Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep news from Allpar

Chrysler buys test track, mulls 300C diesel

Larry Vellequette reported in Automotive News that Chrysler has purchased 531 acres of testing center near Naples, Florida, to expand vehicle testing. The facility will be especially useful in winter, along with its Yucca, Arizona facility.

Chrysler was one of the first automakers to create an extensive testing facility in Chelsea, Michigan, a fairly good distance away from its headquarters in Highland Park (later moved to Auburn Hills). The track, which is was created by Ford, was sold to Harley-Davidson in 2002; the motorcycle company will still be leasing parts of the testing center.

An anonymous source added:

Chrysler built an excellent hot-weather proving grounds in Whitman, AZ in 1986. It had a 10 mile perimeter washboard road, with 4 mile oval, 2 mile oval, 2 mile straightaway, a duplicate of the Rubicon trail, a grade hill, and numerous ride-roads. There was a large, modern office building and garage/warehouse. Daimler sold it all for $440 million, the largest land sale in AZ history. You can bet that money quickly went to Germany to prop-up some failing European operation. Loose German accounting laws mean we’ll never know for sure. They then leased the land back from Toll Brothers Homes at a ridiculous rate. On my most recent trip to Phoenix last year, the old Chrysler proving grounds sat like a ghost town in the far-flung desert. You could probably go in, rinse the dust off, flip the breakers, and start testing cars within the week.

One of the first things Cerberus did was get out of that lease and take over the old Ford facility in Yucca, AZ. However, most of the employees were less-than-thrilled.

In other news, Autoblog reported that Chrysler chief Saad Chebad said the company was evaluating the idea of selling a 3-liter VM diesel version of the 300C in North America. The car is already sold in Europe, and the diesel engine conforms to American emissions laws; the main expense would presumably be certification and crash-testing of the car as a whole, since the engine is already used by Chrysler in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and will soon be in the Ram 1500.

Ford’s towing claims: brag or bluff?

Ram-3500-Ford-450-Web

In today’s print edition of Automotive News, Larry Vellequette wrote about one more facet of the ongoing battle for bragging rights among pickup manufacturers. This time, Ram is engaged in a tussle with Ford over top towing rights. Ford claims the championship over the Ram 3500, saying its 4X4 crew cab heavy-duty pickup can tow 31,200 pounds, 1,200 more than the Ram 3500 regular cab 4X2, which Chrysler maintains has “best-in-class” towing....

Proxy service advises merger approval

FCA-GreenLight-Web

San Francisco-based Glass, Lewis & Co. has recommended that its clients approve the Fiat Chrysler merger this Friday. Glass Lewis is one of the two leading proxy service companies in the world, the other being ISS which last week advised its clients to vote down the merger. According to a Reuters report, the company said the benefits of the merger outweigh concerns about voting rights....

Does Enders-Stevens strategy open the door for Johnson?

NHRA-Johnson-Enders-Web

NHRA Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens didn’t race at Sonoma and she won’t be competing at the Northwest Nationals in Seattle. Elite Motorsports owner Richard Freeman two-event “holiday” at the Mile-High Nationals in Denver. Despite her very impressive racing resume, Enders-Stevens lacks a real sponsor and it’s likely this was a major consideration, especially since she had built up a 241-point lead over Allen Johnson, who is second in the point standings, at the end of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio....

Coughlin clinches Countdown berth in Sonoma

NHRA-Johnson-Coughlin-Countdown-Web

Jeg Coughlin Jr. became the second Mopar driver to clinch a spot in the six-race Countdown to the Championship that will determine the Mello Yello NHRA Pro Stock world championship. Coughlin joined teammate Allen Johnson in the Countdown after making it to the Pro Stock semifinals in the NHRA Sonoma Nationals that ran this weekend at Sonoma Raceway....

Categories: Chrysler.


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Charger squads: still 5-speeds?
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Ford’s towing claims: brag or bluff?
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Proxy service advises merger approval


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