Archive for the ‘Dodge’ Category

What’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Without Fiat and Chrysler?

Two namesake brands will survive – barely, for now.

by on Jun.04, 2018

The Chrysler Pacifica may soon go it solo as the brand continues to shrink.

It’s been nearly a decade since struggling European automaker Fiat combined with the post-Chapter 11 Chrysler, and if the 5-year plan unveiled during a day-long meeting in Milan last week comes close to being accurate, the carmaker could be in for a “brighter future” than ever, according to John Elkann, the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the heir to the Italian side of the company’s founders.

There’s just one problem: neither the Fiat nor Chrysler brands seem poised to share in the spoils. The Fiat Capital Day briefing focused all but exclusively on just four brands – Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Maserati – expected to dominate FCA’s future. For now, Fiat and Chrysler will survive, but in greatly diminished form, and observers question whether they’ll be around for the long-term.

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“There was enough doubt…about their future because they barely showed up in the presentations,” said Joe Phillippi, chief analyst with AutoTrends Consulting, after attending the day-long session at Alfa’ proving grounds near Milan. Fca’s management team “took pains to say (Fiat and Chrysler will have a future, at least in the near-term. But it will be up to the next management team to determine whether they will remain in the portfolio for the long-term.”

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More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

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The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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Is Dodge Viper Set for Another Revival?

All-new version could make an appearance as early as 2019.

by on May.29, 2018

Early versions of the Dodge Viper GTS Coupe and the Viper Roadster.

The original Dodge Viper was an icon of the 1990s, even though it never came close to matching the sales of America’s other domestic sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette. Shortly after it emerged from bankruptcy in 2010, Chrysler finally pulled the plug on the snake, but after merging with Fiat, brought it back to life four years later, albeit to a largely indifferent market.

Fiat Chrysler has not only pulled the plug on the Viper but is in the process of converting its Detroit assembly plant into a conference center and museum. But could the Dodge Viper rise from the grave, Lazarus-like, for a second time? That appears to be a distinct possibility, at least according to several new reports.

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“A new Viper is happening,” at least according to one of those sources, Car and Driver, though, if true, we could see some distinct changes made to the once-popular snake that could take some loyalists by surprise, starting with the replacement of the distinctive V-10 engine that has been a hallmark of the nameplate since the first Viper Roadster debuted more than a quarter century ago. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalling Nearly 5m Vehicles Because Cruise Control Could Lock On

Problem could make it more difficult to stop vehicles.

by on May.25, 2018

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of 15 different models covered by the new FCA recall.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million sedans, utility vehicles and pickups due to a problem that could prevent drivers from shutting off their cruise control, making it difficult, though not impossible, to stop a vehicle.

The problem is the latest in a series of large recalls involving the third-largest of the domestic automotive manufacturers, FCA recalling millions of vehicles over the last several years for issues as varied as transmission problems and fire hazards.

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The latest service action involves a wide range of products produced for the 2014 through 2018 model-years, and even one 2019 model, and is meant to cope with a cruise control circuit that could short out.

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In Final Move as FCA CEO, Marchionne Expected to Order Massive Shift in Product, Manufacturing Plans

Small Fiat models likely to be dropped, brand may leave U.S.

by on May.18, 2018

Could FCA pull the Fiat brand out of the U.S.?

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles prepares for life beyond its founding chief executive, CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce major shifts in the automaker’s product and manufacturing strategy, according to several reports.

During a June 1 meeting meant to reveal FCA’s next five-year plan, the 65-year-old executive reportedly will announce that the Fiat brand will abandon two of its base models, the Punto and Mito, while shifting emphasis to more up-market models. The automaker also will put more emphasis on its Jeep brand which, Marchionne said during the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, could help Fiat Chrysler double its earnings during the next five years.

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One of the key questions hanging over the Euro-American automaker may not be resolved during a meeting bringing together analysts and journalists from around the world: who will replace Marchionne as CEO? He has dropped hints that his successor will come from FCA’s current top management ranks, which means no women or outsiders are in the running.

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FCA Halts Production in Brampton Due to Supplier Strike

Dodge Challenger, Charger on hold for now.

by on May.04, 2018

Fiat Chrysler was forced to shut down its plant in Brampton, Ontario, due to a strike at its seat supplier, Lear.

Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V. has been forced to close its assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, due to a strike at a plant in Ajax, Ontario, that s seats to the FCA factory.

A contract dispute between Unifor, the union representing some 320 hourly workers at the Ajax plant, and Lear Corp., led to a walkout last weekend. Workers rejected Lear’s latest contract offer and Lear responded by announcing that it planned to shut the Ajax plant permanently.

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The dispute mainly over wages, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail. (more…)

FCA Enjoys Record Q1 Results as Plans Fall into Place

Company earns 1 billion euros and paying down debt.

by on Apr.26, 2018

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the company was on track to meet its goal of paying off its debt by the end of 2018.

Despite production delays for the new 2019 Ram pickup truck, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. reported record profits of 1 billion euros for the first quarter of 2018 thanks to stronger sales in North and South America and a drop in capital spending as the company completed the launch of three new vehicles.

“Overall the business is in good shape,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne during a conference call with analysts, noting the company had eliminated 1.3 billion euros worth of debt out of the company’s cash flow.

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“Obviously I’m pleased by the debt reduction,” Marchionne said. (more…)

FCA Continuing Diesel Settlement Talks with DOJ, CARB

Discussions centering on potential penalties for automaker.

by on Apr.11, 2018

The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is part of the group of vehicles that allegedly used a cheat device to beat emissions tests.

Despite repeatedly denying any wrongdoing, Fiat Chrysler is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department and California Air Resources Board to reach a settlement about accusations it used illegal used software to beat diesel emissions tests.

The discussions, which according to multiple reports, are very far along, address allegations that FCA used the software, in a manner similar to Volkswagen’s diesel testing cheat device, for 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles – mostly light trucks – sold since 2014.

Diesel News!

According to Reuters, Ken Feinberg, an adviser in the process, at a federal court hearing in San Francisco revealed that government lawyers and Fiat Chrysler were swapping documents as part of the settlement process, which was moving “at a rather swift pace.” (more…)

3 Familiar Models May Vanish as Sales Shift to SUVs

Ford Taurus exiting for a second time, along with Fiesta and Chevy Sonic.

by on Apr.05, 2018

The Taurus is one of two Ford models that are expected to be dropped over the next few years.

March saw an even bigger surge in demand for SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks but, according to industry data, sales of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks continued to decline – an ongoing trend that is expected to lead to the demise of a number of once-popular passenger car models, including Ford’s big Taurus and subcompact Fiesta, as well as the little Chevrolet Sonic.

And even more passenger car models could be on the way out, according to industry sources, even as manufacturers move to expand their light truck portfolios to take advantage of one of the biggest market shifts in decades.

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“I think we’re going to see some contraction in passenger car nameplates,” said Stephanie Brinley, principle automotive analyst at IHS Automotive. “That’s not to say they’ll go away. Some people still like them….but there’ll be some rationalization over time.”

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Back From the Dead: Chrysler Finds New Use for Old Viper Plant

Maker auctioning Viper memorabilia for charity.

by on Mar.21, 2018

The last Viper - and the original Viper Concept - will join 400 other classics kept at the newly renamed Conner Center.

The Dodge Viper may have been relegated to the automotive scrapheap but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has found a new use for the old factory on Detroit’s Northeast side that spent a quarter-century building the high-powered sports car.

The Conner Assembly Plant, which was idled last year when production of the Viper was halted, is in the midst of being converted into a combination corporate meeting center and car museum, FCA officials revealed Wednesday. At a media gathering at the 77,000 square-foot plant, meanwhile, they also announced that nearly 2,000 items of Viper memorabilia – ranging from signed hoods to kiddy cars – will be auctioned off, the money to go to a regional charity.

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“This is a way to get this memorabilia into the hands of people who will appreciate it … while giving back to the community,” said Mike Tonietto, the last manager of the Conner plant and now a director of manufacturing for FCA. (more…)

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