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HomeThe MarketDodge bringing back Direct Connection as part of ‘Never Lift’ program

Dodge bringing back Direct Connection as part of ‘Never Lift’ program

Our occasional roundup of new-car news and notes

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Dodge is launching a new two-year business plan labeled “Never Lift,” which among other things promises at least one enthusiast-related announcement every three months, including the return of Direct Connection as the exclusive source for performance parts and enthusiast customer service.

Kicking off “Never Lift” will be Operation 25/8, an 8-week, 25-car giveaway, with detailed to be announced November 12. Operation 25/8, Dodge said, is part of its “Brotherhood of Muscle,” which goes above and beyond 24/7.

“More than gas, more than batteries, what fuels our run to tomorrow is attitude, a belief that we can always push harder, run faster and flat-out over-deliver on behalf of the brand and the Brotherhood of Muscle,” Dodge brand chief executive Tim Kuniskis is quoted. “25/8 recognizes the spirit that makes Dodge, well, Dodge.”

Dodge, Dodge bringing back Direct Connection as part of  ‘Never Lift’ program, ClassicCars.com Journal
1977 Direct Connection parts catalog cover

Also coming is a search for a Dodge-brand “Chief Donut Maker,” with details coming in January, 2022, according to the Dodge news release. Kuniskis said the “donut maker” will celebrate one of “the unsung enthusiasts that make up the backbone” of the brand, an ambassador who embodies the spirit of the founding Dodge brothers, John and Horace.

“The Dodge brothers were scrappy go-getters,” he said. “Never content to follow the trends, they were the seekers of a better, faster, more outrageous way of doing things. We’re looking to hire someone just like them as an ambassador of Never Lift.”

By the way, he added, the position includes a Dodge Hellcat to drive, a $150,000 salary, a wardrobe and a business card that carries the title, Chief Donut Maker. Details to come in mid-January 2022.

“Dodge is a pure performance brand, and the reintroduction of Direct Connection will empower members of the brotherhood looking for increased performance without violating emission requirements or the factory warranty,” Kuniskis added.

Dodge said Direct Connection will launch with a full line of factory-tuned parts, including exclusive new Direct Connection “Tuner” and “Stage” kits that will allow Dodge owners to install factory-tuned, 50-state-legal stage kit calibrations. 

“The Direct Connection Stage II kit can unlock nearly 100 additional horsepower, while a Stage III kit is under development to unlock even more,” the company said.

Now a part of Stellantis, Dodge originally launched Direct Connection back in 1974 offering “ready-to-run performance parts sold through the dealer network with how-to performance-upgrade guides known as performance recipes. The Direct Connection hotline, catalog and more armed racers and enthusiasts with the information they desired. Whatever the performance need – street, track or strip – Direct Connection provided the parts and knowledge.”

Toyota touts new Tundra

2022 Toyota Tundra
2022 Toyota Tundra | Toyota photos

Toyota has unveiled its next-generation full-size pickup truck in the form of the 2022 Tundra, which is switching from its former V8 engine to a more-powerful twin-turbocharged V6.

The i-Force 3.5-liter twin-turbo powerplant comes in two versions, with 348 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque (and a 20-mpg rating) or with 389 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. 

However, even more powerful is the hybrid version, the i-Force Max with 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque.

The truck has a base price of $35,950, can tow as much as 12,000 pounds (with the Max hybrid setup), and is available with a 14-inch touchscreen multi-media system. Toyota said it also has upgraded the 4×4 system on its TRD Pro model, and that the upgrades are available on other 4×4 Tundras as well.

French truck maker fuels Dakar entry with hydrogen

Dodge, Dodge bringing back Direct Connection as part of  ‘Never Lift’ program, ClassicCars.com Journal
Gaussin’s H2 Racing Truck debuts in Dakar Rally in January | Pininfarina photos

French truck producer Gaussin has unveiled what it says will be the world’s first hydrogen-powered racing truck, which will enter the 2022 Dakar Rally that begins in January. The truck was designed by Pininfarina.

“The H2 Racing Truck incorporates high-performance design to withstand extreme environments, and it is intended to demonstrate the performance and reliability of the hydrogen-electric motorization developed by Gaussin,” according a news release sent by Pininfarina. 

“The data and information collected during the 2022 Dakar Rally will be used to further develop Gaussin’s range of road trucks scheduled for launch from 2022.”

“We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change and the last generation to act,” Gaussin chief executive Christophe Gaussin is quoted. “By entering the first 100 percent hydrogen and electric truck in the Dakar, Gaussin intends to demonstrate the reliability and performance of its hydrogen road range in a difficult environment. New technologies based on renewable energies are available and mature and  should help accelerate the energy transition.”

Gaussin said its fleet of on-road trucks will be available for long-distance travel with a range of 800 kilometers before the hydrogen fuel will have to be refilled, which is says will be a 20-minute process, as well as a battery-only version for shorter distances with a 3-minute recharge good for another 400 kilometers of travel.

The zero-emission trucks will be available in road tractor, autonomous, delivery and construction versions, each designed by Pininfarina.

For the Dakar and other off-road rallies, the H2 Racing Truck will have a pair of 300 kW electric motors powered by 380 kW hydrogen fuel cells. The truck will have a 250 kilometer range in racing conditions and will  need 20 minutes to replenish the hydrogen supply.

Dodge, Dodge bringing back Direct Connection as part of  ‘Never Lift’ program, ClassicCars.com Journal
Gaussin plans full range of Pininfarina-designed hydrogen and electric trucks

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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