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#1084558465 Why I think that FIAT is looking for the best long-term

Posted by Roy Thigpen on January 30, 2014 at 12:20 am

I see some posters one here who keep harping about how this is "the same movie as before but with an Italian accent",   Well, I think this is a much different "movie" and this is why, from my "outsider" point of view:


1.  The first thing that Daimler did after the "Merger of Equals" was to do a tear down on the Chrysler product line.  From what I heard here on Allpar and other sources, the Daimler engineers were arrogant and dismissive about the quality and engineering of the Chrysler vehicles, basically calling them junk.  Not an auspicious start to a relationship, but at the time, I was "all in" so I thought, "this means better quality and reliability from Benz parts and engineering!"


2.  Once they established themselves firmly in control, Daimler than stopped the LX development project, and insisted that it would have to be re-engineered using Daimler parts, including the 5 speed transmission, and the 5 link rear suspension.  This delayed the launch of the Magnum by several months, added weight and costs.  The increase in parts and engineering costs was then off-set by an across-the-board reduction on development budgets, which forced the Chrysler design team to severely cheapen the materials used in the design of the interior.  In addition, a policy of "decontenting" was started, and soon nice convenience features were removed from models with no corresponding reduction in costs to the consumer.  In other words, the consumer was getting less bang for their buck.


3.  As vehicles were being redesigned for mid-cycle refreshes, they no longer had any of the "mojo" that Chrysler had in droves in the late 90's.  In addition, the Mercedes "quality gates" manufacturing system overhauled the industries most efficient and innovative design process, the "platform teams" which allowed them to get vehicles like the Viper, the PT Cruiser and the Neon to market much faster, and cheaper than their competition.  The vehicles they came out with were no longer beautiful, class leaders, but awkward also-rans, with the notable exception of the 300C (though it's interior was ghastly).


4.  Daimler sucked up all the available cash they could, and took a company which was hot, and leading the world in design and time to market, and destroyed all of the intrinsic value of the former Chrysler Corporation, so when they pawned the remains off to Cerberus, they had squeezed all of the blood out of the turnip they could.


5,  Daimler also had a bad habit of co-opting Chrysler's technology, and using it for their own needs.  For instance, the 3rd generation viper which was turned into the SLK.  They also tied Chrysler up with an expensive boondoggle with Getrag, building a plant that is still not in use (to my knowledge),  The final straw was when they were contemplating eliminating the Phoenix/Pentastar engine program.


OK, enough of the bad old days... let's get to the point.  Here's how I see the actions of Fiat and SM since they took over:


1.  They immediately invested money into rebuilding and improving the factories Chrysler was still operating, and brought them up to date with world class engineering.  They also made major investments in the Sebring/200 (project D), the Grand Cherokee and the LX replacements.  I understand that the initial design phase of these vehicles was begun under Daimler, then Ceberus, but FIAT was the one company that opened up the check book, and gave the designers and engineers the money they needed to make their interiors class competitive, if not class leading.


2. By improving the product, they were able to have almost 4 years of month over month and year over years sales increase, and Chrysler was the only of the big 3 to gain market share during that time frame.  The result of this was to make Chrysler a much more valuable entity, which actually ended up costing FIAT in the end, due to the VEBA board looking to sell their shares at a much higher price then they could have asked for otherwise.


3.  The vehicles that have come out since the mergers have been substantially better than those they had replaced.  Something that could not have been said about Daimler.  Starting with the Grand Cherokee, they immediately set the bar and gave notice to the World that Chrysler was back, and wouldn't go down without a fight.  As a matter of fact, the 2011 GC was so good, that the prices on used 2011 GC's actually went up by a couple thousand dollars, due to the high demand for these vehicles.  When was the last time that had happened with a Chrysler vehicle?   They then rolled out the 200, which of course was a major success, especially when compared to the Sebring, the LX's were a big jump forward, as were the improvements made on the Journey.  To a lesser extent, they also improved the Compass and Patriots some.


4. The new vehicles which have been introduced by FCA, the Dart and Cherokee are strong vehicles in two of the most competitive segments in the industry, and are light years ahead of the vehicles which they replaced, the Caliber and the Liberty.  While the sales of the Dart have been somewhat disappointing, the improvements made over year 1 to year 2 show me that the guys at Chrysler aren't asleep at the switch, but are actively looking for ways to make their produce more competitive.


5, FIAT's leveraged relationships with VM and ZF to bring an 8 and 9 speed to market ahead of the competition, dropped the lousy JATCO CVT's, and finally got the WGE's to be class competitive in NVH, economy and power (which was embarrassing since the same WGE was much better in Hundais and Kias than in the Chrysler vehicles.


Going by this list, which based purely on my perspective and "outsider looking in" point of view, I see a completely different attitude and a much stronger spirit of cooperation and mutual success.  As far as I'm concerned, Daimler did everything they could to keep Chrysler from competing with Mercedes, and thus took specific actions to destroy their design mojo, quality and consumer perception.  FIAT has done the exact opposite, taking money they could have otherwise invested in their own "home brands" and put it here, where it's paid off in great dividends.  The bottom line, as far as I can tell, is that the "merger of equals" was a big fat lie, while the "bailout" and "handing it over to the Italians" has turned out much better than anyone could have expected.


While there's definitely room for improvement, especially the launch issues they had with both the Dart and the Cherokee, I am very optimistic for the future.

  • Stratuscaster, Dave, 97 plymouth neon expresso and 21 others like this

#1084553367 Rep System is back online...

Posted by Stratuscaster on January 11, 2014 at 11:56 am

The Rep System (where you can "+" a post that you like) is back online.

You're welcome! ;)
  • Bob Lincoln, Marine Viper, valiant67 and 21 others like this

#1084560970 When does Ram 1500 Diesel pay off?

Posted by MoparNorm on February 8, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Wow! A lot of off track "facts and figures" here. Let me simplify it all for you;

When does Ram 1500 Diesel pay off?

When you get behind the wheel.

Smiles are priceless.
  • Doug D, AC TC, LHS and 7 others like this

#11347840 U spy: Cherokee

Posted by oh2o on May 28, 2013 at 05:54 pm

...why are they still covering them up?

So as not to scare other motorists...
  • Christopher, MoparJoe, ptschett and 6 others like this

#11310351 Chrysler/Dodge minivan up in air

Posted by MoparNorm on December 16, 2012 at 12:09 pm

This has the potential to be one of the stupidest decisions in the history of Chrysler. BOTH minis are the leading seller for their brand.
If Marchionne wants to have a smaller CUV type version then build it but keep the two full sized versions going.
IF the CUV sells, then and only then, do you kill off the weakest version, if that is even an issue.
To date the Journey hasn't hurt Grand Caravan ( nor did it replace sales lost by the termination of the shorter Caravan).
This will be the blunder that Sergio fears and it will be by his hand.
  • Jackratchett, Glacial, codypet and 6 others like this

#1084576984 Monday A.M. Notes, 2015 Charger/Challenger Reveal

Posted by JRS200x on April 8, 2014 at 08:05 am

No, you are just twisting it now... your first impression was they ruined it. Sure you can claim that it is just disappointment, but you have seen like 10% of the finished product, and what you have seen is a computer generated image at an odd angle using almost a fish eye lense...and from that you determined that they RUINED the Charger... having not seen the entire front end... the side profile... the rear end, really anything. So you got called on it... and now you are claiming utter innocence and that it was all in good fun. Expect to get called on opinions when all you've seen is a partial shot of the front grill and headlights which you then turn into 10 posts about how they have ruinedthe car and how disappointed you are with it.

It just seemed silly and premature and I called you on it, don't get so bent out of shape and act like the gestapo is out to get you.
Also, stop telling people to PM you or report you when you continue to spew your rebuttals in posts as well...
  • Dan Minick, caine440, freshforged and 6 others like this

#1084564568 Independent teams racing at Daytona for the COPD 300

Posted by MoparNorm on February 23, 2014 at 07:37 am

With all due respect, it's up to the members to decide, NOT Chrysler management.
If the vast majority of the members are more interested in a losing Nascar effort, by a privateer, then that is the Free Marketplace at work and Chrysler management should figure it out quickly and realize that Allpar is simply a microcosm of the United States as a whole.
Which means, "Your Advertising Dollars in America needs to be spent where the eyes are". Racing is advertising, like it or not it's the reason to support race teams. 17 million dollars for a 90 second Maserati commercial during Super Bowl won't move the bar that much, but spending 17 million dollars to have your car on the track nearly every week, in front of millions of car fans might.

I stated here many times that I am a big road course fan, but NASCAR is where the money and the fans are. If you are advertising in Europe and the rest of the world, support sports cars and F1, but when you are trying to push performance products in the US, you had better be involved in NASCAR. It's the only place your product will get noticed.
No matter how hard you try, in fact in spite of efforts, you cannot change why people love NASCAR and if Allpar doesn't offer NASCAR coverage, the folks will simply go someplace that does.
Look at the number of views for a Nationwide thread, this is the minor leagues, for NASCAR and yet it still blows the views of other topics out of the water. THAT should be a clear sign to both Allpar leadership AND Chrysler, that their finger is NOT on the pulse of their customer.
I get that money is tight, I get that the interlopers are from another culture, but THEY need to adapt, not us.
  • Doug D, GaryS, GasAxe and 6 others like this

#11327966 AN: Mopar drops TORC support

Posted by MoparNorm on March 1, 2013 at 01:18 am

This is one of the many reasons why it hard to get teams and drivers to change to Mopar.
Inconsistent support, short term commitments, here today, gone tomorrow. No team or organization can trust Mopar to be there for the long term.
Drivers and teams do not forget such lack of loyalty.
Penske, Gordon, Jeep Speed, the list of dropped teams and teams hung out to dry by Mopar is really disturbing.
I hope NHRA teams have a back up plan.
This is really bad for brand loyalty.
  • Bob_Sheaves, fargo59, hemi_magnum and 5 others like this

#11316356 Closer-to-production Jeep Cherokee seen:

Posted by lvelleq (o)llllll(o) on January 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm

I want you all to know that I just typed out a long, detailed response to this thread.


And then I erased it. Because I had to.


:frusty: :frusty: :frusty: :frusty: :frusty:


But I can tell you this with absolute clarity: The overriding themes expressed here and in the DOJ thread have been delivered to the highest levels of Jeep and CG management.


I know -- 'cause I delivered 'em myself.

  • Stratuscaster, Bob_Sheaves, suzq044 and 5 others like this

#1084577232 2015 Challenger/Charger press release April 07

Posted by Stratuscaster on April 8, 2014 at 06:03 pm

If they don't credit Suzq for her work effort, we riot.
  • John Rogers, UN4GTBL, LeeRyder and 5 others like this

#1084559615 Three Super Bowl ads coming

Posted by Dave on February 3, 2014 at 12:23 pm

Maserati had a Super Bowl ad. I don't see what the controversy is. Are you saying Maserati and Ferrari shouldn't be allowed to advertise in the US?

  • DGdaPilot, UN4GTBL, Doug in Florida and 5 others like this

#1084558190 AN: SM: Selling one brand would erase debt; Asian ties

Posted by outZider on January 29, 2014 at 10:21 am

Don't overreact to this. He's trying to say that while the debt looks large, their assets more than cover it, that in a pinch, there are always options that don't involve the complete failure of the company.

  • John Rogers, dfarc, finc.jb and 5 others like this

#11362284 Jeep story from Marketplace

Posted by JTE on August 6, 2013 at 06:38 pm

Pose how ever you wish,


SRT drivers who have never seen 120mph


Jeepers who only crawl over mall curbs


Jeepers who never remove the top & doors


Minivan owners with no kids in soccer.


Ram owners who are not tradesmen.


SUV owners who never chain up.


Rural 300 owners.


allow me to thank everyone who buys a product engineered and produced by Chrysler.


I will never get the 90 seconds back I spent on that article.

  • Christopher, fsvoboda, Doug in Florida and 4 others like this

#1084578070 Monday A.M. Notes, 2015 Charger/Challenger Reveal

Posted by bumonbox on April 11, 2014 at 11:52 am

If you were given a shot that conveyed a good idea of the whole car, it would not be a teaser..

That said, I agree that Chrysler photography and dodge marketing sucks


Never said we needed the whole car.  Just a shot that doesn't look like a Chevodge Imparger :w00t:


And (not directed at you).  Stop bloody telling me to have bloody faith!  If there is anything we all should have learned by now is NOT to have faith in the entity we so love.  To be a Chrysler fan, it can cradle you in it's bosom of wonderful vehicles and then before you know it, start churning out a bunch of crap!  No, they have to earn my appreciation!  :lol:

  • UN4GTBL, GasAxe, MoparNorm and 4 others like this

#1084577386 Monday A.M. Notes, 2015 Charger/Challenger Reveal

Posted by CJDsalespro on April 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

You know........ it would be nice if the members(so called Mopar supporters) here at ALLPAR didn't fuel the Internets negativity.  Am I impressed with the "TEASER" photo...NO absolutely not but I will not make a big deal of it until I get to see the whole car, and even then I want to see it in person. ALLPAR is a major source for MOPAR related information. If you do a search on any recent product manytimes our forum pops right up.  I am just saying...We claim we LOVE MOPAR....... so can we at least give our cars,Jeeps and Trucks  a fighting chance before claiming they are a failure......




good grief.....we havent even seen a real picture yet :frusty:



  • caine440, freshforged, Mopar7171 and 4 others like this

#1084576906 Monday A.M. Notes, 2015 Charger/Challenger Reveal

Posted by suzq044 on April 7, 2014 at 10:33 pm

idk what to think here.. i know its a fish-eye, so the grille looks far larger than its supposed to, and the lights are far smaller than reality. That said, this is what i came up with, quick chop; 10mins. Not clean, or pretty but it gives you the idea. I think the downward slope of the grille is going to be a bit more than seen here, to keep its menacing identity as a cop car. 


idk - its either going to be quite the hit, or its going to be a boring Chevy-ish car. 




whereas my future-product was something like this; granted this one may be for the actual next-gen, so who knows.


  • redriderbob, UN4GTBL, MoparNorm and 4 others like this

#1084565754 AN: A.J. Morning on the 2015 200

Posted by phoenix on February 27, 2014 at 07:12 pm

Ummmm, it seems nobody has.  I Binged him and the only reference I could find is Allpars own reporting of him on this story.  Unlike the "hack" PMD whos site and bio comes right up.


How much of an "industry reporter" can this guy be?  Smells more like a company using a made up person to create buzz about a car.  David Zatz has a bigger internet presence than "AJ" does.  I smell BS.


Before being flamed, I tried the guys name, his name and "auto industry reporter" etc and NOTHING comes up.  If someone can find him, I would like to see who he really is, what he has written and just how respected he is. 


People may hate PMD, and thats fine, but at least he a real  and widely read commenter on the auto industry. 


Hey there - it's the real A.J. Morning here, have been around Allpar since some time back in the late '90s when my old friend Rich Hutchinson suggested I have a look. I don't post often, but I've done a little work with Dave & Kate here and there. I don't maintain a very high profile presence on the web, so if you search for me you'll have to wade through a gazillion hits of some radio guy named A.J. who has a radio show in the morning. 


So, If you don't know my name, that's OK. Since I got started in automotive writing back in 2002, most of my beat has been motorsports - specifically the (now dear-departed) American Le Mans Series. In that time, I've written primarily for Autoextremist, as well as a few pieces for Motorsport.com as well as Sports Car Insider, and maybe a few others I've forgotten about. Over at AE, Peter has been very helpful to me over the years, and I respect him greatly as an individual and a mentor. We often disagree on everything from... ugh, seriously, EVERYTHING! Be it politics or sheetmetal design, we've often argued - but there's a lot more to life than that.


I've enjoyed writing for a variety of outlets, and I'm happy to count Allpar among them. 




  • Stratuscaster, Dave, Berlin Bill and 4 others like this

#1084564515 AN: Baby Jeep Rendering - Renegade? Engines? Date? More...

Posted by Dave on February 22, 2014 at 07:34 pm

Engineering done in US (a lot of it, anyway)

American engine

American made transmission (OK, mainly German design)


There is no space in the US to build it without spending a billion on a new factory. There is space to build it in Italy. 


I would complain but keep in mind, Chrysler is about to spend billions on renovating Windsor, then Bramalea, after just spending billions on Trenton North, Trenton South, Sterling Heights (given up for dead in 2009), a new transmission plant or two in Indiana, an old one in Indiana, and … more. 


Oh, and CTC went from ghost town to “sorry, we’re full.”


I think we can deal with one car being made in Italy and shipped here in fairly small numbers.

  • freshforged, UN4GTBL, Doug in Florida and 4 others like this

#1084558212 AN: SM: Selling one brand would erase debt; Asian ties

Posted by Dave on January 29, 2014 at 11:11 am

What he was saying, since apparently people don't read or listen, is that financial analysts should not worry too much about the debt load, because it is long term, not short term, and they have plenty of assets to cover any debt if the need should come up.


Bodyguard, yes, I hid your post, because calling SM a liar for no good reason is completely frivolous. 

  • jerseyjoe, Bob Lincoln, caine440 and 4 others like this

#1084554073 Is Ram in trouble now?

Posted by Erik Latranyi on January 14, 2014 at 08:40 am

If you do not think this move by Ford has been in the works for years and that Dodge did not know about it until now, then you know nothing about the industry,


First, Dodge is being cautious and letting Ford take the risks..which will teach Dodge quite a bit.

Second, Dodge is confident in their diesel and ongoing weight reduction programs.


Dodge is not in trouble.


  • Bob Lincoln, MoparNorm, BASONE88 and 4 others like this


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