Tag: fca

By on October 11, 2017

2018 Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package, Image: FCA

You’ve decided to stay in the minivan fold. Or, to Fiat Chrysler’s delight, you’ve decided to join it. Just because your Pacifica spends its days shuttling around colorful little Playskool houses and playing Paw Patrol videos on the seatback media screens doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also strike terror into the hearts of passers-by on the mean streets of America.

Right on cue, or perhaps a little belatedly, Chrysler is adding a hint of menace to a decidedly non-menacing model with the return of the S Appearance Package to its minivan stable. Last offered on the defunct Town & Country, the package does for the Pacifica what it does for the 300 and what it did for the departed 200.

Bring on the darkness. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

Ferrari emblem logo

Despite months of denial, Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Ferrari will put a sport utility vehicle into production on Monday. “We’re dead serious about this,” Marchionne said at the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week. “We need to learn how to master this whole new relationship between exclusivity and scarcity of product, then we’re going to balance this desire to grow with a widening of the product portfolio.”

The working title for Ferrari’s SUV is “FUV” and its confirmation undoes months of Marchionne’s claims that it would “never be built.” In February of 2016, the CEO even said he would have to be shot and killed before Ferrari made an SUV. For his sake, we hope that is no longer a provisional aspect of the build.  (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Last week brought quite a flurry of excitement for eager Jeep Wrangler aficionados. The long-awaited next-generation JL model has steadily revealed its secrets in dribs and drabs, but last week’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filing appeared to reveal one of the biggest nuggets to date — a horsepower figure for the model’s 2.0-liter turbocharged “Hurricane” four-cylinder.

368 horsepower. Even from a unit expected to arrive with power in the neighborhood of 300 hp, this figure came as a shock. 368 hp isn’t “in the neighborhood” — it’s eight blocks over, past the train tracks, and in a better part of town.

Well, to all of you anticipating a real screamer of a Jeep, it’s time to hold your breath once again. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has updated its NHTSA filing. (Read More…)

By on October 10, 2017

Dodge Dart Audi A8 rear end - Images: FCA & AudiMy Dodge Dart awareness is not what it should be. I’m not fully up to speed on the Dodge Darts of yore. Despite my parents’ ownership of a Dart, the 1960-1976 period was not an era in which I was a sentient being.

As for the newer Alfa Romeo Giulietta-based Darts, I’m not fully on board with America’s rejection of the car. By the end of its second full year, nearly 200,000 Dodge Darts had been sold. Sales increased yet again in 2015. But without factory support, real demand was rather limited. Only 43,402 Darts were sold in the United States in 2016, the year Dart production came to a premature end.

Man, I loved that car. Oh, I don’t mean the way it drove, and certainly not the way it shifted. I’m not talking about interior packaging or its engine lineup or its interior quality. Whatever. Pfft. Who cares. I just genuinely liked the way it looked: the proudly Dodge front end, those completely wheel-filled arches, and especially that distinctive rear end.

I’m therefore pleased to see Audi resurrecting that look for the fourth-generation 2018 Audi A8, the brand’s flagship sedan. (Read More…)

By on October 9, 2017

2016 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

Looking for a full-size pickup with class-leading fuel economy? Can’t lick that diesel addiction, but not willing to go heavy duty? Since 2014, the Ram 1500 HFE has been your full-size, light-duty diesel go-to, at least until the Environmental Protection Agency yanked the model’s certification for the 2017 model year.

Following this year’s minor disagreement (the EPA wanted to know what those undeclared auxiliary emission control devices were all about, Fiat Chrysler said it was no big deal), as well as the federal investigations and lawsuits that followed, the thriftiest Ram is back on the market. In late July, environmental regulators finally gave the model a clean bill of health, certifying it for sale in the U.S.

However, Ram EcoDiesels are only now finding their way onto dealer lots. (Read More…)

By on October 6, 2017

2012 Dodge Charger

Every now and then, life takes you by surprise. One minute you’re hanging out with your buddies, deploying the 225 horsepower of a tattered Mustang GT to do donuts in the parking lot of the Muddy Shag Lounge. The next, you’re weighing the benefits of a variable rate mortgage.

It’s an alarming reminder of age, not unlike the sudden predilection of my knees to sound like nails in a Cuisinart when I attempt to alight from my sofa after watching the Pittsburgh Penguins get shellacked by the Chicago Blackhawks.

One such life event snuck up on me a couple of weeks ago: I finally kept a car long enough to pay it off.

(Read More…)

By on October 4, 2017

All-new 2017 Jeep® Compass Trailhawk - Image: JeepSeptember 2017 sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decreased on a year-over-year basis for a 14th consecutive month, extending a stretch of declines that began in August of last year.

For much of that time span, the U.S. automobile industry was reporting declining sales, as well. And for much of that time span, even as total U.S. auto sales kept on sliding, SUV/crossover sales were rising. For much of that time span, Jeep sales were falling.

Technically, officially, Jeep sales kept on falling in September 2017, the U.S. auto industry’s first month of improved sales this year.

But if you’d just ignore the Jeep Patriot for a moment, we can look at a clearer picture. (Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

2014-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-03

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it is recalling nearly 710,000 sport utility vehicles to check on shields protecting the brake boosters. The shields were a new addition to a bundle of SUVs involved in a 2014 recall and FCA is worried they may have been installed improperly.

The company discovered that units exposed to water were subject to excessive corrosion, resulting in unacceptable brake pedal firmness. Affected vehicles also run the risk of degraded braking performance. FCA says it is aware of at least one accident associated with the problem but noted there were no injuries.

(Read More…)

By on October 2, 2017

magneti-marelli

Fiat Chrysler is trying to work some financial magic to make itself look more appetizing to prospective investors. However, few buyers are likely to be interested in the whole of FCA. Its North American half has proven adept at assembling sport utility vehicles and Jeep would be a tasty morsel for any company hoping to expand its portfolio. But the Italian arm’s focus on smaller automobiles could get in the way of a potential deal — especially if the buyer already has their own.

CEO Sergio Marchionne wants the company to be purchased by an established automaker, but there are precious few that would want everything it has to offer. One possible solution is to separate subsidiaries from the core group. Marchionne says that might be the best solution for dealing with component supplier Magneti Marelli.

FCA has been of the mind that streamlining the business is the best way to attract investors without harming subsidiaries. After all, it worked well enough for Ferrari. The brand was spun off from FCA in late 2015, and its stock valuation embarked upon a rocket ride to the moon the following month.  (Read More…)

By on October 1, 2017

jeep renegade grille

It’s no secret the Japanese marketplace has never made room for American automobiles. Western cars have a serious image problem in the Land of the Rising Sun, compounded by an exceptionally high cost of entry that prohibits outside companies from wanting to risk establishing an extensive dealer network. The end result is a handful of American cars being sold every year — primarily in boutique shops as novelty items.

The exceptions are premium offerings from Europe and Jeep. That isn’t to suggest that Jeep products are common place in Japan but they are one of the few domestic offerings that have achieved any kind of sales consistency or growth within the country. It’s carving out a small place for itself in the Eastern market and putting other American brands to shame.

Jeep has a storied history in Japan. In the mid-nineties, it was mixing it up with other domestic brands — made more viable by a favorable exchange rate. A few years later, foreign automakers saw their already meager sales dwindling to practically nothing and some (Ford for instance) pulled out of the country entirely. But Jeep held on and became America’s number one brand in Japan. (Read More…)

By on September 28, 2017

2018 Ram Southfork and Lone Star

People allege that everything’s bigger in Texas. At the State Fair, they’re probably right. Ram chose the long-running extravaganza to show off a couple of new trim packages now available on their pickups.

The current list of Ram trim levels reads like a menu at a good restaurant: lots on it and plenty that you want. Ahead of next January’s Detroit show, where we will presumably see a brand-new Ram 1500 pickup, the FCA team has dropped two new models into their lineup.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2017

hyundai-sonata-eco-grille logo

Snubbed by both the Germans and the Chinese, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is continuing its journey to find the automaker that will sweep it off its feet and say, “Let’s build a factory together.” However, if CEO Sergio Marchionne maintains that FCA will be bought by an established automaker, he’s running out of options. The automotive dating pool isn’t particularly deep.

While there was some stirrings of vague Korean interest when news broke of talks between FCA and Chinese automakers, those rumors dissipated quickly. But reports of a possible business deal between Hyundai and the Italian-American company surfaced recently after Great Wall Motors shrugged off its proposed bid for Jeep. FCA later said it had not received any offer from the Chinese manufacturer.

Presumably, Great Wall would have used FCA to supplement its sport utility sales and begin making moves on North America. Another brand that might be interested in bolstering its supply of SUVs is Hyundai — something the South Korean press has been buzzing about all week.  (Read More…)

By on September 21, 2017

Image: 1991 Lancia Thema 8.32, via seller

It would be understandable if the Lancia Thema you see above put you immediately in mind of a Rare Ride from a few days ago, the gold-plated DeLorean DMC-12. While that car had an entirely different purpose from the Lancia you see before you, the two did have a couple of things in common. Both were designed by Italian legend Giorgetto Giugiaro. And like the DeLorean, the Lancia also suffered (in normal trims) with the same Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine that made Eagle Premier owners miserable.

But that’s where the similarities end. Because today’s Thema sheds its multinational, mediocre V6 power for some purebred Ferrari horses. And you don’t even have to do the import paperwork.

(Read More…)

By on September 21, 2017

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus

We all know minivans bring out a driver’s inner beast. Here at TTAC, hardly a day goes by where we’re not discussing which minivan is best suited for an impromptu spin around the track. Seriously.

However, if exploring the limits of your minivan’s handling abilities tops your short list of things to do today, Chrysler Pacifica drivers had best hold off — at least if you’ve got a crowded backseat. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles doesn’t want owners driving aggressively until they’ve taken their van in for a voluntary recall. (Read More…)

By on September 20, 2017

FCA sign, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

It’s been two months since federal investigators blew the lid off a years-long corruption scheme between certain Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives and counterparts at the United Autoworkers Union, but a new court filing shows some of the funnelled money took an unusual path.

We’re not talking about the Ferrari, the pool, or the fancy purses and pens. Not even the shotgun. After leaving the account of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, a corporation designed to give workers a leg up, investigators claim cash made its way to a former UAW vice-president’s personal foundation and then to two apparently fake hospices.

The kind that don’t perform any hospicing. (Read More…)

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