Dodge, Chrysler clean up Texas awards

pacifica-showing
May 4, 2016 - by David Zatz

Chrysler and Dodge took home eight category winners in the annual Texas Auto Writers Association’s (TAWA) awards, given after driving 53 vehicles at their annual Auto Roundup. That gives the company more awards than any other automaker. Just as Google chose the Chrysler Pacifica for their automated car research, TAWA chose it as the Family Car of Texas — and as the Minivan of Texas and Best New Interior.  UConnect Theater won the Best New Feature. Dodge picked up […]

Which Jeep triumphed in April?

usjeeps
May 4, 2016 - by David Zatz

The clear leader in U.S. sales was once again the Jeep Wrangler, the quintessential Jeep, in a big win for the traditional “all conquering” purists; buyers grabbed 19,003 Wranglers despite the easy April weather. For the year, though, Wrangler came in at #3 — despite 223 fewer sales, year to date, than in 2015. Coming in at #2 was the Wrangler’s perennial challenger, the Grand Cherokee. The luxury-Jeep, which splits sales and an assembly line with the Dodge Durango, […]



Google-Chrysler hookup is real

May 3, 2016 - by David Zatz

The Chrysler Pacifica will be able to drive itself. Google’s Self-Driving Car Project and Fiat Chrysler announced that  the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans would be integrated into Google’s self-driving test program, the first time that Google has worked directly with an automaker.  The number of Pacificas to be added to the Google fleet will be greater than the total size of the fleet today. FCA will engineer around 100 vehicles for Google, which will integrate its sensors and computers. The […]


What do little Jeeps and big vans have in common?

May 3, 2016 - by David Zatz

Sales numbers bump around a lot, but sometimes patterns emerge — and this month, two big ones showed up. First, the rise of the little crossovers, with Jeep Compass and Renegade both doubling their sales figures from April 2015. This is the trend Sergio Marchionne was talking about when he rationalized dropping Dart and 200 development (Dart fell by 49% and 200 by 60%). The Compass has been around for years; yet its sales doubled. The […]


Big gains in Canada; Mexico mixed

canada
May 3, 2016 - by David Zatz

Canadian sales have barely gained, year-over-year, for all of 2015 and January-March 2016. That changed in April, when the company reported sales of 30,108 — 10% over April 2015. So far in 2016, FCA Canada has sold 92,939 vehicles, its best start ever to a year. The bargain-priced Dodge Caravan made a serious contribution (6,368 sales), with a 76% increase, possibly as buyers sought it out in fear of a pricier Chrysler Pacifica (both will reportedly be made through to mid-2017). […]



FCA US posted yet another gain (updated)

us
May 3, 2016 - by David Zatz

The former Chrysler, FCA US LLC, sold 199,631 vehicles in the United States last month, 6% over April 2015 and the best April sales in eleven years. The gain came from Jeep and Ram, with Jeep shooting up by 17%. The Jeep Renegade and Compass had their best months ever. Jeep as a whole, the Ram pickup, Wrangler, Patriot, ProMaster, and ProMaster City recorded their best Aprils. The company finished the month with around 620,000 vehicles, around an 84 […]


SM’s message to FCA folk

May 2, 2016 - by David Zatz

Sergio Marchionne has sent out his quarterly message to the employees of FCA, a few days after the general earnings announcement. His message provided earnings in euros; we have converted to dollars based on the current rate. Dear Colleagues, We are off to a solid start in 2016, with substantial increases in Adjusted EBIT and Adjusted Net Profit, as detailed in our first-quarter results released today. Our improved earnings are a direct outcome of your continued perseverance in […]


SM now CEO of Ferrari

May 2, 2016 - by David Zatz

As expected, Sergio Marchionne has taken over as the CEO of Ferrari, according to Blooomberg News. Mr. Marchionne, 63, replaced Amedeo Felisa, who retired at the age of 69. Ferrari raised its 2016 profit targets an 11% gain in EBITD in the first quarter, but its stock continues to lag, at $44.45 per share (down from the $52 IPO price). While Ferrari was spun off from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Exor controls both FCA, Ferrari, and CNH (Case New Holland). Mr. Marchionne […]


SRT-Bondurant partnership illustrated

May 2, 2016 - by David Zatz

In late 2015, Dodge announced that it had switched to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving after years of using Skip Barber and the Petty Driving Experience. Starting with the first of January 2016, buyers of new 2015 or 2016 Dodge SRT cars qualified for a free one-day training course at the Bondurant School. Anyone can also pay $699 to take advantage of the partnership and gain training in high-speed driving, including regaining control from oversteer […]


Free Siri Hands Free retrofit

April 29, 2016 - by David Zatz

FCA is giving away an upgrade for some 2013-2015 vehicles with the Uconnect 8.4 system. The revised firmware, which allows use of Siri Hands Free with iPhones, works with nearly two million cars and SUVs  including the 2013-15 Ram pickups (1500, 2500, 3500), and Dodge Viper; 2014-15 Dodge Durango, Jeep Cherokee, and Jeep Grand Cherokee; and 2015 Jeep Renegade, Chrysler 200 and 300, and Dodge Challenger and Charger. Various 2016 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Fiat cars with  Uconnect 8.4 or 6.5 […]


The official Fiat 124 prices

Fiat-124-F34-Web
April 29, 2016 - by David Zatz

The 2017 Fiat 124 Spider will start at $25,990 with destination in the US, with a 1.4 liter turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers 160 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque (165 hp in Abarth form). With the manual it is rated at 26 mpg city, 35 highway; the automatic garners an extra 1 mpg on the highway but takes it away in the city. The base Classica includes a dual-tip exhaust, black roll bar finish, and body-color header, side sills and […]


The actual FCA “shifter fix”

eshifter
April 29, 2016 - by David Zatz

FCA is recalling over a million cars, mostly Chargers and 300s, with some Jeep Grand Cherokees thrown in. All have the eight-speed automatic and a ZF shifter that springs back into a neutral position after shifting. Many customers have complained about the feel and operation of this shifter (including some in the forums), but the recall is only designed to stop people from leave their car in gear or Neutral when it is running, by intent, forgetfulness, or because […]


Google minivan coming?

pacifica-showing
April 28, 2016 - by David Zatz

The Internet is abuzz with rumors that a “Google car” will use the Chrysler Pacifica body, which is already geared for electrical operation. Nothing official has been announced, despite the certain tone of some articles.  Sergio Marchionne said yesterday that FCA is unlikely to join up in the near future with an auto company, but that it was investigating deals with non-automotive companies; he said, “hopefully we’ll have something to say within 2016 on that matter […]


SM: More US jobs coming

April 28, 2016 - by David Zatz

Despite investments around the world, FCA will actually need more plant workers within the United States, according to Sergio Marchionne. While the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart are to be outsourced, new product and increased sales will result in more U.S. jobs, the FCA CEO said yesterday.  He added, “We’ll see a progressive improvement in margin generation [in North America] as we de-emphasize the passenger car side and start rebuilding our position and with the American plants in […]



Compass in Toluca’s future

tail
April 28, 2016 - by David Zatz

In yesterday’s earnings call, FCA confirmed that the Toluca, Mexico plant will be shut down for retooling so it can produce the Jeep Compass replacement (which we believe will also be called Compass). Allpar sources wrote about the closure and Compass’ build location earlier this year. The Compass is believed to be closely related to the Jeep Renegade and the planned, announced Chrysler 100 small car — a car whose future may be in some doubt. The Toluca […]


China Cherokee sales started (updated)

chinese-cherokee
April 28, 2016 - by David Zatz

Earlier this week, FCA announced that their new Chinese joint venture plant in Guangzhou had started making the Jeep Renegade. Yesterday, during the financial conference call, a company spokesman said that joint-venture Jeep Cherokee sales had already reached 9,000 per month, a hefty rate. The Jeep Renegade is made in Italy, Brazil, and China, and some believe it will eventually be made in Mexico as well, alongside the Jeep Compass and a small Chrysler car. (The photo shows a Cherokee in a […]





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