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Introduction: pentastars.com, the ill-fated pentastars.com satire / Mopar humor site

pentastars.com started out as a place for Chrysler history, but in 2010 I recreated it as a satire site. Some people loved it, more hated it; it took a lot of time and never really “took off,” though I owe a BIG thank you! to all those who contributed stories and, yes, photos... and to those who laughed.

This page has all the articles from pentastars.com for your reading pleasure. The last one might be my favorite story, sad as it is. pentastars.com is now devoted to the Pentastar V6 engines.

Fiat, Jeep to build the ultimate off-road vehicle

In an effort to firmly re-establish Jeep as the ultimate off-road brand, Fiat will be working with Jeep engineers to build an updated version of the famed Fiat 41B offroad vehicle.

Few details are available, but instead of the 800 HP Cummins 1710 V12 diesel engine previously used, the plan is to use 5 of the Cummins "B" inline-six diesels currently used in the Ram, providing 1750HP for the .15 OD road gear. They will be mounted using a common flyweel similar to the one used in Chrysler's M3 tanks.

[Image: fiat-41B-commander.jpg]

The Jeep Commander name is expected to be attached to the new off-roader, though a seven-passenger version may be called the Wagoneer. This version would have standard leather seats and burled wood trim.

Mike Manley, CEO of Jeep, said, "In addition to the lightweight Jeep based on the Fiat Panda, we will benefit from Fiat's more heavyweight designs. The 41B is a legendary off-roader, and will help us to beat the Unimog, G-Wagon, and other overpriced Eurotrash."

He added, "While Jeep's recent tradition has been more in the line of lighter-weight vehicles that fit into small off-road trails, Jeeps used to be used in farms and industrial settings. What's more, we are continuing the Dodge tradition of working with efficient, durable Cummins engines, and the Chrysler tradition of using sets of five engines in heavy duty offroad vehicles.

"Overall, we are hitting every existing Chrysler Group division's heritage with this one."

Sergio Marchionne refused to comment, except to say that Fiat had made the 41B plans available to Chrysler. "What you see will be a true Chrysler vehicle," he said. "Fiat will be producing a parallel line for Europe and South America, which we will likely continue to call the 41B."

A spokesman for the company responded to allegations that the new Jeep Commander / Fiat 41B would be "an environmental disaster." He said, "We will certify it for use on biodiesel, which is a renewable fuel source. You can't get more environmentally friendly than that, except, I guess, by making a truck that gets gas mileage in the double digits."

Pentastar to get non-V6 variants

[Image: chrysler-pentastar-v4-engine.jpg]With the success of the Pentastar V6 as a quiet, powerful, refined engine, Chrysler engineers are currently planning to extend the family beyond the V6 format.

A 4.7 liter V8 was rumored by Allpar as far back as 2006. After the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 was praised, and the four-cylinder World Engine was slammed, Chrysler leaders have gone further.

Engineers have created numerous variants of the modular V6, including a six-liter V10 based on the 3.6, a 4-liter V8 based on the 3.0, a 2.4 liter four cylinder (replacing the 2.4 World Engine) based on the 3.6, and even a pair of 2.0 liter four cylinders -- a V4 and a straight-four (the latter using a single bank of cylinders).

The most powerful version, a 7.2 liter V12 made by combining two 3.6 liter engines, will be shared with Maserati, and used in the Chrysler Firepower, a more refined version of the Dodge Viper.

After a tour of the Chrysler Museum, executives have reportedly green-lighted a five-engine, 20-cylinder design, displacing no less than ten liters and estimated at a conservative 750 horsepower, for use in commercial trucks.

"With this engine, we should be able to field a strong competitor to Freightliner -- I mean Daimler Trucks North America," cackled our source. "Who needs a diesel when you can have five Pentastar Fours?"

Chrysler to follow voice of the customer

Chrysler management will follow the most frequently stated wishes of its owners. According to insiders, this includes:

Bringing Plymouth back. The Plymouth brand will take over the Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler 300 (but not 300C), and Sebring. Stylists are hard at work bringing Prowler/PT Cruiser styling to these models, while stripping out luxury features and sound insulation. Tom Gale was said to be returning to lead the effort.

Bringing Eagle back. This was the most difficult effort, but Sergio Marchionne is set to unveil a new Eagle line, consisting of an LX car (Eagle Vision), a small Mitsubishi wagon (Eagle Summit), a version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse (Talon), and a Renault sedan (Premier).

Two-door Charger. At last, in response to customer demand, Dodge will launch its two-door Charger, pushing the four-door version to Plymouth as the new Fury. The Charger coupe will have a mix of heritage, current, and 1999 concept styling, a mix which, according to Ralph Gilles, "works as well together as the Tea Party and Greenpeace."

The two-door Charger will have the live rear axle from the Challenger Drag Pack to stay true to history.

Addressing gas mileage. While some customers have demanded huge engines in every car, others have demanded huge gas mileage. For that reason, the hybrid-electric versions of the 1.4 liter "FIRE" engine will be made available in all cars, along with lightweight aluminum bodies, in "Feather" editions. The cost for developing and producing this is expected to be only a little more than Chrysler's net worth.

Fixing Jeep. Every Jeep will be outfitted with a diesel engine and live front axle, and the Wrangler will drop the minivan motor for the AMC 4.0 liter six. "Sure, this will raise the price a little," Mike Manley is reported to have said, "but real Jeep owners are willing to spend an extra ten grand. Aren't they? Jeepers have been telling us to do this at every event and it's about time we responded."

Jeep will also be working on shoehorning a Hemi engine into the Wrangler without incurring billions of dollars in liability claims or dropping to a one-star crash test rating. Also, because real Jeeps are made, not bought, Jeep will be following the Corvette engine-build program by inviting new buyers into the factory to stamp body parts, build suspensions, and stitch seat cloth.

Jeep will be bringing back the XJ Cherokee design, updated to meet present-day safety standards. "Sure, sales dived when the Liberty was brought out, after an initial hike as happy owners bought a new one, but we figure there's enough pent-up demand among old Cherokee owners to sell at least 200,000 units." Fortunately, the original tooling was discovered in a forgotten part of the Plymouth Road complex just before its sale.

Another plan is to produce an "ultimate Jeep." This will feature a new technology noted by reader Bumonbox: "Jeep is developing a new kind of suspension, referred to affectionately as the 'pogo suspension.' It uses a high power hydraulics to literally jump off the ground. One engineer indicated that this design will make 'climbing' over rocks obsolete, allowing 'crawl mode' gearing and variable-height suspensions to be jettisoned; you will simply be able to jump over rocks and other obstacles."

It is expected this design will be introduced on the Wrangler, then integrated to the Grand Cherokee and other up and coming vehicles.

Chrysler spokesmen refused to comment on this story. One spokesman said, "If we were doing any of that, we'd post it on our blogs and Facebook page and Twitter account and MySpace page first."

Chrysler 200 to get 200 mpg

Chrysler cars were originally named after their top speeds (e.g. Chrysler 52). The Chrysler 200 was, in this tradition, named after the gas mileage of its most economical variant, the 200-ME (Most Efficient).

The 200-ME will be equipped with the Chrysler-Fiat six-speed dual clutch automatic and a special version of the World Gas Engine, as well as aluminum sheet metal and other lightweight materials. The key to high mileage, though, is the fuel delivery and control systems.

The 200 mile per gallon carburetor was patented long ago by Roy Marks, but was never used by a major automaker.

[Image: 200-mpg-diagram.gif]

The special carburetor (a device that was used before fuel injection) uses pre-vaporized fuel for high efficiency; while in the original the driver had to add fuel periodically, the new model includes a computer controlled fuel level system.

The World Gas Engine, with dual variable valve timing, will run at a maximum speed of 600 rpm in "fuel saver mode," similar to the engine speed of the original 200 mile per gallon car. There will also be a performance mode of 1,000 rpm. While the original car had just two forward gears (high gear had a speed of 15 mph), the six-speed transmission used in the 200-ME will provide six possible speeds, topping out at 35 mph in performance mode.

Insiders tell us the Chrysler 200-ME will use 13 inch steel wheels and low-friction tires, with no stereo or unnecessary safety devices (to saving weight).

The Chrysler 200-ME may not be legal in some areas due to its speed limitations. It will be sold by both Chrysler and GEM dealers.

Autoblog: Chrysler to make 2011s

Autoblog has reported that Chrysler plans to come out with a range of 2011 models, some of which are different from those shown in the past. Their report notes that "the current models are all crap, and their new ones are badge whores except when they come with the 6.4 Hemi. We want one of those."

Autoblog predicted that there might be a 2012 model year, following 2011.

Other blogs have picked up the story, and the Wall Street Journal has reported that Chrysler will be making 6.4 model year cars with 2.011 liter engines.

Spoof site taken seriously

spoof isteSpoof and humor site Pentastars.com was taken seriously by many readers, according to an article on the spoof and humor site Pentastars.com.

"I thought the articles would be a dead giveaway," said publisher David Zatz. "Well, except for the Jeep crossover. That picture was stunning. You know, I'd have believed that one myself. Until the third paragraph, anyway."

Reporters from the Wall Street Journal are said to be disappointed, as they had been drawing on the site for upcoming auto section articles. "Does that mean there won't be a Jeep DJ or Grand Cherovan?" inquired one Journal reporter. "But there will be a Chrysler Citadel, right?"

Source: pentastars.com

Jeep DJ to re-appear after hiatus

The Jeep DJ name, once attached to the "Dispatcher" model used by postal workers, is being revived for another Lifestyle Jeep, according to reader "CherokeeVision."

[Image: afroguycopy.jpg]

The tag line for the new model is:

Your favorite music, a party, and the great outdoors. Now Jeep brings them together as only Jeep can. Combining the legendary Jeep off road capability with your iPod blasting 800 watts through roll bar mounted speakers. The new Jeep DJ. Take your celebration where it's never been before.


[Image: jeeps.gif]

The 1959 DJ Dispatcher had rear wheel drive, a lower grille and hoodline, a special suspension, and different gearing from the standard Universal (CJ series); its main function was to be a lightweight courier vehicle that could brave snow and unpaved roads, without needing the extra armor or bulk for snow plowing, farm duties, or rock crawling.

The DJ, or Dispatcher, was mainly used by the Post Office, and many came with right hand drive and a special rearview mirror on the left hand side, by the front of the hood. A single bucket seat was standard; weight started at a mere 1,769 pounds (soft top), and to save space, the old L-head engine (instead of the modern F-head) was used. In 1959, Jeep launched the Dispatcher Surrey model, with a fringed and striped surrey top and chrome trim. (1959-72 Jeep DJ details)

Challenger to get power boosts

Faithful reader "neonturbo" wrote that the Dodge Challenger will get two new powerplants. The entry level engine for 2011 will be a 3.7 liter straight-six, the same size as the smallest engine available on the original Dodge Challenger.

Factory worker "ultraducks" told us they dropped the Pentastar V6 when they couldn't get it to budge over 299 horsepower. "This engine matches the Challenger's retro looks better, and more importantly, takes the pressure off Saltillo, where the Pentastar V6 blocks are made."

The engine is apparently based on the vintage "slant six," beefed up with direct injection, MultiAir, and four valves per cylinder, providing 301 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque.

The engines will save money by using tooling found in the back of the factory, and are expected to be a temporary stopgap until Pentastar production can be increased and direct injection bumps power to 300 hp or more. "AC TC" wrote they will feature an aluminum main bearing girdle with integrated pan, and be connected to the Ferrari dual clutch transmission.

Topping the 6.4 liter Hemi V8 engine will now be a special production motor, originally destined for Ram Super Goat trucks. The completely re-engineered 7.2 liter engine, displacing the historically significant 440 cubic inches, will, with direct injection and other modern technologies, achieve no less than 750 horsepower for 2012. "neonturbo" wrote, "They had to keep up with the horsepower race, and they wanted to beef up the retro feel."

Jeep crossover and Commander Van spied

Jeep crossoveroh2o reports seeing a brochure proclaiming that "The Jeep brand delivers an open invitation to live life to the fullest by offering a full line of vehicles that continue to provide owners with a sense of security to handle any journey with confidence."

Mike Manley said the new crossover is "Absolutely not a minivan with a seven slot grille." However, Chrysler Jeep will build it on the Windsor, Ontario assembly line alongside Volkswagen Routans, Fiat Italiamovinvans, and Chrysler Town & Countrys.

The Road Rated crossover does not have Stow 'n' Go, but it does have Space 'n' Seats, with a portable Trail Table.

Meanwhile, intrepid reader tanihiser caught these photos of the upcoming Jeep Commander.

jeep minivan - crossoverDue to the demise of the Commander in the U.S., Jeep has been forced to dust off a design that is 52 years old to appease those needing seating for seven. They will be using Brooks Stevens' design for inspiration, but adapted to the RT platform to meet safety regulations.

Critics complained that it too closely resembled the Ford Flex.

Car czar Rattner reveals more secrets

Former car czar Steven Rattner, who published a book about his ne'er-do-well adventures, has already written a sequel. Gems in the new book include:

Honda Civic to get lightning-bolt styling

[Image: civic.jpg]Following in the path of the new Honda Odyssey, the Honda Civic will gain lightning-bolt styling, according to a spy shot found on a Russian web site. The new Civic shows the exciting new face of Honda, according to an accompanying press release.

Motor Trend and Car & Driver have already written extensive comparison tests in which the new Civic bested the Corolla, Cruze, Lancer, Focus, BMW 3-series, Mini, Fiat 500, and upcoming Dodge Avenger.

"We hope to drive the Civic soon," said one of Car & Driver's reporters, after writing the article.

The only dissension came from one reporter who preferred the Corvette.

Consumers Reports has assigned the new Civic its coveted "Highly Recommended" rating based on its ratings of every other Civic ever released. "We don't really have to test it," said a CR editor.

Chrysler releases all models at once

Today, Chrysler released press packets on every model it plans to launch in the next six months. Journalists were still reading articles on the Chrysler Town & Country, Patriot, Fiat 500 Sport, and Chrysler 200 when the company releases, without any mailings or advance notice, new releases on the Dodge Avenger, Dodge Viper, Dodge Caravan, Dodge Journey, Jeep Compass, Chrysler 300C, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, and Dodge Ram 1500, 2500, 3500, 4500, 5500, and brand-new, Iveco-based 6500.

[Image: headlight.jpg]

The company also released teasers on its new Pentastar V6 in 3.0, 3.3, V8, turbocharged, twin turbocharged, supercharged, and I-4 forms, its 2011-12 NASCAR racing schedule for both cars and trucks, rally racing support Jeep Jamborees, promotion of Janice from supervisor to manager, and Joe's birthday.

Seven journalists reported to the hospital, complaining of exhaustion, while numerous online blogs ran out of dark sarcasm and had to take time off watching reruns of Becker, the Dennis Miller Show, and anything with David Spade. Chrysler brand communication chief Rick Deneau was quoted as saying, "Mwah-ha-ha-ha."

Jeep Whippet on its way

Jeep is planning to bring back a storied name from the company's history: Whippet.

A [Image: whippet-1927.jpg] planned commercial:

... zoom in on the Whippet on the Rubicon Trail...
... music cue... "now whip it, into shape. shape it up"
... camera pan out to wide angle view of JeepWhippet starting to crawl up a large boulder...
... music... "get straight, go forward, move ahead"
... camera zoom in on new obstacle detection sensors on front bumper...
... music... "try to detect it, it's not to late"
... camera pans to Whippet renegotiating the climb...
...music... "to whip it into shape."
... camera pan to 360 spin view around Whippet...
... music... "well whip it, Whippet Good..."
...voice over... "Whippet.... good.... by Jeep..."
... and cut...

Alternative fuel engine coming?

Reader "86TurboZ" wrote that Chrysler is working on an alternative-fuel version of the World Gas Engine, using Fiat technologies.

The engine is capable of running standard gasoline and alcohol fuels, as existing Fiat engines can; Chrysler engineers added a new fuel to the list, a blend known as DiHydrogen Monoxide. This extraordinary engine will produce few harmful emissions when used with that fuel, making it harmless to the environment.

A car with a ten-gallon would cost around $25 to fill with gasoline. By comparison, using standard dihydrogen monoxide supplied by pipes installed in a person's home or fuel stations (to be developed), or pumped from a private dihydrogen monoxide well and through appropriate distillation or filtration devices, would run around $1, though there may be a fairly high up-front equipment cost. Because the compound is safe to store in special plastic containers, however, customers will be able to purchase dihydrogen monoxide in liquid or solid form, for prices ranging from $1 to $10 per gallon depending on the size of the container and the printing on the label.

The enormous power of DiHydrogen Monoxide should allow cars equipped with this engine to outperform street legal muscle cars. It will be accompanied by an enhanced suspension, 'fluid glide,' where the passengers feel like they're floating over water.

The transmission designed to work with this engine has been dubbed Fluid Drive.

New Fifth Avenue coming

Allpar reader "patfromigh" pointed out that Chrysler Brand head Olivier Francois has announced the Town and Country Fifth Avenue Coach concept. It is to be shown at the SEMA show this November.

"I was inspired by the class and elegance of the historic New York Fifth Avenue livery," Mr Francois said to the dealers assembled in Orlando. The dealers were shown an artist's drawing of a double deck passenger compartment with an open air upper deck. Chrysler insiders admit the concept would never reach production as is.

"The rear entry stairs to the top deck would never get by the feds," said one engineer, "We can't get away with zip ever since all that Toyota stuff hit the fan."

Chrysler designers and stylists were drawn into the project after Olivier Francois showed Ralph Gilles a copy of New York Fifth Avenue Coach Company 1885-1960 by Oliver Ogden.

"Even riding the bus had class on Fifth Avenue", said Mr. Gillies, "Lee Iacocca was right, that name has magic."

Some of the concept's designers visited the New York City Transit Museum to visit the historic fleet of vehicles. "We took a lot of pictures to influence our design," said a student intern. "Everybody was really excited about this project."

Toyota accused of fudging data

After losing a legal battle to suppress testimony from a lawyer who says he was told to illegally conceal and destroy evidence, Toyota has taken a new hit.

Another whistleblower, Sam Sudonim, claims that Toyota's "black boxes" actually show that many drivers of "runaway cars" really did apply the brakes and did not push down the gas pedal, but said that special software, written for NHTSA by Toyota, simply hid any evidence of runaways, not reporting brake applications when the throttle was on.

The government relies on Toyota's readers to access the "black boxes." Recently, Toyota admitted that, despite black box data, Toyota Tundras don't really go 177 mph.

Sam Sudonim said, "You can see how easy it is to fake the results. All you need to do is program the readers to ignore brake application during 'runaway' conditions, and you can show that nothing was your fault, even when it was."

Toyota officials said the story was false, and claimed that Sam Sudonim was actually President Barack Obama in a mask. "You've never seen them both in the same place, have you?" asked a Toyota representative. "He's just doing this because the UAW put him up to it."

NHTSA officials said the revelations would not change their investigation. According to an insider, "Yes, Toyota bragged about fooling us, and they blamed Obama for their own mistakes, but you know, they were just having a laugh. If you can't trust Toyota, who can you trust? Besides, we're busy here coming up with new rules, like the mandatory Rear Cross Path and trunk-mounted airbags. We don't have time to question people who make stuff we don't understand."

A Toyota spokesman said, off the record, "Bwa-ha-ha-ha."

Chrysler to change name on IPO

[Image: A-mark.jpg]After Chrysler launches its IPO in late 2011, sources claim that the company will change its name to AMC to drop the stigma of having been rescued.

A spokesman said, "We saved the government billions of dollars during World War II, saved many pilots' and soldiers' lives by re-engineering aircraft engines, tanks, and guns, and used to have a global reputation for engineering, but people think of us as the company that made the Chrysler Sebring and had to be bailed out."

AMC, or American Motors Corporation, was found to have a more patriotic feel than "The New Chrysler Corporation," "IAAIAH (Italian-American Automaker In Auburn Hills)," or "Chrysler Group Inc.," and the acronym includes the word "Corporation," so they could save space in ads.

As part of the change, the Chrysler brand will change its own name to Hudson, the storied brand made famous by Driving Miss Daisy. "Hudson is still thought of as a premium brand by both people who still remember it," said the spokesman.

Analysts believe that the former Chrysler brand will change its name from Hudson to Nash, then call itself Rambler, and finally sell its cars as AMCs before its parent company buys Mahindra and is later acquired by Renault.

Iacocca to return, replace Kidder

In an unprecedented and surprising move this morning, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that Lee Iacocca has come out of retirement to serve as the Chairman of Chrysler Group, LLC.

"It''s great to be back, go team USA!," Iacocca announced enthusiastically on his first speech to Chrysler employees upon returning. At the same time, Chrysler has put up a large portrait of Iacocca on its headquarters in Auburn Hills, and it is rumored that his likeness will appear on owner manuals, sales brochures and window stickers for all Chrysler vehicles.

Iacocca also announced that the new 2011 Chrysler 200, 300C, and Town & Country will all come standard with a new package entitled "traditional elegance", which includes whitewall tires, vinyl roof cover, wire hubcaps, chrome window and bumper trim, button-tuft leather seats, and a crystal, stand up pentastar hood ornament. Chrysler has not confirmed or denied rumors that they are going to make Mark Cross and Frank Sinatra editions of the new 300C.

Outgoing chair C. Robert Kidder was not interviewed or noticed.

Motor Trend reviews 2012 Viper

Motor Trend has reviewed the 2013 Dodge Viper, according to an unnamed source in their IT department. An excerpt of their review, to be published in three months, follows:

It's based on a platform from Ferrari with Mercedes engineering but has tough looks and a brutal, unrefined feel. It's cheap and noisy compared with the German and Italian supercars but we love it, okay, not as much as a Corvette.

Quick? You betcha. Speedy. Fast. There's plenty of grip and stopping power. The controls have a meaty feel, although the steering could be talk back to us more. Body roll? Barely any. Ride? Not bad. Understeer? Hardly. Oversteer? Yeah, sure. Like a drifter. You can go real fast. Cupholders? Nada. Rhetorical? Questions. Lots of 'em. Writers? Dunno. Left on lunch break with the copy editors.

"Hemi Guys" to Return for New Ram Trucks Advertising Campaign

Allpar forums member "runfromcheney" reported:

Back around 2003, Dodge introduced a Hemi engine option for the Dodge Ram pickup, and marketed it with a memorable series of commercials that consisted of two rednecks in a muscle car asking the driver of the Ram if "That thing got a Hemi?"

The "Hemi Guys" are slated to return in a series of commercials for the new Ram 2500. In the commercials, the Hemi Guys will drive around the countryside, mocking and insulting the owners of rival pickup trucks. In one commercial, they will tell the owner of a Toyota Tundra that he is an enemy of the state for driving a Toyota because they "are built by the people who bombed Pearl Harbor."

Another ad will consist of them telling the owner of a F-150 that Fords are only driven by metrosexuals, something that is illustrated by the fact that Ford's CEO "is a total closet case who dresses and acts like a preppie." They will then remind the F-150 driver that only girly-men need an extra step to get into their truck bed.

The third ad in the series will consist of them mocking a Chevrolet Silverado owner, telling him that he is driving a "Pelosi-mobile."

Chrysler marketing director Michael Bolton (no relation to the singer) said, "The original Hemi guys campaign elevated the Dodge brand and gave it a hard working, upper-class image. We are hoping it will do the same with Ram trucks, while incorporating pop culture and a classic sense of American pride."

Chrysler moving from car numbers

[Image: headlight.jpg]

Erik Latranyi reported that, after intensive internal debates regarding the names for new cars, Chrysler Brand leaders have decided not to use numbers or alphanumeric codes, which are favored by most luxury automakers, or names, which are favored by entry level brands and British luxury automakers. Instead, each new car will have an emoticon.

"We think this will put us in touch with Generation Y in a way no other manufacturer has achieved," said Olivier Francois.

When questioned about the rumors that text-message acronyms would be used in some new models, Mr. Francois replied: "Shut up."

Sergio: "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

Sergio Marchionne greeted print reporters on a long-lead event showing the 2011 Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep lines with the words, "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

"We recreated the Sebring so much, it deserved a new name. It competes with the best midsized sedans within $10,000," he said. "We have a new engine. We have a set of new large cars. We have completely changed the appearance of the Compass so now you can't tell it from a Grand Cherokee. We fixed the seats and Stow 'N' Go in the minivans and changed their interior and sheet metal. Not a single car has escaped our scrutiny.

"Next year we're going to do it all again."

The Chrysler and Fiat CEO then recited the list of cars that would be redesigned for 2012: Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, Liberty, Ram 1500, Caliber, Nitro, and Viper; and the Scrambler will launch. For 2013, the 200 and Avenger will be completely redesigned, and new versions of the Ram Heavy Duty will launch along with three new compact cars. For 2014, redesigns are due for the minivans again, along with the rear wheel drive cars (Charger, Challenger, and 300), a new Wrangler-based roadster, and the Imperial will be launched.

"Now that I know we can revise nearly the entire product line every year, we're going to do it every year," Marchionne asserted. "We'll have more launches than any two competitors.

"And that's not including the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, and Lancia versions of these cars."

Daimler taking over Fiat Industrial

Bloomberg recently reported that Daimler, former owner of Chrysler, had made a $12 billion offer for Fiat Industrial, which was recently formed out of Fiat's Iveco, Case New Holland, and other industrial/commercial vehicle divisions.

A Daimler spokesman denied the rumor, somewhat. Florian Martens said that there were no talks, but "everyone is talking with everyone and so are we."

In an unconfirmed report, Martens was quoted as saying, "If we did take over Fiat Industrial, it would be a takeover of equals. We aren't planning a takeover, but you know, in this industry everyone is taking over everyone, so if you get my drift, we aren't taking over Fiat Industrial but we might be taking over an industrial vehicle maker based in Italy with a large tractor division in the United States."

A confidential e-mail released by hackers yesterday showed a complex multiyear plan for Fiat Industrial once acquired by Daimler. First, Case New Holland (CNH) would have its development budget slashed, and accountants would institute numerous consulting charges as CNH engineers showed Daimler engineers how they made tractors, and Daimler engineers showed CNH how to slash costs by leaving out key parts and sourcing all components from Germany and Daimler Truck North America (DTNA), which includes The Company Formerly Known As Freightliner.

Once CNH's balance sheets reflected a loss, hundreds of Daimler engineers could be airlifted from Stuttgart in an effort to squeeze as much cash as possible from the tractor maker. Within six years, when CNH's market share is spiraling down, the brand will be incorporated into Daimler Truck North America.

Iveco would face a similar fate, but the name would be retained as a badge for Mercedes trucks.

Fiat said it would be looking for "opportunities to enhance operational synergies and access to new markets through potential cooperation agreements." Daimler said it was looking for "opportunities to enhance operational synergies and access to new cash through potential ... oh, hell, we're running low on cash and ideas and nobody else is dumb enough to be taken over by us."

Rumors also pointed to Daimler looking into taking over Volvo, whose orders have been rising, as the large truck maker -- which has 32% of the western European truck market -- does battle with neighbor Volkswagen, which has a 27% share through Man SE and Scania. Iveco has around a 2% market share.

A Daimler spokesman addressed these rumors as well: "We aren't talking with them, but you know, we are talking with everyone," he said.

GM planning Silverado brand

Shortly after the Neon appeared with a happy face, the GM/Daewoo small car put on a happy face.

After Chrysler launched the Plymouth Prowler, GM showed the ill-fated Chevy SSR.

The Chrysler PT Cruiser begat the Chevrolet HHR.

The Chrysler Pacifica yielded the Chevrolet Equinox.

Revival of rear wheel drive cars at Chrysler and Dodge yielded rear wheel drive cars at Pontiac and Chevrolet, with the Charger squad echoed in the Caprice squad.

Even the 2011 Challenger SRT8's odd lower lip has had consequences, as spy shots of the Camaro showed a nearly identical feature on the 2012 Z28.

Now, GM has announced that it is separating GM's truck line and renaming it to Silverado. "No longer will we have Chevy trucks, though all Silverados will still be Chevys," declared GM CEO Daniel Akerson, causing some confusion and spurring many discussions at GMInsideNews.

In addition, Cadillac announced that it would be switching to an all-numbers model series, except for crossovers, which will keep names; the Camaro will gain a third V8 engine; and one third of General Motors will be sold to Volkswagen.

While Sergio Marchionne was unavailable to run General Motors, Akerson said he had hand-picked a successor, "Someone who already has two Jobs if you catch my drift."

Dodge plans unique launch for Charger

Dodge is planning a unique launch for the new Charger: it won't have any official launch or press release at all.

[Image: squad.jpg]"Really, this is the best way to generate interest," said Ralph Gilles, CEO of Dodge. "The web sites are always interested in 'spy shots' of a car, until it's officially released. Okay, at least one site keeps on running spy shots a year after the release, but most of them lose interest pretty quickly once everyone knows what the car looks like.

"But if we never have an official release, sites will run spy shots forever!"

The Charger has not been unveiled, but the police edition, believed to be identical on the outside to the civilian version aside from wheels and crosshair treatment, has been freely shown at a police equipment show and at the Michigan State Police performance tests.

Gilles added, "This also prevents our press people from making any mistakes in the press release.... like announcing two different horsepower ratings for the same setup, or three different sizes for the same engine."

If the scheme is successful, Gilles believes it can be extended. "Often, interest in a car seems to be higher when people don't know what it'll be called. For that reason, why might stop assigning model names until after production has stopped. It may pose some problems for dealers and reviewers, but we think it'll keep excitement at a high level."

Chrysler launching new "retro" lineup

Chrysler Group will be launching a new lineup of "retro" based cars, going back to the company's golden years -- from 1994 to 1998.
During that period, Chrysler was making high profits with record sales; both customer sales and acquisitions were above average.

With that in mind, Chrysler is reported preparing a lineup for 2014 that reproduces some of the qualities of the era - one of the shortest-term retro effects in automotive history.

The 2011 minivans are projected to be successful enough to re-open the St. Louis plant and create variants for sport and adventure. Coupling minivan leadership with the most popular attributes of the Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler is planning to make the world's first roofless minivan, inspired by the door-and-windshield-free Jeep; it will go one step further than convertibles and dispense with roof and doors.

[Image: minivan-cutaway.jpg]

Sharing an assembly line with the new topless minivan will be the long-awaited new "lifestyle Dakota" pickup'

[Image: dakota-4x2-club-cab-SLT.jpg]

This retro-styled truck will share a platform and factory with the minivans, but will be capable of carrying one metric ton of cargo, and will be sold in both North America and in Europe.

[Image: voyager.jpg]

Meanwhile, the standard minivans will gain "retro styling" in the hopes of recapturing the sales leadership of the era. "Obviously, the problem with our minivan sales has been the styling," according to Trevor Creed. "Therefore, we are going back to the days when customers loved the looks of our Caravans, Town & Countrys, and Voy-- I mean, Caravans and Town & Countrys."

[Image: neon.jpg]

The new Neon will be based on a Fiat platform, but will use the 2.4 liter World Engine bumped up to 210 horsepower. A Neon SRT4 will boost that to 300 horsepower. Companion midsize cars, the Stratus and Cirrus, will have the same powertrain, plus an optional V6.

[Image: ram.jpg]

The Ram 1500 will return to the original "big rig" styling, eschewing the current form; "Buyers obviously didn't get it," said one insider. "The 1994 Ram was much more successful, so we're going back to it."

Read more about 1998

Addendum: one source has written in to argue that the "retro period" being rumored is actually Chrysler's peak, between the wars, when the company had a #2 market share behind General Motors and ahead of Ford, and was recognized for its technological superiority. We are uncertain, however, that the styling of the period would translate well to modern times.

Mopar launches new Protector, Stalker systems

Following the critical acclaim of its new vehicle tracking system, Mopar announced two related products.

The first, titled Protector, takes protection of teenaged drivers to the next natural step, going beyond simply locating the car and alerting the owner when it has gone beyond a certain speed or distance. Protector actually includes a microphone (standard model), video camera (with silver level), and atmosphere tester (with gold level) so parents can make sure their teenagers are not using their car for potentially dangerous purposes. The patented atmosphere tester checks for alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana fumes, and has the added benefit of alerting owners if a car fire is starting. Another added benefit is photographing car thieves for the benefit of the prosecutors.

The second system, Stalker, is due in early 2011. It is a system similar to Protector, but is designed for do-it-yourself installation, and can be used to track other people's cars.

Stalker is mandatory for all Chrysler Group vehicles sold in China.

No news today

Satire site pentastars.com was unable to find anything amusing in the news today, according to editors and writers of the web-based publication.

"Nothing. Rien, nada, nuttin'."

The NHTSA reported a historic low number of car-related fatalities in the United States, analysts expect somewhat higher car sales for September.

"Just another Sunday," complained a pentastars.com writer.

In other news, there wasn't any other news.

Ram Longhorn followed by Wrangler TopHand

The Ram Longhorn luxury truck has been so well-received that Jeep will soon imitate its success with the Wrangler TopHand, named after the most respected cowboys and wranglers - the Top Hands.

Mike Manley said, "Many wealthy people drive a Jeep Wrangler because they need the off-road prowess or just don't like doors and windshields getting in their way, but still want the ultimate in luxury. This Wrangler is a logical outgrowth of that need. Now they can get the most luxurious off-road car possible, without having to contend with British reliability levels or looking like a refugee from a German military base."

The new Wrangler will have a similar "ranch" motif, with the washable leather seats featuring heat, ventilation, special stitching of old Plymouth twine, and laser-cut graphics. Instead of a belt-buckle style badge, the Wrangler will use slices of actual cow horns in the back of the seat.

Features of the Wrangler Top Hand will include an off-road capable navigation system, plastic-encased real wood trim (to avoid rainwater problems when the top is down), quadruple zone automatic temperature control, LED lighting, hard top with built in electric SunRider™ sunroof, 12-way adjustable seats in each position, 18 airbags, and chrome grille, wheels, quadruple exhaust, mirrors, and side strips. The suspension has been modified for extra travel and comfort with the Grand Cherokee's air lift system adapted for the front and rear solid axles.

Liquid Chrome gauges help increase the attractiveness of the walnut-veneered instrument panel, while a class-leading strengthened glove box doubles as a strongbox, complete with a digital combination lock and hardened steel casing.

The Top Hand will be available with manual and automatic transmissions, standard and Unlimited form, and, when released, the Gladiator/Scrambler pickup configuration. It will be sold in five colors, all with contrasting White Gold (optionally, Yellow Platinum) accents.

2011 Dodge Diplomat dinged by fans

Earlier today, Chrysler released the 2011 Dodge Diplomat, powered by a direct-injected V8 version of the Pentastar engine, which produces 360 horsepower and drives the five-passenger luxury car for 34 miles (highway) per gallon. Acceleration is estimated at 0-60 in under six seconds with either the standard six-speed automatic or the five-speed manual option.

Cornering is said to be superior to the Corvette, while the ride has an "emulation mode" active suspension that mimics the ride of a Lexus ES, BMW 3-series, BMW M5, or Dodge Challenger, to meet the tastes of different owners.

The interior is done in a choice of leather with wood accents, or cloth with carbon fiber-style accents. The full sized trunk is 22% larger than that of the 2010 300C. Pricing is expected to start at $24,000.

The car was first shown to journalists and the general public at a small show today. There was an audible "ooh" and "ah" from the crowd as the luxurious, yet sporty, lines were revealed. Numerous journalists asked when they could put down a deposit.

Forum audiences were less enthusiastic. One forum member complained, "There's too much space above the tires." Others agreed.

Another member noted that the tailpipe was visible, while others complained about the way the rear door window glass was set up. Several said the car could not sell with four doors, and others said the four cylinder and V8 were all very nice, but they absolutely needed a six.

Numerous people pointed at how cheap it was to have a five speed automatic instead of a six speed, and some said a steering wheel mounted paddle shifter should have been installed instead.

At general car forums that do not focus on a single brand, the general consensus was that it was a Dodge and therefore should be dismissed without a further look. Some suggested it was the work of Mercedes finally paying off, while others said it was a thinly disguised Alfa Romeo.

Magazines were somewhat more favorable, though Car & Driver and Motor Trend felt it would never compare to a Corvette or BMW.

Consumer Reports said it seemed interesting but they wouldn't know for three to five years, and pointed out that the gap between the hood and fender was 1 mm larger than that on a Honda Civic. Consumers Digest approved of the car but said it did not have the refinement of the best imports.

The Wall Street Journal noted that a diplomat had visited Dodge, and that there was apparently a revived Kingsway model coming, based on the Grand Cherokee.

426 Dodge Challenger on its way?

Allpar forums member "ChallengerSRT" wrote:

"I read from a super-uber secret squirrel at the news source Pentastars.com that a fuel injected 426 HEMI Dodge Challenger with a torsion bar suspension up front, stereo delete, no carpet, headliner, or extra airbags, and roll-down windows will be sold as the Dodge Roadrunner package. The downside is it will sticker for $3,000 over a standard SRT8 due to the engineering and tooling costs. "

Pentastars web site uses modular base to change format, confuse Google

Pentastars.com has used the modular design of its basic block to change format yet again, confounding Google's attempts to figure out what exactly is on the site.

new pentastars site

Pentastars.com was a Chrysler historical site for over a decade, though for much of that time it was neglected and had no unique information.

It then was switched to serve as a satire on Chrysler news. This lasted nearly three weeks before it was reformatted to present information on Chrysler's Pentastar engines.

"The modular base of the site allows for such changes in function, which would have required engineering completely new sites in the past," said the chief engineer.

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