This week, the idea of Brazil’s cars being “unsafe” due to inferior construction has been gaining a lot of currency on the blogosphere after the Associated Press published a report on this topic. Very few outlets have anyone posted in Brazil to do any deeper digging, but TTAC does. Unfortunately, our man Marcelo de Vasconcellos is currently in exams right now (good luck, Senhor!) and was unable to write up an article refuting these claims. Still, Marcelo took the time out to talk to TTAC about the problems behind the article.
Despite sales of the Fiat 500 picking up, Fiat dealers are getting antsy for new product, with some showrooms struggling to turn a profit based on sales of the subcompact alone.
While we wait on the latest round of registration data from Europe (April 2013), a look at January-March 2013 data paints a bleak picture for Alfa Romeo.
Last week there was a 2003 Toyota Tacoma with 430,000 miles on it.
I thought to myself, “Well this isn’t news. The quartet of GM/Ford trucks, Honda Cars, and Toyota everything is still cleaning up the charts. I won’t write about it this time”. So I waited…
This week the mileage champion out of 6,945 vehicles was a 1999 Toyota 4Runner with 344,400 miles. The enthusiasts among us are probably a bit Toyonda Chevorded out at this point. So this time, let’s focus on longevity.
The next example of the Fiat 500 range, the rather literally named Fiat 500XL, has revealed itself via a leaked photo. It looks a bit like a Fiat 500L that’s all swollen via anaphylaxis. The 500XL may not even make it to North America, but that’s ok. We’ll take the Panda instead. Apparently, the 500XL will have a third row of seats and grow to nearly 170 inches long, making it just barely acceptable for North American tastes. No doubt it will do well in Europe, which is currently in the throes of crossover fever.
Fiat could be close to raising the cash needed to buy the rest of Chrysler, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Apparently, the money will not come from a sale of Alfa to italophile Volkswagen, as previously surmised, but from banks. But knowing banks, they probably won’t simply move the $4 billion across the counter. These days, they often just find a willing buyer for a hefty fee … (Read More…)
Despite overwhelmingly positive press for the Fiat 500e, the electric Fiat is known to be a bete-noir for Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. Speaking at the SAE Congress last week, Marchionne claimed that Fiat loses $10,000 on each 500e, describing it as “masochism”.
California consumers interested in a Fiat 500e will be getting a sweetheart deal from Fiat; a $199 lease for 36 months with a $999 down payment.
News of former Ram divsion head Fred Diaz defecting to Nissan has sparked a hiring shuffle over at Chrysler. Reuters is reporting that former Dodge chief Reid Bigland will be moving over to head up Ram, while Tim Kuniskis will move from Fiat to replace Bigland at Dodge. Jason Stoicevich takes over from Kuniskis at Fiat.
Back in December, TTAC was invited to a very secret presentation somewhere in Michigan, where an assembled crowd of journalists was shown the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. At the time, the car didn’t even have a name. It was called the “KL”. TTAC was shown the base car (shown in the photos) and an upcoming variant that you’ll see next week. When the sheet was pulled back, the murmuring and and hushed chatter that permeated the room immediately ceased. Nobody knew what to make of this new crossover.
The latest member of the fast-growing “European small crossover club” will likely be the Fiat Panda, which will get a model that will grow in size, to compete against C-Segment SUVs.
“It may require a miracle to pull off the Fiat chief’s latest gambit,” Reuters writes. To get Fiat out of its rut, Sergio Marchionne has a risky plan: “Take his sporty Alfa Romeo brand global with more expensive models and triple its sales volume by 2016 – after years of losses.”
That plan, says Reuters, “represents Fiat’s only real hope of combating a collapse in its home market and breathing new life into idled factories.” What if it turns out as a bust? “Should it fail, and the new cars flop, the company that Italians view as a cornerstone of their economy will have little choice but to put thousands of employees out of work and tip entire communities into turmoil.” (Read More…)
Most harebrained ideas are hatched under the influence This was no different. A thousand miles removed from Canada’s largest city, two freelance automotive writers were guzzling beer and bandying about ideas for potential stories. Most of the concepts were actually elaborate ruses designed solely for gaining access to OEM press fleets.
“Let’s drive to Toronto!” Mark heartily suggested. “It’s only, what, a thousand miles?”
“That’s sixteen hundred kilometers, in Queen’s English,” I corrected him. “Why? For what purpose?”
“Well, the Canadian International Auto Show is in February. Let’s crash that party.” White out!
Our own Alex L. Dykes postulated that the 500L is what happens when Fiat stays in America for awhile – and he’s right. The feature that stuck out immediately are the massive side windows between the front doors and the windshield, looking for all the world like that area of the original GM Dustbuster minivans.
Are you a Fiat dealer looking for an Alfa Romeo franchise? Well, better hope you’re doing solid volumes and are making your customers happy.