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.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has long expressed his desire to slash the number of Fiat and Chrysler platforms, emulating Volkswagen’s “back to the future” move of putting just about everything onto a single platform. Mr. Marchionne has allowed major exceptions; the combination of an over-ambitious plan and a grip on reality delayed the Jeep Renegade and some other cars, because the [...]
This year’s winners of the prestigious Ward’s Top Ten were (in alphabetical order) the BMW 5-series electric motor, the Corvette Stingray’s 6.2 liter V8, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat V8, the Ford Fiesta three-cylinder, one-liter turbo, Hyundai Tuscon fuel cell vehicle, Mini Cooper 1.5 turbo three cylinder, the Ram 3-liter VM diesel, Subaru WRX four-cylinder turbo, VW Golf 1.8 liter [...]
Some time ago, Sergio Marchionne, head of Fiat Chrysler, said that the only way to reboot Alfa Romeo would be by amortizing engineering costs with Dodge. That’s gone down the memory hole, now. It had to. The Alfisti will have fitsies if they overtly share with Chrysler. The D-RWD platform is now Giorgio, an Italian name for something developed largely in Auburn [...]
The Ram 1500 faced down the aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 and new Chevrolet Silverado in Motor Trend’s half-ton truck shootout. The three contenders were put through a broad array of testing, including a 260-mile drive through California and Arizona. Measurements included: Testing without load: 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip (Ram was Limits-handling without load: closed-course cornering, braking, [...]
We may have the first clear 2017 Chrysler Town & Country minivan spy shots, adding to a small “phone pic” shot posted some time ago. The vehicle, parked with the Chrysler Technical Center in sight, has camouflage and padding, but you can clearly see the openings for the side and front door handles. The photo gives some idea of the relatively length [...]