Truck News: What’s happening in the truck world?

There’s been all sorts of news in the pickup truck world lately. Here’s a digest of some of the things you might have missed.

First up, let’s talk about Ram.

Ram caught up with Chevrolet in pickup sales in March. Ram sold 42,532 trucks while Chevy sold 42,247. This is the first time this has happened since the 1990s (and Ram was part of the Dodge name).

Ram also recently revealed a few updates to its truck lines. For starters, its Pentastar V6 is so popular Ram is making it available on more truck models, including the fancier-trimmed ones.

Here is the new Ram Power Wagon.

You can read all about it here or watch it here:

And Ram is also offering its Ram Black Express trim on HD pickups.

Now, here’s some news about Chevrolet. Like I mentioned above, Ram pulled ahead of them in March, and there are plenty of reports that indicate Chevy’s folks were not too happy about it.

Chevrolet rolled out plenty of incentives in March, and it’s keeping those incentives coming this month. It also rolled out its High Country trim level for HD pickups. Take a look:

But here’s some really good news for Chevrolet: and Vincentric are saying that when you account for insurance, depreciation, reliability, fuel and all over factors, the Chevy Silverado is actually the cheapest truck to own over a 5-year-period.

Meanwhile, Ford is still selling trucks — what else — by the truckload and getting ready for its updated 2015 F-150 to hit dealer lots. In case you haven’t heard, the new F-150 will have an all-aluminum body.

There have been plenty of stories about all the steps Ford has taken in planning this process out. For example, it’s doing a new recycling plan that’s supposed to save it $125 on each one of these new F-150s.

Ford knows that a lot of customers are skeptical about these new aluminum-bodied F-150s and has been putting a lot of effort into showing how much testing and abuse it’s been throwing at them. Check out this video, for example:

This new F-150 will have a second EcoBoost option: a smaller 2.7L V6. And it’s spending half a billion dollars on a facility to make those engines in Ohio. The truck is also supposed to get some really awesome LED headlights, too.

Ford got some especially good luck recently when TV host Jimmy Fallon chose its F-150 King Ranch pickup on his program after discussing the issue on several episodes. He even had a little competition to decide which Ford salesperson would get to sell him the new truck. The winner was an Illinois dealer.

The current F-150 was also recently named one of the most “Made In America” vehicles you can buy today.

The Blue Oval is also rolling out some new Super Duty trucks soon. Here’s a look at the new F-350 King Ranch.

Finally, here’s a piece of news that will not only affect all trucks, but pretty much all consumer vehicles: Starting May 1, 2014, 100 percent of vehicles with less than 10,000 pounds GVWR will have to have rearview cameras installed at the factory.

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What is the real difference between a tri-fold truck bed cover and a roll-up tonneau cover?

So, you’re looking for a tonneau cover, and you’re not sure about whether to get a tri-fold or a soft rolling cover? Here is a comparison of a tri-fold and a roll-up tonneau covers with some differences for you to know.

First, there’s install time and labor. A tri-fold cover takes relatively less time to install the first time than a soft roll-up cover.

At first, it seems like the tri-fold cover is less work, but that changes the first time you have to load something big and tall in the bed. A tri-fold tonneau cover, when folded, still blocks a third of the bed, so if you need total bed usage, you’ll need to completely remove the cover by folding it up and setting it aside on the ground.

A rolling tonneau cover, however, rolls up and stores right behind the cab in far less time than it takes to fold and remove a folding tonneau cover. You don’t have to remove this kind of tonneau cover and set it aside — where it runs the risk of being damaged or stolen — every time you need your full truck bed again. You just roll it up, haul your cargo, and roll it back down when you’re done.

Essentially, a tri-fold tonneau cover is less work to install, but there’s more work involved every time you need to use your truck bed; while a roll-up tonneau cover takes a bit more install time, but you save time every single time you need full access to your bed.

If you’re looking at putting a truck bed cover on your Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Ram, Nissan or Toyota, you should also consider what other truck accessories you might want to add to your pickup bed.

A tri-fold cover will go completely over the truck bed’s sides. If you want to add bed rails, a ladder rack, a headache rack or other truck accessories that attach using the stake pockets and bed rails, you won’t be able to do that with most tri-fold covers.

An inside-the-rails roll-up cover, however, will leave your pickup bedrails open for all sorts of accessories.

Here is a video that compares tri-fold and roll-up covers and demonstrates the differences between them. Pay close attention to the amount of time and work involved each time the tri-fold cover must be removed and reinstalled.

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10 uses for an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light that you should consider

Darkness is lying in wait for you in so many places. Here are 10 spots where you can install an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light and send darkness packing.

1. A truck bed.

Adding a tonneau cover solves a lot of problems, but it can block light when you need to find something in the bed. This ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light lets you keep the bed covered but see what you need to see.

This is the original purpose of this battery light: to put light in a truck bed without having to wire it into a power supply. If you hate searching in the dark for something in the back of your truck, add one of these lights and your problem is solved.

2. Boats.

Fishing in the dark is overrated. A well-placed ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light means you don’t have to try and locate a dropped lure or hook just by feeling around for it (OUCH!).

There are many hidden spots on boats where your keys, a lure or something else important can fall and be hard to find in the darkness. The light’s 3M adhesive let’s you stick it to most any surface and the whole assembly is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about it getting splashed.

3. Enclosed trailers.

The storage and work spaces in this toy-hauler trailer are much more useful thanks to an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light overhead.

Trailers meant to carry cargo often have plenty of dark spaces, and wiring them for lighting can be quite a bit of work. With a battery light, you don’t have to worry about where you can run cables. You just peel the backing off the adhesive and stick the light where you need it.

4. Sheds.

If you can’t find anything because it’s too dark, that storage shed isn’t really helping you. Add an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light so you don’t have find your gear by touch.

Storage sheds are great at keeping your property dry, but they often lack decent lighting — let alone electricity. Stick one of these lights on the wall or ceiling so you can see what you need to find.

5. Toolboxes.

It’s a lot easier to find your tools when your toolbox has enough light.

Can you tell by touch alone the difference between a ½” wrench and a 13mm? If not, you need to consider lighting up your toolbox so you can find the right tool every time.

6. Cupboards and cabinets.

The average home has plenty of dark cabinets. If you need more light, just add an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light and you’re set.

You’ve probably got half a dozen of these in your home. How often do you wish you could see inside them better? These lights stick to the sides and tops of cabinets, so you can aim the LEDs wherever you want the light to shine.

7. Gun safes.

Gun safes rarely have enough usable light. Add an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light so you can see inside your safe.

Manufacturers usually focus on strength and security when building gun safes, while visibility is often not a priority. Quality firearms often have finishes that can be scratched by clumsy handling when going into or coming out of a safe — which can give rust an avenue to start eating at the metal. Put a light in your safe so you don’t wind up smacking your guns together while trying to find the one you want.

8. ATVs

This ATV has an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light mounted to light up the area behind it.

Stick a light along the rear of your four-wheeler to give yourself a portable light for any time you have to work in the field. The mounted light lets you work with both hands instead of having to hold a flashlight with one.

9. Fish houses and hunting cabins.

Adding an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light to a fishhouse can keep you from fishing in the dark and wondering where you dropped that lure.

Hunters and anglers often build shelters out where the only power is what you bring to camp. An ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light gives many hours of usable light off a single set of batteries, and the long-lasting LEDs mean you never have to worry about burned-out bulbs.

10. Your home bar.

Sticking an ACCESS™ AA Battery LED Light to the top of this liquor cabinet made it easy to find the right spirit. It also impresses the guests.

Many homeowners keep their liquor and wine hidden in cabinets, drawers or closets to keep it away from curious children. This can make it hard to find the right bottle when you want a drink. The solution: Stick a battery light to the top of your cabinet, pointing down at the bottles, and position the battery box in a spot where you can easily find its switch by touch. The next time you have a party, you’ll be able to find the spirit of your choice much more quickly.

Also, the lighting makes your liquor collection look incredible.

How to install this light

The light is easy to install. Here’s a video that shows the steps:

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Trucks at the Super Bowl

Last year, Ram Trucks made a big splash during the Super Bowl with its commercial, “Farmer,” embedded above. (You can see a longer version with more of Paul Harvey’s speech here). It exploded across social media and got the company a great deal of attention, especially in the agriculture industry.

Chevrolet already released its Super Bowl commercial for the Silverado HD, called “Romance.” It takes the format of its super-serious, minimalist “Strong” campaign and has a bit of fun on the topic of where beef really comes from.

Chevrolet is running this spot as well as another unrevealed 1-minute spot during the big game.

As of this writing, Ram (now a part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), hasn’t tipped its hand on Super Bowl XLVIII, but we do know that Chrysler is the fourth-largest buyer of Super Bowl airtime this year. I’d say the odds are good it’s going to try and top the response it got last year with “Farmer.”

Ford has something hybrid-centered for the Super Bowl. There have been occasional rumors of a hybrid pickup from them, but nothing ever seems to materialize. We’ll see. Ford’s spot is expected to air just before kickoff.

Also, this Toyota commercial popped up just this past week. Could it be hinting at something to come?

We’ll update this post with any more Super Bowl commercials that appear. Let us know what you think of these ads in the comments section.

Monday morning update:

Well, the big game is passed. I missed a good bit of it because my TV signal went to pot sometime in the second quarter and didn’t recover until there were a few minutes left in the fourth. That’s just life for you.

First up is Chevrolet’s second big game commercial. It’s a bit of a slow burn that seems like a soft, romantic piece. Then, in the last few seconds it reveals exactly what is happening. Anyone who’s ever had a loved one fight cancer can relate to this:

Ram Trucks didn’t have anything to top its big hit from last year, but it did upload this little video yesterday.

I’m not sure if it aired on TV, and it seems Fiat Chrysler put its big money into its Bob Dylan ad for the Chrysler 200, a Maserati bit and this Jeep spot:

Ford kept its trucks in the garage for the Super Bowl. Its advertising was for the hybrid Fusion sedan. So did Toyota, but it did bring out the Muppets for the Highlander.

That’s all I saw last night, but between the technical difficulties and taking care of my kid, I might have missed something. If so, let me know in the comments.

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Just look at these new trucks!

The automotive media is abuzz thanks to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. While there are some pretty cars being revealed at the show, a big component of the excitement comes from two new pickups that were unveiled in the past 24 hours: the 2015 Ford F-150 and the 2015 GMC Canyon.

Here are what several news outlets are saying about these new vehicles:

Copyright General Motors Corp.

The return of the GMC Canyon

General Motors pulled the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon after the 2012 model year due to disappointing sales. The returning Colorado appeared late last year, and now the GMC Canyon is back too.

Before the unveiling, GMC did a fair amount of teasing on social media, including these shots:


Automotive News reports the Canyon has a distinctly different look from the Colorado:

“While the Chevrolet Colorado is sporty and sleek, the Canyon, its corporate sibling, looks a bit like a little brother to the GMC Sierra full-sized pickup. And that’s by design.”

Automotive blog Jalopnik has been advocating for smaller pickups for some time now. It was pleased with the Colorado, and its reaction to the the Canyon has also been warm. Blogger Andrew P. Collins even said this Canyon is a worthy truck for taking on Toyota’s Tacoma:

“Both the Colorado and Canyon are nice little trucks. They feel tiny if you move into one straight out of a Silverado or Suburban, but would more than fulfill the pickup needs of many consumers.”

It’s been interesting to watch the differing strategies of the different truck makers. General Motors is going with the “three-truck strategy,” by making it so customers have trucks of three different sizes available from each brand. Who doesn’t enjoy choice?

I do wonder if there’s enough market available for selling these smaller trucks. This Wall Street Journal article pointed out the midsize pickups accounted for only 1.7 percent of all U.S. auto sales last year.

USA Today points out that this new truck’s electronic package includes a Teen Driver mode that lets parents set speed limits and gives a “report card” of broken laws and misbehavior.

Copyright Ford Motor Co.

The 13th-generation Ford F-150

As everyone is reporting, this truck made big news with its weight savings brought about through the use of aluminum in the body panels instead of rolled steel.

The rumor mill on this issue has been running for months, with countless stories quoting anonymous sources leaking bits and pieces about the new body material.

Most recently, Automotive News published this piece pointing out that the US Postal Service’s delivery vehicles have had aluminum bodies since 1987, and have been working out pretty well (Don’t miss the clever GIF video) Also, just before the reveal, MotorTrend magazine had a little fun by claiming to have an image of the new truck before anyone else:

When the reveal came, Automotive blog Jalopnik said the new truck looked good when photos were released, and said it’s even better in person. They also had a little laugh pointing out the lower melting point of aluminum compared to steel in a less-than-serious fashion:

“See, steel has a melting temperature between 2600°F and 2800°F, while aluminum melts at a much cooler 1220°F. Many types of lava flows can reach temperatures of over 1750°F, no problem for steel, while causing aluminum frames to turn into glimmering custard.”

MotorTrend says SuperCrew F-150s will have the most weight savings, at about 700 pounds each, because they had the most steel to replace. Regular cab pickups will shed 500 pounds or so. went all-out with stories about each part of the new F-150 filling up its news section. Powertrains, Bed Tech and Trim Packages, Oh My! Autoblog’s Truck section had this piece, and included Ford’s video on the new truck:

The New York Times took the Q&A format for reporting on the new truck, but also included this close look into all the work and research and science that went into using aluminum for the body as well as the new 2.7L EcoBoost V6:

“Ford is using 5000- and 6000-series sheet — the numbers indicate the particular alloys — supplied by Alcoa and Novelis. These alloys are popular with automakers because they are easy to form, rugged and, in the case of 6000, provide the smooth ‘class A’ surfaces required for visible panels like fenders.”

Automotive News shared a nice bit of detail about that new smaller EcoBoost engine, which uses special materials and designs that are beyond my ability to explain, so I’ll just quote the story:

“The two-piece block has compact graphite iron on the upper section, while the lower half is made from die-cast aluminum.

“‘We used iron only where we need the strength, which is in the main bulkhead,’ said Bob Fascetti Ford’s vice president of powertrain engineering. ‘This whole thing, including the [bearing] caps are cast together,’ he said.”

All this tech sounds fancy, but it makes a difference. Jalopnik is pointing out that this new F-150 can actually do more for the environment than the Toyota Prius.

Anything I missed?

If you know of any good stories on these new trucks that should be added to this digest, email me at with a link and a description.


Ford did a sneaky little thing to show how tough this new truck is. It took a 2015 truck, stamped a 2014 body for it out of aluminum, then ran it in the BAJA 1000 race:

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How did the polar vortex affect our tonneau covers?

Pretty much the entire U.S. has been bathed in cold air this week thanks to a blast of arctic air coming south from way up north.

Here at our factory in Jamestown, North Dakota, it was 15 degrees below zero Monday afternoon when I filmed this spot:

You see, our covers are made with vinyl that’s made to remain flexible down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold days like today are normal days for our covers.

This cold isn’t so normal for electronics, however. I recorded this with a tablet that had a full battery when I went outside but, after I came back indoors, the battery was failing!

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Two SnowSport customers show off their plow rigs

We’ve heard from a pair of SnowSport® owners this week. They shared shots of their plow rigs and told us about how they’re using their SnowSport® HD Utility Plows.

First up is Mike W. in Michigan. Check it out.

Photo courtesy of Mike W. in Michigan

Mike says:

“Not a lot of snow in Michigan, but the rubber cutting edge lets ya plow the yard so the kids can play!”

Second up is Bobby C. in Massachusetts.  After seven years of clearing snow with snowblowers, Bobby got a SnowSport HD Utility Plow to clear his 200-foot driveway. Here is the plow on his Jeep:

Photo courtesy of Bobby C. in Massachusetts

Here’s what Bobby had to say:

“Today was our first winter storm of six heavy inches of snow. My snow removal has normally taken about three hours with my two snow blowers running, I got a 7′ Snowsport for my ’06 Jeep Wrangler this year and I plowed out in under an hour while in my Jeep with heated seats and listening to the Acoustic Sunrise on the radio. Totally warm and relaxed. This plow worked unreal. I should have got the plow seven years ago. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! It was no strain on the Jeep.”

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ROLTEC® Electric Hopper Conversions from Agri-Cover save valuable time and money

Having to open and close the traps on a grain trailer again and again can be tough on a driver, and it uses a lot of time that could be better spent doing other things

This is where the ROLTEC® Electric Hopper Conversions from Agri-Cover can help. The

Electric Hopper Conversion mounts to your existing manual-crank hopper driveshaft and gives you electric control from the cab or with a remote control.

There’s no need to cut off or throw out the hopper doors you’ve already got installed. Just add this system to convert your trailer’s traps to electric.

There are other benefits to adding this conversion. It eases driver fatigue, is lighter by design, and saves time allowing more trips per day.

The system also improves safety for drivers and operators, reducing the risk of injuries. A safe driver is a productive driver, while an injured driver means one fewer person to share the work — not to mention the costs of caring for an injured driver.

This video shows the steps involved in installing a ROLTEC® Electric Hopper Conversion:

This conversion readily attaches to any standard 1-inch hopper driveshaft with its split-sprocket technology. This prevents you from having to cut the driveshaft. It also connects to hoppers with non-standard driveshafts. Here’s a video that shows that process:

The ROLTEC® Electric Hopper Conversion’s reliable and powerful chain drive system has oversized bearings and is built for years of dependable use. It features stainless-steel parts to give it maximum protection from road salt and flying gravel.

The electric hopper trap openers feature a positive automatic lock that is impossible to back-off, so it locks wherever you stop to control the flow of grain. Featuring stainless-steel hardware in a high-clearance design, ROLTEC® hopper conversions provide maximum protection from harsh road conditions.

The system also includes a simple manual override in case of power loss. Just remove the detachable link and you can still crank the hopper door like before.

The conversion system comes ready to work with Agri-Cover’s COMMAND-10® remote. The remote lets a driver operate a combination of up to 10 electric tarps, hopper trap openers or accessories from more than 100 feet away. You simply hold down a button to operate, and release it to stop at any point.

Drivers have the option to have multiple trucks programmed to one remote, or decide to have multiple remotes programmed for several trucks. The COMMAND-10® remote shuts off when its lid is closed or after 3 minutes of inactivity for long-lasting battery life.

Here’s a video that shows how to set up your COMMAND-10® remote to fit your needs:

ROLTEC® conversions can add productivity, safety and utility to your farm operation. You can order yours online, or contact Agri-Cover at 866-414-5422 to make an order or find a dealer close to you.

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The ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat can take plenty of abuse and still look good

Not all cargo is created equal.

Some stuff doesn’t care how rough you are when you drop it in the bed.

Other gear can be more sensitive, and that’s when you want your truck to have a softer side.

The ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat doesn’t just look nice. It helps you move gear in several ways.

First, a truck’s bed does an OK job of carrying stuff, but it’s not so nice for people who need to move around in the bed while loading, securing and unloading gear. Get down on your knees in your truck bed sometime and you’ll see what I mean — the metal just isn’t very nice to your joints.

A Truck Bed Mat, however, is very easy on the knees and makes it much easier to move around in the bed. It helps cushion your body when you’re in the bed, and it also cushions whatever cargo you carry.

Some gear wants to slide around in a stock truck bed. This can mean your cargo winds up skidding to the front of the box — often damaging the bed’s paint and giving rust a chance to take root.

This carpet, however, helps keep cargo in place by providing more grip for your gear. And even if your stuff still manages to slide around, the bed below is protected from damage by the thick mat.

Many bed liners are permanent, but the ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat can be removed and reinstalled as needed. For normal hauling, just let it be. If you’ve got something particularly dirty to haul, like a load of gravel, you simply unsnap the carpet and take care of your dirty work. When you’re done with the messy jobs, just spray out the bed and snap the carpet back into place.

But don’t think you need to worry about this carpet getting dirty — it’s not like you have to take it to the dry cleaners any time it gets smudged. The mat is easily cleaned with a pressure washer or garden hose. It’s made to be durable and washable.

This mat is also made in an environmentally responsible manner. The ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat is a marine-grade carpet made from recycled water and soda bottles. Each mat sold means a pile of bottles get kept out of a landfill.

The Truck Bed Mat is produced with a precise fit for many different truck bed sizes. Installing the mat for the first time is a straightforward process using drill-in or adhesive snaps — both options are included with each mat. The mat can be installed in a bare truck bed or on top of drop-in or spray-in bed liners, too.

When I installed my own Truck Bed Mat, I used the drill-in snaps. Here is a step-by-step video that shows that installation process:

Some truck owners may not be too thrilled about putting holes through their new truck bed. That’s why ACCESS offers adhesive snaps as well. This video shows how to install an ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat with the adhesive snaps:

Whether using the drill-in snaps or adhesive snaps, take your time while measuring the mat’s location and deciding where to put the snaps. It’s hard to fix a hole drilled through the wrong spot in your bed, and the adhesive snaps are made to stick in place for the long haul.

I love having an ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat in my pickup. It keeps my gear from sliding around and makes it easy for me to work in the bed when I need to. It’s also so soft I let my daughter crawl around in the back when we’re stopped on a long drive and she needs a break from her car seat.

Hey, it’s never too early to pass along the joy of pickup trucks.

Anyway, if you think an ACCESS™ Truck Bed Mat is right for you, get yours here.

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Agri-Cover’s ROLTEC® Electric Tarp Conversion can save you time and money

Using a hand-cranked electric tarp can be tough on a driver, and very time-consuming. Many in the industry are adding electric tarp systems to trucks and trailers, but this can be a hefty expense, especially if you still want to get more life out of an existing tarp.

This is where the ROLTEC® electric conversions from Agri-Cover fit in. The

Electric Tarp Conversion mounts to your existing side-locking tarp system — no matter which manufacturer made it — and turns it into an electric system.

You don’t throw out the tarp and latchplate you’ve already got installed. Just add this system to convert your existing tarp to run on electricity.

You’ll find other benefits from adding this conversion. It reduces driver fatigue, is lighter by design, and saves time allowing more trips to the elevator or other stops per day.

The system also improves safety for drivers and operators, reducing the risk of injuries. A safe driver is a productive driver, while an injured driver means one fewer person to help with the work — not to mention the costs of caring for the injured driver.

This video shows the steps involved in installing a ROLTEC® tarp conversion:

The ROLTEC® attaches to the existing rolltube. Its reliable and powerful drive system with oversized bearings is built for years of dependable use. Torsional pivot arms provide spring return, and the rotating and telescoping motor mount allows roll tube to rise and flex over heaped loads.

The system also includes a simple manual override in case of power loss. Just remove the pin at the front of the trailer, attach the crank handle at the rear of the trailer, and then open and close the tarp like before the conversion.

The conversion system also works with Agri-Cover’s COMMAND-10® remote. The remote lets a driver operate a combination of up to 10 electric tarps, hopper trap openers or accessories from more than 100 feet away. Simply hold down a button to operate, and release it to stop at any point.

Drivers have the option to have multiple trucks programmed to one remote, or decide to have multiple remotes programmed for several trucks. The COMMAND-10® remote shuts off when its lid is closed or after 3 minutes of inactivity for long-lasting battery life.

Here’s a video that shows how to program the COMMAND-10® remote to suit your application:

ROLTEC® conversions can add productivity, safety and utility to your farm operation. You can order yours online, or contact Agri-Cover at 866-414-5422 to make an order or find a dealer close to you.

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