Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will air three commercials during this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX broadcast. The first spot will be the first commercial following the second quarter’s “two-minute warning” break; the second and the third commercials are scheduled to run in breaks during the third quarter. So far, the company has not released any information about the content, but some of the ads in past years have been pivotal for Chrysler while others have … not.
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the most powerful sedan in the world, with 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Even though it is a big, heavy 4-door sedan, its slippery form allows this beast to go over 200 miles per hour, with an official top speed of 204 miles per hour.
Some people have questioned the validity of this claim, so Dodge has rolled out a video explaining – and showing – the process behind getting an official top speed of 204 miles per hour.
There is a certain process to obtaining a proper top speed figure, and this new Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat video explains how that process works. In short, the team making the attempt needs to account for the effects of any wind – both positive and negative.
To do this, the top speed run is made on the same track in each direction so the Charger would make one with the wind helping the run and a second with the wind slowing the car down. This is the industry standard for top speed runs and this is the process required by the Guinness Book of World Records.
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was taken onto a 7.5 oval test track early on a July morning when the temperature was around 60 degrees. This track has dual 2 mile straightaways and towards the end of each straightaway is a guy with a radar gun to record the top speed reached before slowing for the turn.
On the first run, the Hellcat Charger had a tail wind that was fluctuating between 8 and 14 miles per hour and the top speed in the straightaways was 206.9 miles per hour. On the second run, the 707hp Charger was “only” able to hit 202.2 miles per hour. When you average out those two numbers, you get an officially recognized top speed of 204.55 miles per hour – making the Hellcat Charger the fastest 4-door sedan in the world.
According to the 2014 figures released with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ full-year financials, Chrysler brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram) were major players in helping FCA deliver on its promises to analysts.
Worldwide deliveries in the fourth quarter came to 1,215,000 cars and trucks, 44,000 more than in the same period of 2013. Full-year deliveries came to 4,608,000 vehicles, beating 2013 by 256,000. The full-year figure is below the 4.7 million vehicles FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne mentioned to Automotive News publisher Keith Crain in a recent interview, but it is in line with prior company projections.
The four Chrysler brands accounted for 58.6% of total worldwide deliveries.
Jeep made up 22.1% of the total — and, all by itself, accounted for 78.9% of the 256,000 additional vehicles delivered by FCA last year. In Wednesday’s presentation, Marchionne said Jeep was one of the brands he expected to keep the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region in the black for all four quarters of 2015. Robust sales of the new Renegade should keep Jeep’s numbers growing in the region.
Dodge took a 16.2% piece of the worldwide pie; while Ram sales, which were almost entirely in North America, making up 12.7% of worldwide deliveries. The Chrysler brand contributed 7.6% to the total. Dodge and Ram — both North America-dominated brands — together were responsible for 28.9% of FCA’s total sales.
The 303,190 additional U.S.-market Jeep and Ram sales, compared with 2013, were enough to cover all of the additional 256,000 FCA worldwide deliveries, with room to spare.
FCA met its full-year guidance for 2014, surprising financial analysts who were expecting a miss.
The company posted an operating profit, adjusted for unusual items, of $4.12 billion on revenues of $108.4 billion. The results were at the low end of FCA’s guidance range of $4.08-$4.5 billion. Analysts were expecting an operating profit of $3.8 billion.
Strong results in North America and the EMEA region overcame continuing weakness in the Latin American region.
For this year, FCA forecast operating profit, excluding unusual items, of between $4.6-$5.0 billion with revenues of $121.8 billion. Worldwide shipments are predicted to grow to around 4.8-5.0 million vehicles.
The chart below shows FCA’s results converted to current U.S. dollars.
FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES Q4 AND FULL-YEAR HIGHLIGHTS
All figures below, except EPS, in millions of dollars
Profit Before Taxes
Net Industrial Debt
Data Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. Currency conversion at 1.12849 dollars per euro
* EBIT is earnings before interest and taxes. Adjusted EBIT takes out “unusual expenses,” notably buying the UAW share of Chrysler ($560 million), and devaluation of Venezuelan currency ($110 million).
The old Dodge Attitude, sold in Mexico, was a Hyundai with limited Dodge badging. The new one is a Mitsubishi, which has been made over even more effectively than the new, Fiat-based Dodge Vision.
The 2015 Dodge Attitude will sell in one of Mexico’s largest segments. There are two trim levels, SE and SXT, both of which come with a 1.2 liter, three-cylinder engine producing 79 hp and 78 lb-ft, with a five-speed manual or a CVT. Fuel economy is best in class, estimated at 47 mpg city, 63.5 highway (this is not directly comparable to US EPA estimates).
The trunk is 450 liters (15.9 cubic feet), which is quite spacious — not far from that of the current Chrysler 300C (16.4 cubic feet, or 500 liters), which is 199 inches long to the Attitude’s 167 inches.
The car is well featured for the class — starting at under 158,000 pesos (currently, around US$10,800). It has front ventilated-disc brakes and rear drums, with an independent McPherson front suspension and rigid rear axle; the SXT adds a front stabilizer bar.
On the chart above, blue is highway, white is city, red is combined. These are based on the Mexican test cycle and are not directly comparable to American figures, but clearly show an advantage for the Dodge.
The Dodge Attitude includes front driver and passenger airbags, hands-free phone controls, filtered air conditioning, a trip computer, steering-wheel audio, and numerous other features. The stereo is a removable-face Sony with CD, USB, and iPod input — but only two speakers on SE, four on SXT. There are five colors: black, gray, silver, red, and white.
Chrysler de México, which distributes Mitsubishis, has also launched the new Mirage, which is the basis for the Attitude. It shares the same powertrain but has a different face and is sold as a hatchback. (We have a comparison photo on our Attitude page).
FCA closed 2014 with strong performance that was in line with their guidance to analysts — which some analysts had scoffed at. Revenues were up 11% to €96.1 billion (US$108 billion), with EBIT up to €3.7 billion (US$4.2 billion) adjusted for unusual items, including $560 million for the UAW and $111 million for the devaluation of Venezuelan currency.
The net profit was €632 million ($715 million); adjusted for “unusual items,” two of which were described above, net profit would have been $1 billion.
Revenues rose by 15% in North America (almost entirely the old Chrysler), by 34% in Asia-Pacifica, and 4% in Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA). Maserati revenue rose by 67%. Shipments dropped by 13% in Latin America, though. European revenues came closer to break-even.
North America was by far the largest revenue generator — again — with $50 billion coming in. EMEA was a distant second, with $20 billion, followed by Latin America at nearly $10 billion and Asia-Pacific at $7 billion. This does not include Ferrari and Maserati ($3 billion each) or components/robotics ($10 billion).
Looking at earnings before interest and tax, adjusted for unusual items, North America was responsible for $2.6 billion; the second largest profit generator was Latin America at $556 million, but Asia Pacific is coming on fast at $379 million. EMEA operations lost $572 million, not counting Ferrari and Maserati, which brought in $412 million and $120 million, respectively; or the components/robotics arms which were good for $165 million.
Financing expenses were around $2.3 billion, reduced by refinancing. The company has around $8.7 billion in net industrial debt. The board chose not to issue a dividend.
U.S. market share was up to 12.4%, and Canadian market share was up to 15.4%.
Asia-Pacific shipments, excluding joint ventures, were at 220,000, up by 35%. Sales, including joint ventures, were up to 267,000, up 34%. European shipments were up 5% but market share was down slightly to 5.8%.
Ferrari saw a total of 7,255 sales (up from 7,000 in 2013) while Maserati more than doubled sales, from 15,393 to 36,448; switching “a new model” to a “more appropriate” platform added some expense (this might be Levante or GranTurismo).
For 2015, the company expects to send out 4.8-5.0 million vehicles, have net revenues of $122 billion, net income of $1.1-$1.4 billion, and net industrial debt of $8.5-$9 billion.