FCA-London-Web

Much of the money Fiat Chrysler Automobiles saves on taxes by registering in the United Kingdom may be going for rent.

The company just leased three floors at 25 St. James Street in London’s West End where it will share space with The Economist magazine.

West End office prices are the highest in the world, running about $277 per square foot. Space for a typical 6X6 office cubicle would run just about $10,000.

Despite the price only 3.5% of the West End office space is vacant.

FCA’s new address is within easy walking distance of Buckingham Palace and just a few blocks from the Royal Automobile Club.

Thanks to Paul for the tip!

 

A recently granted patent (applied for back in 2011 by Chrysler’s Richard H. Sands and Alan G. Falkowski) can cut Chrysler’s costs and reduce the size of their engines, helping the company to either fit larger engines into their cars, or to lower their hoods.

The patent applies to in-line and V-engines alike, which means it could be used for the upcoming Hurricane turbocharged four-cylinder; but the drawings and a specific size example are taken from a V6 engine, presumably the PUG (Pentastar Upgrade).

According to the patent description, the new setup would integrate valve controls into the head, rather than having them sit on the outside with a separate cover; passages inside the head would provide access to the valves. This would save space and reduce cost. Thanks, Steven St. Laurent, Marine engineer.

Mitsubishi-L200-Web

This morning, Fiat Group Automobiles and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation issued simultaneous press releases announcing the signing of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding covering the possible development and production of a mid-size pick-up truck for the European and Latin American markets.

The pickup, which would be built by Mitsubishi, would be based on the next-generation of the Mitsubishi L200 and would become part of the Fiat Professional line.

Fiat Professional already has the Strada, a compact pickup that is the brand’s best-selling vehicle with 134,000 worldwide sales in 2013.

Chrysler and Mitsubishi have a long history of collaboration. In June, they announced that Chrysler would be selling a version of Mitsubishi’s Attrage sedan in the Mexican market.

Chrysler is the only American automaker to make its own natural-gas (CNG) pickups, with GM and Ford both outsourcing CNG conversions. Part of their technology may be a technique for diagnosing fuel injector failures which works with both gasoline and natural gas, without adding much complexity or cost. Patent US008833148, filed by Michigan’s Robert G. Stack and Michael Cottrell, shows how the company achieved those ends.

Ram CNG

While Chrysler has a history of making CNG-compatible vehicles in Canada, including large vans, Fiat is better known today for their flex-fuel vehicles, particularly in Brazil, where alcohol is added to the mix of common fuels.

The CNG-capable Ram 1500 automatically switches between gasoline, which it uses during warmup and when the other tank is empty, and CNG. This provides a combination of lower cost and convenience, and also increases the vehicle’s range, since CNG tanks take up much more space than gasoline tanks for a similar range. Thanks, Steven St. Laurent, Marine engineer.

Vespa-Primavera-Web

The latest scenario from the fevered minds of the financial community is a tie-up between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Piaggio & Company S.p.A., the Pontedera, Italy-based company that makes Vespa (“Wasp”) scooters, Moto Guzzi motorcycles and the three-wheel Apé (pronounced “ah-pay,” it’s Italian for “bee”) commercial vehicles.

Dealreporter, an online financial and corporate market newsletter, cited insiders and bankers as the sources for this latest rumor, which has been reported in both Il Sole 24 Ore and Corriere della Sera.

Piaggio-Ape-Vespa-Web

While FCA dismisses the idea, saying the company already has enough on its plate, the investment community notes that the German automakers have been moving towards adding two-wheelers to their four-wheelers. BMW has its successful line of motorcycles, Volkswagen AG’s Audi subsidiary just acquired Ducati and Daimler AG reportedly is taking a strong look at recently-relaunched MV Agusta.

Piaggio also could help FCA gain share in emerging markets such as India, where manufacturers sell a combined 350,000 two-wheelers each month.

There is some precedent for the idea: the Agnelli family, which owns a large chunk of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, owned a controlling interest in Piaggio from 1959 to 1999.

If the Jeep Renegade really takes off in popularity, the company may want to capitalize on that with a slightly larger version, boxy to maximize interior space, and styled different from Cherokee and the forthcoming “mini-Grand-Cherokee” Jeep Compass. Would this ever come to fruition? If it does, perhaps it will look like JackRatchett’s rendering, above. (Note: we have no rumors or reasons to assume that this will happen.) 

The future Durango and Caravan

It has been years since Allpar first reported on the future launch of a new Jeep Wagoneer, and the dropping of the Dodge Caravan. With Wagoneer on the books, Chrysler planners may have had mixed feelings about the sudden success of the Dodge Durango. They wanted to drop the Durango for a more-profitable Wagoneer (essentially a Durango with the Grand Cherokee suspension design [...]

Ferrari engines: “Imported from Detroit”

Months after unconfirmed reports made it to Allpar’s pages, the power of Automotive News, in the person of reporter Larry Vellequette, pried a key fact from Chrysler executives — that they cast and build “Ferrari” engines for Maserati. As our sister site pentastars.com reported, the engines are actually cast in Kokomo, and machined in the Trenton Engine plant, using a mixture of [...]

New Alfa in ’15

Alfa Romeo will launch the second new car in its attempted comeback next year, on the brand’s 105th anniversary. Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili (roughly, Lombarda car making company) — or ALFA — was born on June 24, 1910. Their next car will be unveiled on June 24, 2015. While Alfa Romeo’s leader, Harald Wester, has said that the company is creating all [...]

Hellcat: invoice and markup

The Challenger Hellcat is a hot image car for Dodge, and the brand’s leader has already said he wants to get as many out to the public as possible, suggesting to dealers that they not tack on $10,000 (or higher) surcharges as they did to hot cars in the past — from Vipers to PT Cruisers. While his calls may [...]

2015 Chrysler 300C revealed

The 2015 Chrysler 300C has been inadvertently revealed by Chrysler itself, in an optional image for its navigation systems. As Allpar sources predicted, the car has dropped the chrome underneath the headlamps and moved the Chrysler wings to the top of the grille, but otherwise is rather similar to the current model. The grille has grown to be Audi-oversized in this [...]

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