By on April 6, 2021

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.

(Read More…)

By on March 3, 2021

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.

(Read More…)

By on February 25, 2021

fca
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.

(Read More…)

By on February 11, 2021

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? (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2020

Unifor will take on the Detroit automakers this week, with the Canadian union undoubtedly planning to do everything within its power to keep as many jobs as it can manage. Unfortunately, that might be easier said than done, what with vehicle demand suppressed by months of lockdowns and an associated economic recession. Despite the positivity surrounding Wall Street, regular folks aren’t in the mood to buy lately.

No matter. Union negotiations are always famously contentious anyway. Corporations want rock-bottom prices for top-shelf work and labor associations always have to ask for more to rationalize their existence. Unifor President Jerry Dias noted that he’s ready for whatever the Big Three throw at him, though we doubt it will include totally sweet offers for line workers. The best the union can probably hope for in 2020 is not losing more Canadian jobs than absolutely necessary. (Read More…)

By on July 2, 2020

You’ve probably never looked at the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and thought to yourself, “There’s no way I’m going to buy that thing until the factory makes one with 797 horsepower and a stop speed of 203 mph.”

Those are figures best left to high-end exotics even rich people rarely drive, not the plebeian family sedan. Besides, Dodge has already done so much to make the Charger as menacing as possible, and the Hellcat variant is already the fastest production sedan in existence. There would be nothing to gain by adding another 80 horsepower and 57 lb-ft of torque except continued bragging rights. It’s a preposterous notion. Yet Dodge happens to be a ridiculous company, absolutely loves bragging, and has earned the right to do so.

Our coverage of Dodge’s latest and greatest performance products continues with the all-new Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye. (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020

Thursday’s health and safety update from Ford offered up details on that automaker’s back-to-work plan, with new info provided on how the company plans gradually ramp up production amid a pandemic. Ford seemed to suggest that its new protocol had the backing of a crucial organization: the United Auto Workers.

While neither the company nor the union can do anything to ease Michigan’s lockdown order, which runs through May 15th, UAW approval is needed to bring the Detroit Three’s plants back online. On Friday, the union’s stance seemed as firm as ever. (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2020

2018 Ford F150 assembly line -Image: Ford

Unlike their foreign rivals, Ford, General Motors, and, belatedly, Fiat Chrysler held off on nailing down a specific date for a production restart. The latter company was expected to begin ramping up production starting May 4th, but last week’s announcement by UAW President Rory Gamble made it the odd man out. The plan’s now off the table.

According to one report, the three automakers will present a united front, with each operation coming back online on the same day. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

FCA Brampton Assembly Line Challenger & 300 - Image: FCA

Unifor, the union representing Detroit Three autoworkers in Canada, joined those companies in announcing a joint task force Tuesday, the same day the province of Ontario declared an emergency amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Like the U.S. task force announced Monday, the Canuck team aims to boost protective measures at the country’s auto plants and warehouses. (Read More…)

By on March 18, 2020

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At the urging of the United Auto Workers to do more to protect U.S. Detroit Three autoworkers, Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler have agreed to new coronavirus-fighting measures.

While the UAW initially pressed for a two-week production shutdown, the result of Tuesday’s talks was a series of rotating partial shutdowns, the union announced late last night. The move comes after extra disinfecting and social distancing measures announced by the Detroit Three late last week. It also comes as two new coronavirus cases appear at product development centers in Michigan. (Read More…)

By on March 16, 2020

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Cassino Italy assembly plant - Image: FCA

Automakers are doing their best to keep the lights on in Europe as a rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic disrupts supply chains and sends workers and staff into quarantine. It’s proving to be a difficult task.

As a new week dawns, numerous automakers have announced plant shutdowns, with Europe’s arguably most famous factory on the verge of going dark itself. Fiat Chrysler isn’t even limiting the scope of its shutdown — the majority of its assembly sites in that continent are closed, effective immediately. (Read More…)

By on February 18, 2020

True to form, Fiat Chrysler has attempted to keep the Chrysler 300 relevant by offering rolling paint and package options. With sales bottoming out at 29,213 U.S. deliveries in 2019, the model is likely not long for this world. However, that’s hardly a good reason for the manufacturer to abate the time-honored tradition of trying to seduce a few more customers through new upholstery and some distinctive badging — both of which will be available for purchase in 2020, in addition to the obligatory paint updates.

Chrysler’s sizable sedan also sees price increases nearly across the board. While you’ll hardly notice the difference on most rear-drive trims, all-wheel drive models tack on an additional $250-370 against last year’s pricing. Think of it as an opportunity to further sharpen your negotiating skills, something we imagine your local dealership will be expecting you to do anyway.

If you want the big discounts, try to find holdovers from the 2019 model year. If you want the latest appearances packages that’ll guarantee you have the freshest 300 from the factory, read on.  (Read More…)

By on February 10, 2020

Image: FCA

Jeep dealers are now discounting Gladiator models by as much as $9,000, indicating demand for the Wangler-based pickup has seriously cooled off. Considering the insane markups we saw at launch, that’s not much of an insult.

Now that Fiat Chrysler only reports sales on a quarterly basis — an obnoxious trend sweeping through the industry like a plague — we don’t know how many Gladiators leave dealer lots month-to-month. It looks like the pickup averaged a hair above 5,000 U.S. deliveries every thirty days in 2019. That’s a far cry from the midsize pickup segment leaders, but it was also the first year of Gladiator production.

With oodles of character, legitimate off-road capabilities and higher-than-average pricing, it’s also a bit of an odd duck. While interesting designs can occasionally be too much for a (sometimes large) subset of shoppers, pricing can make or break a car’s sales prowess. Some are of the mind that Jeep expected too much from consumers and that these lofty discounts are proof.  (Read More…)

By on November 8, 2019

There may still be a chance for a new Fifth Avenue. Carlos Tavares, CEO of France’s PSA Groupe and head of a future combined entity, claims the looming merger between his company and Fiat Chrysler will not leave dead brands scattered across the landscape.

There’ll still be a role for such flagging brands as, well, Fiat and Chrysler, the executive implied. It’s not hard to see how rumors of a brand cull could get started, considering this merger is all about finding efficiencies. (Read More…)

By on September 26, 2019

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a history of releasing special edition vehicles, with Black Edition and Night Edition trims being among the most recent inclusions. Despite having unique names, there isn’t much difference between the two. Both attempt to replace as much of an automobile’s exterior features with dark plastic as possible, with one taking things a step further than the other.

While wholly unnecessary, considering all of the above can be accomplished through aftermarket purchases, FCA has done well by offering various special edition vehicles with unique, factory sanctioned customization. In addition to being an easy way to get customers to spend a bit more on a new vehicle, it also helps keep old models fresh and in the media — encouraging posts like this one. (Read More…)

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