By on May 2, 2016

2016 Jeep® Renegade Latitude

The Jeep brand is Fiat-Chrysler’s biggest money maker, so it’s no wonder that CEO Sergio Marchionne is scattering factories around the world like a sailor’s offspring.

The company’s head honcho outlined his business plan for the brand in an interview published by Automotive News, and it involves no longer having to make a “Sophie’s Choice” decision with Jeep output.

Explosive Jeep sales, coupled with that of Ram, make up for the faltering Dodge and Chrysler brands and allow FCA to post a profit, despite trouble in its small vehicle lineup. However, global demand outstrips existing production capacity, meaning the Jeep-hungry American market gets its fill, while overseas markets get an empty plate.

Building Jeep factories in growing markets gives Marchionne a hedge against domestic uncertainty, and he’s just gotten started laying the bricks.

“One of the things that we’ve always faced in the United States in the production of Jeeps is to make this unfortunate Sophie’s Choice about whether we sell in the U.S. or sell overseas,” Marchionne said, adding. “Even if there were a contraction of the U.S. market, there is in our view unexplored potential in terms of [overseas] markets, especially where we have not established local production.”

The target markets for the Jeep brand are Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. Smaller, fuel-efficient models like the Renegade and whatever replaces the Compass/Patriot twins seem tailor-made for those high-growth regions.

Last year, FCA added Jeep Cherokee manufacturing capacity in China and a Renegade production line in Brazil. This year, Renegade production comes to China, with the Compass/Patriot replacement slated for Mexico, China and Brazil.

The three years after that will see Renegade production come to India, and U.S. capacity grown to handle the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler pickup. A sub-Renegade mini-SUV, based on a Fiat platform, might be in the works for the Indian, Indonesian and African markets.

Marchionne wants first-time overseas Jeep buyers to get hooked on the brand, and move up to bigger and more expensive Jeeps as they grow in age and affluence.

If Jeep volume grows the way he hopes, Marchionne won’t have to break a sweat finding someone to make Chrysler 200s and Dodge Darts for him.

[Image: FCA US LLC]

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94 Comments on “Marchionne Straddles the World, Shouting ‘Jeeps for Everyone!’...”


  • avatar

    Might as well suck as much milk and blood from that cow until it dies.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    David Olive one of the senior business writers in Canada’s largest newspaper, the Toronto Star wrote in his April 29th 2016 column that basically, Sergio is delusional, FCA is not long for this world and that if the shareholders were to get any value from the company that they need to sell off the Jeep, Ram, and Maseratti names and the manufacturing and sales of their minivan family before they all become totally devalued.

    I hope that Olive is wrong, but still ………

    http://www.thestar.com/business/2016/04/29/why-fiat-chrysler-may-have-reached-the-end-of-the-road-olive.html

    • 0 avatar

      The problem with that plan is that Jeep and Ram are about the only things keeping the company afloat. If you sell those off the ship just sinks faster.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        That’s what Olive recommends, no need to keep the company afloat, just sell off all remaining assets.

        From that article:

        Here’s a set of salient facts for FCA investors, including the merger partners Marchionne has spent the past two years wooing:

        1. In fiscal 2015, a year of record volume in North American auto sales, FCA eked out a profit of $410 million (U.S.) on record sales of $120 billion. Its profit would have been just $104 million without the contribution of Ferrari, which FCA has recently spun off. If this is the best FCA can do when the notoriously volatile auto industry is at its peak, buckets of red ink are in store, come the inevitable next industry downturn.

        2. The self-serving contradiction of Marchionne’s constant calls for industry consolidation, with capacity reduction the obvious goal, escapes comment despite Marchionne’s own grandiose plans to boost FCA’s production more than 50 per cent. Every auto executive wishes its competitors would shut plants, or just go out of business, to end the curse of too many vehicles chasing too few buyers. But they generally keep that view under the hood, as it were, while Marchionne practically stops people in the street to say it.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      You’re right. I know of consultants who are doing evaluations about what capital intensive options they can cut from the Jeep order guide without significant impact to sales.

      Sergio allows horse sh1t like this to get published:
      http://www.fcagroup.com/en-US/investor_relations/events_presentations/quarterly_results_presentations/SM_Fire_investor_presentation.pdf

      I am surprised no one at TTAC has made this a subject piece. I would love to do a write up explaining how sort sighted and idiotic this grade school powerpoint is. “Hey, we couldn’t effectively manage a government subsidized merger, so how about we try it again but this time on our own?” I mean you have got to be kidding me.

      The CUSW (200/Dart) supplier contracts are going to sap FCA. Think of all those who tooled up to make revenue on a decent volume offering. Big time cancellation lawsuits. Who in their business office thought it would be a good idea that completely depreciating an entire platform and doubling capacity for a SUV platform is a viable business plan? There aren’t enough people on this earth to make that plan work, yet solely in North America.

      FCA has gone insane. Fiat f*cked up their merger. Chrysler had some good scraps from Diamler, yet still holds a good engineering and development group. It’s now just a mismanaged mess. No one can clearly do simplistic accounting nor can they implement decent checks and balances to stop atrocities such as the rear seat and shift lever of the 200C getting out of the god [email protected] studio. Detroit really needs FCA to get their sh1t together.

      FCA is a top down issue. They have great assembly plants, talented engineers and an infrastructure that has proven resilient to keep surviving in spite of itself. Fiat is f*cking this up.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You must have read a different Powerpoint. I just skimmed it, but from what I saw, the arguments contained there are well-constructed and quite logical. (It misses the downsides of M&A, but the logic is otherwise sound.)

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          it was the unprofessional tone that I didn’t expect. They didn’t address any lessons learned from their prior merger nor did they outline what effectively could still be reduced from their current overhead.

          From what I’ve heard internally, Chrysler and Fiat are still two very different development systems. Ford NA merging with Ford Europe was a rough ‘merger,’ but FCA makes it look like it was a walk in the park.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The point of the presentation is to argue that it isn’t possible to use efficiency as a tool for sustainable profitability. It makes the argument that scale is necessary, hence the need for a merger.

            It doesn’t address your points because that isn’t the purpose of the document.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            So how did they exist before Chrysler was handed over to Fiat? Are we to assume that they mismanaged that increase in scalability and that they just need more capital?

            Where are they addressing their mismanagement of platforms? The real underlying factors to their failure resides in two major OEM 101 failures:
            1) Piece cost
            2) Design

            It is widely known in the supply base that it pays to be a Chrysler supplier. Now look at CUSW, for example: who in the right mind cross shops a solid pot metal twist beam rear suspension vehicle over a double wishbone euro sports car suspension and chooses the pot metal garbage? Answer: someone who is shopping for cheap ass transportation aka Dodge Dart or 200C.

            Basic decisions like these aren’t going to improve with an increase in scale.

            They’re trying to rid themselves of their problems rather than addressing them.

            I suppose I’m going off into left field again with this reply.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Marchionne was brought in to turn around Fiat. And indeed, he kept it from failing, so he shot and he scored.

            His broader point is correct. Most of the low hanging fruit on the efficiency tree has already been picked. There isn’t enough of it left to make much of a difference.

            Likewise, macro efforts to confront the issue such as VW’s modular architecture plan don’t work, either. In the real world, those efforts cost a lot but don’t actually help.

            This presentation was intended for c-level executives and shareholders who have to confront the strategic macro issues. While you may have some sound tactical ideas for improvement, I doubt that they address the longer-term big picture problems being noted here.

            At the same time, M&A often fails. It can be difficult to marry corporate cultures and to achieve all of the efficiency that should be theoretically available from a merger. So I wouldn’t assume that merger makes sense simply because an efficiency-driven strategy doesn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “From what I’ve heard internally, Chrysler and Fiat are still two very different development systems.”

            This makes sense, and for the most part it has been the Daimler/Chrysler products which have been holding the line thus far with the Fiat ones not “knocking it out of the park” so to speak. Unless the Fiat derived products suddenly become awesome sellers, I predict mgt will ride the Daimler product as long as it can while they plan an exit strategy to sell the company. Sergio made a comment during his talk on the Jeep pickup which was something to the effect of: you can’t imagine the enormous amounts of money involved to produce such a small return. The view of the board may be to NOT invest in the future due to its perceived low return and to sell their positions at the earliest opportunity which meets their numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            tresmonos

            Thank you, Pch101. Your insight is always welcome.

            28: The only merger between the F & C from what I can see if CAD bucks getting passed around. My knowledge is anecdotal, but they either need to sell or seriously restructure to survive.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Chrysler and Fiat were bleeders prior to the merger; neither of them had any particular advantages. Expecting miracles from the resulting merger is unreasonable.

            Also, cash is tight, so it isn’t possible for FCA to prioritize everything at once. At this point, it is wise to focus on those areas that can produce the most profit so that the other loose ends can be funded later. That means building crossovers, and worry about hybrids et. al. later once there is enough money to afford it.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @tres

            I think a sale is the “answer”. I echo what Pch said, they focus efforts on what produces a return (Jeep, Trucks, CUV) and simply ignore what does not (small cars) or what is too expensive to develop (mainstream hybrid). If you’re a potential suitor and your current automotive portfolio has the small car or hybrid line covered, but could use the truck/Jeep line it might look attractive (most Asian marques save Toyota fall into this category, not to mention a potential Chinese entry point to USDM).

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @28-cars: Actually, two of Fiat’s Chrysler products have shot out of the park–the Cherokee and the Renegade. Those two, along with the JK and JKU Wrangler have been Jeep’s biggest selling models… and the D-C Grand Cherokee. So Jeep currently has four hit models out of six available which really is amazing for the brand and Fiat is a big part of it.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Now look at CUSW, for example: who in the right mind cross shops a solid pot metal twist beam rear suspension vehicle over a double wishbone euro sports car suspension and chooses the pot metal garbage?”

            Huh? CUSW doesn’t employ a twist beam…or are you saying they should have?

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          My expectations are probably unreasonable as the target audience of this powerpoint is unlikely to be someone in my field. I did learn (and agree) with their comparison of luxury brands moving downscale versus downscale brands moving upmarket.

          I probably am not qualified to be as harsh of a critic I am. I also know too many people whose livelihoods are depending on FCA’s success.

          • 0 avatar
            bill h.

            That dependence on FCA success includes my son, who’s a young FCA engineer. Still, he and I have discussed their current strategy and don’t find it desirable that they are dropping so much future product in the regular car market. I for one would have taken a good look at a “Chrysler 100” hatch or similar Dodge vehicle, just as an example. I do hope the Pacifica is a success, as he was part of that development team.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Bill, he should seriously be looking for other employment. NOW is the time to jump ship, not after FCA starts laying off engineers and he is competing with 1,000 of them.

            Before my current engineering job, I was in a position where engineers were hired and fired based upon need and Industry trends. It is not a good place to be and I ended up having to sell my house at a loss because of it. Fortunately, I’m good at what I do and I landed on my feet in a much more stable position.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Agree, Jeep Commander, dynamically is not a bad SUV, but quality and reliability are pretty bad, especially reliability

      • 0 avatar
        here4aSammich

        So what exactly are you basing that statement on? What’s your history with Chrysler/FCA products? Mine’s different than yours, but I can back it up with real world experience:

        ’00 GC Limited – warped front rotors, fixed under service bulletin, no other issues
        ’05 GC Laredo – no issues
        ’08 Commander – no issues
        ’10 Wrangler Unltd X – a few recalls, rear brakes under warranty, no other issues
        ’12 Wrangler Unltd Sport – heated mirrors replaced under recall, no other issues
        ’16 Wrangler Unltd Sport – no issues, 6 months of ownership

        I don’t expect absolute perfection, but I fail to see where my experience shows an issue with quality or reliability. And my sample is probably on the larger side given that the average vehicle on the road is 11 years old. Yet I never had an unexpected expense or got stranded on the roadside. Strange, ain’t it? According to the average TTAC naysayer, the roads are just littered with Chrysler carcasses….

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          Almost total collapse of Jeep sales in Australia, a proposed class action against Jeep
          http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/public-defender/jeep-the-sequel-more-reader-complaints-as-a-fiat-owner-joins-the-chorus/news-story/4c6062b64770b44eaf242d619cb0f793

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Nice of you to show us a year-old article as though it were brand new.

            The issue, however, is not an FCA one but rather a Daimler one, as that model still uses the Daimler Power Distribution Module which is well known for the exact kinds of issues that video describes. Replace the module, problem fixed. Simple as that.

            Oh, and it’s a warranty fix BECAUSE it’s a known issue.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            It is not A problem. It is many. Since that article many issues have arisen. Nothing about fixing them, just stony silence. As a result Jeep and FCA are basicallty exiting the market.
            This appeared in 2015. Copious advertisements for Jeep perticularly disappeared
            https://www.choice.com.au/transport/cars/general/articles/accc-action-for-unhappy-jeep-owners-140915

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “Things” are different in Australia. Jeeps immediately disintegrate and VWs are stone cold reliable. And “apparently” most Aussies see more crocs and rattlesnakes, than pavement on their daily commute.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Rattlesnakes? Wrong continent. FCA is going out backwards at a rapid rate

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Not that anyone asked about OZ, or cares,but when I’ve bothered to check your rambling, they were 180 degrees backwards

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Mindless Ramblings from an overweight, IT Guy and paid troll. Mean Zip

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          My aunt had a bought-new Commander. It had the smaller V-8, it felt gutless and it drank fuel at an alarming rate. The third row was totally useless, the first two rows didnt feel nearly roomy enough for the size of the vehicle. It was very well maintained, but started using oil and puffing blue smoke when first started (not long after the warranty was up…of course). The paint on the front bumper started peeling when it was about a year old. It was taken in several times for issues while still under warranty, but I cant remember what for.

          She hated it from day one, my uncle (God rest his soul) bought it for her without her knowledge or approval. She said many times she wished she had her old high-mileage (200k+) Tahoe back instead of the new Commander.

          They finally traded it in on a new 2010 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCrew, which she still has and absolutely loves. The Commander was the only vehicle, save for a Dodge Monoco in the 1990s, that they got rid of before it reached 100k. The F-150 now has about 100,000 more miles than the Jeep did when it was traded in. Its had exactly one issue, a pop noise under tight turns not long after they bought it. Fixed right the first time under warranty, 0 issues since. The 5.4L is plenty powerful and gets 18 mpg average (better than the Commander by a country mile).

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            It’s funny because there is a 5.7L Commander and a 4.7L JGC in my family/close social group. Both were bought new, both have done lighter towing and offroading, and I’ve done most of the maintenance on them since purchased.

            And (of course) both have been just about flawless and are cresting 150K miles with no signs of slowing down. In fact, those Jeeps were a big reason why I wasn’t too worried when I bought my Dodge.

            And then my Charger has been a complete nightmare basket case and I can’t wait to dump it.

            The ChryslerCo/FCA roulette wheel of quality is a real thing.

        • 0 avatar
          nickoo

          You keep your vehicles and average of 3-4 years?…Yeah. Nuff said.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @nickoo, exactly what I was thinking. This isnt 1976, a new car shouldnt have any major issues in the first 3-4 years. Not having breakdowns before 50k miles is hardly worth bragging on.

            Of course, lemons do happen, but I dont see how one can make a claim of great reliability when the vehicles are traded in just after the new car smell is gone. It also begs the question, why trade up? If the car was lost to an accident, fire, theft, whatever, thats understandable.

            But, for example, my parent’s 2012 Taurus is rapidly approaching 100k. They love the car, its been excellent to them. Nothing has been touched under the hood, save for oil/filter changes. Yes, I plan to get them to replace the other fluids sooner or later, but the point is, they have no inclination whatsoever to get rid of it. It serves them just as well today as the day mom drove it home for the first time. Why get rid of it?

            They dumped a bought-used 2008 Grand Marquis LS Fleet when they bought it in ’12. It wasnt that the Merc was problematic, it just wasnt a good car. Its interior looked twice its age, whereas the Taurus’ lighter-colored leather still looks nearly new. That Merc was one of the youngest cars theyve ever replaced. I told them they wouldnt like it, but they bought it anyway. By contrast, dad’s 99 F-250 was bought new, now has over 330k.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      “I hope that Olive is wrong”

      Don’t worry. He is.

    • 0 avatar
      GeneralMalaise

      Oh… Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Marchionne hit piece. Trying to get in on De Lorenzo’s shtick. Why focus on last years numbers and not mention this year’s numbers at all?

  • avatar
    davefonz164

    Criticize all you want but these new Jeeps are everywhere. I see new Cherokee’s all over the place and they ain’t exactly cheap. With the V6 it’s a really nice SUV and feels great.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      ” it’s no wonder that CEO Sergio Marchionne is scattering factories around the world ”

      Much to the chagrin of the UAW…..

      Sergio is no fool. He saw what Toyondasan did when they started transplant factories in the US, and now Sergio is doing the same by exporting Jeep jobs to transplant locations around the world.

      While certain individuals may not like Sergio’s tactic of producing all over the world because of lost American jobs, it is a brilliant strategy to reduce costs by producing where needed and ensure continued profitability on a broader scale for the shareholders and owners.

      When Toyondasan did this and opened plants in the US, they were hailed as job-creating heroes even though the profits went back to Japan. Now that Sergio is doing the same in reverse, he’s no hero?

      Double standard much?

      • 0 avatar
        davefonz164

        Of course there’s a double standard. Local Jeep sales in China are way up and it will only get better. The Renegade is killing it in Europe. Jeep sold over 1.2 million units last year. That’s insane….compared to where they were pre-bankruptcy…….and all these sales with that bloody 9spd auto right?

        Foreign brands produce in North America all the time, but that’s ok..

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          That 9spd auto is an otherwise excellent tranny as long as it is powered by an engine with enough twist behind it. That would be a V8.

          Put it behind any I4 or V6 and the firmware goes crazy trying to keep both the tranny and the engine within the ideal power-to-torque range, making it as busy as a one-armed wallpaper hanger.

          • 0 avatar
            zerofoo

            The problem is that 9 speed is designed for transverse applications – that means no V8. I don’t believe the 9 speed can even handle the power from a modest V8.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_9HP_transmission

            ZF’s 8 speed has versions designed to handle the higher power output of a V8, but you have to go bigger than the 8HP45.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZF_8HP_transmission

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I should have added this in my comment.

            IMO, the Renegade should be sold with only one engine, the Pentastar 3.6L V6 @290hp – not a downsized version thereof.

          • 0 avatar
            here4aSammich

            Yet they are all out there behind 4 and 6 cyl engines. Aside from a well publicized software issue at the launch of the Cherokee, there have been no other issues with the 9 speed. Yes, its busy. With 9 gears, its always going to be. You just don’t hear about any actual issues with that box. According to the TTAC hoi polloi, my local Jeep dealer service department should be surrounded by out of service 200s and Cherokees all waiting on a new tranny. Yet they are not.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          I’m still waiting for people to figure out that Jeep IS a foreign brand.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            VoGo – Ram and Jeep somehow escape the criticism aimed at Toyota for example. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read guys going all “Pearl Harbour” on Toyota and then proudly point out they drive a Ram 3500. I guess “The Alamo” doesn’t count unless you are pro Trump.

            The same can be said for the asinine ‘profits leave the country” mantra levied at the Japanese with factories in the USA. Sh!T, Fiat and company are leaching Ram and Jeep dry but somehow they cannot connect the offshore dots on that paper trail!

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I always marvel at the “profits leave the country” shtick.

        Why don’t you add up the costs of building a factory, supplying it, and staffing it.
        That adds much more to GDP than what is lost by profits heading out the door.

        “Double standard much?”

        LOL.

        Oh and as far as Sergio is concerned, one must be a fool to assume those off-shore profits are coming back to the USA.

        FCA has its head office in the Netherlands. Its tax centre is the UK.

        Sheesh.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          Lou,
          Very painful subject for many countries. Tax evasion , not Tax avoidance is worth $ 330 Billion a year.
          What Corporations pay their fair share is another issue.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            RobertRyan – true and what you talk about drains way more from a country’s coffers than profits going to a foreign head office.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yeah, tax avoidance and tax inversions can cost a nation a huge sum of missed revenue.

            Then again, in the case of the United States, it is our own national tax policy that has made it so. Companies are better off headquartering outside of the US.

            Having been self-employed from 1985-2015, I prefer to look at it from the corporate perspective in that a company’s first and foremost responsibility is to make money for its owners and shareholders.

            Labor is labor and you can pick that up anywhere, and usually cheaper than you can in other countries.

            Add to that the huge informal underground economy that exists in the United States and it is easy to see why tax and tort reform should be priorities in America.

            But they are not. And have never been.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    This guy seems to me to be a classic front-runner – everything is ducky when his plan is working, but throw a wrench into the mix and women and children first means nothing. At least Mercedes attempted to improve the core, and we have the 300 as a example. I don’t see this as ending well despite the runaway sales of Jeep. The company isn’t called Jeep-FIAT, although I’m guessing that has crossed Sergio’s mind.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Smaller, fuel-efficient models like the Renegade…”

    US versions of the Renegade are gas hogs, netting ~22 mpg in combined driving. Think minivan fuel economy in a compact car.

    Hopefully the Euro-spec diesel versions do better.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      They’re only gas hogs because they started out under-powered and drivers push the pedal to the metal to get some performance.

      This blows mpgs and FE all to hell.

      IMO, the Renegade should be sold with only one engine, the Pentastar 3.6L V6 @290hp – not a downsized version thereof.

      The Grand Cherokee should only be sold with the 5.7L or 6.4L, and the 3.6L V6 should be dropped altogether.

      The JGC is way too heavy for the 3.6L V6 power band. You have to tromp your foot on the gas pedal and keep the revs up above 4000rpm to get that small engine to move all that mass on flat ground.

      Going uphill or driving in mountain country underpowered is a frustrating experience. I know! We did it on a daily basis for the years we owned our 2012 JGC.

      • 0 avatar
        bill h.

        My son’s company Renegade is one of the rarer ones with the 1.4 turbo and the six speed manual (Latitude version). I’m seriously thinking of picking it up from FCA when he’s done with it. I’ve driven it enough myself to know it’s not a GTI by any means, but as a more sedate AWD vehicle and one which he is able to get ~30 mpg on the highway, it can fit our modest needs without going the full JGC route. And I can still do my own shifting with it:-).

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          bill h., you should really pick up your son’s company Renegade if that opportunity avails itself to you.

          I have lost count of people telling me about their lost opportunities when it came to buying that unique vehicle, over the 30+ years I was an advisor to my four brothers in the new-car retail bid’ness.

          Imagine if someone had picked up a Chrysler Turbine before Chrysler slammed the door shut on that opportunity. Or any of the industry’s COPO vehicles produced for real-world street-evaluation.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Actually saw a Chrysler Turbine in Australia, for some bizarre reason, that had one or two testing here
            http://wwwbollyblog.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/chrysler-turbine.html

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I saw one in San Diego, CA, when I was a teen, and the sound it emits when running or being driven is just something you do not forget.

      • 0 avatar
        whynot

        One of FCA’s problems is they don’t really have a good mid range 4 cylinder.

        The Tigershark is mediocre (and sounds awful) and the turbo from Fiat is overworked on everything heavier than a sub compact.

        All of Chrysler’s focus was on their large engines (i.e. Hellcat), and of course all of Fiat’s focus was on small engine for small cars, so they have nothing great in the middle.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          whynot, my recollection is that the US gov’t outlined what Fiat would and would-not develop as conditions of the Chrysler take-over in order to collect that $1.3Billion bribe.

          And IIRC, tiny cars and little engines were at the top of the list.

          But all is not lost because in the past Chrysler, now a part of Fiatsler, has bought potent little 4-cyl engines with respectable mid-range applications from…….VW.

          No reason why they can’t do that again.

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            The Tigershark is just an update of Chrysler’s older engine. I believe the Fiat Turbos predate the Chrysler acquisition as well. I don’t think FCA has released an all new 4 cylinder since the two companies hooked up, but I could be wrong.

            The big thing was they had to have a 40 mpg car (hence the rushed Dart development).

            New VW engines wouldn’t be a bad option though, the TSIs are fantastic.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yes, VW has made some great small engines for European applications.

            I’m not a fan of small engines because my personal tastes run along the lines of engines that go into full-size vehicles and trucks, so my philosophy is “the bigger, the better”.

            But I do acknowledge that, with the trend to downsizing and Europeanizing cars in America to get better fuel-economy and fewer emissions, that there exists an application for small engines for small cars.

            My personal favorite for the small-engine award is the Toyota 2.4L I4.

            I think it is underpowered for use in the Camry and RAV4, but it would do wonders in all the new Corolla variants.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “But all is not lost because in the past Chrysler, now a part of Fiatsler, has bought potent little 4-cyl engines with respectable mid-range applications from…….VW.”

            Chrysler used a 1.7L that was used in the Rabbit. Now please tell us what other 4 cylinder engines you’re speaking of, or are you just making crap up again out of thin air?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            SC5door, did I say there were engines with other displacements?

            How many of those engines did Chrysler buy from Fiat?

            Is there anything that prevents Fiatsler from striking a deal with VW to buy engines in the future?

            Try moving your mouth while reading. For some re tards it helps. For you it may not.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “The JGC is way too heavy for the 3.6L V6 power band. You have to tromp your foot on the gas pedal and keep the revs up above 4000rpm to get that small engine to move all that mass on flat ground.”

        Pardon me while I flat disagree with you. I’m driving a JKU with the old “minivan” 3.8 under the hood and at 200 horses it moves well enough and still achieves 18 mpg in town and 22mpg on the highway… and up to 25mpg under the right conditions. I highly doubt the JGC is heavier than the JKU.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Vulpine, you can disagree all you want because my experience is from actually owning a 2012 V6 JGC and driving it for 85K+ miles in mountain country, like on US82 going to Cloudcroft.

          Compared to the 2012 JGC SRT8 being driven up the mountain on that same road, the V6 JGC is a DOG!

          We no longer own those two JGCs. They were given to my grand daughter as a wedding present last June.

          But they’re still driving them and will take them to Luke AFB, AZ, when her husband gets transferred there later this year, ~ 1 Oct.

          And both those JGCs will probably do alright there because it’s relatively flat along I-10.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Already exist outside NA. Huge reliability problems are taking their toll in Australia, wrangler a crude device on road. I wonder how the reliability problems will play out in Europe/China? They have sold Early LRovers without complaing

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        It seems to me that perceived “reliability problems” vary from continent to continent, and global market to global market.

        IMO, Americans tend to be oversensitive to the possibilities of glitches and flaws, probably based on their past experiences with US domestic-brand vehicles.

        In most other places, Europe and Asia included, people are just happy to have that new car, and don’t look for potential problems the moment they drive it off the lot.

        OTOH, some have said that UAW assembly sucked in the past and that with the current, progressive, forward-leaning, permissive drinking and toking on-the-job atmosphere in UAW shops, it is not unrealistic to look for problems from corner-cutting UAW-assembly shops.

        Some stats even support that they have found problems/per 100 vehicles and ranked manufacturers accordingly.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          Probably do not abuse the vehicles or expect the reliability we expect here in Australia. In Europe, they use Jeeps as ” cars” on farms. US tends to be relative short trips Off Road and normal road use.

          • 0 avatar
            whynot

            It is important to note that Jeeps are not seen as particularly reliable in North America either.

            They typically hover at the bottom of the list along with Fiat and their other corporate kin. Many people over look that though for the image Jeep presents.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I have two cousins in Germany ~ my age (70), from my mom’s side, that bought a Grand Cherokee each. Each with the diesel 3L, of course.

            They still have them, so they must be happy with them.

            One lives near Heidelberg, the other sells insurance in Koln (Cologne).

            So, neither use them for farm work. But I can see where that would be a good application, like the old Range Rovers were.

            ——————-

            whynot, we were very fortunate with the two 2012 JGCs we bought; my wife’s Overland Summit and my son’s SRT8.

            But they did get scrutinized by me personally much more so than I do our 2015 Sequoia or my 2016 Tundra of today.

            It has to do with the degree of trust I have in each brand.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            You get them used as cars as well in Europe, but they do like to use their 4×4 ability

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I can believe that. My cousins pull a Camping trailer behind theirs when they go on their annual vacations in Italy and Spain. And use them as daily drivers.

            A couple of years ago, 2012, my wife and I joined them in Spain, and we rented an Opel Safira to use for the two of us to travel across Europe and on to my other relatives in Portugal.

            This was before my cousins had bought their JGC and my wife told them how well she liked ours.

            Up to that point, those cousins had been renting to go on vacay, while scooting around in other brand’s small cars in the city.

            Sometimes good word-of-mouth experiences actually result in sales and I think my wife’s endorsement pushed my cousins over the fence.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @highdesertcat – I’ve seen quality ranking based on geography and Europe was rated 3rd, North America (USA, Canada, Mexico) 2nd and Asia 1st. IIRC, if one broke down North America by region, Mexican products scored better than USA.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lou_BC, that’s interesting. Thx.

            I’m not sure that I would want to buy a “quality” vehicle made in China, Malaysia, Iran or India.

            But I was painfully made aware during ownership that those highly paid American workers assembling Detroit cars did not always put out a quality product.

            I got a lot of on-the-job training and experience fixing them.

            The US auto industry has made great strides since, so as consumers we should be grateful and thankful for that.

            Both my newest Toyota vehicles are made in North America and when I got them the QC stickers were all over them, along with paint markings on nuts, bolts, and other fasteners. Yeah, Toyota is taking QC seriously.

            The little 1989 Camry V6 I also own was made in Japan and is holding up real well in spite of its vintage. I am truly amazed!

            The 2008 Highlander we gave to my 19-yo grand daughter in El Paso, TX, was also made in Japan and is still going strong as her DD, with well over 100K on the clock.

            So, were it possible, I would prefer a Made in Japan vehicle to anything else out there.

            Then again, I’m pretty well set with the vehicles I own today to last me the rest of my driving life.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Lou,
            It would appear Asia( Japan/ Korea) are well in front, but 2nd is not so clear, with quite a few European makes doing well. FCA really letting down the side.
            From what I can gather US Pickups are on par with locally produced Utes, but there have been problems with the US Models.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    Marchionne knew full well that Chrysler’s only asset was the Jeep brand and Ram trucks. Chrysler is a drag on the business but with the US gov’t assistance and UAW acquiesce during the economic crisis, it was an acceptable baggage for the moment. Jeep and Ferrari are the two savings grace in FCA but Ferrari’s stronger brand allowed it to be spun off. Jeep? I’m not too sure about its strength outside of N America. Europe may like it but I can’t help but think there are European mfrs that have similarly competitive product. Asia ??? I lived there for 10 yrs and it’ll be tough for Jeep to break into the existing MB, BMW, Lexus/Toyota cars already sold there.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I tried to post this before, but I dont see it. I think I left the WiFi zone before it went through.

    I say FCA builds a Jeep full size half ton truck, based off the Ram 1500 of course, for North America. Bring back the Gladiator name for it. Maybe HD versions later if it catches on. I could see Jeep fans buying it to complement the wife’s Cherokee and the Wrangler off-road toy.

    It works for GMC, it makes enough money to justify itself. So much so that GM didnt shed it when they killed Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer etc.

    Jeep is an image brand, no reason that image cant extend to the single best-selling segment in the US. They already have the platform and development budget (for Ram), all they need is to throw some Jeep styling traits on it and boom, they have their very own GMC Sierra-like cash-cow. Could debut with the next gen Ram trucks.

    Likewise, maybe a Ram version of the Wrangler pickup. Same bones, Ram-unique body. Why the hell not? If you got the cards, play ’em.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    FCA will not make it past Trump’s first term.

    FCA has had 7 years to develop alternative propulsion (aka hybrid) cars and hasn’t done squat.

    FCA has had 7 years to develop a decent 4 cylinder.

    FCA has had 7 years to develop a decent transmission.

    FCA has had 7 years to develop a decent midsizer, a decent compact, a subcompact.

    FCA’s best vehicles are riding on the coat-tails of what is left from Daimler.

    Everything that turned around chrysler, that was good, came from pre-FCA plans and was developed under Cerberus: Pentastar, 300/Charger/Challenger second gens, viper come-back, new RAM, new JGC, new Durango.

    Chrysler under Cerberus had the new midsizer in active development, and instead was forced to use CUSW and horrible 9 speed transmissions. Chrysler Corp. could have been a contender. They won’t be around in 2020.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      So, America’s first Hybrid minivan isnt “squat”?

      The 9 speed auto has overcome its teething (programing) issues. Too soon to tell for the long term, but so far, the repeated failures everyone predicted havent really come about.

      The 200 is a decent midsizer. It gets more right than it does wrong, but that isnt helping sales. The Dart isnt a terrible car, its just in a field of some very stong compeditors. Most compact sedans (and hatches) are damn good, there arent any rebadged Daewoos (Suzuki), no out-of-date Focus lagging behind the global model, no awful Cobalts, no half-as$$ed Civic, its a bad time to be an also-ran.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        I like the Pacifica as a minivan. Although the Kia is still my favorite…

        I think making the minivan a plug in hybrid is completely ridiculous. The cost/benefit just isn’t there. It only has about 20 miles of electric range, it should have just been a regular hybrid, and it should have had a 4 cylinder. Plug in hybrids with less than 50 miles EV range just don’t make any sense. You’re paying all that extra money and sacrificing all that room taken up by the batteries for only a marginal gain in fuel efficiency which will never repay itself.

        PHEVs with ridiculously worthless EV ranges are simply cynical cafe specials, and the public has seen them for what they are, judging by their sales.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Trump’s first term? Is he going back to college? Can he get into Trump University?

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        There is no questioning the God-Emperor Trump!

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          No questioning allowed at all, just as there was no questioning allowed of the Boy King, or of the decades of crime committed by the Bush and Clinton families. That whole silence any dissent thing seems to work out real well for us.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            Meh… I dunno, I’m sort of looking forward to anybody but a liberal Democrat in the White House and the inevitable return of “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” schtick.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            GeneralMalaise, I think Warren Buffett said it best in his interview with Becky Quick today.

            It doesn’t matter who the next POTUS will be because America will just find ways to circumvent bad policy and grow in spite of who is in the White House, albeit grow slower.

            The current administration was bad for more people and businesses than it was good, so people and corporations detached, sought tax refuges, like inversions, or moved their production out of the US, ala Carrier, et al.

            That said, I’ll again forecast that Hillary will be the next POTUS because every woman in America, including my own, wants to see that first woman POTUS after this go’round.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “No questioning allowed at all”.

            That is what the Patriot act is for and Snowden seems to have covered the rest.

            Guantanamo Bay is still available or extraordinary rendition to countries that conveniently ignore human rights (well, ignores them more than we do).

  • avatar
    Eyeflyistheeye

    I rented a compact car for a weekend trip to San Diego on Friday (I live in Los Angeles). After getting an atrocious Mitsubishi Lancer with all of 5500 miles that managed to couple stiff steering and floaty suspension replete with a seat that hurt my back and Bluetooth that wouldn’t pair, I went back to Avis and they put me in a 2015 Cherokee Latitude with the 2.4. I liked the Trailhawk I test drove when the KL came out, but I wasn’t expecting much from the Latitude.

    To make a long story short, while I don’t miss the opportunity to poke Sergio and FCA for bad business decisions, the Cherokee had enough get up on the highway with five people inside, averaged 25 mpg, the 9HP was fine seeing how I actually know how to modulate throttle input and I didn’t miss the handling of my Focus one bit. I wondered why Sergio couldn’t build the rest of his lineup like that, then I realized where FCA plunked their money down. And yes, I am very tempted to pull the trigger on a slightly-used Cherokee ($15-$17k) of course with an extended warranty.


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