FCA's Remaining Pentastar Product Pair, the Chrysler 300 and Chrysler Pacifica, See Prices Slashed for 2018
Only two models remain in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. Chrysler lineup, but both models will benefit from dramatic price cuts for the 2018 model year.
The 2017 Chrysler 300 was marketed with a U.S. base price of $33,435. That car, the Chrysler 300 Limited, will be renamed for 2018 as the Touring L, CarsDirect reports, one notch above the 300 Touring. Meanwhile, the Chrysler 300C loses its standard V6 engine and is now sold exclusively with the 5.7-liter V8 and rear-wheel drive.
As for the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica, a new Pacifica L below the Pacifica LX allows the 2018 Pacifica to sit well below the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna in the minivan price hierarchy.
66 Months Of FCA's Restated, Corrected Sales Figures: Some Much Higher Now Than Before
As recently as March 1, 2016 — on behalf of February 2016’s sales results — Fiat Chrysler US LLC touted a 71-month streak of year-over-year U.S. new vehicle sales improvements. Although FCA US stopped communicating the length of that streak by the beginning of the second-quarter, the company’s sales reports suggested that the streak through the end of June 2016 measured 75 months.
Figures released by FCA yesterday reveal that the streak of year-over-year improvements actually ended at 40 months in September 2013, when an originally reported 1-percent increase, it turns out, was actually a 3-percent decrease. On two other occasions during this 75-month span, FCA claimed sales had improved, year-over-year. August 2015’s 2-percent increase was actually a 1-percent decrease. Then, only two months ago, while FCA originally claimed a 1-percent increase, sales actually fell 7 percent.
The abbreviated streak, however, is only one side of the equation. (And it increasingly appears to be the least of FCA’s worries, as a grand jury has now been empaneled.) FCA’s sales reporting methods, highly questionable on both the retail and fleet side, frequently resulted in significant overstatements and, FCA claims, understatements, as well.
The Dodge Dart Is Dead: Here's Why
“If you’re a serious carmaker and you can’t make it in this segment, you’re doomed.”
— Sergio Marchionne, September 2012
“There’s nothing wrong with the car.”
— Sergio Marchionne, January 2013
“We have decided to de-focus, from the manufacturing standpoint, to de-focus on the passenger car market.”
— Sergio Marchionne, January 2016
The launch was flubbed by an emphasis on manual transmissions. The brand lacked the reputation of a competitive builder of small cars after 15 years of Neons and Calibers. Trim and engine variants were, sometimes, poorly aligned. The market for passenger cars began to shrink even as the overall auto industry expanded. Demand for the Dart, limited even at its peak, dried up as most Dart competitors posted modest declines.
The reasons for the Dodge Dart’s demise are many. At the end of its run, however, the Dodge Dart’s production end in September 2016 represents a premature euthanization. After Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ boss said less than seven months ago that the Dart, along with the larger Chrysler 200, would be withdrawn from the marketplace “over a prolonged period of time,”
FCA has now clarified that “prolonged” equals only three-quarters of a year.
What’s the hurry? Jeep.
These Are FCA's Greatest (Possibly Exaggerated) Sales Achievements This Year
“Your word is your bond,” Melania Trump famously said. Or was it Michelle Obama?
We are pretty sure the current and potentially future First Ladies were not speaking about the words found in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ monthly U.S. sales reports. Yet questions have arisen — once again — regarding FCA’s sales practices and reporting methodologies. This time, rather than lawsuits from a Maserati dealer that operates stores in New York, New Jersey, and Florida, or an Illinois dealer of core FCA brands, the questions are being asked by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
In March, Napleton Automotive’s lawsuit (filed by the same lawyer hired by Recovery Racing to sue FCA-owned Maserati last year) accused FCA of “‘strong arm’ tactics to get dealers to falsify sales reports that benefit the auto maker by creating ‘the appearance that [Fiat Chrysler’s] performance is better than, in reality, it actually is,’” according to The Wall Street Journal.
On July 11, reports Automotive News, “Investigators from the FBI and the SEC visited FCA field staff in their homes and offices on July 11 as part of the probe.” In FCA’s own statement, the automaker said yesterday that, “In its annual and quarterly financial statements, FCA records revenues based on shipments to dealers and customers and not on reported vehicle unit sales to end customers,” and confirmed cooperation with both the SEC and the Justice Department.
But what are the actual claims? As automakers report model-specific U.S. auto sales figures at the beginning of every month, FCA typically delves into great detail regarding the prior month’s performance and the year-to-date results.
All Fiats Are Failing in America, Even the 500X Crossover
Nearly one-third of the workforce at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plant in Kragujevac, Serbia, was laid off last week because of poor Fiat 500L demand.
In the United States, the 500L is by no means the only Fiat that isn’t selling.
Besides the 500L’s sharp U.S. sales decline — year-over-year volume has tumbled each month in the last nine months — the core 500 model which brought Fiat back to life in the U.S. has lost nearly half its volume this year, a 6,288-unit loss through only five months.
Meanwhile, the expectation that a crossover could make up for the poorly received 500L and rapidly aging 500 turned out to be false. A crossover, yes, that will be the ticket. Surely a crossover could work wonders. A relative of the Jeep Renegade, only prettier, could definitely restore Fiat to the peak glory days of 2014.
Glory days, when with two models in its lineup, Fiat USA failed to match its stated goal of 50,000 annual sales for the 500 alone? Of course, that Sergio Marchionne sales forecast was way off target.
Just as the 500L and 500X have missed the mark, as well.
FCA's Rapidly Rising Chrysler Group Sales Are Back At Pre-Bankruptcy Levels
At Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, this much we know: 72 consecutive months of year-over-year U.S. growth, a market share increase in the United States from 9.4 percent to 12.8 percent between 2010 and 2015, routine record-setting U.S. sales performances at Jeep, and an overarching “light truck” division that now produces more than four out of every five U.S. sales for the automaker.
Chapter 11 reorganization was undoubtedly a painful process — bankruptcy isn’t supposed to tickle. And because of reliability woes, frequent Alfa Romeo delays, and poor passenger car demand, there are serious doubts about the automaker’s long-term plans.
Yet only a few quick glances at an FCA U.S. monthly sales report are necessary for observers to replace concerns with applause, at least in the here and now. The rate of growth is staggering. The U.S. auto industry grew its volume by 37 percent between 2011 and 2015, a period during which FCA — and formerly the Chrysler Group — grew 64 percent.
Two More Locals Reject Proposed UAW-FCA US Contract
Two more local unions rejected the proposed four-year contract deal between FCA US and the UAW Friday, adding to the growing opposition as voting continues.
UAW Locals, FCA Reach Tentative Agreements Ahead Deadline
As national contract talks begin between the UAW and FCA US, the union’s lead negotiator for FCA says most of the locals have tentative agreements ready.
United Auto Workers Chrysler Department head of labor negotiations Norwood Jewell said in a letter to the union’s members Monday a few of the remaining locals were “having challenges reaching an agreement,” The Detroit News reports. The locals negotiate their own contracts — covering individual plant rules and issues — at the same time the union as a whole hammers out a national contract with the automakers.
FCA US To Bat Leadoff In UAW Talks, Marchionne To Miss Frankfurt
The UAW has chosen FCA US to bat leadoff in the union’s contract talks with the Detroit Three, prompting CEO Sergio Marchionne to forgo Frankfurt.
The move by the union to go after the weakest of the Detroit Three is meant to establish how all of the contract talks this month will proceed, Automotive News writes, with the possibility of striking out should the union not receive what they seek; the last UAW strike occurred with General Motors in 2007.
FCA US Reducing Powertrain Warranty To 60K Miles For 2016 Models
Those shopping for a new Charger, 300, Wrangler or 1500 because of the powertrain warranty may need to pull the trigger soon due to an upcoming mileage cut.
FCA US Keeping Key Facilities Open Through Summer To Meet Demand
Looking to make as many vehicles as possible, FCA US is foregoing its two-week summer shutdown at a number of the automaker’s facilities.
FCA US, Strayer University Offering Dealership Employees Free College Education
FCA US dealerships in the Southeastern United States are among the first to offer free college scholarships to their employees.
FCA US Joins Michigan Businesses In Opposition Of Proposed Religious Freedom Bill
Joining the likes of Kellogg’s, Herman Miller and Steelcase, FCA US declared Tuesday its opposition to Michigan’s proposed religious freedom bill.
Fate Of Jeep In Toledo Rests On Supplier Park, Partnerships
The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park.
Chart Of The Day: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US Is Very Much An SUV-Oriented Automaker
Not surprisingly, one of only a couple automakers with an SUV-only auto brand is enjoying record sales at that SUV brand in an era of booming utility vehicle sales.
At this stage in 2013, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles/Chrysler Group was selling more cars in the United States than SUVs and crossovers. Those figures flipped one year later and became even more disparate in the first-quarter of 2015.