By on September 19, 2019

Fiat has introduced a new graphics package for the 124 Spider, yet it’s difficult to envision who this option is for. That’s especially true considering the package, intended to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Abarth and the 120th anniversary of Fiat, is exclusive to top-trimmed models.

We’re not even sure how much time FCA’s Miata-based roadster even has left in the country and don’t imagine a scorpion-themed graphics pack is going to change that. That’s a shame too, because the 124 remains a fun little car.

As this author has always been under the impression that roadsters were designed help drivers commune with nature, the Spider’s relaxed demeanor — at least in relation to the Mazda MX-5 — seemed like a positive attribute. While the Miata is clearly the car you’d want to take to a track, the 124 is noticeably quieter and more comfortable. There’s even pleasure to be found in the Fiat’s noteworthy turbo lag, assuming you’re somewhat nostalgic for early Nineties cars with forced induction.  (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2019

While Ram’s holdover 1500 Classic isn’t about to earn any top safety awards, its current-generation successor just did. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bestowed a coveted Top Safety Pick + label upon Ram’s strong-selling full-size pickup, making it the first vehicle in its class to ever earn the accolade.

Lots of pickups are plenty safe, lording over the road as they do, but a new addition to the IIHS’s testing regimen prevented the awarding of top honors to any member of these open-trunk, half-ton family sedans — headlights. Thanks to a tweak in May of this year, the Ram 1500 crew cab now qualifies for the top podium. (Read More…)

By on September 5, 2019

A flurry of new model additions benefitted many automakers with additional sales and greater revenue last month, and none more so than Fiat Chrysler, which saw its average U.S. transaction price rise 6.2 percent, year over year. Can you guess which segments pulled in the most extra money per vehicle? Bet you can.

At the other end of the yardstick, two foreign automakers basking in the glow of a very healthy sales month saw their average transaction prices fall. (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2019

Last year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced a €5 billion plan to set the table for more palatable electric vehicles — including hybrids — and boost capacity utilization at its Italian facilities. Roughly one fifth of that total will go toward the launch of a compact crossover from Alfa Romeo and Fiat’s upcoming Panda hybrid.

Numerous Italian trade unions (AQCF, FIM, FISMIC, UGLM, and UILM), after speaking with the manufacturer, have confirmed the Pomigliano plant will undergo some retooling in preparation for the new models. Meanwhile, FCA confirmed the cost to Reuters — stipulating that the total investment for the two models would be “closer to 1 billion than 500 million euros.”  (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2019

With less than two weeks left before contracts with Detroit Three autoworkers expire, the United Automobile Workers has chosen General Motors as the first company to enter bargaining talks. What occurs between the UAW and GM will set the stage for subsequent contracts with Ford and Fiat Chrysler.

Going into the talks, which UAW does under a dark cloud born of its bribery and kickback scandal, the union comes armed with a strike authorization approved by its members.  (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2019

fiat cabrio abarth 500

The model that helped relaunch a long-departed brand — a brand which subsequently failed to clear the tower — is effectively dead in North America. Fiat Chrysler has taken the retro-themed, pint-sized Fiat 500 off life support, removing it from the brand’s North American offerings for 2020.

The newly turbocharged 500, its beefier Abarth brother, and the eco-warrior 500e electric, were victims of America’s unrelenting desire for large, spacious automobiles. The illness took hold almost as soon as the 500 arrived. (Read More…)

By on August 19, 2019

2018 Fiat 500 Abarth cover

Fiat, the ancient automotive brand found at the top of very few American shopping lists, finds itself in the midst of a transformation. On its European home turf, emissions rules have grown ever more strict; meanwhile, many buyers are gravitating towards the type of vehicles offered by corporate sibling Jeep, and Fiat Chrysler would prefer they purchase the seven-slot brand. That leaves Fiat with a mandate to think small.

As details emerge from the latest meeting of Fiat brass, it looks like the brand’s future holds efficiency but precious little flash. (Read More…)

By on August 15, 2019

Home to the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica, and now the lower-tier Chrysler Voyager, Fiat Chrysler’s Windsor Assembly won’t see an expected shift cut next month. Instead, thanks to an uptick in volume, company brass has decided to ride out the year.

Originally scheduled to shed a shift (and along with it, about 1,500 jobs) at the end of September, Windsor Assembly will continue with its current workforce until at least New Year’s, Driving reports. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

Image: fca

Dodge’s Charger and Challenger are rolling anachronisms we’ll miss after they’re gone. For now, the two full-size rear-drivers soldier on into the future atop their ancient underpinnings, with Fiat Chrysler bestowing an ever-growing list of variants upon still-interested buyers.

The latest corrects what some Mopar fans may have viewed as an oversight. Last year, following the release of the long-teased Challenger SRT Demon, Dodge pushed the Challenger SRT Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter up to 717 horses, giving would-be buyers 10 more reasons to desire the model. A Redeye version delivered 797 hp, a downgrade (if it can really be called that) from the limited-edition Demon’s 840 hp.

Meanwhile, the Charger was left to “suffer” with only 707 hp. Not anymore. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2019

All-new 2018 Jeep® Wrangler Sahara

Reports of alarming oscillations transmitted through the steering wheels of various Jeep Wranglers started landing on the NHTSA’s lap last year, years after off-road enthusiasts began complaining of the same issue. A product of a solid front axle, higher speeds, and an unexpected jolt ⁠— like hitting a bump in the road ⁠— the so-called “death wobble” sparked a class-action lawsuit that alleges Jeep’s Wrangler boasts an inherently unsafe axle and suspension design.

Now Fiat Chrysler says it has a solution to the wobble, with notifications headed to owners’ mailboxes from coast to coast. Will the supposed fix serve to pour cold water over the lawsuit? At this point, it doesn’t seem so. (Read More…)

By on August 9, 2019

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley said the automaker will not have to pay fines for failing to meet the demands of tightening European air quality regulations. But that’s not because the automaker is actually going to adhere to them. FCA has been pretty open in explaining its willingness to simply endure fines or, conversely, buy enough carbon credits to circumvent the issue entirely. And, over the next two years, the latter strategy will be how it copes with the EU’s pollution mandates.

It’s not ignoring efficiency, however. FCA still plans on releasing an improved Fiat 500 BEV while expanding its hybrid offerings via the Jeep brand this year. It’s just easier (and cheaper) to buy credits in advance, knowing the manufacturer will need them.  (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2019

fca

It’ll be a different story when the 2020 model year arrives at Chrysler, at which point a large pricing gap will open up between the brand’s Pacifica minivan and the newly-arrived Voyager. The Voyager name, as you may recall, has been dusted off in order to serve as a stepping stone to the Pacifica.

It’s the same vehicle, to be sure, but one which replaces the former Pacifica L and LX at the bottom of the minivan totem pole. Here’s how the pricing breaks down between the two family-friendly siblings. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

Image: FCA

Maybe that’s a dated reference in this age of smartphones and hookup romance apps. Regardless, the list of potential partners for a prowling Fiat Chrysler doesn’t begin and end with Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.

Oh sure, it wouldn’t mind getting down to business with the French-Japanese auto giant, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea. FCA knows it’s a catch, and wants to put Renault on notice that it has plenty of choice in who it goes home with. (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2019

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock_1

For those of you who value, um, value in your pickup purchase, there’s good news. Ram’s 1500 Classic, the name given to the previous-generation half-ton that soldiers on alongside the new-for-2019 1500, shows no signs of impending death.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley made that point abundantly clear during an earnings call last week. Debuting for the 2009 model year, the Classic earns its moniker, yet the advancements and refinements showered on its successor hasn’t diminished demand for the old model — the new-gen 1500’s higher price point assures FCA of a steady stream of buyers.

Amazingly, a refresh may be in the works. (Read More…)

By on August 3, 2019

The proposed merger between two auto giants — Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — went nowhere earlier this year, but the door to the deal never swung fully shut. That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, in which sources claim talks are ongoing to rekindle the romance.

FCA snatched away its offer in June after the French government, which owns 15 percent of Renault, intruded into discussions, citing a need to have alliance partner Nissan fully on board. The Japanese automaker, embroiled in scandal and a serious financial slump, kept its distance from those earlier talks, offering polite but unenthusiastic public support as reports emerged of concerns about its autonomy and shrinking influence under such a marriage.

To get the deal back on track, Renault would need to loosen its ties with Nissan. (Read More…)

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