Judge Denies GM Bid to Reinstate Racketeering Case Against FCA

General Motors’ attempt to revive its RICO lawsuit has failed after a federal court claimed the new evidence presented was too speculative to start the legal process back up. U.S. District Judge Paul Borman dismissed the case with prejudice in July, calling it a “waste of time,” but GM returned with new evidence it hoped might turn the tables.

Filed in November, the General’s case against FCA claims its rival finagled a labor advantage by bribing UAW officials during key contract negotiations. With a federal corruption case still probing the union, and with Fiat Chrysler’s known involvement, it seems like GM might have had a case here. But Judge Borman didn’t think there was sufficient evidence before, and hasn’t changed his mind since.

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GM Targets FCA Owners As Labor Day Nears

General Motors has conquest on the mind. As the Labor Day long weekend and all of its associated new car deals looms, the automaker wants to woo owners of Fiat Chrysler products (or their family members) into top-selling Chevrolet and GMC models.

It’s not a huge incentive, but it does call attention to the General’s renewed rivalry with Ram. Chevrolet in particular wants to widen the pickup sales lead it only just recaptured from its resurgent rival.

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FCA Confirms 2021 Ram 1500 TRX Debut for August 17th

Ram has issued a succinct press release on the status of its answer to the Ford Raptor. The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX is now officially set to debut next Monday, ready to dazzle you with the volume of dirt it can kick up when asked.

Sadly, that’s about all we can tell you. Despite the concept (pictured) coming equipped with a healthy 6.2-liter V8 belching out nearly 600 horsepower way back in 2016, everyone and their mother now claims the production TRX will come with a Hellcat motor to ensure Ford is shamed into submission. While that’s hardly the only metric one could use to measure the total value of an off-road pickup, most seem to think it’s a good place to start.

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Fiat Chrysler to Judge: GM's Being Paranoid, Please Ignore

General Motors desperately wants to reopen a case dismissed last month by a federal judge, but Fiat Chrysler’s having none of it.

The racketeering lawsuit filed by GM against its crosstown rival alleged that FCA secured unfair labor advantages over GM via bribed UAW officials, with the automaker claiming last week that it possesses new evidence capable of convicting its automotive foe. A number of offshore bank accounts fueled the bribery effort, GM claims, with the automaker’s court filing accusing former UAW Vice President (and ex-GM board member) Joe Ashton of being a paid mole.

Gripping stuff, but FCA says it’s seen this movie before — and it’s a stinker.

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Production Dates Revealed for Newest, Biggest Jeeps

If you spend your days decrying the bloat of American automobiles, you won’t like what 2021 has in store for you. It’ll be like 2020… only worse!

Scary stuff. For consumers enamored both with the Jeep brand and large, cargo-happy vehicles, however, next year will bring the dawning of a new age of glorious excess. Thanks to Fiat Chrysler’s second-quarter earnings report, we can now pin down post-lockdown production timelines for three Jeep vehicles boasting three rows of seating.

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FCA Reportedly Gearing Up for Giant Tigershark Recall

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering a recall on roughly 1 million vehicles equipped with its 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine. That incorporates most of FCA’s smaller models, including a few defunct models like the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.

Reporting from the Detroit Free Press suggests the 2.4-liter unit exceeded allowable emissions limits during testing. While the Tigershark MultiAir II is also featured in a class-action suit over claims that it burns too much oil, FCA said that matter is unrelated to the proposed recall.

“In connection with internal testing, we determined that approximately 1 million vehicles equipped with the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine may have excess tailpipe emissions,” the automaker said in a recent regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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With Plants at Stake, Unifor Prepares to Plunge Into Detroit Three Negotiations

Canadian auto manufacturing has steadily declined over the past several decades, and the future looks cloudy for workers at Detroit Three plants. It’s under this gathering gloom that the union representing these workers, Unifor, enters into contract negotiations with General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler.

The last round of collective bargaining was rough, but the near-closure of GM’s Oshawa Assembly (where auto production ceased last year) provided Unifor with a grim portent of what could await other underutilized Canuck plants.

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GM Asks Court to Reinstate RICO Suit Against FCA, Claims New Evidence

Last November, General Motors filed a racketeering suit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, claiming its rival was involved in a prolonged bribery scheme with UAW leaders to gain an unfair labor-cost advantage. Despite FCA already having staff participating in a vast union corruption scandal, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman dismissed the GM case in July after claiming there was nothing to it beyond petty corporate squabbling.

Now GM is back, claiming it has new evidence against FCA that’s going to blow the lid off everything.

On Monday, the General asked the court to reinstate the racketeering lawsuit. It now claims that there’s evidence of foreign bank accounts used in the alleged bribery scandal. We say “alleged” despite the FBI’s continued investigation into the UAW (separate from the GM-FCA suit) showing criminal levels of corruption. The company even suggested that Alphons Iacobelli ( who is already serving time for bribing union officials) channeled sensitive information back to FCA after being hired by GM. The claimed plot then has Fiat Chrysler paying the Iacobelli family millions of dollars via overseas accounts.

“These new facts warrant amending the court’s prior judgment, so we are respectfully asking the court to reinstate the case,” GM said.

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A Ram EV? We'll See How Those Other Guys Manage First, Manley Hints

Quite suddenly, large electric pickups have become the hottest thing you can’t yet buy. But they’re out there, looming, just waiting to see whether demand for this embyonic segment materializes.

Ford, General Motors, Rivian, Tesla, and Lordstown Motors all have a stake in the game, with the next two years promising to reveal exactly how much pent-up thirst exists for these battery-bound behemoths. Watching from the sidelines is Fiat Chrysler, an automaker whose historical aversion to EVs is a matter of record.

Not surprisingly, FCA plans to take a wait-and-see approach.

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Fiat Chrysler Posts Slightly Smaller Loss; North America Profitable

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles revealed a second-quarter loss of $1.24 billion on Friday, down slightly from the $1.8 billion net loss posted for Q1.

As before, the pandemic weighed heavily on the automaker’s finances, though this spring’s two-month shutdown of domestic manufacturing and the revenue drop arising from the virus didn’t spell red ink for its all-important North American region.

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Barely-there Jeep Nixed for '21

Look up the Jeep Cherokee on the brand’s consumer website and you’ll see a lot of trims, but there’s also one you won’t see: Overland. Topping the Cherokee trim ladder, Overland is a well-appointed but under-advertised ride, meaning it’s one you don’t see much of plying local streets or sitting patiently outside the grocery store.

And for 2021, you won’t see it at all.

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Even Classic-ier: Old-gen Ram 1500 Soldiers On for 2021

Ram bucked the trend of offering a short-term extension of a previous-generation product, keeping its older-model 1500 pickup in production for longer than the typical year, let’s say.

Having the old model stick around after the new-for-2019 1500’s appearance paid dividends, with Ram muscling past Chevrolet’s Silverado in sales last year. Without a midsize pickup with which to tempt lower-priced buyers, the brand felt that an aging full-sizer with a pared-down price tag was the next best thing for boosted volume.

For 2021, that recipe hasn’t changed.

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FCA Strengthens Relationship With Waymo; ProMaster On Deck

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Waymo jointly announced plans to expand their autonomous driving partnership on Wednesday, with a new focus on delivery vehicles. The Google affiliate already uses Chrysler’s Pacifica as the primary testing platform for its autonomous taxi services, and it appears it isn’t eager to rock the boat, now that it needs something more utilitarian as it moves toward SAE Level 4.

While not completely self-driving, such vehicles would be capable of performing all necessary tasks under certain conditions. They may be designed for a specific purpose and lack traditional vehicle controls. Waymo seems to think they’d be ideal units for transporting goods and has asked FCA to hand over Ram ProMaster vans for conversion into test mules. It also asked the automaker to become its sole partner on the project — which is assumed to carry over once the company merges with Groupe PSA to become the Stellantis corporation.

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A Manual Fades From the Jeep Lineup

When you think of the rapidly dwindling handful of vehicles still available with a manual transmission, you probably didn’t list the Jeep Compass among those remaining holdouts. And yet the compact crossover does offer such a setup, ever since the current-generation model went on sale for 2017.

Well, Jeep offered, but not many buyers took them up on it. Actually, it seems Jeep could barely find any takers — which is why, for 2021, the Compass will carry only an autobox.

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What Is Stellantis? Just a Massive Italian-American-French Automaker

The coming year is expected to be the first of many for a new group created through the imminent merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Group. As the process to blend the two automakers continues, the two partners have revealed what their combined operation will be called.

Stellantis.

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  • Jwee I think it is short sighted and detrimental to the brand. The company should be generous to its locked-in user base, treating them as a resource, not a revenue stream.This is what builds any good relationship, generosity to the other partner. Apple does with their products. My iPhone is 5 years old, but I keep getting the latest and greatest updates for free, which makes me feel valued as a customer and adds actual value. When it is time for a new phone, Apple past treatment towards me certainly plays into my decisions (as did BMW's - so long subscription extracting pigs, its been a great 20 years). Imagine how much good will and love (and good press) Polestar would get from their user base if they gave them all a "68 fresh horses" update overnight, for free. Brand loyalty would soar (provided their car is capable).
  • ToolGuy If I had some space I would offer $800 and let the vehicle sit at my place as is. Then when anyone ever asked me, "Have you ever considered owning a VW?" I would say "Yes."
  • ToolGuy In the example in the linked article an automated parking spot costs roughly 3% of the purchase price of the property. If I were buying such a property, I would likely purchase two parking spots to go with it, and I'm being completely serious.(Speaking of ownership vs. subscription, the $150 monthly maintenance fee would torque me off a lot more than the initial acquisition cost.)
  • ToolGuy "which will be returned as refunds to citizens of the state" - kind of like the Alaska Permanent Fund? Make the amount high enough and I will gladly move to California to take advantage (my family came close to moving there when I was a teen, and oodles of people have moved from CA to my state, so I'm happy to return the favor).Note to California: You probably do not want me as a citizen.
  • ToolGuy Nice torque figure.