TOYOTA TUNDRA TRD PRO DISCONTINUED
The Toyota Tundra’s current design has been around for a long time. Sure, it was
updated in 2014, but that refresh was largely cosmetic. Its drivetrain, cab, and suspension
are pretty much unchanged from the current generation Tundra’s introduction
in 2007. A decade is a long time in the typical redesign cycle of modern pickups. Most
manufacturers have fast-tracked development of their trucks, with heavily refreshed ones
every three to four years.
Now comes news that the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will be discontinued for the 2018
model year. The most off-road-ready trim of the Tundra line, the Pro featured unique
bump-gobbling 2.5-inch Bilstein coilovers up front. Special wheels, badging, and visual
cues separated the TRD Pro from more pavement-oriented Tundras.
So why discontinue it? The move may seem a bit of a bummer, but it’s not without
precedent. Toyota discontinued the Tacoma TRD Pro a year before the current generation
Tacoma came out in 2016. The Pro returned in 2017 and was a signifi cant step up
from the previous version. So does this mean a new Tundra is on the way? Hopefully.
Though the current truck is solid and known for reliability, it’s starting to show its age.
The Tundra will soldier into 2018 mostly unchanged, except for an updated headlight
look and a new gauge cluster featuring a larger 4.2-inch information screen. A new TRD
Sport trim will also be available, positioned between the SR5 and Limited trims.
BIKER GANG WANTS YOUR JEEP JK
If you happen to live in San Diego, CA and own a Jeep JK, you might have noticed
it’s no longer in your driveway. That’s because a Tijuana, Mexico-based biker
gang named The Hooligans went on a crime spree, stealing an estimated 150 Jeep
JKs in the sunny Southern California city. They then drove the Jeeps across the
border into Mexico. Once on the other side of the border and away from the reach
of law enforcement, the JKs were stripped for parts or sold intact, bringing in an
estimated $4.5 million.
How exactly did the motorcycle gang pull this off? Most would think a biker gang
would use strong-arm tactics or basic smash-and-grabs. After all, if a motorcycle
gang (and we’re talking a real one, not a bunch of dentists who’ve seen too many
episodes of Sons Of Anarchy) surrounded us and asked us for the keys to our JK,
we’d probably comply. However, this gang’s tactics were surprisingly crafty; the plan
involved high-tech hacking and some serious electronic know-how.
The gang first began its theft spree by patrolling neighborhoods, looking for Jeep
Wranglers. Once a worthwhile model was spotted, the VIN (which is easily visible
through the front windshield) was recorded. The VIN allowed the thieves to get the
key patterns from a secure online database. While it’s not known how they got access
to the “secure” database, the gang either hacked their way in or gained access
through an employee on the inside.
After a duplicate key was cut, the thieves
would return to the Jeep, open its hood
(which is extremely simple on a JK), and
quickly cut the wires to the horn and front
fl ashing lights to avoid attention. The duplicate
key would then be used to unlock the
door and placed in the ignition. A handheld
key programmer was then hooked up
to the vehicle’s ECU. Using a second code
obtained from the database, the thieves
programmed the chip in the duplicate
key, allowing them to operate the Jeep
normally, simply driving it away. The whole
operation required only a few minutes.
San Diego Police believe the biker gang
theft ring had been operating for at least
three years. It was foiled after a home
security camera caught the technique and
some of the gang members on video. Only
three out of the nine men indicted have
been arrested. Importantly, it exposes the
security vulnerabilities of modern computerized
cars. Maybe it’s time to invest in a
hood lock for your Jeep JK.
Hey, nice Jeep JK. Can we have it?
10 AUGUST 2017