Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep news from Allpar

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Alfa to mark return to North America with special edition

Alfa Romeo, which celebrates its return to the American market at the New York International Auto Show, will build 500 Launch Edition versions of the 4C coupe.

In addition to all the goodies already on the 4C, the Launch Edition will ride on a race-tuned suspension with front- and rear-sway bars and performance-tuned shock absorbers. It will have staggered (18-inch front, 19-inch rear) dark gray-painted forged wheels and red-lacquered brake calipers. Other exterior features include racing exhaust, bi-xenon headlamps with LED illuminated daytime running lights, carbon fiber rear spoiler and mirror caps, and an aluminum rear diffuser.

Inside are sport seats with black microfiber and leather-wrapped instrument and door panels with red or white interior accent stitching on the instrument panel, steering wheel, handbrake, floor mats and door handles.

Customer will have a choice of three exterior paint colors: Alfa Red, Rosso Competizione (Competition Red), or Madreperla (Mother of Pearl) White.

Each Launch Edition 4C will have a serialized “Launch Edition” plaque

The Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition will be available in June. Pricing has not been announced.

Renegade impressions

jeep renegade launch

Brian Kapral reported from the floor of the New York Auto Show:

The 2015 Jeep Renegade made its North American debut at the 2014 New York  Auto Show today.  Two editions  of the Renegade were unveiled, the Renegade Latitude (red) and the Renegade Trailhawk (gray).  There will be a four packages in all: Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk.   The Trailhawk package is the only “Trail Rated” Jeep Renegade at this time.
Mike Manley, Jeep CEO, opened the event by giving detailed information about the all new vehicle.  Mr. Manley explained that the Renegade will have two AWD systems, one being unique to the Trailhawk.  The Renegade will be the world’s first small SUV with a 9 speed automatic transmission, enabling it to achieve 30 (or more) miles to the gallon.
Renegade in NYC
The Renegade will be powered by the 2.4 liter Tigershark Multi-air 2 engine with 184 HP and 177 ft. lbs of torque.  A 6 speed manual transmission and  1.4 liter Multi-Air Turbo setup (160 hp, 184 kb-ft) is also available.
The Renegade has a “Small-Wide” AWD architecture, with four wheel independent suspension, selective dampening strut system, 8.1” of wheel articulation, and 8.7” of ground clearance.
The “Active Drive” is primarily a front wheel drive vehicle with a disconnecting rear axle and power take off unit which will give it about the same fuel efficiency as a 4×2 model.  The Trailhawk has Active Drive Low, and unique shift strategies  to rely more on the lowest gears; Trailhawk also has a 20:1 crawl ratio, 17” all-terrain tires, Selec-Terrain system with Rock Mode, skid plates, hill descent control, and an increased ride height.
On a personal note, it looks similar to a muscled up Fiat 500L (though they are on different platforms).  There are a lot of details to the vehicle that I  like: a full size spare, Jeep grille logos all over the vehicle (speaker surrounds, centered in the back up light lens,  and “since 1941” above the radio).  The Trailhawk interior is nice, with lots of red outlined areas.  The feel inside the front seats was very comfortable and seemed to have enough space without feeling crammed.
The dash pad was a vinyl covered foam, which I also liked, although I question how well it might hold up to UV degradation over the years.  The plastic door panels seemed cheap compared to other vehicles.  Another design that I did not like was how you opened the fuel door.  In order to open up the door, you have to push in to release the latching mechanism and there does not appear to be any kind of over ride to manually open the door should the latch either get stuck or broken in the closed position.

Ram 1500, 2500 among Edmund’s Top-Rated Vehicles

The 2014 Ram 1500 Crew Cab was named as’s only Top-Rated Truck and the 2014 Ram 2500 Crew Cab was the only pickup among the Top-Rated Diesels.

The selection of’s “Top Rated” vehicles is drawn from about 200 new vehicles the Edmunds staff evaluates each year. Every vehicle is driven on a standardized road-test loop and undergoes instrumented testing in controlled conditions on a test track. Wheel time is used to develop ratings that grade how a car stacks up against its direct rivals in its size and price class. The Top Rated Awards are given to the vehicles that received an “A” rating.

Writing about the Ram 1500, Edmunds editors note: “The 2014 Ram 1500 is our top pick in the full-size pickup segment, thanks to a winning combination of strong powertrains, a smooth ride and a well-trimmed cabin.”

The editors praised the “Supple ride and composed handling; strong gas V6 or fuel-efficient diesel V6 available; available eight-speed automatic transmission improves fuel economy and towing abilities; refined and quiet cabin; useful tech features.”

Of the Ram 2500, the editors wrote: “The 2014 Ram 2500 is a top pick for a heavy-duty truck thanks to its top-notch interior, comfortable ride quality and impressive towing and hauling capabilities.”

The Ram 2500 was chosen because of its high-quality cabin; the massive torque available with the diesel/automatic powertrain; the roomy rear seat in the Mega Cab and quiet highway ride.

Renegade to make U.S. debut today

The newest member of the Jeep family, the Renegade, will take the stage today at the New York International Auto Show.

Introduced earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show, the Renegade marks a couple of firsts for a Jeep: First, while it was designed in the U.S., it will be built only at the Fiat Melfi plant in Italy; second, it will go on sale in Europe before it is offered here.

The Renegade is also Jeep’s entry into the growing sub-compact CUV/SUV market.

The Renegade shares a platform with the Fiat 500X and is designed to be the first “World Jeep.” To be sold in dozens of countries, the Renegade will offer 16 market-specific drivetrains sourced from Fiat Chrysler plants in the U.S., Italy and Brazil.

“The all new 2015 Jeep Renegade symbolizes the brand’s renowned American design, ingenuity and innovation, marking the Jeep brand’s first entry into the small SUV segment,” said Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley. “Renegade expands the brand’s product portfolio and targets the rapidly expanding small SUV segment with a best-in-class combination of fuel efficiency and off-road capability, while at the same time delivering outstanding driving dynamics and the open-air freedom customers expect from Jeep.”

In earlier comments referenced at Allpar’s sibling site,, Manley said he didn’t expect too much grumbling from Jeep loyalists because it will be trail-rated and its small size and light weight will make it more nimble when pavement is a distant memory.

The Renegade will will be available with Jeep Active Drive four-wheel drive and there will be a Trailhawk model with Jeep Active Drive Low, which includes 20:1 crawl ratio and Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system. It’s also the first small SUV to feature a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit (PTU).

A class-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission will be among the available options.

“The all-new 2015 Jeep Renegade expands the brand’s product portfolio and targets the rapidly expanding small SUV segment around the globe with benchmark levels of  efficiency and driving dynamics, while at the same time delivering best-in-class 4×4 capability that customers expect from Jeep,” Manley said at the Geneva show.  “Renegade symbolizes the brand’s renowned American design, ingenuity and innovation, marking the Jeep brand’s first entry into the small SUV segment in more than 100 markets around the globe.”

In keeping the tradition of the legendary 1941 Willys MB, the Renegade can be configured with two My Sky open-air roof systems. With a manual removable, or removable with premium power tilt/slide feature, the segment-exclusive My Sky roof-panel systems make it easy to enjoy open-air driving. The lightweight, honeycomb fiberglass polyurethane roof panels can be stowed in the rear cargo area. The new system is definitely superior to the folding canvas tops of those wartime Jeeps.

Chrysler beats Ford, Honda, Toyota in recall rates

2005 Jeep Liberty
With the furor over GM and Toyota recalls, used car search engine has compiled statistics showing which manufacturers are recalling the most vehicles and which manufacturers are handling recalls in the most timely manner.

The data is broken up into three ten-year periods, 1985-1994, 1995-2004 and 2005-2014, and measures the number of vehicles recall to the number of vehicles sold as well as the percentage of recalls issued within the first three years after the vehicle is sold.

Chrysler went from having the third-lowest recall rate in the 1985-1994 period with a 0.33 recall rate to worst in the 1995-2004 period with recalls totaling 1.82, i.e., more than one recall for every vehicle the company delivered. Since 2005, Chrysler has risen to ninth, with 0.98 recalls per vehicle, just 0.02 points behind General Motors’ 0.96. Chrysler’s 0.84 improvement was second only to Mitsubishi’s 0.87 jump.

1985-1994 1995-2004 2005-2014
Manufacturer Rate Rank Rate Rank Rate Rank
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC. 0.45 6 0.52 2 0.38 1
Mazda Motors 0.4 4 1 8 0.55 2
Kia Motors Corporation 0.54 9 0.96 7 0.68 3
BMW of North America, LLC 1.31 13 0.9 5 0.87 4
Nissan North America, Inc. 0.26 1 1.2 11 0.9 5
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. 0.84 12 1.77 14 0.9 6
Subaru of America, Inc. 0.68 10 0.84 4 0.92 7
General Motors LLC 0.46 7 1.02 9 0.96 8
Chrysler Group LLC 0.33 3 1.82 15 0.98 9
Volkswagen of America, Inc. 1.64 14 1.18 10 1.08 10
Hyundai Motor Company 1.67 15 0.83 3 1.15 11
Ford Motor Company 0.52 8 1.4 12 1.31 12
Volvo Cars of N.A., LLC 0.73 11 1.49 13 1.32 13
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) 0.42 5 0.94 6 1.41 14
Toyota Motor Corporation 0.26 2 0.26 1 1.67 15

Chrysler is currently ranked well ahead of Ford, Honda and especially Toyota, which has fallen from the top of the chart to the cellar.

In terms of timeliness, that is, identifying problems and acting quickly to resolve them, Chrysler has risen from 13th to second only to Nissan North America in the rankings.

1985-1994 1995-2004 2005-2014
Manufacturer Percent Rank Percent Rank Percent Rank
Nissan North America, Inc. 82.80% 11 83.80% 9 86.50% 1
Chrysler Group LLC 90.70% 3 75.00% 13 84.40% 2
Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. 78.60% 13 62.10% 15 84.40% 3
Volvo Cars of N.A., LLC 88.20% 8 80.60% 11 83.70% 4
BMW of North America, LLC 90.90% 2 93.30% 1 80.70% 5
Volkswagen of America, Inc. 83.10% 10 62.70% 14 76.70% 6
Subaru of America, Inc. 80.00% 12 88.90% 4 76.00% 7
General Motors LLC 89.60% 4 86.60% 7 75.10% 8
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC. 77.80% 14 90.60% 2 75.00% 9
Mazda Motors 88.90% 5 79.70% 12 74.10% 10
Ford Motor Company 88.10% 9 82.10% 10 70.40% 11
Kia Motors Corporation 100.00% 1 85.70% 8 68.80% 12
Hyundai Motor Company 69.20% 15 90.00% 3 67.30% 13
Honda (American Honda Motor Co.) 88.50% 7 88.50% 6 63.20% 14
Toyota Motor Corporation 88.70% 6 88.70% 5 56.50% 15

The data does not indicate whether the GM ignition switch action has been factored into their figures.

Boston-based aids consumers by providing information about used cars. The company was founded by TripAdvisor and SAP veterans to improve the used car shopping experience.

Dodge offers innovative lease program

With the new 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger coming later this year, Chrysler Group is offering a unique leasing option to move current-model-year cars.

Called the “Double-Up” program, qualified customers can  get a one-year lease on a 2014 Charger or Challenger and, at the end of the lease, move to a 2015 for the same lease payment and no additional money down. Charger SE and Charger and Challenger SRT models are not included in the promotion.

“If you have your eye on a new Challenger or Charger, there’s no need to wait for the new models to arrive,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand CEO. “The Dodge Double-Up program lets you drive today’s Charger or Challenger and trade to the 2015 with no increase in payment. This is our way of thanking our loyal Charger and Challenger customers, and extending this offer to any new customers longing to get into one of these iconic muscle cars.”

At the end of the initial one-year lease, customers following the program rules are guaranteed the same payment with no additional down payment due on a three-year lease of an eligible 2015 Dodge Charger or Challenger. Should customers choose to buy the 2015 model instead of leasing, they will receive $1,000 bonus cash toward the purchase.

Writing in Automotive News, Larry Vellequette details some of the program requirements and how a novel deal with Enterprise Holdings makes the program work to avoid a glut of year-old, off-lease cars from depressing residual values. (Automotive News content is open to all this week.)

The program kicks off April 17 and runs through the end of August this year. Interested car buyers should see their Dodge dealer for program terms and conditions and further information.

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