Federal prosecutors Tuesday unsealed new criminal charges that named several Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) officials accused of conspiring to cheat U.S. emissions tests and defraud customers buying their diesel-powered products. The indictment was opened in the Eastern District of Michigan, identifying FCA diesel senior manager Emanuele Palma (42) and two Italian nationals employed by FCA Italy SpA — Sergio Pasini (43) of Ferrera and Gianluca Sabbioni (55) of Sala Bolognese.
Palma had been charged previously and becomes a co-conspirator in the alleged plot to develop a 3.0-liter diesel engine used in FCA vehicles that could flummox emissions tests allowing the automaker to sell vehicles that did not adhere to government regulations. The motor started appearing inside engine bays in 2014, including popular models like the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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.
The industry is having to stall more plants to contend with the semiconductor shortage that’s currently making it more difficult for you to get everything from a smartphone on up to your next vehicle. Ford Motor Co. recently informed employees that its Dearborn truck plant (easily one of its most profitable facilities) would need to be idled through the weekend to create a buffer for semiconductor chips. Worse yet, it’s not the first time the automaker has had to stall output of the F-150 this year. Ford has also started manufacturing trucks without all the necessary components, stating it would hold vehicles for a few weeks to account for supply chain delays.
Meanwhile, Chrysler has made a similar announcement about its minivan output as Windsor Assembly faces another chip deficit. Unifor Local 444 recently stated that the facility would be staring down the barrel of a four-week shutdown starting next week. Considering Chrysler’s minivans literally just dealt with a three-week stall over the chip shortage, union workers are understandably upset. Days earlier, General Motors Canada also announced that its CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, will likely remain idle until the middle of April.
Dodge has long been synonymous with high levels of horsepower. Modern-day marketing materials practically scream it into your ear, acknowledging the company’s historic penchant for providing ludicrous amounts of power for hysterically low prices. The reality is a bit more complicated, however. While Mopar brands were indeed offering some of the best bang-for-your-buck muscle cars, back when they were a tad more novel, some of the fastest machines actually came from General Motors and Ford.
Today’s situation is very much the same. When the rest of the industry started downsizing powertrains, Dodge was still trying to squeeze even more juice from its colossal V8 engines — installing them anywhere they might fit. Rivals quickly got wise to its attempt to corner a segment just about everyone else had abandoned, resulting in gems like the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 or Ford Shelby GT500. But with everyone now back on board with the concept of displacement meaning power, Dodge has decided to change tactics.
What if it manufactured the V8 offering the smallest amount of horsepower imaginable?
Stellantis is reportedly bringing back a controversial policy that would have skilled trade workers doing 12 hour days for 7 days a week as a way to maximize shift coverage. The original arrangement had staff pushing long hours only to be rewarded with a full week off. But it was temporarily nixed after workers complained about the schedule and fretted over how the change might impact benefits. An alternative schedule prioritizing flexibility was created, though the automaker (still owned by FCA at the time) stressed that it needed more tradespeople working on the weekends to help avoid production gaps.
The 84 hour week is now back, with Stellantis testing it out at Sterling Heights Assembly, where the Ram 1500 is manufactured. However, it doesn’t appear to have grown in popularity.
Jeep is laying off 150 workers that would have otherwise been employed at its Belvidere Assembly Plant, which actually produces the Jeep Cherokee instead of the long defunct, full-size Plymouth. Based on the timing, this decision appears to have something to do with the FCA-PSA Group merger that formed Stellantis.
The Cherokee Nation has requested that Jeep change the name of some of its vehicles. While you can probably guess which ones are causing offense, it should be stated that the automaker has been utilizing the Cherokee name to evoke a sense of power and natural harmony for over 45 years. But nobody is going to argue that native peoples have a decided advantage in who has first dibs on the title, especially in a time of unprecedented tensions regarding what’s deemed racially insensitive.
Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, certainly seems to think Jeep crossed a line. This is actually the first time the group has ever asked Jeep to change a vehicle’s name, though Jeep has also gone on record numerous times to defend its use.
While we knew Fiat Chrysler Automobiles would have to undergo substantial changes after it merged with PSA Group to form Stellantis, many enthusiasts were holding out hope that the North American Street & Racing Technology (SRT) engineering team would skate by unmolested.
No such luck.
In the lead-up to my seat time with Maserati’s latest on the big track at Willow Springs International Raceway and the nondescript streets surrounding it, the automaker held a press briefing via video conference. Here, company PR chief Kas Rigas explained the “duality” of the brand, citing the original Quattroporte as the prime example.
Launched in 1963, it was Maserati’s first road car after a long string of successful, purpose-built race cars, and it featured a motorsport-derived, all-aluminum DOHC V8 ensconced in a Pietro Frua-designed grand-touring sedan wrapper.
Stellantis leadership is going to have some tough decisions to make in regard to Chrysler and Dodge. While both brands are a shadow of their former selves, Fiat Chrysler viewed their rightsizing as more of a distillation process. Despite lacking the full complement of vehicles necessary to occupy every segment, the two have the oversized American sedan segment almost entirely to themselves. In fact, their more-is-more ethos is becoming increasingly rare within the overall industry and (allegedly) at odds with the coming age. We’ve been told the only way to continue playing is through powertrain downsizing and electrification. The V8 is becoming taboo, reserved for the incognito browser.
What will your neighbors think when they learned you bought a Hemi? The jokes about the size of your member for needing such a big car with such a big motor will perpetually have you on edge and peering over a shoulder. You’ll be a fugitive inside your own mind, forever teetering on the brink. What if your alarmingly massive penis is actually as demure as your bother’s wife suggested when you brought the car to the last family dinner? Wouldn’t it be easier if we all just drove bland crossovers with modestly sized motors? Why do you have to be so different?
These are the kinds of harrowing questions we wouldn’t need to ask ourselves in the aftermath of a midnight screaming fit if Dodge and Chrysler stopped existing. Stellantis has that power … and it may even be considering that possibility right now. But is that really what’s best?
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has repeatedly suggested that electrification would be a keystone trait of tomorrow’s automobiles. But he never sounds truly gleeful about the prospect, injecting the level of joy one might reserve when announcing that the trip to the grocery store after noticing spartan shelves in the kitchen. Kuniskis is aware that Dodge’s lineup caters heavily to automotive size queens and that its ability to manufacture those models is swiftly coming to a close.
Despite the former FCA giving the brand the go-ahead to manufacture V8-equipped behemoths like the Hellcat, the newly formed Stellantis auto group may be less inclined to continue those efforts and the freshly installed Biden administration seems wholly committed to doubling down on environmental regulations that were already at odds with high-output automobiles. Kuniskis typically stops short of discussing these issues as the death knell for automotive performance, suggesting instead that electrification will open new doors for the industry while closing a few others. But he occasionally issues statements hinting that he’s not quite so enthralled with or as hopeful about EVs as his contemporaries.
The merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group is reportedly progressing smoothly, with the involved parties announcing general meetings for their respective shareholders on Wednesday. Scheduled to take place on January 4th, the summit is being held “in order to approve the merger of their companies to allow the creation of Stellantis, which will become the world’s fourth largest automobile manufacturer by volume,” according to a joint release.
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.
Hopefully you’re all familiar with Stellantis — the chosen name for the sprawling automaker birthed from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and France’s PSA Group. With the merger expected to wrap up in the first quarter of 2021, Stellantis is all about capitalizing on the respective partners’ strengths in the name of efficiency.
And, because of this strategy, FCA has reportedly issued a stop-work order on any development of future small or subcompact cars. The future of FCA small cars is now French.
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- ToolGuy The [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]XJ platform[/url] is super interesting to me, more so after owning one and working on it some (but not a lot, because it didn't need a lot). The overall size is almost perfect; add more space to the back seat (and carry it to the wheelbase) if we are starting over.One could argue, if one knew anything about vehicles, that the 4-door XJ is a major reason why U.S. fleet [all of everyone's vehicles averaged together] fuel economy is so bad in 2023.
- ToolGuy ToolGuy can't solve all the issues raised here tonight, but this does remind me that I have some very excellent strawberry jam direct from Paris in the fridge.
- ToolGuy Cool.(ToolGuy supports technology advancement, as well as third-person references)
- MaintenanceCosts Oddly enough, I bought a metal-roof convertible for a bit less than $20k last year. But it's not on your list; it's an E93 335i, manual, Sport package. Really really nice car to drive, and (while it's been a short time) it's been flawless so far.
- FreedMike IS350 all the way. The Benz and the BMW are going to be money pits.