Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep news from Allpar

News briefs: Grand Cherokee up 60.6% in EU; Edmunds predicts April growth

Jeep-GC-Europe-ItalyJeep Grand Cherokee European sales grew 60.6% in March, leading a 32.4% growth spurt for the Jeep brand. Jeep brand March sales increased in almost all of the major European markets: up 57.2% in Italy;  6.7% in Germany; 41.3% in the UK and 15.6% in Spain.

During the first quarter of 2014, Jeep brand racked up nearly 7,400 new registrations, 20.2% ahead of Q1 2013. Market share remained stable at 0.2%.

In the Italian market, the Grand Cherokee ranked second in its segment with a 20.7% share. ​​​​Italian Jeep reported sales totaled 855 vehicles, a 57.2%  year-over-year increase, as market share rose to 0.6%. First-quarter Jeep sales in Italy totaled 2,000 vehicles, a 17% gain. Market share remained steady at 0.5%.

Edmunds.com predicts Chrysler will deliver a 49th consecutive month of year-over-year sales improvements as the industry posts its best April sales since 2006. The forecast says Chrysler will post the largest gain of the Detroit automakers.

“April’s numbers suggest that car shoppers are still motivated to buy new cars, erasing any doubts raised by lackluster sales at the beginning of the year,” says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “The sales performance the last two months is more in line with what we projected for 2014, and there’s every reason to believe that car shoppers will continue to keep this pace.”

In comments at the New York Auto Show earlier this month, Chrysler sales chief Reid Bigland also predicted a 49th month of sales growth.

APRIL SALES FORECAST BY MANUFACTURER
Manufacturer Apr-14 Apr-13 Change Mar-14 Change
Chrysler Group 175,945 156,638 12.33% 194,915 -9.73%
GM 248,713 237,646 4.66% 256,047 -2.86%
Ford 221,787 211,984 4.62% 243,417 -8.89%
Toyota 200,748 176,160 13.96% 215,348 -6.78%
Honda 132,739 130,999 1.33% 133,318 -0.43%
Hyundai/Kia 116,220 110,871 4.82% 121,782 -4.57%
Nissan 103,566 87,847 17.89% 149,136 -30.56%
VW/Audi 50,187 46,801 7.23% 50,963 -1.52%
Industry 1,401,606 1,284,628 9.11% 1,535,133 -8.70%
Data Source: Edmunds.com


IBM to integrate Fiat, Chrysler

Detroit News’ Bryce G. Hoffman reported today that IBM will integrate Fiat’s, Chrysler’s, and CNH’s global computer systems and related business processes.

The contract will likely bring Chrysler and CNH into line with Fiat’s practices, given that IBM has been working with Fiat for ten years.  At Chrysler, the new contract replaces IT supplier CSC.

Integrating processes, software, and hardware is likely necessary in the long run for the level of collaboration desired by Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne. IBM announced that the integration would help bring together dealer networks as well as engineering.

Fiat gained control of Chrysler in 2009, but did not actually take ownership of the full company until this year. CNH Industrial was created by merging Case New Holland with Fiat Industrial.



2005-06 LX warranty extension

SpeedFactory Charger

Chrysler has issued a service bulletin (#14-002-14) for the 2005-06 Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, and Dodge Charger V8s (with 19-gallon fuel tanks), extending the warranty on certain parts to “lifetime.” If the car stalls just after the tank is filled, the dealer is to replace the tank, control valve, and associated parts; the process should take around two hours and twenty minutes.

The problem stems from fuel shutoff floats in the gas tanks, which can stick in the open position, causing a stall after refueling in some cases involving certain fuels. Stant, the supplier, redesigned the floats, and both Chrysler and Stant provided the new warranty. The tanks were used in both 5.7 and 6.1 Hemi cars, but not in V6 models.

The extended warranty was prematurely announced by the NHTSA earlier this year, before procedures or parts were ready. At this time, according to one source, parts are available, processes for dealers to recoup their labor are in place, and customers can get the issue addressed.  Around 153,000 cars were built with this potential issue, though after eight to nine years, many have likely been taken off the road.

Ram 1500 diesel selling well?

Ram-2014EcoDiesel-Web

According to an informal source within Chrysler, the Ram 1500 diesel has become popular enough to account for nearly a fifth of Warren’s Ram 1500 production in recent days. While the figure is “off the cuff,” and does not include Saltillo production (that is, regular-cab 1500s), the combination of Ram 1500 and VM diesel seems to be popular so far. Whether dealer orders are based on customer demand or projections of customer demand has yet to be seen — as does the long-term popularity of the combination.

The Ram 1500 diesel is capable of 28 mpg on the highway, and reportedly far less liable to get low mileage when towing than the lead competitor’s turbocharged engines. Generally, diesels lend themselves well to heavy loads.

The popularity of the Ram 1500 diesel and Grand Cherokee diesel, which share the same VM engine, is limited by supply, though VM may increase capacity again if Ram can sustain its diesel sales (the company increased output by up to 50,000 engines per year to supply Jeep and Ram). If, at the end of the year, customers are still demanding Ram 1500s and Grand Cherokees with diesels, VM may start another plan expansion — and Chrysler may try using the VM diesel in its large cars, too.

Maserati sales surge; Alfieri may be added

Maserati-Alfieri-Web
Maserati has been on a roll. In 2013, U.S. Maserati sales rose 74.1%; in the first quarter of 2014, sales have rocketed up 331.3%, outpacing every other ultra-premium brand. Last year’s worldwide sales climbed 144.9% and trading profit tripled to $236 million.

While Maserati CEO Harald Wester was at the Beijing auto show, he confirmed the trend is continuing. Wester said orders were coming in at the rate of about 3,500 per month, which indicates demand could reach 42,000 in 2014, nearly triple the 15,400 cars delivered in 2013.

Industry analysts’ estimates are lower with a consensus of about 29,000 deliveries forecast, which is still nearly double the number from last year.

All this without an SUV, a lack that will be corrected when the Levante goes into production next year.

According to Italian Financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, the rumor mill says the Maserati line may be further extended when Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne presents FCA’s new business plan on Tuesday, May 6. The word is that the Alfieri concept presented at the Geneva Auto Show will likely be green-lighted for production. At the time the car was unveiled, Lorenzo Ramaciotti, head of design for Chrysler, Fiat and Maserati, said the car was 100% functional and could be ready for production in two years.

For more information on the Alfieri, see “Alfa, Alfieri and Jeep” at ACarPlace.com.

Maserati is riding a wave of growth that is being generated by gradually recovering economies. So far this year, U.S. sales of high-dollar cars like Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes’ S-Class and teh Porsche Panamera are up 19.0% compared to just 1.2% growth in total U.S. light vehicle sales. Some well-known players are already looking to compete with Bentley and Rolls-Royce in the multi-hundred-thousand-dollar range. Mercedes will be introducing the S-Class Maybach in a second attempt to compete with BMW’s Rolls Royce and Volkswagen’s Bentley and BMW presented the Vision Future Luxury, which could be the prototype for a 9-series sedan, at the Beijing Auto Show.

Dodge “Wisdom” is top viral video

Dodge-Kuniskis-Wisdom-Web
The “Wisdom” video created for Dodge’s 100th anniversary and shown at the New York International Auto Show has gone viral in a big way. After racking up more than four million views in its first 24 hours, a Chrysler Group record, it went on to become the top-ranked automotive video for the week, according to to Visible Measures, a firm that tracks video reach and performance.

Created by the Richards Group of Dallas, the video shows several senior citizens, some born before John and Horace Dodge got mad at Henry Ford and formed their own car company in 1914, sharing their wisdom. At the end, centenarian Fred J. Wild, born in the same year as Dodge, burns rubber in a new Challenger while making a well-known hand gesture.

Watch the video on YouTube.


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