Today’s topic is an automaker you’ve likely never heard of. It’s a small company that was founded not that long ago, offers vehicles in very limited markets, and produces around 600 vehicles per year. Its product is based upon old ideas from other manufacturers, all done up in fiberglass until very recently. Let’s enter the wonderful world of Wallyscar.
Since Groupe PSA expressed an interest in buying up Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Jeep brand has ramped up talk about the merits of electrification – particularly in places like Europe. The off-road-focused brand even has a plan to offer zero-emissions compliant vehicles in every segment by 2025. However, the only vehicle Jeep’s currently producing that seems to support those claims is the Wrangler 4XE PHEV and it’s still dependent on gasoline for journeys beyond 21 miles.
But that’s supposed to be changing now that the rumor mill is flush with new suggestions that Jeep is working on a small SUV that will be wholly dependent upon electrical propulsion. Those claims have been confirmed by Jeep’s leadership, with hints that it might be getting a few friends.
Last week, Lexus launched a viral marketing campaign — that also makes for an excellent public service announcement — about how stupid it is to check your phone while driving. But it has only just started getting the kind of attention it deserves, now that some of the contentious regulatory news has subsided.
The automaker modified a Lexus NX crossover with an electrochromic film that can totally obfuscate the glass for 4.6 seconds — which is the average length of time a person looks at their phone while driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It then invited people to take the car for a “test drive” while it made a point about distracted driving. While an overt publicity stunt, it was rather effective and addresses one of our biggest concerns in terms of automotive safety. Lexus simply showcased a bunch of morons with phones in an interesting way, highlighted the danger, and then got off its podium.
American automotive brands have never really caught on with the typical Japanese consumer. While we’ve done numerous dives trying to understand why the gist is that our tastes don’t typically overlap and they generally prefer to buy domestic. Foreign marques are comparatively rare, frequently German, and are generally owned by those looking to flex their status with an imported luxury vehicle.
U.S. brands that were on the market began retreating as they began pulling smaller automobiles from their lineup. But Jeep has stuck it in there and things are reportedly beginning to pay off. The automaker’s distinctive styling seems to be resonating with people in Asia and it’s really the only historically American nameplate that’s managed to find an audience in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group are reportedly in the homestretch of their $38 billion merger deal and on the cusp of becoming Stellantis — the planet’s fourth largest automaker by volume. The plan is to join forces to help absorb the monumental cost of developing alternative energy vehicles (like EVs) without losing any brands or shuttering any facilities that weren’t previously marked for death. We’re inclined to believe it when we see it, however, as the duo are also targeting an annual cost reduction of 5 billion euros (about $5.91 billion USD).
It also hasn’t been a smoothest of regulatory rides. After spending years hunting for the perfect partner, FCA and PSA had to adjust the terms of their existing deal to contend with losses incurred as a result of the pandemic response. But it all seems to be fine now and the European Commission has given approval and that’s what matters in finally getting this deal done.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group announced a few revisions to their planned merger on Monday. Unfortunately, ditching the Stellantis moniker when they become the world’s fourth-largest automaker wasn’t among the changes listed. Because it still sounds like a medication for people with arthritis.
Ask your doctor is Stellantis is right for you. Don’t take Stellantis if you’re pregnant or nursing.
As the duo wants to maintain a 50/50 split, they need to address “the liquidity impact on the automotive industry of the COVID-19 pandemic while preserving the economic value” of their original agreement. That has left PSA maintaining control of French parts supplier Faurecia. A special dividend to be distributed among its shareholders before closing is set at 2.9 billion euros (which was previously listed as €5.5 billion) while PSA’s 46 [percent] stake in Faurecia will be distributed to all Stellantis shareholders following the newly formed board’s approval.
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.
The Harbor Freight saga continues, with the company now issuing a recall of the jack stands meant to replace earlier jack stands recalled due to their collapse risk.
After calling back its 3- and 6-ton Pittsburgh brand stands, the tool company learned of a mechanic who did exactly as he was told, trading in his old, defective 3-ton stands for a new set. However, the new stands couldn’t handle the weight of a Volkswagen Golf. So here we are.
PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares has bucked the notion that his company’s merger agreement with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles needed its terms massaged. Living through the coronavirus should be proof enough that automotive partnerships are essential for weathering the coming economic storm, and that governments shouldn’t stand in the way — or so goes the theory.
During PSA’s annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, the CEO suggested that the poor condition the global auto industry finds itself in makes this a poor time to discuss the issue. Tavares believes the unsavory conditions created by COVID-19 makes cost savings even more vital and that partnering with another automaker is its best bet to stay healthy. “The merger with FCA is the best among the solutions to cope with the crisis and its uncertainties,” he said.
The European Union’s antitrust regulators could easily allow the proposed $50 billion merger between Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA Group to sail onward unopposed… or decide to throw a wrench into the works.
Both companies started funneling the necessary applications to the European Commission back in February, but Monday brought word of a decision date: on or before June 17th.
Following reports from France that the merger between PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could be upended by the coronavirus, PSA announced that the media got this one all wrong. While the French automaker admitted that economic problems stemming from the outbreak are indeed concerning, it reiterated its commitment to safeguarding employment while adding that a merger makes even more sense now than before.
Still, there are valid reasons to question the current state of the merger agreement established in December via a memorandum of understanding. COVID-19 has sent global markets into a tailspin, with PSA and FCA seeing their share prices seesawing in the wrong direction over the last two weeks.
The FCA-PSA merger is progressing nicely. According to Fiat Chrysler CEO Michael Manley, the joint timeline established last month is totally feasible. Both companies hoped to get this settled before 2022; Manley now believes everything could be settled within the next 12 to 14 months.
The manufacturers have inked a binding agreement — worth an estimated $50 billion — to collaboratively prepare themselves to fend against slowing global demand and the unpleasantly high cost of developing greener vehicles to appease regional emission laws. They’re also attempting to establish an effective comprehensive strategy for the numerous auto brands involved in the deal. While we speculated about Chrysler’s future yesterday, over a dozen other marques that cater to fairly specific customer groups also need to be considered.
Chrysler has certainly changed since emerging from the ashes of the Maxwell Motor Company in 1925, spending the better part of the 20th century purveying all manner of car to the American public. The current century has seen the company merge with Daimler, followed by Fiat. Now it’s cozying up to PSA Group, leaving many to wonder what purpose Chrysler serves beyond being the corporate namesake.
Officially, the merger isn’t supposed to impact any FCA or PSA brands. But the Chrysler brand isn’t exactly a model of industrial health. Its current lineup consists of four vehicles, one of which (Voyager) is just the lower-trim version of the non-hybrid Pacifica. The minivan sales are enviable, comprising over half of all vehicles sold within the segment for the United States last year — if you incorporate the Dodge Caravan — but Chrysler’s overall trajectory leaves much to be desired.
This time of year is rife with year-end lists and compilations ranging from music-inspired topics to the insidious Instagram Top Nine. It’s a great tradition, one I look forward to every year.
You know precisely what our topic is: cars. We’ll throw it out to you, dear reader — what was 2019’s biggest surprise in the automotive industry? As you’d expect, we have a few ideas to start off the proverbial tip jar.