By on August 6, 2019

Maserati posted an ugly financial report for the second quarter of 2019. Revenue was down 40 percent, resulting in a loss of $132 million before interest and taxes. The good news, according to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, is that the brand will become profitable once new product hits the ground.

The bad news? None of those vehicles are scheduled to arrive until after 2020, meaning Maserati probably won’t see any improvements until sometime afterward. FCA CEO Mike Manley has already said the rest of 2019 will be ugly for the brand, though he remains hopeful that the 10 new or refreshed vehicles the premium nameplate had in the works would help it turn a corner.  (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2019

ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to supply Fiat Chrysler with its second-largest order to date. While top honors belong to BMW, FCA will be using the same eight-speed automatic transmissions sourced for the Bavarian-based applications. “Optimized for electrification” as per ZF’s press announcement, the gearboxes are designed for longitudinally mounted engines ⁠— including those utilizing hybrid systems.  (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2019

A recent study from consulting firm AlixPartners has suggested that automakers could be in for a financial ass kicking of epic proportions. As it turns out, reaching emission quotas is a difficult business and the European Union wants 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer by 2021. The study suggests few automakers are on track to reach that goal and, as a result, will be forced to pay out sizable fines. We’re talking billions.

Can you guess which manufacturers are supposed to get hit the hardest?

Here’s a hint: we’ve discussed one of them having similar issues in the United States earlier this year and both of their names are in the title of this article.  (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2019

Maximizing the footprint with which to apply up to 707 horsepower and 650 ft-lbs of torque, the 2020 Charger SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack add a Widebody package to cover their 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires and 20×11-inch wheels. For the Hellcat, 0-60 mph comes in 3.6 seconds while the quarter-mile elapsed time drops to 10.96 seconds and the skidpad grip builds to 0.96 g. Combined with the additional braking grip and revised chassis tuning, the lap time around an FCA-approved, 2.1-mile road course drops by a massive 2.1 seconds.

The Scat Pack Widebody sees similar improvements, getting to 60 mph from a standstill in 4.3 seconds on its way to a 12.4 second quarter mile. Without the weight of the supercharger and associated plumbing over the nose, the Scat Pack Widebody pulls an even more impressive 0.98 g on the skidpad. Around the same 2.1-mile road course (presumably GingerMan Raceway), the Charger Scat Pack drops 1.3 seconds in Widebody form. (Read More…)

By on May 29, 2019

Will they or won’t they? That’s the question on everyone’s mind after Fiat Chrysler’s Monday morning proposition to French automaker Renault. A 50:50 pairing of equals, with Nissan and Mitsubishi shuffling awkwardly on the edge of the dance floor. To his credit, FCA Chairman John Elkann wants Renault’s alliance partners in on the deal.

According to a report out of Paris, Renault’s board will sit down within days to decide whether to pursue FCA’s offer. (Read More…)

By on May 7, 2019

Maserati promises it will steer clear of widespread electrification. And yet, it’s unclear whether this is part of a bold corporate strategy that sees electrification as the less-promising path forward, or simply the result of the brand’s current financial situation.

Regardless, the firm’s North American leader, Al Gardner, says it’s not in the cards. While Maserati fully intends to insert more plug-in vehicles and hybrids into its lineup by 2022, it vows to stop short of killing the internal combustion engine. Of course, we know that’s a promise no automaker can expect to keep indefinitely. All it takes is one important change in management to readjust a brand’s corporate trajectory, but Maserati appears safe from total electrification for the time being.  (Read More…)

By on April 23, 2019

Instagram user eviil_srt, so named for his sinister-looking Chrysler 300 SRT8, posted a video in which he claims to have caught a production-ready Charger widebody in the midst of filming a commercial.

The video quality is perplexingly horrendous and involves plenty of unnecessary hooting noises coming from the camera operator, but we’ll cut him some slack. As a Mopar fan, he can’t be expected to remain sane in situations like these. Tapping down the enthusiasm is for saner people responding to other brands.  (Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Despite being manufactured in Canada, the Dodge Charger and Challenger feel like the most American vehicles currently on the market. Large, brash, and deliciously unapologetic about it, the vehicles embody multiple historical stereotypes thrown onto the United States citizenry. While those characteristics aren’t a good fit for everyone, Dodge says its holdout muscle cars capture the highest percentage of active military buyers in their respective segments (according to mTAB).

Now, Fiat Chrysler says it’s time for Dodge to “celebrate the men and women who serve our country,” providing a new Stars & Stripes Edition for the Charger and Challenger — along with some fleshing out of their existing appearance packages. (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2019

Image: FCA

As Fiat Chrysler prepares the Jeep Gladiator for its highly anticipated dealer debut, consumers are gearing up for the first midsize pickup conceived of outside the boundaries of established industry norms in quite some time. The Gladiator is very different from the competition. It looks like a modified Wrangler, has a removable windshield, soft or hardtop roof, and doors, and even comes with a manual transmission option. It’s also new, which is noteworthy in itself.

Midsize pickups have a tenancy to linger. The second-generation Chevrolet Colorado first appeared in 2012 and Toyota’s Tacoma typically enjoys a ten-year lifespan before the manufacturer feels the itch for a full redesign. Even Ford’s Ranger is a reheated leftover sourced from the global market. While not necessarily a shortcoming in itself, the segment suffers from a distinct lack of innovation — and that’s exactly where the Gladiator could find its place in the sun(Read More…)

By on March 22, 2019

Federal investigators are expanding their ongoing corruption investigation into the United Auto Workers and Detroit Three by taking a long look at donated money intended to buy flowers for member funerals. The concern is that the UAW’s “flower fund” may have been used as a slush fund to finance personal expenses for union officials.

It wouldn’t be the first time. Prosecutors have already secured the convictions of seven people via a probe into the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center. Several jailed union officials, along with former FCA-VP Alphons Iacobelli, helped investigators uncover illicit funds funneled through training centers and charities — including the Leave the Light On Foundation, created by the late General Holiefield. Now they’re helping the feds branch out.  (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2019

Norwood Jewell, the former head of the United Auto Workers’ unit attached to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, has been charged by federal prosecutors in Detroit with violating the Labor Management Relations Act. This makes him the highest ranking UAW member to be charged in the union corruption case that appeared to be on pause while investigators reexamined suspects, following a string of convictions in 2018.

Federal investigators are relatively certain that FCA engaged in the widespread bribery of union officials who were able to tap into funds allocated for their National Training Center — a scheme dating back to 2009. According to defamed former FCA vice president Alphons Iacobelli, the goal was to keep union officials “fat, dumb and happy.” Millions of dollars were believed to have been used to buy the UAW’s cooperation, and Jewell appears to have gotten a slice.  (Read More…)

By on March 12, 2019

United Auto Workers President Gary Jones announced Monday that worker strike pay has increased from $200 to $250 a week, signaling the possibility of walkouts just a few months before U.S. worker contracts expire. While it would appear the UAW is preparing to strike, President Gary Jones said it’s not the union’s intent. “No one goes to the bargaining table expecting to strike. But the UAW goes to the bargaining table prepared to strike if our members need to strike,” Jones said. “Raising the strike fund is an important symbol that we have their backs.”

However, Jones chose slightly different phrasing when addressing union members at Cobo Hall on Monday. “Activism and solidarity, that is what secures our power,” Jones told hundreds of union members in Detroit. “The stakes are high. We are ready … We are ready to gear up and fight for what is right. We are ready to fight for our brothers and sisters and act as one.” (Read More…)

By on January 18, 2019

As previously reported, vehicle certifications have been suspended during the current government shutdown. While this is normally a non-issue, the extended length of this federal deferment is starting to spook automakers.

Fiat Chrysler has already bemoaned the situation, as it’s currently waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to approve its Ram Heavy Duty pickups. While the situation hasn’t become truly dire, other automakers have begun expressing concerns of their own.  (Read More…)

By on January 9, 2019

2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel HFE, Image: FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is on the cusp of reaching a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over undeclared emissions control software that allowed 104,000 diesel vehicles to pollute beyond legal limits.

The settlement is expected to include significant civil penalties and fines to account for the excess diesel emissions while also covering claims from the Justice Department, various U.S. states, and vehicle owners — similar to Volkswagen’s “Dieselgate” settlement. A final agreement could be reached any day now.  (Read More…)

By on December 20, 2018

Domestic sedans are currently being walked up to the edge of a mass grave. Beneath them rests their two-doored brethren and the first wave of four-doors previously executed by the Big Three. Ford has promised a lineup comprised almost entirely of pickups and utility vehicles in the coming years and General Motors is in the process of doing the same. Fiat Chrysler wisely kept its automotive killing spree under the radar by being the first to pull the trigger and not making a big deal of it. But consider what’s left within its domestic nameplates: SUVs, pickups, a few vans and the endangered Chrysler 300 — which is really a more of a commoner’s luxury vehicle.

FCA also has the Dodge Charger and Challenger in its stable, but they’re not what one might consider when imagining your typical sedan. They’re ancient, powerful creatures. Gas-guzzling muscle cars, brimming with attitude, and seemingly impervious to harm. Goliaths without a David or fuel crisis to put them down. Who could have ever imagined that American muscle would crawl back out of its grave after such a long absence and manage to outlive the typical sedan?

Their manufacturer, for one.  (Read More…)

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