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…)
Ford on Thursday rolled out its newest Super Duty truck — 350 pounds lighter than the outgoing model — complete with aluminum-alloy body, high-strength steel frame and new 6-speed transmission for its V-8 engine.
According to Ford, the truck’s frame is up to 24 times stiffer than the outgoing frame, and the company reportedly used high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloys — which are separate from civilian grade because they use more of it before 9 a.m. than we’ll use all day. Or something.
The Super Duty truck can be fitted with either a 6.7-liter V-8 turbocharged diesel, a 6.8-liter V-10 gasoline or 6.2-liter V-8 gasoline engine, with the latter being mated to a new TorqShift-G six-speed transmission. (Read More…)
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.
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.
Ford is reportedly discussing bringing back the mid-size Ford Ranger pickup to America and Canada in its bargaining negotiations with the United Auto Workers, the Detroit News is reporting.
Ford may be assembling the truck, which could be brought back as early as 2018, at its Wayne, Michigan plant. The truck would replace the outgoing C-Max and Focus at the plant. Ford announced production of those two products would move to Mexico in 2018.
The last U.S.-spec Ranger was most recently produced at Ford’s St. Paul, Minnesota plant, which shuttered in 2011.
According to sources, the formal decision would need to be ratified by Ford executives and the union’s board. (Read More…)
Ford released photos and video Friday of its newest Raptor off-road testing in Northern Michigan.
The truck, which will go on sale next fall, has better ground clearance than the outgoing Raptor, although Ford isn’t giving us official specs yet. We know the last generation’s fording depth was officially 30 inches up to 4 mph and that capability likely won’t decrease — but we don’t know if it’ll go up.
“The all-new Ford Raptor will be more capable than the previous Raptor, including improved wheel travel and ground clearance,” Ford spokesman Mike Levine told us.
For the first time in the nameplate’s history, Toyota will offer a Limited version of its mid-size Tacoma — which was the fifth-best selling truck of all trucks last month — and that’s probably a big deal.
The automaker outlined for us the lineup for the new Tacoma, which will hit dealers in September, and the walk up to the Limited trim — which is at the top trim, for now — sounded light at the bottom and heavy at the top. We’re not allowed to discuss pricing yet, so that’ll have to wait.
However, a top-end Limited trim means that Tacoma isn’t immune to the immutable First Law of Pickup Trucks: You can charge whatever you want for these things. And product planners probably have more in store for the Tacoma. (Read More…)
The Chevrolet Silverado has outsold the Ford F-150 so far this year, but sales of Ford’s Super Duty trucks have boosted the company’s truck business past its competition, PickupTrucks.com is reporting.
All three truck makers are selling more pickups than they were a year ago, but flagging F-150 sales and depleted inventory could be keeping Ford’s perennial half-ton leader back.
Ford is looking to boost sales of its full-size F-150 by offering more than $10,000 in incentives for some higher-trim models in some parts of the United States, Automotive News is reporting.
Production issues have plagued the aluminum 2015 F-150 since its launch late last year. According to Ford, only half of the F-150’s normal inventory has been available since June, which as hampered sales. The automaker says dealer stocks will be full by the end of September.
The company’s website offers nearly $11,000 off of 2015 Ford F-150 XLT SuperCrew with Chrome or Sport packages in some parts of the country.
Today’s most alliterative award may go to truck maker Ram registering rear ramps recently.
The folks at Allpar detail the filing, which was reportedly made by engineers at Ram. The patent was awarded June 30 and details a system for bed-mounted sliding ramps.
The system, which could be called Ram Ramps, could complement other monosyllabic options such as Ram Box and Ram Dams (our suggestion for their active grille shutters).