What Outsold Chrysler in 2019?

Not Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, mind you, but Chrysler. The brand. The maker of such diverse nameplates as the 300, which debuted in 2004, or the Pacifica and its ilk. Or the — wait, no, that’s it.

It’s easy to poke fun at Chrysler The Brand these days, what with Jeep and Ram doing the heavy lifting in terms of sales. As Matthew Guy recently told you, Ram bench-pressed some exceptionally heavy stacks this past year, sailing to new sales heights on the strength of two full-size pickups and a new HD model. Chrysler, barely mentioned in FCA’s recent five-year product plan, sunk to its lowest standing in decades.

Get this brand a new product that’s not just a variant of an existing minivan.

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Jeep: With New Year Comes a New Badge

The mighty Jeep brand is hitting the Consumer Electronics Show next week, and it’s got a new badge in tow. No, Jeep isn’t messing with its namesake script; rather, there’s a new signifier on the way.

As it prepares to tout a trio of upcoming plug-in hybrids at the Las Vegas trade show, Jeep’s electrification effort will see the “4xe” badge filter through the lineup in the coming years.

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Electric AWD on the Way For Chrysler Minivans, Report Says

Earlier this year, when rumors of a forthcoming all-wheel drive Chrysler Pacifica arose, the minivan segment seemed ready to birth a rival to Toyota’s AWD Sienna. Instead, Chrysler ended up debuting a stripped-down version of the FWD Pacifica called the Voyager.

AWD isn’t off the table, it seems, but the traditional form of all-wheel traction is. A new report claims the coming year will bring an electrified AWD minivan from Windsor Assembly.

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Bank on It: Glut of Unsold Cars Pushes Fiat Chrysler Into Bargain Mode

Earlier this fall, word arose that Fiat Chrysler had resurrected a practice from the bad old days of the company — a sales bank of unallocated vehicles churned out by over-productive factories and pushed on dealers with little use for them. The company claimed otherwise, saying that its new “predictive analytics” system was simply in the process of being refined to better guide the flow of certain models and configurations to dealers.

With 2019 nearly at an end, unordered inventory is once again on the rise, Bloomberg reports. And not by any small amount, either. In response, FCA is reportedly pulling out all the stops to get these vehicles into consumers’ hands before 2020.

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EPA Gets Around to Rating the Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel

As everyone in your Twitter feed screams for revolution, evolutionary advancements in technology (and other things) are still proving capable of generating big gains for society. For new vehicle buyers, too.

Jeep’s Wrangler Unlimited EcoDiesel is a case in point. Launched for the 2020 model year, the oil-burning off-roader nets buyers 260 horsepower and a whopping 442 lb-ft of torque — some 307 lb-ft more than a base Wrangler of 30 years ago. Despite boasting only a half-liter of additional displacement and weighing significantly more than a 1990 Iron Duke model, the EcoDiesel returns an extra 8 mpg in combined driving.

Let’s take a look at what the EPA had to say about Jeep’s newest offering.

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Jeep Museum Allegedly Coming to Ohio in 2022

After years of trying, an urban revitalization group attempting to get Toledo, Ohio, back on track has gotten an affirmative nod from Fiat Chrysler to build an automotive museum devoted entirely to the Jeep brand. The 56,000 square-foot facility will be called “The Jeep Experience” and play host to numerous interactive exhibits.

Modeled after the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee and the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, the site has not yet been officially announced. Final negotiations are necessary before a contract is put in play. However, The Toledo Blade recently received confirmation from ProMedica President and CEO Randy Oostra, a member of the revitalization group, that there shouldn’t be anything standing in the way of the museum opening in 2022.

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Platform Watch: With Merger Pact, Fiat Chrysler Looks Forward to PSA Underpinnings

In the binding merger agreement signed Wednesday, Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group claim platform and technology sharing will account for 40 percent of the combined entity’s annual cost savings.

While the agreement made passing mention of two pieces of PSA architecture — platforms that will one day make up a full two-thirds of the merged company’s volume — nothing more was said of that particular plan. Still, it’s something worth talking about.

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'I Do': Fiat Chrysler, PSA Sign Binding Merger Agreement

Regulatory and shareholder approvals will take some time, but the pending merger between Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Group is now chiseled in stone. The two automakers signed a binding combination agreement on Wednesday, positioning their respective companies for a 50:50 tie-up and the creation of the world’s third-largest automaker (by revenue).

Going by sales would make it the fourth-largest.

The move comes after the French government, which owns 12 percent of PSA, gave the deal ther green light, with the Peugeot family offering its own thumbs-up.

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Report: Fiat Chrysler, PSA on Cusp of Binding Merger Pact

Italian-American auto giant Fiat Chrysler and French automaker PSA Group could sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday, if reports out of Europe prove true.

The two automakers embarked down the road to a 50:50 tie-up in October, with both partners aiming for an MoU before the end of the calendar year. This most recent report comes on the heels of various thumbs-up given by key players in the pending marriage.

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Dodge Charger GT Copies Its Brother, Dons AWD

For a model seemingly older than the domestication of plants and animals, the Dodge Charger manages to foist new things at its intended audience every year. Same goes for its two-door sibling, the Challenger.

For 2020, the Charger offers something the Challenger debuted for the 2018 model year: a GT model with four-wheel grip.

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It's a Deal: Fiat Chrysler Workers Ratify UAW Labor Contract

The latest round of Detroit Three labor wrangling has wrapped out without a second strike. In side-stepping the same walkout that plagued General Motors earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler has made itself all the more attractive to its corporate fiancé, Groupe PSA.

Late Wednesday, FCA announced its workers had voted to approve the tentative four-year labor agreement reached between it and the United Auto Workers.

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Report: Dodge Durango Mild Hybrid to Manifest in 2020

Despite the current-generation Dodge Durango seemingly having been put into production immediately after the solar protoplanetary disk focused enough cosmic debris to assemble our humble little planet, it still moves in decent volumes in the United States. Officially in service since MY2011 (a little more recent than previously stated), sales of the 3rd-gen Durango are still going strong near the end of its life cycle. Deliveries run about 65,000 per year. That’s roughly the same annual volume it’s had since a mild refresh in 2014, and rather impressive considering the model has gone largely unchanged — save for a few performance-focused updates in its later years.

Unfortunately, this heavyweight doesn’t offer idyllic fuel economy. It’s decent for a vehicle with a curb weight between 4,500 and 5,500 pounds, and I’m routinely impressed with the highway miles Dodge manages to eek out from its big V8s, but it’s not ambitious in an era where maximizing mileage is an almost mandatory pursuit. The best the Durango can muster is 19 city/26 highway with its entry-level Pentastar V6.

That is, until the mild-hybrid variant arrives in 2020.

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Such a Tease: Fiat Chrysler's At It Again

Remember the ridiculously long lead-up to the release of Dodge’s Challenger SRT Demon? That never-ending trail of breadcrumbs leading to the hottest LX-platform car to date? Yeah, that one.

The teasing grew tiresome after a while. Many buyers and writers (circles that rarely cross) were about to get up and leave the bar, until FCA finally debuted the limited-run, 840-horsepower drag beast.

Well, it looks like FCA’s on the make again.

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RIP Four-speed Ultradrive, Soon to Be Dead at 32

As the automotive industry fluxes towards utility vehicles and electrics, the death of familiar nameplates has become an all-too-common occurrence. Goodbye, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus, LaCrosse, and Regal. And goodbye, too, to the Ultradrive four-speed automatic transmission, which meets its end in the coming year.

The Pentastar-stamped unit — seemingly older than Kirk Douglas’ dad — meets its maker after a lengthy career managing power in a dizzying array of models.

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UAW Sends Tentative Fiat Chrysler Labor Deal to Members for Ratification

Plenty of planks found in the quickly hammered out UAW-Ford contract can be found in the tentative deal forged between the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler. Following approval from the National UAW-FCA Council, the agreement reached last weekend goes to members for final approval (or rejection) on Friday.

The two sides reached an agreement far quicker than some predicted, but the final word on the deal will come from workers.

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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.