 10 billion, with the total investment amount over the course of the next 10 years estimated to be USD 10 billion. Mr. Lei Jun, the Chief Executive Officer of the Group, will concurrently serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the smart electric vehicle business.

Seeing as Xiaomi has practically dipped its toes into pretty much everything, the decision to venture into this new business isn’t exactly surprising. The company already has a firm hold in the smartphone market but, as Engadget noted on their report, expanding into electric vehicles will give them another revenue stream with bigger profit margins and is not susceptible to risks of chipset shortage.

The company will face tough competition not just from existing car manufacturers like Tesla and Nissan, but also other big tech companies like Apple who are looking at widening their horizon and expanding into smart transportation.

We still don’t know when an actual Mi Car will first hit the market. However, with this announcement, we can expect the company to start showing of a concept or a prototype to generate buzz and develop interest.

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Automotive

Elon Musk says you can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin

And it won’t be converted to fiat currency

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Tesla chief and billionaire Elon Musk said on Twitter that the electric vehicle maker has started accepting Bitcoin. To buy a brand-new electric car from Tesla, now you can use cryptocurrency. And it won’t get converted to fiat currency.

“You can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin. Tesla is using only internal and open source software and operates bitcoin nodes directly,” the CEO said in a series of tweets.

The automaker last month revealed that it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and that it would soon start accepting the world’s most popular cryptocurrency as a form of payment. Tesla’s vehicles range from US$ 40,000 to US$ 125,000 before tax. Based on the market rate, you can pay via the cryptocurrency and roll-out of the showroom with a brand new Tesla.

It’s available only to US customers right now, but Tesla did say that more countries shall follow later this year. It’s to be noted that bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency Tesla accepts.

Musk has always been an ardent supporter of cryptocurrencies and envisions a day when it’ll take over the world. While a tiny portion of the money is flowing in Bitcoin right now, many predict it to be the future of payments and human economics.

Tesla embracing bitcoins is a bid-deal because many other smaller companies shall be encouraged to make a move. Acceptability has always been a strong-point for cryptocurrency critics, and this one small act of confidence-building.

Some investors, however, are convinced that Tesla and bitcoin are both in bubble territory. The value of a Tesla share and bitcoin has soared in the last year, breaking all fundamental rules of value-based investing. Investors are concerned that cryptocurrency is still an unregulated industry and that many governments, like the Indian one, shall clamp down on it. Making it a very volatile investment.

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