Total Fiat Chrysler Automobiles volume is up six percent this year thanks to record sales at Jeep, FCA’s top-selling outlet. However, despite that wave of Jeep-directed affection in the U.S., sales at the company’s other brands have fallen two percent through the first nine months of 2015.
Even in September, an extraordinarily high-volume month for the U.S. auto industry, a month in which sales shot up 15 percent compared with the same period one year earlier, FCA’s non-Jeep marques posted only a modest one percent increase. Jeep’s 40 percent surge to more than 77,000 sales produced a 14 percent overall uptick for FCA’s U.S. operations, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram plus Fiat and Alfa Romeo. (Read More…)
Ram production will be coming back to the United States and car production moving to FCA’s Mexican operations, Automotive News is reporting citing anonymous sources.
The news comes just days after FCA and the UAW tentatively agreed to a new national contract while locals continue to hammer out the finer details at the plant level. According to the report, there will also be some movement of products within U.S. borders between FCA plants.
Wake up, ladies and gentlemen, and listen to the happy news: we are in an automotive renaissance. The kind of renaissance that comes around but once every decade or two; the kind that’s accompanied by new designs and new powertrains and new features and new competition.
I am referring, of course, to the cargo van renaissance.
I’m not sure if you’ve realized it, but that’s exactly what’s going on around us: a renaissance of cargo vans. An explosion of new models, and new segments, and new powertrains, and new features, and new designs. When we look back years from now, we will all agree that the cargo van segment was forever changed by the years 2014 and 2015.
This has not been a banner summer for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In the past 90 days, FCA has recalled nearly 4 million cars and trucks for various issues including hackable cars, volatile fuel tanks, faulty airbags and now, in some of its Ram trucks, airbags with minds of their own.
In a statement Thursday, FCA said it was recalling more than 1 million pickups for a faulty steering wheel wiring harness that could rub against a spring and deploy the driver’s side airbag. The company said it was aware of two injuries related to the airbag deployment. Ram trucks — all models — made between 2012-2014 are affected by the recall. More than 235,000 trucks in Canada will be recalled as well.
In addition, FCA is recalling roughly 350,000 trucks for faulty welds and non-compliant side-curtain airbags.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted a 2-percent overall gain in sales for August, keeping its 65-month streak of increased sales alive, the automaker reported Tuesday.
Jeep jumped the largest amount for the automaker; Jeep reported an 18-percent increase as a brand and four of its models posted sales gains. Sales of Dodge-branded vehicles slid 15 percent overall, and Chrysler-branded cars fell 14 percent.
FCA reported it sold more than 200,000 vehicles in North America for the second month this year.
Sergio Marchionne seems to be taking a different tactic in this year’s UAW negotiations. Instead of threatening to take product out of North America and send it to China, the head of FCA is playing to the hearts and minds of the union membership, even going so far as to admit all automakers have screwed workers in the past.
“To be perfectly honest, we’ve all fucked with the UAW, right? We were threatened by them, so we took all the pickup trucks that we sell — and 90 percent of those pickup trucks are sold in this country, right — we took it away, and then we delocalized them” Marchionne told Automotive News’ Larry P. Vellequette.
Last week, rookie TTACer Aaron Cole called the RAM Rebel a Jeep pickup. I don’t think it would be impossible to make the case that the Rebel is a successor of sorts to the J10 and J20 full-sizers like the one that Jalopnik is rebuilding right now. Those pickups were discontinued after Chrysler acquired AMC because there just wasn’t enough money in the hopper to update them and do a new Dodge Ram truck. Shame, really, because the “FSJ” did have some fans and there are still people willing to pay sixty grand for a ’91 Grand Wagoneer.
Chances are, however, than when you think of a “Jeep pickup” you’re not thinking about a full-sizer at all. Rather, you’re envisioning what’s known as a “CJ-8″. It’s perfectly possible to buy a modern CJ-8. It’s also perfectly impossible that Jeep will ever be willing to sell you one. The reason? Why, it’s basically the same reason that the Camry V6 is not the most popular cop car in existence.
5.7-liter, variable valve timing, multi-displacement system Hemi V-8 (395 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 410 pounds-feet @ 3,950 rpm)
8-speed 8HP70 automatic
15 city/21 highway/17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
15.1 mpg, 60 percent highway/30 percent off-road/10 percent at a lousy, never-ending stoplight (Observed, MPG)
Tested Options: Rebel Package; Dual rear exhaust with bright tips; Luxury group, $560 (Heated mirrors, auto-dimming mirrors); Protection group, $150 (Transfer case and front suspension skid plating); Monotone paint; Rear Camera and Park Assist, $595 (Backup camera, ParkSense rear park assistant); ZF 8-speed automatic, $500; Anti-spin differential rear axle, $325; 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, $1,150; Rebel instrument cluster, $175; Four corner air suspension; Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen w/nav, $1,005; RamBox cargo management system, $1,295; Trailer brake control, $230; Spray-in bedliner, $475.
Base Price (Ram 1500 Rebel 4×4):
As Tested Price:
* All prices include $1,195 destination fee.
Any debate about Jeep inevitably ends on a common, agreeable topic for all parties involved:
“Jeep really needs to make a pickup already.”
The idea that stuffed shirts at Auburn Hills, who make more in a day than we do in a year, have somehow missed the point is entirely possible (remember the center-mounted exhausts in the Grand Cherokee SRT8, effectively prohibiting any sort of towing?) but highly unlikely.
In fact: Jeep now has a pickup. It’s called the Ram Rebel.
Obligatory disclosure: I have no skin in the pickup game. None. My father owned exactly one of the following: A white Ford F-150, a black Chevrolet Silverado and a green Dodge Ram (when they were called as such). They were all new when he bought them, of 1990s-era vintage and equally pampered. No, we were not a wealthy family, and no, I still couldn’t back up a trailer with a gun pointed to my head.
To be even clearer: The only pickup I fondly remember is a dingy 1996 Toyota Pickup (pre-Tacoma years) that my brother took to college. It was five in speeds and six in cylinders; gutless and indestructible. It couldn’t run up a hill and run the A/C at the same time, but it felt like it could run over anything.
Put simply, in the domestic pickup war for dominance, I am Switzerland.
Now that you know where my allegiances fall, let’s get on to the important stuff.
Metal bars welded to the Ford F-150 Super Crew in front and behind its front wheels that helped it pass the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s notoriously difficult small-overlap crash cost roughly $58, Automotive News is reporting.
It was revealed last week that the low-cost part was left off of regular- and extended-cab models, prompting the insurance organization to retest the F-150 models and revise their ratings much lower than the original test.
According to Automotive News, Ford stopped short of saying that it would include the low-cost parts on the regular- and extended-cab versions of the truck, but said it would install “countermeasures” to improve crash performance. The regular and extended cab comprise about 5 and 25 percent of overall F-150 sales respectively.