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2004 Chrysler News: The Daily Allpar Archive

Chrysler sued by patent-troll SCO

SCO, which has threatened for over a year to sue Linux end-users but which has refused to provide any evidence that they have a basis for the lawsuits, has announced that they are suing DaimlerChrysler as one of their first targets. DCX was presumably chosen because the legal staff is occupied fighting a real lawsuit brought by Kirk Kerkorian. SCO is largely funded by Microsoft, which reportedly paid $11 million "above the table" for rights to SCO's questionable "intellectual property." A page at opensource.org suggests that they actually are funneling $86 million to SCO's legal efforts. Microsoft has been fighting Linux and open-source software on many fronts since losing several major deals to Linux vendors - including the city of Munich, and, perhaps most serious, the government of China. SCO has claimed that Linux infringes on their rights to a version of UNIX purchased from AT&T, but has not shown any evidence to support that claim. Many commentators believe that SCO is simply working as an arm of Microsoft to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the viability of Linux (just as Microsoft spread "FUD" about DR-DOS many years ago). A settlement by DCX would probably be used to push forward other lawsuits by SCO, which is an interesting business model - not unlike buying successful companies, sucking out their assets, mismanaging them, and blaming them for dragging down the parent company.

Reported by Dave at (March 09 2004, 10 AM)

Dave Steel in new racing series

Dave Steele, who has become known as a leader in Mopar's open-wheel racing stable, will take to the asphalt behind the wheel for two new teams in the USAC National Midget Series and the pavement division of the USAC National Sprint Car Series. (Click "Full Story" to read more.)

Reported by Dave at (March 09 2004, 01 PM)

Consumer Reports dings German cars

While long-time Allpar readers know how we feel about Consumer Reports' reliability survey, it must be causing some consternation at Mercedes. While the Jeep Liberty and Chrysler PT Cruiser did very well in the ratings, American cars as a class improved their standing to outrank European cars for the first time since the magazine has started their ratings. Detroit News noted that "all Mercedes-Benz models were below average, as were all Audis, Jaguars, Land Rovers and the BMW 7-Series, X5 and Mini Cooper." The BMW 3-series did well, as did some Volvos and Saabs.

Reported by Dave at (March 09 2004, 01 PM)

New software for news posting!

To resolve issues with the old news software - notably our inability to control how much of an article would be posted, and login issues - we have installed this nice new system, PHPNews. It should also be a bit quicker, and is easier to customize. It is under active development. [Editorial note: it did not remain under active development after we moved to it.]

Reported by Dave at (March 09 2004, 03 PM)

Durango best in Car & Driver comparison - Expedition last

ScottB noted that Car & Driver picked the Durango as the best large SUV over (in descending order) the Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia, Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition.

They averaged 14MPG with the 5.7L Hemi, while moving from 0-60 in 7.2 seconds - both excellent numbers for a full-sized SUV. (Read Allpar's review here.)

Reported by Dave at (March 09 2004, 05 PM)

Dodge Charger finally made official

The much-rumored Dodge Charger has finally been confirmed, according to Detroit News, and is expected to debut in January 2005, with actual sales starting in spring 2005.

Though based on the LX, the Charger will, according to Chrysler, look very different from the Magnum and 300 - though they have also said the Magnum and 300 look very different from each other.

Until the Charger is released, there will be no full-sized Dodge sedans, though there is still a stockpile of Dodge Intrepids being sold.

Reported by Dave at (March 10 2004, 08 AM)

Ray joins Mopar team

Wilke-PAK Motorsports chose Davey Ray to fill an empty seat in their USAC Midget Series (open wheel) team. (Click on Full Story for details.)

Reported by Dave at (March 11 2004, 08 AM)

2003 All Motor champion Scott Mohler to stay with Mopar team

2003 All Motor champion Scott Mohler will stay with Mopar team for the 2004 NHRA Summit Sport Compact Drag Racing Series, which starts March 13. (Click Full Story for more.)

Reported by Dave at (March 11 2004, 03 PM)

Microsoft helps fund DCX lawsuit

SCO, which has gone from a UNIX publisher to a lawsuit generator, announced last week that it would sue two of its customers, DaimlerChrysler and AutoZone. BusinessWeek recently reported that while Microsoft did not directly fund the lawsuits - it did pay a substantial sum for "licensing" just after SCO began to threaten to sue Linux end-users - but it did set up SCO Group with hedge fund BayStar Capital, which made a $50 million investment in SCO last October.

Many have suggested that Microsoft is using SCO to intimidate businesses into staying away from Linux, even as many businesses and governments are choosing the open-source operating system to avoid licensing fees, worms, viruses, and "proprietary standards." Industry observers generally seem to believe that SCO's claims are without merit, and are a combination of extortion scheme and Microsoft public relations program.

DaimlerChrysler has not yet announced their reaction to the lawsuit.

Reported by Dave at (March 12 2004, 08 AM)

Chat with Mopar racer Jay Drake

Team Mopar's Jay Drake will be the featured guest on Racers-Chat.com this coming Monday, March 15, 2004 at 8 pm EST. Fans will have the opportunity to pose questions on to the interactive Web Site.

Drake will seek the USAC National Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown Series Championships for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises and Team Mopar in 2004.

Reported by Dave at (March 12 2004, 05 PM)

AEV puts Hemi into Jeep Wrangler

Even as Chrysler is set to put Hemi V8s into Grand Cherokees, an aftermarket firm, AEV, is putting the engines - complete with five-speed automatics - into otherwise stock Wranglers. They boast of double the power of the 4.0 six, only 57 lb extra weight, and full use of all accessories and gauges. The setup may not be legal in some states. (Thanks, DOC.)

Reported by Dave at (March 15 2004, 09 AM)

Crossfire price cut by nearly 15%

Facing poor sales, Chrysler has cut the price of the Crossfire by nearly 15%, bringing it under the magical $30,000. Aside from showing how much money the Mercedes logo brings - the Crossfire is essentially a restyled and retuned prior-generation SLK, which nearly every reviewer has said is substantially better than the original - the Crossfire has been a public relations and sales failure, and its model may have backfired by causing many to assume that the LX is a prior-generation Mercedes as well.

On a positive note, the action of lowering the price rather than throwing rebates around may be a harbinger of things to come. Allpar has previously editorialized on the need to adjust pricing rather than use heavy rebates.

Reported by Dave at (March 15 2004, 09 AM)

Tracy Hines to race for Mopar on March 27

Mopar's Tracy Hines will return to his midget racing roots, as he will compete in the Mopar Twin 25's at Irwindale Speedway in California on March 27. He captured one of the two 25-lap feature events at Irwindale Speedway during the Mopar Twin 25's event in 2003.

"Just having the horsepower that the Mopar engines make will be a tremendous asset for us," Hines said. "The total package that Mopar offers is just outstanding. The powerplant will give us an excellent shot at winning the event."

Tickets can be purchased for the event by calling (800) 515-8445. For more information regarding the Mopar Twin 25's, log on to www.twin25s.com or midgetmadness.com.

Reported by Dave at (March 17 2004, 11 AM)

Large vans get stability control

Both General Motors and Ford have announced that, in the next few years, they will make stability control systems standard in their full-sized vans, in the wake of a number of fatalities from van rollovers.

While Chrysler once had the largest market share in full-sized vans, the last Dodge "B-van" was phased out of production recently, with the Sprinter and a new van, reportedly designed in the United States but to debut as a Mercedes in Europe, replacing them (but competing less directly with GM and Ford).

Reported by Dave at (March 17 2004, 11 AM)

Ford caught, plans appeal

Reuters notes that Ford will appeal an Illinois judge's decision to order a new crash test on their Police Interceptor, which is used by a majority of police departments in the United States. At issue is whether Ford's trunk liner actually prevents fuel leaks during crashes.

Judge Lloyd Cueto found that Ford's claims regarding the liner as printed in a brochure were deceptive, based on tests conducted by the city of Dallas, and said he believed the deception was intentional.

Judge Cueto ordered Ford to perform a 75-mile-per-hour crash test no later than May 15 and to pay $62,217 in legal fees.

Crown Victoria police cars have been involved in the deaths of at least 16 police officers, leading Ford to sell a "trunk pack" to keep equipment from puncturing the fuel tanks of Crown Victorias in a crash. Dallas officials tested the pack and said it actually caused leaks. Ford responded with a brochure sent to over 30,000 customers, saying, in essence, that the tests were rigged.

Reported by Dave at (March 17 2004, 11 AM)

Mitsubishi predicts larger loss

Mitsubishi has changed its loss prediction for the fiscal year ending in March 2004 from $99 million to $673 million. Analysts had praised Mitsubishi's strategy of selling to younger buyers before a large number of loan defaults caused the company to tighten credit, with a corresponding drop in market share.

Juergen Schrempp has responded in standard fashion, by sending a team of German Mercedes executives to Japan.

Reported by Dave at (March 17 2004, 11 AM)

Chrysler announces new products for 2004

Chrysler released its official list of new vehicles to be sold in 2004 (most as 2005 models; thanks, E8502):

1. Chrysler 300
2. Chrysler Crossfire Roadster
3. Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
4. Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan
5. Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
6. Jeep Grand Cherokee
7. Dodge Magnum
8. Dodge Dakota
9. Dodge Ram SRT-10

Following is the complete list of the ten new or refreshed vehicles that will be introduced in markets outside of North America in 2004.

1. Chrysler 300C Sedan
2. Chrysler 300C Touring (wagon)
3. Chrysler Crossfire Roadster
4. Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Coupe
5. Chrysler Crossfire SRT-6 Roadster
6. Chrysler PT Cruiser Cabrio
7. Chrysler Voyager and Grand Voyager with 2.8L Common-rail Diesel
8-9. Two significantly freshened Jeep vehicles with updated diesel powertrain
10. Dodge Viper SRT-10 (some time in 2004)

Reported by Dave at (March 17 2004, 04 PM)

Mopar readies for USAC racing season

The 2004 Team Mopar members are ready to tackle a season of firsts as the USAC racing season opens this weekend with the Copper World Classic at Phoenix International Raceway.

Reported by Dave at (March 19 2004, 10 AM)

Chrysler Sebring seems to "run away"

A 1996 Sebring Convertible went out of control in a parade, injuring several people. The model had been recalled for frayed throttle cables, and the vehicle in question had been repaired by a dealer. Police are focusing on the vehicle. A friend claimed that the driver had tried to use the brakes and shift into Park, and that neither worked to stop the car. However, past cases of unintended acceleration have generally turned out to be the driver's fault, since the brakes on most cars can hold the engine. Chrysler is studying the vehicle and the videotape before making an official announcement.

Reported by Dave at (March 21 2004, 03 PM)

PT engine fires investigated

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration is investigating seven complaints of car fires in 2001 and 2002 PT Cruisers, six of which resulted in vehicle destruction, and two in injuries. 170,000 2002 models were sold, so the likelihood of problems is still small. Chrysler recalled the relatively trouble-free PTs two years ago because their fuel pumps could leak and cause a fire; these incidents may be related.

Reported by Dave at (March 21 2004, 03 PM)

EPA orders Ford to retest Superfund site in New Jersey

The EPA has ordered Ford to conduct new tests on a 500 acre site next to Ringwood State Park, which Ford had used as a dump for car parts, solvents, and toxic sludge from 1967 to 1974. In 1983, Ford was ordered to clean the site at a cost of $2.5 million. However, local residents say the site is still littered with sludge and other possibly toxic materials. While the EPA certified in 1994 that surface areas were cleaned, some sections, including mine shafts, were only covered with dirt. Soil testing has revealed a lead concentration nearly 300 times what the U.S. government allows (lead poisoning is serious for adults but more so for children - it has been closely linked to mental retardation and physical illnesses).

Reported by Dave at (March 22 2004, 09 AM)

Seven-seat Grand Cherokee variant to be separate model

Dieter Zetsche was quoted by AutoWeek as saying that there would be no seven-seat Grand Cherokee as such, since current owners saw the vehicle's "nimbleness and compact dimensions" as advantages. However, the Grand Cherokee platform, already rumored to be the basis of a Mercedes full-size van and a possible minivan, will be adapted to a separate seven-seat model, long rumored as the new Wagoneer.

Reported by Dave at (March 22 2004, 09 AM)

March sales

Chrysler overall sales have fallen 2% month to month, with a first-quarter rise of 3%. Car sales plunged 10% for the month, 17% for the quarter; truck sales remained even for the month, up 8% for the quarter. It is important to note that the Intrepid, Concorde, and 300M ceased production and so sales declines are to be expected (300 is repoted as having a sales increase, oddly). For results by car, click on "FULL STORY."

General Motors recorded across the board sales increases, with trucks gaining 4% and cars rising 9% compared with March 2003. Total first quarter sales were up 5% over last year, with trucks gaining 7.5% and cars 1.5%.

At Ford, sales rose 3% overall March to March, with trucks rising 8.4% and cars falling 6.6%. Their gains were led by the F-Series and Escape, with the Taurus and Focus both falling 16% and 21% respectively. Despite the sales growth of the F-150, Ford has raised the rebate package to $1,500.

Nissan saw an incredible 30% gain, albeit on far fewer sales than GM or Ford.

Mercedes has fallen 10% compared to March 2003, and 5% quarter-to-quarter. Chrysler Group sells roughly ten times as many vehicles in the US as Mercedes.

Bill Cawthon noted: "Toyota was up, Caravan is still ahead of Sienna and Odyssey. Lexus and Acura both set records, and BMW, Porsche and Audi all had strong months."

Reported by Dave at (April 01 2004, 02 PM)

Briefs

The Mopar Nationals will be held on the weekend of May 15-16. On Saturday, only muffled cars will race - including a new class, front wheel drive. The racing fee is $25. (Thanks, Steve Menegon.)

Ford has been refused the rights to Futura, their planned name for a new midsized car, as a court found that the trademark belongs to Pep Boys. (Unlike copyrights, trademarks last only a short time after their final commercial use.)

Reported by Dave at (April 06 2004, 08 AM)

Jeep Grand Cherokee, Liberty diesel introduced

Jeep has unveiled its long-anticipated 2005 Grand Cherokee, as well as an updated Liberty complete with a diesel option. We have details - see the home page.

Reported by Dave at (April 07 2004, 08 AM)

Auto Show Update

As expected, Chrysler introduced the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the revised Liberty, which includes a more-differentiated Renegade model as well as a diesel option. These are both described in detail on the home page. The diesel was very quiet - quieter, in fact, than the 3.7 liter V6.

We noted that AutoStick is being replaced by a new electronic gearshift in both the LX series and in the Grand Cherokee. The new system does not yet have a trademarked name (lots of people will be disappointed if it is named Charger). This shifter avoids some of the awkwardness of an AutoStick by acting only temporarily; you control the gears until you reach cruising speed, or come to a stop, as it was explained to us. The idea is that you will use it when you want to override the transmission temporarily. This avoids the embarrassing "oops, I left it in AutoStick" high-revving that some have experienced coming away from a stoplight. The shifter does not have different Drive and Override positions; to override, you push the shifter left or right.

The Grand Cherokee is far more elegant from the side than it would seem in the photos, and looks better from side or back than the current model. The front still takes getting used to, though it's not so bad in 3/4 view. The chrome trim works well.

Jeep reps pointed to better off-road capabilities - the independent front suspension was designed by Jeep for Jeep (Eric Ridenour emphasized the Jeep origin of the suspension. Mercedes was never mentioned even though they supply the V6 transmission.) There has been a 10% increase in suspension travel, an improvement in articulation, and, perhaps most important, far faster reactions by the electronically controlled clutches than with the past pumps. In addition to reacting with 45 degrees of a wheel turn, the new system operates whether the accelerator is pressed or not - unlike the current pump-operated Varilock system.

Both Joe Eberhardt, speaking with a mild German accent, and Eric Ridenour expressed pride in the Jeep name and brand. They did not introduce the new models until several older vehicles, from the original Army Jeep through to the previous Grand Cherokee, had run over the dirt course. They also showed images of a number of past Jeeps on the monitor, one from an AMC brochure - with the logo still showing.

Camp Jeep is in a large area to the side of the main auto show, with an off-road course that looks quite imposing - including steep dirt hills. Smaller people will have their own miniature play area, with miniature Jeeps, while adults are driven across the track by professional drivers.

We will update our pages over the next day or two to include this information, as well as additional details that are being provided.

Reported by Dave2 at (April 07 2004, 03 PM)

Auto Show Update

As expected, Chrysler introduced the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the revised Liberty, which includes a more-differentiated Renegade model as well as a diesel option. These are both described in detail on the home page. The diesel was very quiet - quieter, in fact, than the 3.7 liter V6.

We noted that AutoStick is being replaced by a new electronic gearshift in both the LX series and in the Grand Cherokee. The new system does not yet have a trademarked name (lots of people will be disappointed if it is named Charger). This shifter avoids some of the awkwardness of an AutoStick by acting only temporarily; you control the gears until you reach cruising speed, or come to a stop, as it was explained to us. The idea is that you will use it when you want to override the transmission temporarily. This avoids the embarrassing "oops, I left it in AutoStick" high-revving that some have experienced coming away from a stoplight. The shifter does not have different Drive and Override positions; to override, you push the shifter left or right.

The Grand Cherokee is far more elegant from the side than it would seem in the photos, and looks better from side or back than the current model. The front still takes getting used to, though it's not so bad in 3/4 view. The chrome trim works well.

Jeep reps pointed to better off-road capabilities - the independent front suspension was designed by Jeep for Jeep (Eric Ridenour emphasized the Jeep origin of the suspension. Mercedes was never mentioned even though they supply the V6 transmission.) There has been a 10% increase in suspension travel, an improvement in articulation, and, perhaps most important, far faster reactions by the electronically controlled clutches than with the past pumps. In addition to reacting with 45 degrees of a wheel turn, the new system operates whether the accelerator is pressed or not - unlike the current pump-operated Varilock system.

Both Joe Eberhardt, speaking with a mild German accent, and Eric Ridenour expressed pride in the Jeep name and brand. They did not introduce the new models until several older vehicles, from the original Army Jeep through to the previous Grand Cherokee, had run over the dirt course. They also showed images of a number of past Jeeps on the monitor, one from an AMC brochure - with the logo still showing.

Camp Jeep is in a large area to the side of the main auto show, with an off-road course that looks quite imposing - including steep dirt hills. Smaller people will have their own miniature play area, with miniature Jeeps, while adults are driven across the track by professional drivers.

We will update our pages over the next day or two to include this information, as well as additional details that are being provided.

Reported by Dave2 at (April 07 2004, 03 PM)

Grand Cherokee grows five inches

The 2005 Grand Cherokee will be five inches longer than the current model - we had reported it would be about the same size. Thanks, Wilson and Elizabeth Tiede, for pointing this out.

Reported by Dave at (April 09 2004, 09 AM)

DCX accused of discrimination

A former dealer has accused Chrysler of race discrimination, backed up by depositions of DaimlerChrysler employees. Chrysler is accused of denying loans to black customers, demanding that people be fired based on their color, and of repossessing vehicles based on the color of the buyers. Chrysler has denied the charges, charging the dealer who made the accusations with fraud. The full story is at the Detroit Free Press.

Reported by Dave at (April 12 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler media days

Three brand-specific national "Premiere Night/Days" events will give the public a "sneak preview" of the new Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge products, some on display before they become widely available.

More than four million consumers have been invited to the first "Premiere Night" on April 22, occurring at more than 2,100 participating Chrysler brand dealerships representing nearly 90% of total Chrysler brand sales volume. Invitations were mailed to current and prospective owners inviting them to see the new face of Chrysler vehicles -- the all-new Chrysler 300, the Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible and Chrysler Pacifica.

"'Premiere Night/Days' events are designed to look and feel like a Hollywood premiere with the vehicles serving as the 'stars'," said Gary Dilts, Senior Vice President - Sales, Chrysler Group.

Participating dealerships will be decorated to create "buzz" and excitement providing the opportunity to spotlight not only the products, but also the latest in vehicle technology and quality.

The April 22 event will be followed by two "Premiere Days" of public celebration when consumers are invited to visit their local participating Chrysler dealer for all of the festivities associated with "Premiere Night."

In addition to direct mail invitations, consumers can learn more about Chrysler "Premiere Days" through owner publications, the brand Web site, www.Chrysler.com/premieredays, and online advertising.

The Dodge"Premiere Night" will be held on June 17, and the Jeep Premiere Night will take place in the fall.

Reported by Dave at (April 13 2004, 02 PM)

New Chrysler models?

Stratuscaster noted a number of new trademarks published for opposition:

These may give some indication about Chrysler's future names.

Reported by Dave at (April 14 2004, 01 PM)

No more Neons for the UK

Pete Court, whose family owns two Neons - which one British motor magazine called "the best American car ever to be imported to the UK" - noted that Chrysler's magazine "Freedom" carried a "farewell Neon" article. Despite the UK being one of the largest markets for Neons outside North America, it will not be receiving any new Neons, and apparently the company has not shipped any to England for some time. Pete wrote, " to withdraw a model with almost two years to wait for a replacement must be folly."

The 300C will arrive in the UK in 2005.

Reported by Dave at (April 16 2004, 08 PM)

Chrysler ranked high in diversity-friendliness

DiversityInc named Chrysler Group to its Top 50 list for Diversity this week. The announcement marked the first time Chrysler Group has joined the list of honorees.

The annual national listing, now in its fourth year, is one of the most comprehensive diversity metrics in corporate America. Chrysler Group finished 39th out of a total of 178 companies considered in the process.

This year, the questions were analyzed over a period of six months and virtually all of them were revised or augmented, for a total of 122 questions that are so specific and detailed that a true, metrical picture of corporate diversity emerged, said Barbara Frankel, DiversityInc Executive Editor.

Chrysler Groups commitment to diversity extends throughout the organization, including supplier and dealer operations. Chrysler Group remains an industry leader in dollars spent with minority suppliers with nearly 11 percent spent in 2003. Chrysler Groups Minority Dealer Program outperformed the corporate average in new vehicle sales and revenues in 2003 with $3.5 billion in sales.

In addition, Chrysler Group was recognized as a "Top 100 Company" by Working Mother Magazine for the seventh consecutive year. The Company was the only automotive company to make Working Mother's list this year and one of only two companies in Michigan named to the list. Latina Style Magazine also has named Chrysler Group one of the "Top 50" places to work for Hispanic women for six consecutive years.

Companies in the diversity poll were evaluated based on a 122 questions requesting specific details on corporate diversity management, leadership and marketing.

Diversity is, in essence, a measure of how friendly organizations are to people of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, genders, and other demographics often associated with prejudice. The auto industry's management has tended to be predominantly white and male. While some associate diversity with passing over qualified white males for promotion or hiring, it should be noted that the opposite seems more prevalent: passing over more-qualified "nontraditional" or "diverse" candidates or suppliers.

Reported by Dave at (April 20 2004, 03 PM)

Chrysler supply chief's speech

Peter Rosenfeld, Executive Vice President of Procurement and Supply (replacing Tom Sidlik), gave a moderately interesting speech to the Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association in Canada on April 14. To read the full text, click on "Full Story."

Reported by Dave at (April 20 2004, 03 PM)

Chrysler new product party

Chrysler's coming-out party for the 300 and other vehicles is tonight, at 2,100 dealerships across the United States. Canada's turn will be April28, with a Hollywood theme. Selected customers (not us for some reason!) received invitations; others can show up as well. Expected are local parties, entertainment, and test drives (or appointments to take test drives.)

DCX said that 100,000 Chrysler 300s had been presold (presumably to dealers rather than individuals).

Reported by Dave at (April 22 2004, 01 PM)

DCX to avoid larger Mitsubishi stake

After replacing Mitsubishi Motors' top executive with one of their own, DCX has refused to invest more money in Mitsubishi Motors (MMC). Rumor had it that DCX would raise its investment to 50%, at the cost of $3.8 billion. MMC will instead sell more stock; another DCX executive will head the auto company, which is trying to reduce its $9 billion of debt. MMC's work with Chrysler is unlikely to be affected.

In other news, Hyundai reportedly has chosen to avoid further DCX entanglements.

Reported by Dave at (April 23 2004, 08 AM)

Premier Night Review

Click on "Full Story" for E8502's Premier Night review.

Reported by Dave at (April 23 2004, 08 AM)

Schrempp resigns?

Strong rumors suggest that Juergen Schrempp and one of his top officers have offered to resign after their attempt to buy more Mitsubishi stock was rebuffed by DCX's supervisory board. At some point today, the supervisory board is reportedly going to act on Schrempp's resignation. In the past they have supported him - but it's worth noting that the company's stock price leaped on the rumor, and that a major German bank upgraded DCX stock to "buy."

The "loss" of Juergen Schrempp would open many possibilities, including greater support of Chrysler.

Reported by dave2 at (April 29 2004, 09 AM)

News note

We are currently away from Allpar and will only be posting major breaking news until Monday.

Reported by dave2 at (April 29 2004, 09 AM)

See the | Category Allpar |

Schrempp staying

In a move that will not surprise those who followed the DCX board, Juergen Schrempp's resignation was rejected. However, former Chrysler #2 Wolfgang Bernhard will leave the corporation. The board again voted its full support for Schrempp. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the market.

Reported by dave2 at (April 29 2004, 04 PM)

Bernhard: more details

Wolfgang Bernhard has apparently not been officially fired, but will neither regain his #2 job at Chrysler, nor the #1 job at Mercedes. This change comes after he opposed Schrempp's plan to increase DCX's share of Mitsubishi, and can be seen as revenge by those so inclined. Bernhard had been favored by Schrempp and was seen as a protege; he was also credited with cost-cutting at Chrysler, which has been a double-edged sword, leaving the company without needed engineers and facilities, and providing Ford, GM, Toyota, and Honda with skilled engineers. Bernhard's future is unclear, but there was resistance at Mercedes to his management style and plans.

Reported by dave2 at (April 30 2004, 01 PM)

Profits and quality

Chrysler posted a $366 million quarterly profit, far below GM or Ford, but still better than a loss. Due to opacity of bookkeeping, we retain a healthy skepticism on any numbers coming from DCX.

Reported by dave2 at (April 30 2004, 01 PM)

JD Power initial quality results

J.D. Power's initial-quality findings had some interesting aspects, though the validity of the 90-day survey is always questionable - since many manufacturing defects will not show up in the first 3 months, and since dealer preparation and inspection can greatly influence the results by catching obvious problems, we do not consider it a good indicator of long-term reliability or durability.

As usual, Lexus made the #1 spot. Cadillac was a close #2, with Jaguar at a surprising #3, followed by Honda, Buick, Mercury, and, yes, Hyundai. Mercedes does not show up until the #10 spot - below Hyundai - and is just below Toyota. Chrysler and Dodge are neck and neck just below the industry average and Chevrolet, with Jeep between Saab and BMW-owned Mini. Chrysler and Dodge both easily beat Ford.

The bottom marques were quite expensive: Hummer, Volkswagen, and Porsche. Surprisingly, Toyota-owned Scion was the #4 worst, and Japanese brands Mazda and Nissan were both near the bottom.

As if to show the lack of validity of these findings, while Hyundai was one of the top brands, Kia was one of the bottom brands. Hyundai owns Kia, and the two share most designs.

Reported by dave2 at (April 30 2004, 01 PM)

Motor Trend puts Durango above competitors

The new Dodge Durango, reportedly based on the Ram rather than the Dakota, has beaten the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, Nissan Armada, and Toyota Sequoia in Motor Trend's testing. (Thanks, "70MoparMan")

Reported by Dave at (May 03 2004, 10 AM)

Ram 4000 offered in Mexico

Dodge is rolling out a Ram 4000 in Mexico. According to ScottB, it's most likely a version of the Ram 3500 with added capacity - he noted that the previous generation had a similar model with an about-1,000 pounds higher gross vehicle weight rating.

Reported by Dave at (May 03 2004, 10 AM)

See the | Category Chrysler |

Chrysler's J.D. Power spin

While Chrysler did not have any above-average brands in the most recent J.D. Power 90-day survey - whose validity for real-world durability we have questioned because it may measure factory and dealer inspection as much as manufacturing and design - it did register
Chrysler Group's 11 percent improvement in the latest J.D. Power IQS results marks our 14th consecutive year of quality improvement a claim that cannot be made by any other manufacturer and is further proof that our quality initiatives are being validated. Dramatic improvement in such areas as Chrysler and Dodge brand (each 12 percent), Jeep Wrangler (30 percent) and our minivans (17 percent for Chrysler and 12 percent for Dodge) are significant.

Our product launch discipline remains a strength at Chrysler Group with another improvement over last year (nearly 3-percent) improvement on new product launches (i.e., manufacturers traditionally experience a decline in quality on new launches). In addition, we can be proud of winning two Best-in-Class awards with the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty and Dodge Stratus coupe.

Reported by Dave at (May 03 2004, 11 AM)

Chrysler sales up slightly from last year, Ford down a bit

Chrysler's April 2004 sales rose roughly 1% over April 2003, while Mercedes climbed about 3%. Ford reported a slight fall, while GM, hit with a computer glitch, will report tomorrow. We will report further details when we can.

Reported by Dave at (May 03 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler sales detail

While General Motors reported a 1.5% increase in truck sales and a 2% decline in car sales for April (compared with April 2003), and Ford announced a 4.6% drop for the same period, Toyota jumped 10%, Nissan rose 14%, and BMW rose 11%. Honda declined slightly (2.4%) and Hyundai stayed even with April 2003. Analysts blamed fuel costs for "tepid" sales, though it's worth noting that truck sales were good. Incentives across the board, averaging nearly $3,600, fell slightly since last month (March 2004).

Moving on to Chrysler sales (from this point, we are using year-to-year figures, not month-to-month), the big gainers for the month were the Jeep Wrangler, up an amazing 52% - presumably aided by the Trail Rated ads and the Renegade model. The Liberty and Grand Cherokee also posted gains of 13% and 8%, raising the Jeep brand overall 17%. The Grand Cherokee remains the biggest selling Jeep, with more than double the sales of the Wrangler, and better sales than the Neon, Stratus, PT Cruiser, or Town & Country.

The Chrysler 300 and 300M sold 14,653 units in 2004, posting a theoretical percentage gain if you consider the 300 to be replacing the 300M only - but since it and the Magnum replace the Concorde and Intrepid as well, it's a bit early for champagne. For obvious reasons - it's not produced any more - the Concorde and Intrepid have fallen about 80% each.

The major drops were sometimes quite understandable - the Dakota down 10% as people wait for the replacement, the Caravan and Town & Country down 9% and 7% for the same reason (as well as the Sienna and Quest), and the Ram Van/Wagon winding down with a 55% drop. The only other loser is the Stratus, whose 4% fall is matched by the Sebring's 6% gain.

The Neon is continuing to stay stable with a 1% sales gain for the year, selling a respectable 43,438 units over four months - not quite Valiant volumes, but still more than some other automakers. The PT Cruiser is neck and neck with the Neon for sales, at 43,183, with an overall 6% gain - and we suspect a V6 is in the works for next year, to boost sales even more. Not bad for a "niche" vehicle.

The Ram pickup was up 1% for the year, but it's worth noting that it fell 7% April 2004 to April 2003. 136,129 Rams were sold in the first four months, which is only 13,000 units away from all Chrysler and Dodge cars combined.

The Durango picked up more steam, possibly thanks to many favorable reviews in popular magazines. Keeping the Durango name was an interesting choice, since the vehicle moved from the Dakota to the Ram platform; we'd have thought Ramcharger would be more appropriate.

Overall, Chrysler appears to be poised for greater success, with the Trail Rated campaign apparently doing well and the Chrysler 300 and Magnum splashing favorable press across other models.

Click on "full story" to see a table with all the individual model sales figures.

Reported by Dave at (May 04 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler 300 in first comparison test

Road and Track tested seven "super sedans" and found the 300 to be solidly in the middle at #4 of 7. The 300 tested had the 3.5 liter V6. It was beaten in their review by the Cadillac CTS (the winner), Mercedes E320, and Jaguar S, but it beat the Audi A6 Quattro, BMW 530i (!), and Volvo S80 turbo six. That's a very good result especially given that Jaguar, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes are generally given the "benefit of the doubt" by enthusiast magazines.

Reported by Dave at (May 05 2004, 08 AM)

Two Chryslers to run the Historic Mille Migla

Two historic Chrysler Roadsters take part in one of the world's top classic race events, the Historic Mille Miglia race in Brescia, Italy. Dieter Zesche and Joe Eberhardt will pilot a 1929 Chrysler 75 Roadster and a 1930 Chrysler 77 Roadster.

"An auto company's heritage is something that should be cherished and celebrated," said Zetsche, "and I can think of no better way to do that than to race the worlds classic cars side by side. At the Mille Miglia, every vehicle is a chapter of our industry's great past."

Sitting in the 1929 Chrysler 75 Roadster along with Zetsche will be co-driver Denise McCluggage, a U.S. freelance journalist and a pioneer in automotive racing. Privately owned by a distinguished businessman in Australia, this vehicle has run in the Mille Miglia four times previously, and has participated in several other races and rallies, most notably the Classic Le Mans 24 Hour Race in France.

The 1,447 kg (3,190 lb.) Chrysler 75 has a 4,083 cc (249 cu. in.) six-cylinder engine, which produces 64 kW (84 bhp) at 3,400 rpm. 48,850 versions of this vehicle, in multiple body styles, were produced by Chrysler.

Joe Eberhardt and his co-driver, Daniele Protti, an Italian freelance journalist, will compete in a 1930 Chrysler 77 Roadster from the Chrysler Classic Car collection. The 1,558 kg (3,435 lb.) Chrysler 77 is fitted with a 4,410 cc (269 cu. in.) six-cylinder engine, producing 69 kW (93 bhp) at 3,200 rpm. 9,913 versions of the Chrysler 77 were produced in all body types.

Only cars built and driven during the period of the original Mille Miglia 1927 to 1957 are eligible for the race.

Starting today in Brescia and traveling through Ferrara and Rome before returning to Brescia, the grueling three-day schedule is not for the faint-hearted. Departure of the first vehicle starts out at approximately 6:30 AM, and arrival of the vehicles at the end of the lap begins after 9:30 PM.

Reported by Dave at (May 06 2004, 03 PM)

AutoPacific: two Chryslers best in class

Two Chrysler Group products have been named segment leaders in the 2004 AutoPacific vehicle customer vehicle satisfaction study. The Chrysler PT Cruiser tops the vehicle satisfaction survey in the compact sport utility segment and the Dodge Ram Heavy Duty Truckisthe leader among large heavy-duty trucks.

The annual study by AutoPacific measures customer satisfaction in 44 specific areas related to a vehicle's operation, comfort, and safety as well as the overall lease/purchase experiences. More than 32,000 individuals who purchased or leased new vehicles in 2003 contributed to the study results.

Lincoln, Cadillac, and Lexus were the top three brands, with very close scores. The vehicle with highest overall satisfaction was, for the fifth consecutive year, the Lexus LS430 - barely edging out the Cadillac Escalade EXT.

GM had four winners, Mercedes one (the SL). It is worth noting that Toyota did not pick up any honors outside of its Lexus brand.

The survey does not stress quality, but the overall experience, including the sales and service experience; this may help the more expensive brands. Aside from the PT, most of the winners seemed to be at the high end of their segments - including the Ram Heavy Duty which sells at a premium. The primary exception seems to be the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Reported by Dave at (May 07 2004, 02 PM)

Changes in vehicle development

Chrysler Group today announced changes to its Product Development organization primarily designed to finalize the consolidation of its Product Teams into three basic architectures. The realigned teams will be called Front-Wheel Drive (combining the Small Car Product Team and the Family Vehicle Product Team), Rear-Wheel Drive (consolidating the Activity Vehicle Product Team and Premium Vehicle Product Team) and Body-on-Frame (previously known as the Truck Product Team).

In addition, a new team has been formed to provide greater focus on advanced development of core components and systems and standardized processes across all product teams. This team is headed by Frank Klegon, formerly the VP of the Truck Product Team, who will also take on oversight of quality processes.

The reasons as described by Eric Ridenour (Executive Vice President - Product Development) were:

"In this structure, the Product Team Vice President has overall responsibility for platform architecture, all the products and derivatives of that architecture plus best practices, re-use and commonality across those products. Below this level, we created Chief Engineers to follow specific programs and make certain that each individual product exceeds the customer expectations for it, has a consistent personality, unique selling propositions and meets all of the demanding functional targets such as performance, fuel economy, ride and handling and the business targets on cost and investment.

"The new Product Development Process and Components group will ensure that we develop components that allow the Product Teams to meet their objectives, while ensuring a high level of commonality and re-use across teams. They will also be responsible for developing new and innovative components that are derived from our global work on best specifications, best methods of testing and validation, best suppliers and best quality. This team will also make certain that we continue to develop our Chrysler Development and Quality Gate system to maintain our leadership in this area."

Reported by Dave at (May 07 2004, 03 PM)

Sport Compact rates Saturn Red Line against SRT-4

http://www.sportcompactcarweb.com/road tests/0405scc_redline/ (thanks, dirtytiki)

The review seems fair and unbiased - a far cry from many publications.

Reported by Dave at (May 12 2004, 03 PM)

DCX to sell Hyundai stake

DCX announced that it would be selling its 10.5% stake in Hyundai. The Korean automaker has rapidly been increasing its quality, and has been making sales gains which should increase dramatically once it has access to the DCX "World engine."

Reported by Dave at (May 13 2004, 08 AM)

WPC Museum hosts new collection

The Inspired Chrysler Design exhibit will include a 1924 Phaeton, 1928 Le Mans race car replica, 1931 Imperial Town Car, 1932 Imperial Speedster, 1932 Imperial limo, 1937 Imperial Airflow Limousine, 1941 and 1933 Thunderbolt concepts, 1941 Newport Dual Cowl Phaeton show car, 1994 Chrysler Atlantic concept car, and variations of currently produced vehicles. This show will be the first time the Chrysler family's private vehicles will be shown together in decades. (See Full Story for admission information.)

Reported by Dave at (May 14 2004, 02 PM)

Inventory

Genciu wrote:

55-60 days inventory is considered "normal" in the industry. Chrysler 300 is at 35 days overall, with total inventory listed at 13,000.

Pacifica is going in the opposite direction as sales were down last month and production is way up, with 2005 models filling the pipeline. They went from a 61 days supply to 98 days.

Dakota is at 103, probably building up supply to get them through the change-over period this summer.

Durango. 137 days supply....up from a 115 days supply last month.

Ram pickup is at 116 days.... (Ford F-series is at 105 and Silverado is at 94.) [We have been told summer is the selling season, so they may all be stocking up.]

Caravan is looking good at 53 days and T&C is at 73.

Reported by Dave at (May 14 2004, 02 PM)

Last WJ being built; New Grand Cherokees coming soon

"oh2o" noted that the last of the current Grand Cherokees is scheduled to be built on Friday, May 21. Production of the next-generation Grand Cherokee should start on July 19. "It appears the last model is going to be the Rocky Mountain Edition, already available ... it is simply a "Columbia Edition" with some options rearranged. They already had the badges made as this name was used for the Canadian version of the Freedom Edition that came out in early 2003. I think a lot of people were hoping for something special, as they did at the end of the first generation in 1998 with the 5.9 version. It looks like the WJ will quietly fade away...

Reported by Dave at (May 17 2004, 12 PM)

DCX sells New Venture Gear

DCX has sold most of New Venture Gear, formed by GM and Chrysler (and best known to Mopar folk as the maker of Neon manual transmissions). A new corporation, New Process Gear, Inc., will be created, owned 80% by Magna International and 20% by DCX. Magna will acquire the remaining 20% in September 2007. The total purchase price will be $435 million, based on New Venture Gear's financial position on December 31, 2003. (see Full Story for details.)

Reported by Dave at (May 18 2004, 02 PM)

Ford ignores safety yet again

Detroit News found that Ford had overruled its own engineers in keeping weak latches on 4.1 million trucks. The engineers had recommended a recall when the latches were found to not meet Federal standards; instead, Ford retested them using a rarely-used alternative test. Vehicles built with the latch were certain 1997-2000 F-series pickups, Expeditions, and Navigators. Ford did change the design for future models. Ford is now facing a number of liability suits from fatal accidents where vehicle doors flew open, apparently due to latch failure. These suits seem to be more substantive than the old Chrysler minivan latch issue, where it seemed that most plaintiffs had not worn seat belts or had not attached seats properly prior to ejections.

Federal officials are reviewing Ford's actions, both in avoiding a recall and in not notifying the NHTSA.

In other news, Ford stopped the sale of a number of F-series pickups built with tires that are not rated for the vehicle's full load.

Reported by Dave at (May 19 2004, 01 PM)

DCX and Hyundai Motors Announce Realignment of Strategic Alliance

DaimlerChrysler AG and Hyundai Motor Company announced today that they have agreed to realign their strategic alliance to better reflect their respective companies current business and strategic objectives. Under the agreement Hyundai Motor will acquire Daimler Chrysler's 50 % stake in Daimler Hyundai Truck Corporation, an existing commercial vehicle engine joint venture in Korea. The parties have also agreed to terminate certain associated licensing and other commercial arrangements, including the talks regarding a comprehensive commercial vehicle joint venture in Korea. (full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 19 2004, 02 PM)

Jeep and Genesis Orlando Inc. Announce New Animated Film

The Jeep Brand and Genesis Orlando Inc. Announce New Animated Film - "Tugger, the Jeep 4x4 Who Wanted to Fly"

Jeep Brand and Genesis Orlando, a digital animation production company, entered into a licensing and marketing agreement on May 5, 2004, to launch the animated film property "Tugger, the Jeep 4x4 who wanted to Fly". (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 19 2004, 03 PM)

ME-412 still a "go"

Eric Ridenour told Auto Week that prototypes are being tested and that the press would be able to drive it within 2004; he also said Wolfgang Bernhard's departure would not affect the supercar.

That said, Ridenour said they still had to make sure there was a solid business case for producing the ME-412 - so it is not yet a done deal.

Zero to sixty is expected to be 3.0 seconds (Corvette Z06 is 4.0), with a top speed of 240 mph and a quarter mile time of 11.0 seconds. (Thanks, "George Jetson," for the link.)

Reported by Dave at (May 20 2004, 01 PM)

Chrysler Group's SUV sales humming along for 2004

Chrysler Group's SUV sales are humming along in 2004 with all four Chrysler Group SUVs -- Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Durango showing significant year-over-year sales growth of 17 percent in year-to-date sales through April. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 20 2004, 06 PM)

Chrysler Group Launches "Top Down Days" '04

Chrysler Group Launches Top Down Days To Kick-Off 2004 Convertible Season

Chrysler Group, America's convertible company, kicks-off the official convertible season and long-awaited summer months with the launch of National Top Down Days, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Chrysler Group invites drivers to join in the sun, fun and style of Top Down Days, celebrating the introduction of two new Chrysler convertibles - the Crossfire Roadster and the Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 21 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler Group Reports Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Sales for April

Chrysler Group reported Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle (CPOV) sales of 8,758 units in April 2004, a decrease of 2 percent versus April 2003. Year-to-date sales totaled 33,872 units, an increase of 12 percent over year-to-date totals for 2003 when 30,208 units were sold.

Although April didn't meet our expectations, strong sales momentum in late April helped to achieve our third best month ever and confirms our long-term CPOV strategy, said Ray Fisher, Chrysler Group Vice President Fleet and Remarketing. Were outpacing the industry with our results. We are optimistic about continued volume growth within the CPOV segment.

Chrysler brand sales totaled 2,527 units in April 2004, a decrease of 12 percent over April 2003. Several nameplates posted sales gains in the month of April. Chrysler Town & Country posted sales of 639 units, an increase of7 percent compared to April 2003. Chrysler PT Cruiser sales increased 44 percent to 494 units versus April 2003. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 24 2004, 02 PM)

Luxury vehicles traded in for the Chrysler 300

The 2005 Chrysler 300, a brashly styled rear-drive sedan, is attracting some owners of competing domestic and import luxury vehicles, according to Automotive News. Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lexus models are being traded for the Chrysler 300, albeit in small numbers, according to early buyer data analyzed by the Power Information Network for Automotive News. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 25 2004, 06 AM)

DC Pulls Out of Normal, No more Mitsubishi built coupes

"trenton engineer" Reports:

I just got this off Bloomberg a few minutes ago. According to the report DCX isn't building any more coupes at the Normal plants after June 2005 and that future Chrysler products will be built in Chrysler facilities. Allegedly the decision was made before the divorce back in April. However, what was not reported was whether or not any other future product was going to be built there.

Reported by Chris H at (May 26 2004, 07 AM)

300C/Magnum R/T transmission issues?

We have gotten feedback from a number of sources suggesting that a high number of service bulletins have already been issued on the Mercedes-designed five-speed automatic used behind Hemi engines on the 300C and Magnum R/T. Though only a few of these vehicles are in the hands of customers, there have reportedly already been buybacks due to full transmission failure - again, only on the Mercedes-designed automatics. On the lighter side, we have not heard of problems on the Chrysler part of the powertrain, that is, the four-speed automatics or the engines, including the Multiple Displacement System used on the Hemi.

Chrysler's reputation once again rests on the reliability of these new vehicles, as they are gaining a large number of converts from other brands - including much more expensive luxury and import brands. For this reason, it is critical that reliability be far above average. The Neon also attracted a large number of import buyers, but issues on first-year models appear to have severely damaged Chrysler's ability to sell without large rebates.

Reported by Dave at (May 26 2004, 12 PM)

Chrysler 2005 build schedule [rumor]

These were just supplied to us - we hope they are accurate. They should reflect the "Job One" (production start) dates for 2005 models. The 300 and 300C are already in production. Some of these appear to reflect Canadian versions.

CHRYSLER
New Crossfire including Convertible -- March 1, 2004
Pacifica -- July 26, 2004
PT Cruiser Convertible -- June 28, 2004
PT Cruiser -- June 28, 2004
Sebring -- July 19, 2004
Town & Country (Stow 'N Go) -- July 26, 2004

DODGE
SX 2.0 (Canadian Neon) -- July 19, 2004
All New Dakota -- July 28, 2004
Caravan -- July 26, 2004
Caravan C/V -- July 26, 2004
Durango -- August 2, 2004
Grand Caravan -- July 26, 2004
Grand Caravan (Stow 'N Go) -- July 26, 2004
Grand Caravan C/V -- July 26, 2004
Magnum -- July 19, 2004
New Charger -- April 4, 2005 (Tentative)
Ram Pick Up -- July 26, 2004
Sprinter -- September 1, 2004
Viper -- July 29, 2004

JEEP
New Grand Cherokee -- July 19, 2004
New Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited -- August 30, 2004
Liberty -- July 12, 2004
Liberty Diesel -- October, 2004 (Tentative)

Reported by Dave at (May 26 2004, 02 PM)

Ford fined again for withholding evidence - again

Detroit News noted that Ford has frequently withheld or concealed evidence in court cases, in many cases apparently illegally. In February, a judge fined Ford $44,000 for failing to produce internal documents about pickup truck door handles. In Michigan, a judge called Ford's conduct outrageous fraud (in a case regarding an accident that resulted in brain damage to a toddler). The article notes that while other companies have sometimes done the same, Ford seems to have a stronger pattern of refusing to provide requested documents and concealing evidence (e.g. claiming no studies were done when in reality they were).

Reported by Dave at (May 26 2004, 03 PM)

Bush moves to remove more environmental regulations

In a rather unsurprising move, George Bush finally unveiled his response to rising gasoline prices: removing rules designed to lower toxic gasoline vapors so that oil companies do not need to have as many different blends for fuel sold in different regions. This move would help to relieve local shortages caused by oil companies which closed down too many refineries in cost-reductions moves, but would not have a significant impact on gas prices caused by rising oil prices. The primary beneficiaries would be oil companies.

Reported by Dave at (May 27 2004, 08 AM)

Walter P. Chrysler Museum Hosts Collection of Chrysler Classic, Custom and Concept's

Walter P. Chrysler Museum Hosts First-Ever Collection of Chrysler Classic, Custom and Concept Vehicles

Inspired Chrysler Design: The Art of Driving
Runs May 27 - Sept. 19, 2004

Extraordinary Chrysler Automobiles Spanning Eight Decades

Retrospective Heralds Introduction of 2005 Chrysler 300

The Walter P. Chrysler Museum is presenting Inspired Chrysler Design: The Art of Driving, an all-Chrysler special exhibition featuring extraordinary cars spanning eight decades, Thursday, May 27 - Sunday, Sept. 19, 2004.

The exhibition showcases vehicles recognized for design and engineering excellence from distinguished private collections, the Museum Collection and Chrysler Design Office. Among the more than 25 cars - including several one-of-a-kind models - assembled for Inspired Chrysler Design: (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 27 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler Group Makes the Stretch to Become More Flexible in Toledo

Chrysler Group Makes the Stretch to Become More Flexible in Toledo

Building the 2004 1/2 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is more complex than simply stretching the wheelbase. Converting the manufacturing facilities - including the oldest operating automotive plant in the country - into modern, flexible production facilities stretched the ingenuity of Chrysler Group workers.

The new Wrangler Unlimited offers double the cargo capacity and is 15 inches longer than the original Wrangler. The Toledo (Ohio) South Assembly Plant encompasses the Stickney Avenue Plant, built in 1942, and the Parkway Annex, which began life as a bicycle plant in 1904. Stamping, body and paint facilities are located at Parkway; trim, chassis and final assembly take place at Stickney.

"For many manufacturers, it might be easier and more desirable to start with a clean slate and build a greenfield site," said Frank Ewasyshyn, Chrysler Group Executive Vice President - Manufacturing. "But Toledo is the home of the Jeep Wrangler and the loyal workforce provided the ingenuity and commitment needed to adopt the latest manufacturing technologies into a century-old manufacturing site." (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (May 27 2004, 03 PM)

Chrysler Nassau "Concept"

Members of the Allpar Forums were amazed to see the "Chrysler Nassau," a "concept" from 2000 to show up at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum's Inspired Chrysler Design event. According to DaimlerChrysler, the vehicle was, "...Neither a concept nor pre-production model, was born of a Chrysler design exercise in 2000 and became a working model for Chrysler Group engineers and designers in developing what is now the 2005 Chrysler 300."

Very little information is available on this car, with the only photographs coming from Chrysler themselves. Seems we're just now seeing the early phases of the 2005 Chrysler 300's development.

Reported by Chris H at (June 01 2004, 06 PM)

Chrysler sales up 5% - details

With a 12 percent increase in retail sales (fleets are lagging), Chrysler reported an overall five percent sales increase over May 2003, bringing the year to date total to a net increase of 2 percent (20,000 vehicles). Overall, month-to-month, car sales were down 3 percent in May and truck sales were up 8 percent. Year-to-year, car sales were down 11 percent, truck sales up 7 percent. (See Full Story).

Reported by Dave at (June 02 2004, 12 PM)

Heads of State to ride in GEM Vehicles

DaimlerChrysler GEM Electric Vehicles To Transport World Leaders at June G8 Summit

World leaders including U.S. President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Russian President Vladimir Putin and heads of other leading nations, will travel in clean, quiet GEM electric vehicles at this summers Group of 8 (G8) Summit at Sea Island, Georgia.

DaimlerChrysler is providing38 GEMs for use at the summit, that will bring together the leaders of the worlds major industrial democracies for three days of talks June 8-10. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 02 2004, 02 PM)

Most automakers have good month

Chrysler was not the only automaker to do well in May 2004 (see prior story). Bill Cawthon noted that GM posted good sales, up 6.5%, largely based on higher SUV sales. Toyota's 12.9% increase in sales, fueled in part by rises in the Camry and Highlander and by the Scion, gave the company it's best American-sales month ever. Honda, BMW, Kia,and Acura also had their best sales months on record. Mazda had its best May in eight years. Ford and Volkswagen were up as well, with Ford posting a 1% gain (car sales fell .5%, better than Chrysler's 2.9% fall, while trucks went up 2%).

Mercedes, Porsche,and Audi fell slightly. We're still waiting on Hyundai, Subaru and Suzuki.

It's worth noting that despite intense speculation, SUV sales have not fallen - gas prices seem to have yet to make an impact on large-SUV sales. Some have suggested that prices will need to reach $3 to have an impact.

Reported by Dave at (June 02 2004, 03 PM)

Charger official! (And two other announcements)

At long last, Chrysler has revealed what everyone had surmised: three new vehicles to be released in 2005 and 2006. The Jeep Commander (rumored to be the Wagoneer) will be an extended Grand Cherokee. The Dodge Charger and Chrysler Sebring had been anticipated - indeed, the Sebring's only surprise is that it will continue to be sold as a Chrysler rather than becoming Dodge-only, since the model shown was on the shared-with-Mitsubishi front-drive platform.

Reported by Dave at (June 03 2004, 02 PM)

Dodge Dealers Invite Consumers to Celebrate "Premiere 2004"

Dodge Premiere 2004 kicks-off with Premiere Night on June 17, continues with Premiere Days through June 21

Dodge NASCAR Nextel Cup drivers and Dodge dealers nationwide are inviting more than 4 million consumers to a sneak preview of new Dodge vehicles at Premiere 2004 celebrations nationwide. The festivities begin with an invitation-only Premiere Night event at nearly 2,000 dealerships on June 17 and continue with open-to-the-public Premiere Days through June 21.

Consumers will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the new face of Dodge including the all-new 2005 Dodge Magnum, 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan with Stow n Go seating and storage and the HEMI-powered 2004 Dodge Durango. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 03 2004, 02 PM)

Charger a Go!!

Very short press release from DCX validating the 2006 Charger will be at NAIAS in 2005.

It's a Go! Dodge to Build New Charger With Even More Muscle

Auburn Hills, Mitchigan, June 04, 2004 -Dodge is charging ahead with plans to build a modern version of its legendary muscle car the Charger.

Come see us in Motown when it's really cold.

Reported by Chris H at (June 04 2004, 02 PM)

See the | Category Chrysler |

Chrysler 300C "Detroit's Block Party"

In the "Drive Buys" section of today's Wall Street Journal, Tom Hsieh, a public-affairs consultant from San Francisco is quoted: "I was kind of consumed. ... Chrysler's new 300C ... was the most interesting vehicle I saw. I paid full price ... which is something I wouldn't normally do." Hsieh drove off the lot in a new Chrysler 300C, "with the power of a Porsche, the interior space of an SUV and the slab-sided presence of a $200,000 Bentley."

Reported by Chris H at (June 05 2004, 11 AM)

See the | Category Chrysler |

Zetsche does Mojo

In the radio interview this morning on the popular Detroit station WKQI's 95.5 "Mojo in the Morning" show, Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Dieter Zetsche talked about the new Chrysler 300C. The invitation to appear on the popular program was prompted by a voice mail left for Zetsche from rapper Snoop Dogg, "tha Shizzolator," who called to get one of the hot new vehicles. Zetsche confirmed that a deal with Snoop Dog is in the works. The conversation ranged from the popularity of the 300C to whether "Dr. Z" would start wearing his hats sideways. The Mojo DJs tried out a new hip-hop moniker for Zetsche"Dieter Dizzle from Chrysler Crizzle."

Reported by Chris H at (June 05 2004, 12 PM)

See the | Category DCX |

Chrysler expanding Stow and Go production

Due to the popularity of the 2005 Chrysler and Dodge minivans with the Stow 'n Go seating and storage system, Chrysler announced plans to invest $113 million at its St. Louis (Missouri) South Assembly Plant to accommodate increased production. The investment will be put towards the tooling, facility and process changes needed to add flexibility, enabling the plant to build short-wheelbase, long-wheelbase and Stow 'n Go minivans on the same production line. Previously, Chrysler Group only manufactured Chrysler and Dodge minivans with Stow 'n Go at its Windsor (Ontario) Assembly Plant (and short wheelbase models did not have the feature).

(See FULL STORY for many other details)

Reported by Dave at (June 07 2004, 01 PM)

DaimlerChrysler supports restoration of George C. Marshall Center

DaimlerChrysler Chairman Professor Juergen E. Schrempp will join U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier at an event commemorating efforts to restore the George C. Marshall Center in the historic Hotel de Talleyrand on Saturday, June 5, 2004. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 08 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler Group CPOV Sales Increase 19% for May 2004

Chrysler Group reported sales of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles (CPOV) for May 2004at 8,466 units, a 19 percent increase over May 2003 sales. Year-to-date sales also posted strong results, increasing 13 percent over 2003 year-to-date sales to 42,338 units. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 09 2004, 03 PM)

Brief Allpar outage planned

We should be transitioning to a new server tomorrow - expect a little downtime.

Reported by Dave at (June 09 2004, 07 PM)

See the | Category Allpar |

Zetsche to Host Major Groundbreaking Ceremony

From DaimlerChrysler Media:

Chrysler Group President and CEO Dieter Zetsche to Host Major Groundbreaking Ceremony. Zetsche to Unearth What's Coming Next at the Chrysler Group
(see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 11 2004, 02 PM)

Multi-Displacement System a First on Volume Models

The 2005 Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum RT are the first modern, high-volume production vehicles in North American to feature fully-functioning cylinder deactivation. The Multi-Displacement System (MDS) will be standard equipment with the 5.7-liter HEMI engine.

"The Chrysler Group MDS seamlessly alternates between smooth, high fuel economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed, and V-8 mode when more power from the 5.7L HEMI engine is in demand," said Eric Ridenour, Executive Vice President Product Development, Chrysler Group. "This optimizes fuel economy when V-8 power is not needed, without sacrificing vehicle performance2005 Chrysler 300C and Dodge Magnum RT owners will get the maximum benefit without any compromises." (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 12 2004, 01 PM)

Chrysler Most-Improved Automaker - 2004

Chrysler Group is Most-Improved Automaker in The Harbour Report 2004

8 percent improvement tops list; most improved automaker for second year in a row

Chrysler Group moves ahead of Ford Motor Company in overall productivity

New industry benchmark set in transmission productivity, led by the company's 9.2 percent improvement

Tom LaSorda: "The efforts are taking hold, helping to achieve our mid-term goal of matching the most productive performers in the world" (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 13 2004, 02 PM)

Daimler Job Cuts

DaimlerChrysler aims to cut 10,000 jobs at its luxury car unit Mercedes-Benz after consultancy McKinsey said it could reduce headcount without affecting quality and production, German paper Die Welt said. Some of the job cuts could come at the Mercedes factory at Sindelfingen in Germany due to technical innovations to improve productivity.

Reported by Chris H at (June 13 2004, 02 PM)

Viper, SRT-10 may be introduced soon

[RUMOR] The Viper Coupe is reportedly going to be introduced at a Viper Owners Invitational event in September. The SRT-10 quad cab, with an automatic transmission, may also be introduced then. (Thanks, "MoparMan.")

Reported by Dave at (June 14 2004, 02 PM)

Minivan Summer Games

Chrysler Group's "Minivan Summer Games," a series of real-world competitions, invites families to go for the gold and win a new 2005 Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan

Chrysler Group, the inventor and long-standing leader of the minivan segment, has created the first-ever Minivan Summer Games in celebration of the all-new 2005 Chrysler and Dodge minivans with Stow n GoTM seating and storage system.

Beginning June14, 2004, the Minivan Summer Games will test the speed, coordination and teamwork of contenders in a series of increasingly challenging events that typify the rigors and hectic pace of everyday life. The families or teams that demonstrate the most grace under pressure will drive home in either a brand new 2005 Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Grand Caravan. The new Chrysler or Dodge minivan will include the Stow 'n Go seating and storage system that allows owners to fold their second and third row seats flat into the floor in 30 seconds flat. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 14 2004, 03 PM)

Chrysler announcement due very soon

The Car Connection reports that today's announcement would probably cover a new Jeep built on the same chassis as the Dodge Durango. The Durango plant has apparently been in the midst of upgrades to cover a second model; rumors were split between a Jeep version and a Chrysler version la Escalade. We have received no advance information.

The announcement will be made at 11 am but full details are not expected to percolate out for a while afterwards; check back at noon.

Reported by Dave at (June 15 2004, 10 AM)

New Ram SRT-10, Power Wagon introduced

Dodge revealed two new Rams today. First is the Ram Power Wagon, billed as the most capable off-road production pickup ever created. The Power Wagon name had been dormant for 25 years, and is now being applied to a Hemi-powered heavy duty Ram with class-exclusive electronic locking front and rear differentials, a class-exclusive electronic disconnecting front sway bar, and a custom Warn 12,000 pound winch. Available in either regular or Quad Cab, the 81 inch vehicle has a number of cosmetic indicators as well as 33 inch all-terrain tires. It has best in class wheel articulation thanks to a new suspension, featuring a solid front axle with coil springs, and a new rear single stage leaf design with unique, softer spring settings. Also new are 4.56 gearing and Bilstein monotube high-pressure gas shocks.

The SRT-10 Quad Cab, rumored yesterday, has 500 horsepower and four doors, along with a 48RE four-speed automatic transmission (adapted from diesel use). It has custom transmission calibration, a heavy duty torque converter, and two-piece drive shaft, as well as a 4.56 gear ratio for low-end acceleration and up to 7,500 pounds of towing capacity. The frame is fully hydroformed and the front and rear strut and spring assemblies are fully tuned. New for 2005 are four-pot opposed-piston brake calipers. A three channel antilock braking system works with new red brake calipers and 15 inch front rotors and 14 inch back rotors. Front brakes are cooled with air ducted from the front fascia. The Ram SRT-10 also has unique styling cues, including a body-color aluminum tonneau cover, functional hood air intake, pushbutton starter, and brushed metal accents.

Reported by Dave at (June 15 2004, 11 AM)

Chrysler to Highlight 50 Years of Automotive Excellence

Chrysler is the title automotive sponsor of the second annual Indianapolis Concours d'Elegance, which features the best of classic cars, fashion and art.The event will be held on Monument Circle in the center of downtown Indianapolis on Saturday, June 19, the day before the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Event goers will have an opportunity to walk Chrysler Row and see 20 Chrysler vehicles, representing the best of Chrysler design and engineering over the past 50 years, as well as visit Chryslers Club 300 and see firsthand the legendary HEMI engine and other entertaining exhibits. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 17 2004, 09 PM)

Chelsea Proving Grounds - 50 Years

Chrysler Groups Chelsea Proving Grounds is a state-of-the-art testing facility and engineering laboratory that celebrates 50 years of service on June 16, 2004. It has been involved in the noise, vibration and harshness, ride and handling, drivability and emission calibration of over 800 different products since the facility started operations in 1954. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 17 2004, 09 PM)

DCX Statement in Response to President Fox of Mexico's visit to Chrysler's Headquarters

President Vicente Fox Quesada of Mexico visited today with Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche at Chrysler Group Headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, as part of a multi-day trip to the United States. During his visit, President Fox and his delegation met with Dr. Zetsche and members of the company's senior management to discuss ongoing business affairs between Chrysler Group and the Mexican Government.

"This is a great opportunity for our company executives to meet President Fox and his top business advisors, given that Mexico is a key player in the global automotive industry," said Tim McBride, DaimlerChrysler Vice President - External Affairs and Public Policy (Americas).

Coinciding with the President's visit to Michigan, The DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund also contributed $10,000 to a new Vicente Fox Quesada scholarship that was announced today by Oakland University. The scholarship was established to make it possible for students to pursue a degree at Oakland, seek continuing education opportunities, or study in Mexico.

Reported by Chris H at (June 19 2004, 01 PM)

Chrysler - "Stop installing faux-convertible tops on 300"

The Detroit News is reporting that the Chrysler Group is asking dealers to stop installing vinyl tops, or "landau roofs," on their new Chrysler 300 sedan. Chrysler officials believe that the aftermarket tops lessen the appeal of the new sedan, which has been applauded by press and consumers alike since its introduction in April of this year. However, dealers site strong sales and costumer demand as reasons to continue to add the vinyl roofs to the cars. More of this story can be read at www.detnews.com.

Reported by Chris H at (June 21 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler to boost Hemi production

Chrysler will be increasing the supply of Hemi engines, which are in strong demand in both cars and trucks, by adding to the capacity of its Saltillo, Mexico, engine plant. Some had expected another line to open up in an underused American engine plant.

Reported by Dave at (June 22 2004, 02 PM)

New diesel Voyagers for Europe

Chrysler is adding a 2.8 common-rail turbodiesel engine to its European Voyager line, made in Austria. It joins the existing 2.5 diesel; both are four cylinders.

The 2.5 has 251 ft-lbs of torque, comes with a 5 speed manual, and goes 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in 11.9 sec. It gets 28.5 mpg city, 44.1 mpg highway, and 36.7 blended. It is only available in the short wheelbase.

The 2.8 has 265 ft-lbs of torque, comes with a 4 speed automatic, and goes 0-62 mph in 12 sec. It gets 25.0 mpg city, 32.8 mpg highway, and 29.4 blended. It is available with both short and long wheelbase bodies. This is the same engine that is coming to the Jeep Liberty in the U.S.

In comparison, the 3.3 gas V6 has 172 ft-lbs of torque, goes 0-62 mph in 12.6 sec. It gets 15.5 mpg city, 26.9 mpg highway, and 21.2 mpg blended.

The bodies have the same restyling features (grille and headlights) as we have in the U.S., but they do not have Stow-N-Go seating, and color choices are different.

(Thanks, avusblue, for the translation!)

Reported by Dave at (June 22 2004, 04 PM)

Dodge to Unleash HEMI Power in Police Car Market

Unlawful drivers will soon face a Dodge Magnum grille in their rear view mirror, along with a HEMI under the hood. Dodge is upping the ante in the law enforcement market with a new rear-wheel-drive Dodge Magnum police car powered by the legendary HEMI V-8 engine. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (June 25 2004, 12 PM)

300 beats BMW for Best Sedan award

AutoWeek has chosen the Chrysler 300C as America's Best Sedan, with the BMW 3 series taking second place, and the $50,000 Cadillac CTS taking third. Last year's winners did not include a single American car (the BMW 3, Audi A6, and Honda Accord).

AutoWeek estimated the 300C's 0-60 time at 5.8 or 5.9 seconds, based on handheld stopwatch times.

Reported by Dave at (June 29 2004, 11 AM)

J.D. Power survey out

Chrysler said "Improvements were seen overall for the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, with individual products such as Dodge Durango, Dodge Ram, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler Town and Country each showing double-digit improvements."

The J.D. Power study has sometimes been criticized for its short-term approach, which may measure factory inspection and dealer preparation as much as long-term durability.

As usual, toyota topped the charts, with 101 problems per 100 vehicles - closely followed by both Honda and Hyundai, with 102 problems each. BMW rounded off the above-average automakers with 116 problems per 100 vehicles, followed by General Motors with 120 and DCX and Subaru with 123 each. From there, Ford beat Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Suzuki, Kia, and Porsche, which was at the bottom.

The second-best Hyundai and second-worst Kia results are interesting given the amount of sharing between the brands.

On a nameplate basis, the best brands were Lexus and Cadillac. Hyundai beat Toyota , which in turn beat Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Volvo, and Acura. Chevrolet was exactly at the industry average (119 problems per 100 vehicles), with Chrysler and Dodge barely behind (120 and 121 respectively). Dodge matched Lincoln and edged out Pontiac and Subaru. Ford was even with Mitsubishi, ahead of Saab, Jeep, and Mini. At the very bottom were Hummer (a whopping 173 problems), Volkswagen (164), Porsche, and, surprisingly, Toyota-division Scion, with 158.

There were 18 segments such as "Compact Car" and "Entry SUV." Two Dodges, the Mitsubishi-designed Stratus Coupe and the Ram Heavy Duty, led their segments, while the PT Cruiser tied with the Civic in the compact car segment, and the Caravan beat the Sienna to second place in the minivan segment. Mercedes only managed a single spot on the list, second place for entry luxury SUV.

Reported by Dave at (June 29 2004, 03 PM)

JD Power long-term study results

J.D. Power's long-term study of 2001 vehicles shows Toyota at the top with 2.07 problems per vehicle, followed by Honda and Porsche. That's right, Porsche, which bottomed out J.D. Power's own short-term reliability study. GM was just behind Porsche, followed by BMW. DCX, including Mercedes, was under Ford and Subaru, but above Mitsubishi and Volkswagen. The Korean brands dragged the bottom, with Kia worst, followed by Daewoo, Isuzu, and Hyundai. But the difference between the best and worst was only 2 problems per vehicle, on average, over the course of three years, and the nature of the problems is not considered. In addition, the nature of the drivers is not considered: if you drive a Dodge Ram 400,000 miles over dirt roads, you're one car. It could be argued that people who tend to drive more gently and not notice certain types of problems, e.g. elderly drivers, could bias the results of a customer-report study if they tended to buy certain types of vehicles (e.g. Mercury Grand Marquis, Lexus), as could those who tend to handle cars more roughly (e.g. sports car owners and teenaged drivers), if they tend to buy certain types of vehicles (e.g. Kia, Volkswagen, Scion).

Within DaimlerChrysler, all of the improvement came from Chrysler itself, with all three remaining brands gaining, and the Concorde leading the full-size car category. Mercedes fell in quality ranking.

Reported by Dave at (June 30 2004, 09 AM)

More 3-year quality survey details

J.D. Power's three-year quality survey, which reports on customer surveys for 2001 vehicles, is generally not reported in great detail at the nameplate level, but it is worth looking at these details. Cars favored by elderly drivers tended to be at the top of the list - Lexus, Buick, Infiniti, Lincoln, and Cadillac all taking their places above Honda, Acura, Toyota, and Mercury. Lexus itself was on top by a good margin, with 162 defects per 100 vehicles over three years - the next best, Buick, had 187. Toyota itself - Lexus models are sold as Toyotas in Japan and other regions - had 216 defects per 100 vehicles, ahead of Mercury but below Buick and Cadillac.

Chevrolet and GMC (262 each) ranked just above BMW, Saab, and Saturn, and just above the industry average of 269. Just below that average were Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, Mazda, and Subaru. Plymouth was the second best DCX brand, at 289 - only one defect per 100 vehicles below Subaru, and ahead of Audi, Olds, and many others. Jeep, at 314 problems per vehicle - keeping in mind that the Cherokee was still in the mix - was between Jaguar and Olds, and ahead of Mercedes, which at 327 problems per 100 vehicles was dead even with "troubled" Mitsubishi. But even Mercedes and Mitsubishi beat Volvo.

Dragging the bottom, as usual, was Land Rover, with a massive 472 problems per 100 vehicles. Not much better were the various Korean brands and Volkswagen, which, despite a good reputation, had 386 problems per 100 vehicles, enough to make normally-dissed Chrysler look like, well, Lexus.

Long-time readers will understand the statistical caveats of a study of this nature - self-reporting in itself tends to bias the results, cognitive dissonance can be a major issue, and the nature of the drivers of particular vehicles, as well as their use, can play a major role in breakdowns. A vehicle actually driven off-road, as many Jeeps and Land Rovers are, will have much rougher service than a vehicle gently driven by a pensioner to the shops once a week, as the average age of many of the top brands' buyers would indicate is not unusual. The relative performance of Infiniti and Nissan, whose product lines are similar but whose defects differ by about 90 problems per 100 vehicles, is an illustration of these factors.

J.D. Power itself does not clearly note these weaknesses or caveats in its press releases, though they may appear in fine print somewhere in their web site.

It should be interesting to see next year's results. The PT Cruiser has generally been reported as being rock-solid, and the Liberty is also supposed to have higher dependability than the Cherokee before it.

Reported by Dave at (June 30 2004, 11 AM)

Chrysler sales up for June

As expected, Chrysler sales rose in June 2004 over June 2003. The actual sales rise was 5%, bringing year-to-year sales up 3% from January-June 2003. This number is either positive, since Chrysler has been fighting a trend and some new vehicles aren't in full production yet, or negative, since some may have expected better results from a major product offensive.

Mercedes sales have, in the same span, risen 2% month-to-month and fallen 3% year-to-year.

Actual vehicle sales will be posted when they are released.

Reported by Dave at (July 01 2004, 01 PM)

Sales Update

The news for Chrysler looks quite rosy now - GM and Ford saw substantial sales declines, while Chrysler gained ground. Within the United States, GM saw sales of both cars and trucks fall 15%, while Ford car sales fell 17% and truck sales only 3%. Some of this is due to decline in the Taurus, which is due to be replaced, but Explorer sales also fell 18%. Chrysler sales, earlier reported to have gained 5%, actually rose by 1% - with car sales rising 6% and truck sales staying stable. Meanwhile, Toyota, Suzuki, and Nissan had record sales months.

Chrysler had a few bad numbers: the PT Cruiser down 19% for the month, the Pacifica down 15%, the Town & Country down 16%, the Grand Cherokee down 18%. But they did quite well with the 300 and Magnum, which, with 12,446 and 4,906 units sold, did considerably better than the LH series (3,228 Concordes, 2,102 300Ms, 9,528 Intrepids) last June. Ram pickups dropped 8%, but Caravans picked up 7%, and Durangos rose 58% for a net wash.

For more details, click on Full Story.

Reported by Dave at (July 01 2004, 04 PM)

Dakota launch imminent; Grand Cherokee diesel in US?

"georgejetson" pointed out a Wards Auto story which quotes Frank Klegon, Chrysler’s vice president of the product development process and components, as saying that the new Dakota will start production at the Warren truck plant during the week of July 16. Pilot builds have been moved up by two weeks, meaning that pre production vehicles are being made now.

Klegon also suggested that a diesel Grand Cherokee was planned for US sale, though another spokesman said Klegon had been referring to the Liberty.

The same wardsauto.com article quoted Klegon as saying that the Dodge Ram Contractor diesel-hybrid pickup would not be offered to the general public, and that only about a hundred would be made in its first year - all going to "select fleet customers."

Reported by Dave at (July 02 2004, 02 PM)

Jeep Owners Gather in Austria for Euro Camp Jeep

Hundreds of Jeep enthusiasts from across Europe and beyond will gather this weekend at the scenic resort area of Faaker See in Austria for the fourth Euro Camp Jeep, a celebration of Jeep the brand, the vehicles and the lifestyle.

During the three-day event, around 850 Jeep customers and enthusiasts will drive 370 vehicles in one of Europe's most stunning locations, on the edge of the southern Austrian Alps.Euro Camp Jeep is an exclusive annual event for Jeep aficionados, allowing them to explore a full range of 4x4 activities and share their experiences with fellow Jeep fans in a friendly, family-oriented environment. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 04 2004, 11 AM)

Magnum - Official Pace Car of the 2004 Tropicana 400

When the field for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts their engines for the July 11, 2004 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, they will be led to the green flag by the 2005 Dodge Magnum RT - the Official Pace Car of Chicagoland Speedway. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 04 2004, 11 AM)

Chrysler Response to the J.D. Power and Associates Study

The Chrysler Group remains encouraged by our continued improvement year-over-year in the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Survey. Improvements were seen overall for the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands, with individual products such as Dodge Durango, Dodge Ram, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler Town and Country each showing double-digit improvements.

Our improvement in this survey, along with our recent operational gains in the Harbour Report and the critical acclaim of our new vehicles shows we are on the right track for our shareholders and, importantly, our customers.

Reported by Chris H at (July 05 2004, 05 PM)

Chrysler Group Sales Outside of North America

On the strength of increases in the sale of Jeep vehicles and Chrysler and Jeep diesel models, and assisted by recent product introductions, total sales of Chrysler Group vehicles outside of North America grew by7 percent for the first half of 2004, as compared with the same period last year.

Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brand sales totaled 84,826 units for the first six months of this year, compared with 2003 sales of 79,486 units for the same period. For June, retail sales of Chrysler Group vehicles in international markets rose 14 percent, reaching 15,677 units compared with 13,811 units in June 2003. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 06 2004, 07 PM)

Jeep To Sponsor Annual Warren Miller Film Tour

Jeep brand announced today that it has signed a two-year agreement to become title sponsor of Warren Miller Entertainment's annual feature film tour.The new partnership brings together two brands synonymous with action and adventure: Jeep brand, known for more than six decades of SUV mastery, and Warren Miller Entertainment, the 55-year powerhouse of winter sports.

"Warren Miller has found an ideal partner in Jeep," said Perkins Miller, vice president, managing director of Mountain Sports Media. Our feature film and Jeep both celebrate the go-anywhere, do-anything attitude and both brands are built on the bedrock of independence and adventure. Its a perfect fit.

The release each year of the Warren Miller Film has represented the official start of winter for skiers and snowboarders worldwide since 1949.The film's U.S. tour set all-time ticket sales records in 2003 and now reaches 200 cities and over 300,000 fans annually.Jeep vehicles will appear in the film and at select screening event locations with Warren Miller Entertainment coordinating sweepstakes and special promotions for Jeep at every tour stop .Warren Miller Entertainment has also introduced on-mountain, television, and music components into existing Jeep brand programs. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 08 2004, 01 PM)

Mercedes workers unhappy with cuts

As cutbacks finally reach the Mercedes end of DaimlerChrysler - after decimating roughly one third of Chrysler and Mitsubishi - German worker representatives are planning a day of protest. C-Class and a proposed four-cylinder diesel engine may actually be built outside of Germany, and management is demanding cuts in paid break time, annual bonuses, and shift differentials.

Reported by Dave at (July 09 2004, 09 AM)

Mopar Big Block Party in Golden, Colorado

The third annual Mopar Big Block Party will take to the streets of downtown Golden, Colorado next Thursday evening. The party kicks off the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway and will feature a free concert by the band 10,000 Maniacs. The party is scheduled to start Thursday, July 15, at 6 p.m. MST.

A large Mopar-only car show will line the streets with an assortment of high-performance muscle, street, and race vehicles. Among those in attendance will be numerous professional and sportsmen teams who will compete in the weekends drag racing events.

Were excited to bring a part of Motown to Gold-town for the evening of the Mopar Big Block Party, said Christine Cortez, Senior Vice President - Mopar Global Service and Parts. Were bringing in some of the best examples of Muscle, Street and Speed vehicles from Mopar. Well even have some incredible concept vehicles on hand, including the Chrysler ME Four-Twelve and the Dodge Charger R/T. This party will be a celebration of street performance itself, and it should be a great way to kick off the 25th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere.

Mopar officials will make some notable announcements regarding the Team Mopar lineup at 7 p.m. Mopar drivers including Darrell Alderman, Whit Bazemore, Allen Johnson, Larry Morgan and Gary Scelzi will be available to sign autographs from approximately 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Capping off the evening will be an energetic performance by platinum-selling rock group 10,000 Maniacs, who are famous for hit songs including Because the Night and These Are Days. The band is scheduled to begin playing just after 8 p.m.

Admittance to the Mopar Big Block Party is free, and drinks will be available for purchase on-site during the event.

Mopar has been on-board for the NHRA POWERade event at Bandimere Speedway near Denver since 1989, making it the longest running sponsor of a national NHRA event. Pro Stock qualifying for the event begins Friday, July 16, at 4:30 p.m. MST. For a full schedule of events, visit http://www.nhra.com/2004/events/race13/schedule.html.

Reported by Dave at (July 09 2004, 10 AM)

Chrysler books

Allpar has reviewed a rare book by a Chrysler engineer, Common Sense Not Required. See http://www.allpar.com/ for the full review.

Those interested in Australian Mopars - in particular the record-setting, Valiant-based Charger and Pacer - may contact http://www.reed.co.nz for the incredibly comprehensive and much-lauded Hey Charger!

Reported by Dave at (July 13 2004, 01 PM)

2005 Dakota Pricing

Dodge announced pricing today for its all-new 2005 Dodge Dakota, the largest, most powerful and most capable mid-size pickup in the market. With best-in-class torque, horsepower and towing, the all-new 2005 Dodge Dakota delivers full-size pickup styling, feel and power with the only V-8 in its class. The all-new 2005 Dodge Dakota arrives in showrooms this fall. (see full story for prices and specs)

Reported by Chris H at (July 17 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler Launches HEMI.com

For more than 50 years the HEMI engine has stood for unparalleled automotive power and performance.In response to the overwhelming interest and popularity of the HEMI engine, DaimlerChrysler has launched the official HEMI.com Web site dedicated to HEMI owners and enthusiasts worldwide (www.HEMI.com). (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 17 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler 300 in Europe

"Eurojoseph" reports that the Chrysler 300 is now on roads in Europe. As you may know, the 300 will also be released in wagon trim for Europe, with that model holding the name 300C Touring, which is largely a Magnum RT with a Chrysler front clip and interior. The 300C Touring Wagon is not however, the sedan sold here in the United States which has the same name.

Reported by Chris H at (July 20 2004, 12 PM)

Ford changes Futura to Fusion

Ford has changed the name of the upcoming Futura to Fusion, following legal action by a parts retailer which marketed a tire under the same name. The Fusion will join the Focus and Five Hundred.

Some have suggested similar names such as Fireball and Flamer to be consonant with Ford's alliterative and engineering trends.

Reported by Dave at (July 20 2004, 12 PM)

Rumors of the extended-wheelbase LH

Now that the Dodge Charger is out of the bag, people are talking about rumors that Chrysler will introduce a long-wheelbase version of the 300/Magnum at a European auto show next week. The name Imperial has been tossed around but at this point, everything is still a rumor.

Credible insiders have said that there would indeed be both a long and short wheelbase version of the LX.

Reported by Dave at (July 21 2004, 03 PM)

DCX wins most of SCO lawsuit

eweek noted that DCX scored SCO's first major legal defeat in its attempt to extort cash from companies that used UNIX System V. SCO, which has received considerably support from Microsoft, has been suing Linux-using companies, which it claims infringe on its UNIX copyrights. Most in the Linux community are skeptical that SCO owns the rights to any Linux code.

Judge Rae Lee Chabot "all but dismissed" SCO's case after a brief hearing. eweek quoted the judge as ruling that "Summary disposition is granted except on the matter of breach of section 2.05, in that DaimlerChrysler did not submit its response in a timely manner. All other claims were dismissed." This means that SCO's only legally valid grievance now is the lateness of DCX's reply.

SCO has sued many companies that licensed UNIX System V for allowing conditions which may have let the code be pirated by Linux - something which they have not yet proven has been done.

More details are at eweek.com.

Reported by Dave at (July 22 2004, 06 PM)

Families Put Cars to Rest in Exchange for Magnum RT

Some people place classified ads. Others trade in their family vehicle.But what do two wacky families from the City of Angels and the City of Brotherly Love do to replace their cars?They bury them in the front yard.(see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 23 2004, 01 AM)

New Dodge Ram variants to be built in Saltillo

Automotive News has confirmed a story which has been rumored for some time - namely, that the "mega Ram" will be built. The Saltillo, Mexico plant will build this along with two other Ram variants.

Reported by Dave at (July 26 2004, 07 PM)

NBC and Jeep Team up

NBC's Jeep World of Adventure Sports, a new action-adventure sports series, will air its third episode on Saturday, August 7 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. EST. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 28 2004, 05 PM)

"Tugger, the Jeep 4x4 Who Wanted to Fly"

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (TCFHE) and Genesis Orlando Incorporated, a digital animation production company, have entered into a multiyear distribution agreement for the U.S. and Canadian Video and DVD distribution rights for the animated film property, Tugger, the Jeep 4x4 Who Wanted to Fly.Fox joins the Chrysler Group/Jeep brand and the Joester/Loria Licensing Group in New York City, in support of Genesis Orlando's animated film. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (July 28 2004, 05 PM)

Charger Updates

CNNMoney.com reports that the 2006 Charger will in fact be "more" then just a sedan version of the Dodge Magnum wagon. "The Charger will be something entirely different," promised Chrysler designer Ralph Gilles. The article also states that the Charger will be introduced at the 2005 Detroit Auto Show in January (as a 2006 model).

Reported by Chris H at (July 28 2004, 05 PM)

ME-412 not forgotten

The vehicle that could become the fastest street car in the world may be produced, according to Dieter Zetsche, who said "Its more likely than not" that Chrysler will build it, according to the Detroit News. Zetsche said a final decision would be made by the end of the year. Somewhere between 7 (at $1 million each) and 1,000 (at lower prices) would be built.

Reported by Dave at (July 29 2004, 09 AM)

Mercedes to be run by Cordes, not Bernhard

DCX commercial vehicles division chief Eckhard Cordes will run Mercedes-Benz, according to Detroit News. Cordes himself will be replaced by Andreas Renschler, head of Smart.

Cordes is close to CEO Juergen Schrempp, and was the chief strategist before taking over the commercial vehicles unit in 2000.

Detroit News' Christine Tierney wrote, "After doubling its product line in recent years, Mercedes is grappling with quality setbacks and fierce competition" and noted that Cordes worked with Schrempp on the takeover of Chrysler and sided with Schrempp on his attempt to invest more in Mitsubishi.

Reported by Dave at (July 29 2004, 09 AM)

Chrysler has high profits for the quarter

Chrysler's strong quarterly profits of $628 million helped give DCX a major increase in net profits for last quarter. The official loss for the same quarter last year was $1.1 billion loss. Part of the reason for the higher profit was an 18% revenue hike to nearly $16 billion.

According to DCX, Chrysler lost $637 million in 2003, but a profit is predicted for this year.

Chryslers U.S. market share climbed slightly to 13.5% in 2004, as GM and Ford have lost ground. GM-North America recorded $328 million of profit for the quarter, and Ford $477 million in North and South America.

Insiders have pointed out that Chrysler has been paying substantial sums to Mercedes for "expertise" and technology, which inflates Chrysler's expenses and Mercedes' profits.

Reported by Dave at (July 30 2004, 11 AM)

Chevrolet Cobalt pricing announced

The Chevrolet Cobalt has been rumored to be the 1995 Neon (or 1970s GTI) of its time, with surprisingly good handling and acceleration. Pricing has just been announced ranging from $14,190 for the base coupe and sedan to $21,995 for the supercharged Cobalt SS, including destination charges. Standard features for all models include air conditioning, electric rear defogger, CD player, driver information center and split-bench rear seat with pass-through to trunk area. Standard features on the LS, LT and SS Supercharged models include anti-lock brakes, power door locks with keyless entry, cruise control, and power windows and exterior mirrors. Leather and OnStar are available on all models. The Cobalt will be built in Lordstown, Ohio, with vehicles appearing before the end of 2004.

Cobalt is an element - as is neon. This may not be an accident; the Cobalt, if it is indeed as far ahead of other small cars in performance as the Neon was when introduced, could greatly boost GM's small-car sales. Neon sales were quite probably damaged by cost-cutting measures such as cheap head gaskets and exhaust donuts, and poorly designed frameless windows.

Reported by Dave at (August 02 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler Announces Partners for Supplier Co-Located Manufacturing Project

Chrysler Group and several of its suppliers today announced plans for an innovative manufacturing project in the City of Toledo. The suppliers, The Kuka Group, Durr Industries and Hyundai Mobis, will be partners in the development, construction and daily operations at Chrysler Groups Toledo manufacturing complex. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (August 03 2004, 01 PM)

Camp Jeep Heads to California for the First Time

Camp Jeep, the annual summertime gathering of Jeep enthusiasts, is making its inaugural visit to the West Coast this summer. The first-ever Camp Jeep California will be held in the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County, Aug. 19-21.With more than 4,000 anticipated participants and 1,000 vehicles registered, the event offers individuals an opportunity to brush up on their off-road driving techniques and celebrate "Jeep Pride." (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (August 05 2004, 06 PM)

Chrysler & automotive propulsion technology

The Chrysler Group addressed automotive propulsion technology and its future during the Management Briefing Seminars today.Mark Chernoby, Vice President Advance Vehicle Engineering for the Chrysler Group, shared success stories and challenges on a variety of powertrain technologies, and their relevance in today's marketplace.

"The Chrysler Group strives to provide benefits and value through practical innovation," said Mark Chernoby. "It is imperative that these benefits meet customer expectations at the right price." (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (August 05 2004, 06 PM)

Chrysler sales up 16%, could shatter half-million mark

Spurred by the successful launch of six new models over the last two years, the Chrysler brand has seen dramatic increases in sales, market share and brand image in 2004. Coming hot on the heels of last years introduction of the Chrysler Pacifica and Chrysler Crossfire Coupe, the recently introduced models including the Chrysler 300, Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible, Chrysler Town & Country and Chrysler Crossfire Roadster -- have all contributed to a 16 percent increase in year-over-year sales through July, while attracting owners of import and luxury vehicles to the Chrysler brand.

The award-winning Chrysler 300 continued its strong sales momentum in July with 12,593 units sold, the third consecutive month of sales in excess of 12,000. Through July, 22 percent of all Chrysler 300 sales this year have come from buyers trading-in import models. In year-to-date sales, the Chrysler Crossfire has outsold all of its import and luxury competitors, including the Audi TT, BMW Z4, Cadillac XLR, Lexus SC430 and the Porsche car brand. In fact, 18 percent of Chrysler Crossfire sales this year have come from buyers trading-in import models. The Chrysler Crossfire Coupe and Roadster represent the Chrysler brands first modern-day entry into the two-seat sports car segment.(see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (August 08 2004, 12 AM)

Pacifica leads stability rankings

The all wheel drive version of the Chrysler Pacifica was the top 2004 SUV in NHTSA's stability (anti-rollover) rankings, followed by the two-wheel drive Pacifica and, at a distance, the Nissan Murano and Honda Pilot. (The top minivan was the Quest; the top pickup, the Silverado extended-cab; the top car, the Mazda RX-8, but all cars and minivans achieve high scores.) NHTSA said that the Pacifica had only a 13% chance of rolling over in a single-vehicle crash.

Not surprisingly, the Ford Explorer (two wheel drive SportTrac version) was the lowest-rated SUV; it has a 35% chance of rolling over in a single-vehicle crash. Other low-rated SUVs include the similar Mercury Mountaineer and standard Ford Explorer, as well as the GMC Yukon/Chevy Tahoe (in two wheel drive mode; 28.3% chance of rollover).

Rollovers are responsible for about a third of vehicle fatalities, though they are less than three percent of crashes."

NHTSA starts with a calculation based on width and center of gravity, and lower-scoring vehicles, including all SUVs, are given a road test involving going through curves at increasing speed.

Reported by Dave at (August 09 2004, 01 PM)

Chrysler used car sales update

Chrysler Group, offering one of the most comprehensive and extensive certified pre-owned vehicle (CPOV)programs in the industry, reported July CPOV sales of 8,450 units, an increase of 11 percent over July 2003 sales of 7,584 units. July sales were 9 percent higher than June 2004 sales while year-to-date sales also improved, rising 12 percent to 58,534 units.

"Our continued growth rests on the strength of our comprehensive certified pre-owned vehicle program combined with great vehicles," said Ray Fisher, Chrysler Group Vice President - Fleet and Remarketing. "With so many vehicle choices and levels of certification in the industry, our growth indicates that consumers believe Chrysler Group certified vehicles stand out from the crowd."

Marketed as "Brand Spankin' Used," Chrysler's Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles are only sold by Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers who have earned the Five Star certification. Five Star Certification is a comprehensive validation of the dealership's facilities, operational processes, salesperson and technician training accreditation as well as customer satisfaction survey ratings. Approximately 2,400 Chrysler Group dealerships in the U.S. are certified as Five Star dealers.

Reported by Chris H at (August 11 2004, 10 PM)

Chrysler Helps Bust Urban Blight

Chrysler Financial, a business unit of DaimlerChrysler Services North America, joins forces with the Motor City Blight Busters by donating a Dodge Sprinter van to revitalize Detroit neighborhoods.

The Sprinter will help with the transportation of tools and materials to and from project sites. The Motor City Blight Busters community projects include demolition of dilapidated homes and construction of new homes. The van is wrapped in a mural by local artist and Blight Buster member Chazz Miller and reflects the creative, positive energy that the group contributes to communities within Metropolitan Detroit.

"Chrysler Financial is proud to be a part of the coordinated efforts led by the volunteers of Motor City Blight Busters as they work to restore pride to our Detroit communities," said Klaus Entenmann, Vice President Chrysler Financial. "This partnership complements our belief in supporting non-profit organizations that make a difference in the communities where we live and work."

Reported by Chris H at (August 11 2004, 10 PM)

2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee prices

Chrysler Group today announced U.S. pricing for its all-new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee. With best-in-class off-road capability and best-in-class power, torque and towing capability, the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee is designed, engineered and built to master every imaginable day-to-day driving condition, whether on-road or off-road. (see full story for prices and model details)

Reported by Chris H at (August 16 2004, 01 AM)

New vehicle revealing soon

Reports for DaimlerChrysler:
"Chrysler To Kick Off Dream Cruise With New Vehicle Reveal on Woodward Avenue

Chrysler will kick off the annual Woodward Dream Cruise in style by revealing a "sizzling" new limited-production vehicle."

It is suspected that this new vehicle might be the face lifted PT Dream Cruiser, although this is only rumor as for now.

Reported by Chris H at (August 16 2004, 02 PM)

DCX sells Hyundai stake; Toyota invests in US

DaimlerChrysler has sold off its 10.5% stake in Hyundai, gaining $900 million from the sale (a profit of over $400 million from the original purchase price).

Meanwhile, Toyota is planning to greatly expand its research and development arm in southeast Michigan. Toyota already has a number of American assembly plants and designs vehicles here.

Reported by Dave at (August 17 2004, 08 AM)

New PT Dream Cruiser Shown

Chrysler kicked off this year's Woodward Dream Cruise today with an eruption on Woodward Avenue.

Awash in Deep Lava Red paint, a maroon cloth convertible top and powered by a220-horsepower high-output turbocharged engine, the latest version of the Chrysler PT Cruiser was unveiled today on Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak. The new 2005 Chrysler PT Dream Cruiser Series 4 will be available this fall as a limited production version of the Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible. (see full story for model specs)

Reported by Chris H at (August 17 2004, 01 PM)

New PT Dream Cruiser ragtop debuts

Awash in deep lava red paint, with a matching maroon cloth convertible top and powered by the 220-horsepower high output turbocharged engine, the Chrysler PT Dream Cruiser Series 4 will be available as a limited production edition this fall starting at $29,670 (excluding a $590 destination charge). (Thanks, 70MoparMan).

Reported by Dave at (August 17 2004, 05 PM)

Grand Cherokee and Dakota launch today

The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Dakota will both launch production today, at, respectively, the Jefferson North plant in Detroit and the Warren, Michigan truck plant. The event will be simulcast via satellite from 1 pm to 2 pm.

Reported by Dave at (August 25 2004, 08 AM)

Ford whines about exclusion in California

After being unable to produce a vehicle that can travel 45 miles on a gallon of gasoline, Ford is playing the nationalism card in California, protesting a law that would allow highly efficient hybrids in car-pool lanes. Currently, the only two vehicles that would qualify are the Prius, Insight, and hybrid Civic. Ford is demanding that the Escape hybrid be allowed in the carpool lanes, though it only gets 31 mpg.

The Detroit News quoted Bill Ford's letter to the legislature: "Ford would not consider asking the California legislature to support a Buy American law. We are chagrined to see that the proposal amounts to a Buy Japanese bill.

There is no law preventing Ford from producing a 45 mpg hybrid.

Several Japanese hybrids, including the Highlander, RX400h, and Accord hybrid, will also not quality because they do not get 45 mpg, either.

Reported by Dave at (August 25 2004, 08 AM)

Charger built yesterday

It was reported by inside sources that a red Charger mule was built today at BAP. The mule was a Hemi model, and went down the same line as the current LX models. The the hoodline is said to be "the exact same height as the 300C..."

Reported by Chris H at (August 27 2004, 12 AM)

Brampton to go on third shift for LX production

Starting on January 9, 2005, the Brampton assembly plant that makes 300s and Magnums will go onto a third shift. The similar Dodge Charger is reportedly to be unveiled in October 2004; it's possible the third shift will help either to satisfy 300 and Magnum demand in advance of Charger production, or to help build all three. At this point, the third shift appears to be temporary.

Chrysler has reportedly been considering other options for raising LX production, but any option would take a considerable amount of time and money, and company officials are probably concerned about how long the LX will remain in demand. Hemi production is also a bottleneck for the Magnum R/T and 300C, and will take some time to increase.

Reported by Dave at (August 29 2004, 11 AM)

Chrysler sales for August

Chrysler August 2004 US sales were up 1%, adjusted for the number of selling days, or down 6%, straight, compared with August 2003, while Mercedes sales in the US rose 2%.

Year-to-date Chrysler Group sales are up two percent compared to the same period in 2003.

Details will be posted later today.

Reported by Dave at (September 01 2004, 01 PM)

LX Cars Register Top Ratings in Gov't's Crash Tests

The 2005 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, two of Chrysler's hottest new products, have received 5-star ratings for driver and front passenger protection in a frontal crash, the highest rating in the U.S. government's safety crash test program. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (September 01 2004, 03 PM)

New Models Shown

The new Dodge Durango Adventurer builds on the solid foundation of the Dodge Durango with a model designed for the outdoor enthusiast. New features include:

Standard Thule rack with choice of six-rack systems or an Adventurer Accessory kit

Satin Silver tubular side steps

Reversible slush mats

Rubberized, washable cargo liner with a built-in rear cargo organizer

Unique machine-finished aluminum wheels

The Adventurer is further differentiated with unique badging, unique mineral gray side moldings with Satin Silver inserts, Satin Silver roof rack side rails and mineral gray painted front and rear fascias.

"The Dodge Durango Adventurer fine-tunes the overall Durango package for the active outdoorsman, yet still delivers the refinement, safety and interior room that the Durango is known for," said Darryl Jackson, Vice PresidentDodge Marketing. "With three rows of seats and HEMI inside, Dodge has created one of the most sophisticated SUVs in the segment that is tough enough to tow 8,950 lbs. and hit the trails."

Also shown is the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited model, below is from the DC Media site:

"The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon model builds on the award-winning capability of Wrangler Rubicon with an off-road system that includes locking front and rear differentials, front and rear Dana model 44 axles, four-wheel disc brakes and a 4:1 low-range transfer case. Not only is this premier off-road package fully synthesized by Jeep engineers, it's an exceptional value to customers.




"The Wrangler Rubicon was too popular with Jeep owners not to expand it to the successful Wrangler Unlimited," said Bell. "With the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, we brought the Jeep sense of freedom and adventure to a new customer who required more space. The standard wheelbase Wrangler Rubicon continues as the ultimate off-road Wrangler, but both are rigs that are ready for serious off-road trails-and at a significant savings, compared to the costs of modifying the vehicle with aftermarket hardware."

Reported by Chris H at (September 01 2004, 03 PM)

Sales detail

It's time for the usual roundup of sales figures, and as usual, Chrysler has altered the way it reports them, with year to date and monthly sales figures separated for a rather more convenient format. We generally use year to date figures which are less sensitive to variation in our own analysis; some models are very volatile, particularly those with very few sales. However, comparing August 2004 to August 2003, we do have some interest reports.

First, the 300 - it sold 12,001 copies, compared to 3,000 Concorde/300M sales last August. That's a pretty incredible showing, even though the Concorde and 300M were by then being ignored, and people knew the 300C was coming. The Magnum also did well against the Intrepid, with 5,410 of the wagons sold compared with 5,671 Intrepids. That's not bad for a car whose production is still ramping up.

The Sebring continued its climb as more people were attracted to Chrysler showrooms, attaining a 9% year-to-year increase (22% adjusted month-to-month). 76,094 of the low-profile mid-sized cars were made so far in 2004. The nearly identical Stratus actually fell at the same time by 5%, or 2,500 units year-to-date; the JR line (Sebring and Stratus combined) is still a net gainer.

The once-spectacular Neon stayed even, as usual, with last year's sales, turning in 83,222 sales - just about 400 fewer than in 2004. Perhaps if Chrysler had not cut costs quite so much, or if they had fixed its problems more visibly when they first started turning up, it would have been much higher; the Neon is still one of the best low-priced cars out there. But staying even despite increased competition is not bad.

The Crossfire sold fairly briskly for a specialty car, with 10,110 of the retuned, reskinned Mercedes going to new owners.

Moving on, the all-important minivans continued to decline somewhat, though not as badly as one would imagine given brand new Ford, Toyota, and Nissan minivans with a new Honda on the way. Stow 'n' Go is probably a large part of that; the Town & Country actually gained month to month (still falling 8% for the year as a whole, with 95,208 sold so far compared to 103,000 last year), while the Caravan, which includes more short-wheelbase models without Stow 'n' Go than the T&C, fell both month-to-month (4% adjusted) and year-to-year (2%, or 168,483 vs 172,525). The Pacifica, built on the same platform, showed sales of 51,854, with a fall from August 2003.

The Jeep brand has done pretty well, with the Wrangler up 24% with new specialty models, the Liberty up 8% with new specialty models, and the Grand Cherokee, still the Jeep sales leader, falling 5% as the new model arrives. Overall Jeep brand sales of 297,979 for January-August 2004 are up 5% over 2003.

The new Durango continues to surpass the old model, with a 19% gain in year to date sales - 92,831 sold. The Dakota has held roughly even, down only 2%, despite a new model on the way.

Chrysler Group's biggest seller (unless you add all minivans and Pacifica together), the Ram pickup, sold 295,239 units this year, down 2% in the face of a serious Ford advertising campaign for the F-series.

Overall, Chrysler is up 2% so far in 2004, with a number of new models here or on the way. That includes a 2% decline in cars and a 3% rise in trucks. 2003 wasn't a great year, but the tide seems to be turning, and it seems that Auburn Hills is at last reducing its reliance on incentives. That and a new sense of pride we feel all the way out here on the coast will probably be having a positive effect in months and years to come.

For actual sales figures, click on "Full Story."

Reported by Dave at (September 02 2004, 08 AM)

Chrysler sales in context

On a non-adjusted basis (ignoring the number of "sales days" in the month), Chrysler sales dropped 6.5% in August 2004 compared with August 2003, remaining behind Toyota (for a second month) by 2,360 cars. But the month was not all roses for Toyota, either, which saw a 10% fall from August 2003. Honda dropped even more, 14%, to a still-respectable 126,625 units, keeping Honda in a solid fifth place. The leader, GM, with 400,086 vehicles sold, dropped 14%; Ford, with 251, 455 sold, fell 13%; and Nissan, which in sixth place sold 1/5 the cars as GM (80,314), only fell 1%, a good showing for a bad month.

GM and Ford are both introducing a large number of new cars, some of which should be very popular if history is any judge; Toyota is still rolling out the Scion line nationally; and Chrysler is still working on replacements for the LH line, with the Neon replacement due next year. Honda is soon to replace the Odyssey.

Volkswagen sales fell by an amazing 30%, Jaguar by 38%, and Mitsubishi by a stunning 61% due partly to a tightening of credit to avoid further losses. Smaller brands generally have much more variable sales.

Reported by Dave at (September 02 2004, 10 AM)

Six-speed manuals now standard

Chrysler's six-speed manual transmissions will now be offered in Jeeps and trucks as well as the Crossfire and Viper.

For 2005, Jeep Liberty and Wrangler will feature the NSG 370 six-speed manual transmission, replacing two five-speed manual transmissions previously used in these applications--the NV1500 and NV3550reducing cost and complexity.This new transmission is a member of the six-speed NSG 370 family, similar to the one used in the Chrysler Crossfire.

The NSG six-speed manual transmission provides a 4.46:1 First-gear ratio, versus the 3.85:1 and 4.04:1 ratios of the five-speed transmissions it replaces, for improved launch and traction.

Because Jeep vehicles are designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions, the NSG 370 six-speed manual transmission has a unique gear case and direct-shift system specifically designed for the Jeep application, said Frank Frederick, Director Manual and Rear-Wheel-Drive Transmissions and Driveline Engineering, Chrysler Group.

The NSG 370 six-speed manual transmission provides optimal shift quality, improved quietness and high quality. A new dual-ratio transmission shift-tower system allows packaging of the six-speed shift pattern within the existing Jeep vehicles, and it is tuned for optimized shift quality. For smooth operation the First and Second gears have triple-cone synchronization, the Third and Fourth gears feature double-cone and the Fifth and Sixth gears single-cone synchronization. Hard-finished gears allow for quiet operation. A multi-rail, steel-construction shift system delivers high strength and precision. The two-piece aluminum case with integrated clutch housing assures powertrain stiffness and light weight. The new First-gear ratio combined with six-speed step spread allows optimization of axle ratios for fuel economy and performance.

The Getrag 238 six-speed manual will be standard equipment on the all-new 2005 Dodge Dakota and 2005 Dodge Ram 1500. Replacing the New Venture Gear NV3500 five-speed manual transmission, this six-speed offers smooth shifting with triple-cone synchronizers in First and Second gears, and double-cone Third and Fourth gear synchronizers. Noise, vibration and harshness are minimized with hard-finished gears. Shift rails are supported with ball bearings and Teflon bushings to provide precise shift feel. Six speeds provide optimized ratios to enhance performance and the fun-to-drive factor. Torque capacity and efficiency are optimized through the use of an intermediate plate, speed gears supported by needle bearings and clean-sealed ball bearings on shafts. A two-piece, die-cast aluminum housing reduces weight while providing optimum stiffness.

Six-speed manual transmission performance will be available with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, in addition to the High Output Cummins Turbo Diesel, on 2005 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty pickups. The G56 six-speed manual transmission replaces the NV4500 five-speed and NV5600 six-speed manual transmissions. This new six-speed transmission features a dual-trunnion shift tower which provides a compact shift pattern with optimal mechanical advantage for shifting.Double-cone synchronizers in First through Fourth and Reverse gears provide high-capacity and long-term durability. A two-piece, die-cast aluminum case with an integral clutch housing provides optimal stiffness and minimizes noise, vibration and harshness. A multi-rail, all-steel shift system provides precise shift feel. The 6.29:1 First-gear ratio provides better launch performance for an improved experience under heavily loaded and trailer tow conditions. There are also power take off access covers on both sides of the transmission.

Reported by Dave at (September 02 2004, 02 PM)

Car & Driver's Charger Preview

October's issue of Car & Driver has a rendering of the 2006 Dodge Charger on its cover. Insiders and other sources at Aurburn Hills close to Allpar.com have confirmed that the green car shown in the publication is extremely close to the production vehicle which will debut January 2005. The Charger will be a 2006 model, and possibly sport a Daytona model with its introduced later on in 2005.

Reported by Chris H at (September 03 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler dominates cheapest-to-insure cars list

Edmunds recently published a list of the ten cheapest cars to insure. Six were made by Chrysler: the PT Cruiser, Voyager, Liberty, Town & Country, Caravan, and Wrangler (to be fair, three of these are really the same vehicle). Two Oldsmobiles, a GMC, and a Volkswagen also made the list.

Reported by Dave at (September 06 2004, 04 PM)

CarTalk spotlights Allpar

Allpar's Dealer Lies list was highlighted by CarTalk - thanks, guys!

Reported by Dave at (September 06 2004, 04 PM)

Chrysler parts plants may have chance at life

Detroit News reported that four Chrysler parts operations employing over 4,000 people may prevent their own sale by increasing productivity and quality. Detroit's Mt. Elliot Tool and Die, DCX Transportation, and Detroit Axle, and Perrysburg (Ohio)'s Toledo Machining plant were all warned that they may be sold or closed unless they achieved major gains. They appear to be on track for success.

During 2003's contract negotiations, the UAW "won" a promise to keep the plants alive on the condition that they raise quality and production. They did not get the same promise on five other plants - Huntsville (electronics), New Castle (machining and forge), New Venture Gear, McGraw Glass, and Indianapolis Foundry.

The Detroit Axle plant, which has nearly 2,000 employees and builds most Chrysler Group axles, is the most likely to survive. 270 jobs were recently added at the plant to supply the Grand Cherokee. Toledo Machining is most likely to close, and is the only plant Chrysler has not promised to keep alive until 2007.

Details: http://www.detnews.com/2004/autosinsider/0409/07/b01-263654.htm

Reported by Dave at (September 07 2004, 04 PM)

Chrysler to use biodiesel in new Jeep Liberty

Each new 2005 Jeep Liberty diesel rolling off the assembly line will be fueled with 5 percent biodiesel to encourage use of clean, renewable fuels made from plants.

Biodiesel fuel is produced from vegetable oil, in this case soybeans grown in Ohio, the home state of the Jeep Liberty plant in Toledo. The first Liberty diesel will be produced in November.

"This is an important first step in encouraging wider use of these clean, renewable, environmentally-friendly fuels in the United States," said Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group President and CEO.

The Jeep Liberty diesel, the first diesel-powered mid-size SUV to be offered in the United States, will hit the market in late 2004. It will be powered with a 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine and equipped with automatic transmission and 4-wheel drive capability.

The Liberty takes advantage of common-rail technology that significantly improves efficiency and reduces emissions by exactly calibrating the amount and pressure of fuel injected into the engine's combustion chambers. The Liberty CRD diesel will achieve 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, about 30 higher than Liberty's comparable 3.7-liter V-6 gasoline engine.

In addition to 30 percent reduction in fuel consumption, diesel engines also reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 percent compared with gasoline engines, Zetsche noted.

"With biodiesel, we can increase these benefits even further. And because biodiesel is made from renewable resources, we further reduce our dependence on petroleum for our transportation needs," Zetsche said.

Biodiesel fuel reduces emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. In addition, the biodiesel portion of the fuel is virtually carbon dioxide neutral; that is, the amount of carbon dioxide released when the fuel is burned is matched by the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by soy plants during growth. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that has been linked to the potential for climate change.

Dodge Ram diesel pickup trucks have run successfully on B20 (20 percent biodiesel) in fleets required to use alternative fuels by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT). However, there are currently no standards to guarantee consistent quality of B20 fuels. Thus, DaimlerChrysler currently recommends its diesel vehicles be run on a biodiesel blend of maximum 5 percent (B5).

The company is working with the biodiesel industry, petroleum industry, government, and standard-setting organizations to establish standards for biodiesel.

Conventional diesel fuel is currently available in about one-third of all filling stations in the United States.

Biodiesel blends of up to 5% concentration (B5) are available in public fueling stations at certain locations across the country, particularly in areas with substantial soybean farming. B5 fuels are already widely used in Chrysler Group diesel engine vehicles in Europe.

Next year, 2 percent biodiesel (B2) will be required for all diesel fuel in Minnesota. Missouri and Delaware are considering similar mandates.

See Allpar's biodiesel page.

Reported by Dave at (September 09 2004, 08 AM)

Chrysler Group President/CEO Dieter Zetsche Says Company's '98 Merger Improved Long-term Viability

Chrysler Group President and CEO Dieter Zetsche told a group of international business leaders at the Spruce Meadows "Changing Fortunes" Business Roundtable today that the Company is thriving in a very competitive global marketplace as a result of its 1998 merger with Daimler-Benz, transforming its North American operations and going back on the offensive with nine new products launched this year, including the Canadian-built Chrysler 300C. (see full story for the full release)

Reported by Chris H at (September 10 2004, 04 PM)

Welcome back and congrats to E8502

Regular news readers may have noticed that, for a while, the section was being updated very often. This was the work of "E8502," and we appreciate his help. We also offer belated congratulations on his new child and hope you will, too.

Reported by Dave at (September 14 2004, 08 AM)

LX production may rise

Detroit News noted that Chrysler may (as has already been discussed) add a third shift at Brampton to increase 300/Magnum production, especially with the Charger coming up early next year. A third shift could add 1,000 jobs. The down-side is that Chrysler is using the opportunity to threaten the CAW and Canadian government by making the decision conditional on increased productivity and government aid.

Readers and analysts have speculated about potential sites. Detroit News cites Newark, Delaware's Durango factory, though the cost of retooling or adding another line in another plant would be high. Part of the question is whether LX production would be even higher than Brampton's 330,000 maximum three-shift production, especially if other vehicles are added - a long-wheelbase luxury model (New Yorker/Imperial names have been bandied about) and a true coupe have been suggested along with a Highlander-style SUV.

Reported by Dave at (September 14 2004, 08 AM)

Viano "activity vehicle" unveiled

Mercedes showed a concept Viano van with a sliding back bed that allows it to become a sort of pickup-van which can carry bulky objects, such as motorcycles, when needed - but be normally sized and fully enclosed for everyday convenience at other times. A full article is here: http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2004/09/10/222821.html (Thanks, Doug Hetrick)

Reported by Dave at (September 14 2004, 12 PM)

CAS tries for 2.7 recall

The Center for Auto Safety is trying to get the 2.7 liter Chrysler engine recalled due to a tendency to generate sludge which can cause engine failure.

Similar problems have been appearing on Toyota and Volkswagen engines. People have speculated that the problem is an interaction between the engine design, cooling and packaging, and the type of oil used. There has been no conclusive answer regarding the cause, however.

Reported by Dave at (September 14 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler to do more with MDS system

Ward's Auto noted that Chrysler is planning to expand its multiple-displacement system, which shuts down cylinders in times of low demand. Similar systems are due soon from GM and Honda. MDS only adds about 7% to the cost of an engine, making it much cheaper than hybrid technology. Chrysler said that the system raised economy by two or three miles per gallon in the 300C.

MDS has not yet reached its limits. For example, the 300C idles with all eight cylinders, though going down to four would mean a rougher idle. Another option is shutting down the engine completely on idle or coast, which is down by some European cars already and is a staple of hybrids.

Also under consideration is expanding the system to other engines, which would allow the use of larger engines without penalty - Chrysler cited the example of a V6 Neon-sized car.

For the full article, see http://wardsauto.com/ar/auto_chrysler_multidisplacement_system/index.htm

(Thanks, "Oedipus1108")

Reported by Dave at (September 16 2004, 02 PM)

Stow n Go in Europe

The first European-built Chrysler Grand Voyager with Stow n Go will be revealed at next weeks Paris International Motor Show, with sales starting in Europe and other markets outside North America in the last quarter of 2004. (see full story)

Unique to Chrysler Group minivans, this new seating system is to be made available on the Chrysler Grand Voyager following unprecedented customer demand when it was introduced in the companys North American markets earlier this year.

Reported by Chris H at (September 19 2004, 01 PM)

Charger photos?

http://jayski.thatsracin.com/schemes/2005cup.htm has posted pictures of what seems to be the 2005 NASCAR Charger. Insiders and sources close to Allpar News are reporting conflicting info, as some state this is more of the '05 production model then the rendering seen in Car & Driver. However, one can see the grill in the Jayski site pictures, and it does resemble the latest renderings from C&D.

Reported by Chris H at (September 19 2004, 01 PM)

GM doesn't plan to hire Bernhard

GM announced it does not plan to hire DaimlerChrylser's Wolfgang Bernhard, who left Auburn Hills only to lose his promised Stuttgart job as Mercedes head. Bernhard is currently under contract to DCX but apparently not in any specific position. He had been Chrysler's COO.

Reported by Dave at (September 20 2004, 02 PM)

Jeep Cherokee (Europe)

From DaimlerChrysler Media:

"Since the introduction of the all-new Jeep Cherokee mid-sized SUV in 2002, its excellent balance of on-road refinement and off-road ruggedness and capabilities have continued to push the range to become one of the brands best-sellers around the globe.

Maintaining Jeeps determined drive to deliver vehicles which surpass customers expectations, the strong Jeep Cherokee and Cherokee Renegade range introduces a new variable geometry turbo 2.8-litre common-rail diesel engine mated to a new six-speed manual transmission or highly responsive five-speed automatic transmission. The new Cherokee line-up also boasts a host of exterior, interior and technical improvements to stand it even further apart from the competition.

True to its Jeep heritage, the Jeep Cherokee continues to give customers a sense of personal capability and freedom by offering the best four-wheel-drive line-up in the segment, said Thomas Hausch, Executive Director of International Sales and Marketing, Chrysler Group. Jeep Cherokee is uniquely positioned to deliver both the on-road refinement required by the mid-sized SUV market and the off-road capability for which the legendary Jeep brand is known. "

Reported by Chris H at (September 20 2004, 07 PM)

Stow 'n Go challenge

From DaimlerChrysler Media:

A young contestant from Austria attempts the Stow 'n Go challenge - folding flat the seats in the Chrysler Grand Voyager in a record 22.5 seconds at the 2004 Paris Motor Show. Innovative new Stow n Go seating and storage system for Chrysler Grand Voyager goes global following runaway success in the U.S. The only system to feature seats that fold into - not onto - the floor has its international premiere in Paris. Now the most refined minivan driving experience in terms of comfort and quietness is the most practical too.

Reported by Chris H at (September 25 2004, 12 AM)

Chrysler 300 & Jeep GC 1/18 scale diecast

On the list of the new diecast coming from Maisto in 2005, the '05 Chrysler 300C and Jeep Grand Cherokee are among the new models in 1/18 scale. Also welcoming news to Mopar fans, a 1/18 Jeep Rescue Concept will also be produced. In 1/24 scale, Mopar models include: Chrysler ME Four Twelve Concept and a 1969 Dodge Charger. (Thanks FreeLantz)

Reported by Chris H at (September 25 2004, 12 AM)

05 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon & 05 Ram Power Wagon Pricing

Jeep announced pricing today for the all-new 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. For $28,825, Jeep delivers extreme, rugged off-road Rubicon capability in Wranglers new long wheelbase Unlimited model, which is 15 inches longer than the standard Jeep Wrangler with twice as much cargo volume.

Dodge announced pricing today for the latest addition to its leading Dodge Ram truck lineup: the all-new 2005 Dodge Ram Power Wagon. Reborn as the most capable off-road pickup truck ever created, the 2005 Dodge Ram Power Wagon is available for $36,660.

Reported by Chris H at (September 27 2004, 05 PM)

New Cummins turbodiesel for Rams

Dodge announced a new Cummins turbodiesel for Dodge Ram trucks with 610 lb-ft of torque. Full details are at http://www.allpar.com/model/ram/ram-engine.html

Reported by Dave at (September 28 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler to build new V6 engines

Bob Spindleman, president of United Workers Local 372, said that a new 4.0 liter V6 engine would be used in rear wheel drive sedans coming out in 2006. A 3.8 liter engine will be produced as well, after 4.0 production starts. 485,000 engines per year are projected to be built at the Trenton Engine plant. The plant had been subject to closure due to quality issues, but employee-led initiatives have apparently brought quality and cost-effectiveness up. (Source: http://www.thenewsherald.com )

Reported by Dave at (September 30 2004, 12 PM)

Chrysler Launches New Dealership Service Program

DaimlerChrysler today announced the launch of a new private television network "ServiceVision," making it the first automobile company to broadcast its own commercials and promotional content--combined with live news from CNN Headline News--directly to the customers in the waiting areas of dealership service centers around the country. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (September 30 2004, 05 PM)

Chrysler, GM sales up - Ford down

September was a volatile month for the Big Three, with GM selling 20% more vehicles than in September 2003, Ford selling 7% fewer, and Chrysler selling 15% more. While GM's increase is largely credited to massive incentives and possibly taking over Ford fleet sales, Chrysler's appears to be more product-based. The buzz over the 300C and Hemi may well be attracting people to showrooms where they buy other vehicles they had earlier dismissed. There was also one extra selling day in September 2004 which was not accounted for in Chrysler's numbers.

More to come...

Reported by Dave at (October 01 2004, 03 PM)

Sales detail

Year to date: discontinued cars down, new cars up, PT up, Pacifica up, minivans down just a little, Neons and Stratus down, Wrangler up, Liberty up, Grand Cherokee down, Dakota and Ram down 2%, Durango up 22%. Total year to date: cars down 1%, trucks/minivans up 4%, net up 3%.

Month to month: cars up 9%, trucks/minivans up 10%, overall up 10% (absolute; daily selling rate is more favorable).

Click on Full Story for all sales figures.

Reported by Dave at (October 01 2004, 05 PM)

Toyota sales hike - 10%

We recently posted news of Chrysler's sales. We rarely present other brands' sales, but thought it worth nothing that Toyota was up 10% (thanks, Jim). The outgoing Echo was more than compensated for by the scion - year to date, Echo sold 25,000 units in 2003, while Scion 's three models racked up an impressive 70,000 or so January-September. That's impressive for a vehicle still rolling out through the country.

The Corolla, at 262,403 units, was more than double the Neon in just about any model year other than 1995 - but the Camry beat it, with 320,687 units. Even the Prius sold briskly with 35,715 moving out the door, constrained largely by supply.

The Sienna minivan doubled last year's sales, with 123,417 sold this year - not quite Caravan's 185,375 but full capacity isn't built up yet.

Dodge is definitely doing better with trucks - the Tacoma sold 120,000 and the Tundra 83,000, compared wtih the Ram at 328,929 (it beat the Camry) and the Dakota at 85,016. Dodge also does better in SUVs - Toyota RAV4 at 54,459, 4Runner at 86,000, Highlander at a surprising 100,286, and Sequoia at 41,779 don't quite match PT at 89,342, Liberty at 129,594, Wrangler at 63,462, and Grand Cherokee at 134,591, and Durango at 103,659, but they're probably too close for Auburn Hills' comfort.

Toyota's big winners are Scion, Sienna, LS 430, and RX 330. Losers are the Avalon (down 28.8% but about to be replaced), Sequoia (down 15%), Lexus GS (down about 37%), and Lexus IS (down 26% with only 8,163 sold!).

For full figures, see Full Story.

Reported by Dave at (October 04 2004, 03 PM)

The Dodge Charger is Back!

The Dodge Charger returns to Dodge showrooms and NASCAR race tracks around the country in 2005. Stay tuned. . . .

Reported by Chris H at (October 04 2004, 07 PM)

Chrysler Group Accident Avoidance/ Crash Protection

Chrysler Group products are designed to improve not only handling and accident avoidance, but also to provide excellent crash protection as well. With the use of emerging technologies, the Chrysler Group is able to incorporate both passive and active safety features into vehicles.

The Chrysler Group delivers safety to its customers by applying a broad range of technologies. Through advancements in computer aided engineering and the use of emerging technologies, practical safety innovation is achieved, said Scott Redman, Manager Safety Planning and Strategy, Chrysler Group. Our mission is to continuously improve each new generation of vehicles.

Several innovative safety features have been developed to protect vehicle occupants in regulatory, consumer ratings and real-world impacts, including NCAP (New Car Assessment Program), SNCAP (Side Impact New Car Assessment Program), and IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) offset impacts.

Reported by Chris H at (October 07 2004, 11 PM)

Chrysler Safety Action: 1998-2000 Minivans

Chrysler Group will voluntarily recall and/or extend the warranty on approximately 955,000 1998.5 through 2000 model year minivans registered in the United States to address a potential issue with the clockspring, which supplies continuous current to the driver side airbag, horn and cruise control. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (October 13 2004, 02 PM)

Pre-Owned Vehicle Sales Increase 23 Percent

Chrysler Group, demonstrating its growing presence within the Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle (CPOV) segment by offering one of the most comprehensive coverage packages for certified pre-owned vehicles, posted sales of 7,857 units for September, an increase of 23 percent over September 2003 sales. Third quarter sales improved 18 percent to 23,877 units, while calendar year-to-date sales rose 14 percent to 73,908 units compared to last year.

Reported by Chris H at (October 13 2004, 02 PM)

$50 to test drive a Hyundai Sonata

Former DCX partner Hyundai has a promotion which pays $50 for test-driving a Hyundai Sonata. To qualify, people must schedule an appointment at a dealer before October 17 (that is, today or tomorrow), complete a form from http://hyundaijdp.clickhere.com/TestDriveLandingPage.asp?ID=433555 , fill out and verify the certificate, have the sales person signed, and mail it in. The $50 comes as an American Express gift check.

The promotion may be expensive for Hyundai, but in the scheme of things, a cheap way to convince people of their amazing strides in quality and in automobile comfort since the Excel days. Even if people do not buy, they may tell others about their experience and surprise.

We have tested the Sonata's close sibling, the Kia Optima, and we were impressed - click here to read about it.

Reported by Dave at (October 15 2004, 11 AM)

Power Wagon Wins Four Wheeler's "Pickup Truck of the Year"

The all-new 2005 Dodge Ram Power Wagon is Four Wheeler Magazines 2005 "Pickup Truck of the Year." After a rigorous, in-depth series of evaluations, the Dodge Ram Power Wagon outperformed the competition in every driving environment included in the test.

"The 2005 Dodge Ram Power Wagon could well be the perfect full-size pickup truck," said Ken Brubaker, senior editor, Four Wheeler. It can effortlessly scamper up rocky, off-camber terrain like a mountain goat, can tow up to 11,000 pounds, and seats six comfortably. Ultimately, the Dodge Ram Power Wagons stunning capability earned it the top spot.

Reported by Chris H at (October 18 2004, 02 PM)

Brampton to get LX production?

An additional 900 positions may be added to the Brampton, Ontario assembly plant for additional LX production, including the Dodge Charger, according to News940. The deal is awaiting government assistance, which DCX is requiring before going ahead, even though the union granted concessions on productivity efforts, overtime schedules, and other issues (a vote on these is to be held on Sunday). If the deal goes ahead, 200 workers would be recalled and another 700 hired or transferred from other plants.

Rumors of where the Charger and other new LX models would be produced have ranged all over the map, starting with a third shift at the existing LX plant and including a shift to Delaware.

Thanks to James Hunt for sending us the News940 article.

Reported by Dave at (October 19 2004, 08 AM)

Trenton gets new engines, lease on life

Trenton Engine will get a $106 million tax abatement in return for DCX's investment in upgrades to manufacture 3.8 and 4.0 liter V6 engines. The abatement amounts to about half of the plant upgrade costs for 12 years. The plant currently has a $193 taxable value, making it the largest source of tax revenue in Trenton.

There is no current timeline for installing the upgrades. The 3.8 and 4.0 are rumored to be higher-powered engines for minivans and Pacificas.

Reported by Dave at (October 19 2004, 12 PM)

Chrysler redesigning electrical systems

Chrysler is redesigning its vehicle electrical systems from the ground up to accommodate new features and, Allpar believes, to increase reliability, lower cost, and bring compatibility with Mercedes components.

Bill Mattingly, Vice President Electrical/Electronics Engineering Core, Chrysler Group, said, "... we are constantly faced with furthering the electrical capabilities in our vehicles while minimizing cost and continuing to deliver stringent reliability. Efforts to increase global electrical engineering standards, supplier involvement and quality gains remain challenges we all face as an industry."

In 2004, the company implemented a high-speed Controller Area Network (CAN) bus system, CAN-C, for powertrain and chassis applications, and a low-speed CAN-B for body applications. These changes enable systems to do more calculations at a much higher rate, allow the use of smart sensors and generally add flexibility and capability to a vehicle electrical system. Chrysler had started using system busses with the 1999 Grand Cherokee.

"The electrical system is asked to do more, and we continue to provide more and more features in the car," said Mattingly. At the same time we are finding more efficient ways to accomplish this."

Numerous initiatives include consolidating features from separate modules to create one group of systems rather than multiple separate systems.

Reported by Dave at (October 19 2004, 04 PM)

Jeep GC to scale 30-story skyscraper

A 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee will climb to new heights to become the first ever to attempt to scale a 30-story Manhattan skyscraper in search of the ultimate "Jeep Only" parking place. The vehicle will climb the vertical surface of the building's east side in a feat to showcase the all-new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee as the ultimate combination of off-road capability, on-road performance and "Big Apple" style. More than 500,000 people are expected to witness the event on their way into work.

Reported by Chris H at (October 20 2004, 02 PM)

DCX Fuel Cell Vehicles

DaimlerChrysler announced today that Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) plans to use a fuel cell-powered F-Cell vehicle at its facility to further the development and experience with fuel cell vehicles and the hydrogen infrastructure. This announcement coincides with the opening of the BP and Praxair public hydrogen fueling station at LAX.

"These events exhibit how DaimlerChrysler, BP, Praxair and LAX are taking on the challenge for industries and governments to create viable alternative fuel solutions," said Mark Chernoby, Vice President, Advance Vehicle Engineering - Chrysler Group. "We're pleased to be a driving force in this team effort to develop fuel cell technology."

DaimlerChrysler Works in Unity with BP, Praxair and Government Agencies to Mature Fuel Cell Vehicle Technology and the Hydrogen Infrastructure.

Reported by Chris H at (October 22 2004, 03 PM)

Updated Chrysler Website

Chrysler has updated their website, now with a Flash homepage. The site can be viewed at www.chrysler.com

Reported by Chris H at (October 23 2004, 02 PM)

Plans for a third shift proceed forward as a result of ratification

CAW-represented employees of DaimlerChrysler Canada's Brampton (Ontario) Assembly Plant have ratified a third shift agreement," said DaimlerChrysler Canada Vice President of Human Resources Mark Gendregske. "It's recognition that the launch of a third shift at Brampton Assembly is good news for our employees, the CAW and our company."

"We believe the agreement will enable a successful launch of a third shift as well as ensure continued improvement in plant operations," Gendregske added. "It is a positive step toward building a solid future for our company, our employees and their families

Reported by Chris H at (October 25 2004, 05 PM)

300C to be produced in Europe

The Detroit News reports that DCX will build the 300C in Graz, Austria, starting early next year. The move comes as Chrysler's BAP in Ontario is already behind on orders for the Dodge Magnum and the Chrysler 300 - with the Charger going into production first quarter 2005. With production added at the new location, it will help supply the high demand for the LX vehicles.

The 300C Touring Wagon will also be build alongside the sedan version in Graz, Austria, as it is only sold in Europe (the Magnum wagon is not sold overseas).

Reported by Chris H at (October 27 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler whistleblower fired, finds forum

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating DaimlerChrysler AG for allegedly having at least 40 secret bank accounts used to bribe government officials of different nations, which is against the law for corporations selling stock within the United States. David Bazzetta, an accountant who started at Chrysler in 1983, learned about the bribery accounts in July 2001, according to a current lawsuit. At the time, he was Chrysler's director of corporate and product investment analysis, working in the product development finance group. During a meeting, according to Bazzetta, another audit official said that Daimler Benz had frequently bribed government officials in South Africa before taking over Chrysler in 1998. It appears that Bazzetta was fired by DaimlerChrylser for objecting to the practice, which included taking some cash from the sale of each Mercedes and putting it into local banks for use in bribery. Bazzetta said he reported the practice, as well as Daimler's practice of suppressing or changing audit results, to Chrysler's controller, well-respected James Donlon, now KMart's CFO. It took only two weeks after Donlon retired for Bazzetta to be terminated. Donlon hired him at Kmart, but Bazzetta lost his job during a later round of layoffs.

The SEC is also investigating DaimlerChrysler for failure to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley act, due to information provided by another whistleblower.

Full details are here: http://www.freep.com/money/autonews/whistle29e_20041029.htm

Reported by Dave at (November 01 2004, 09 AM)

Recall - 240,000 minivans from 2001-2002

Chrysler Group will voluntarily recall approximately 240,000 minivans from the 2001-2002 model years to address a potential issue with water intrusion into the radio that could trigger a short circuit and potentially result in a speaker fire. Investigation has shown that vehicles operated for extended periods of time in conditions of high humidity and high temperature may be susceptible.

The recall only affects vehicles equipped with the base radio.Under this action, material will be added to the top of the radio to prevent water intrusion.All repairs will be made at no cost to customers. Owner notification will begin in January 2005.

In a separate action, Chrysler Group will recall approximately 11,100 Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus sedans from the 2005 model year to ensure that the bolts that attach the left and right rear passenger safety beltretractors and turning loops are properly installed.The issue was identified during an internal audit. No customer complaints have been reported.

Reported by Chris H at (November 01 2004, 04 PM)

Yup, it's election day

Get out and vote. If you are given any trouble, call (toll-free) (866) OUR-VOTE (that's 866-687-8683). Eleven states require identification so take some along.

Some states allow on-the-spot registration so if you haven't registered...you may still be able to vote.

http://www.mypollingplace.com/ provides locations of local voting places.

Reported by Dave at (November 02 2004, 03 PM)

Election night slowdowns

The Internet as a whole is slowing down as people swarm to news sites. Allpar itself will suffer more than many as our ISP also hosts the rather nice http://www.electoral-vote.com/ which will be popular tonight and is also suffering from denial-of-service attacks. So...please be patient! Thank you.

Reported by Dave at (November 02 2004, 04 PM)

Chrysler sales - details

Even though Ford and General Motors both suffered somewhat lower sales in October - despite massive incentives - Chrysler actually gained 2% over last year (keeping in mind that 2003 was a very bad year for Chrysler).

The bright spot of October was the 300, which outsold the 2003 Concorde, 300M, and Intrepid combined, with 10,818 sales in a single month. The PT was up a full 29%, the Pacifica 30%, and the Town and Country 8%, possibly because of additional showroom traffic.

The Jeep area, which has been doing remarkably well otherwise, is down 23% since last year, affecting all three Jeeps.

Neon sales are down again, by 13%, while Stratus sales are up by 10% - rather surprising. 4,749 Magnum sales beat last year's 2,315 Intrepid sales even if you throw in the similar Concorde (1,570).

In trucks, the story is almost horrific, with the profitable Ram dipping 16% from 2003, the Dakota down 28% as it closes out its run. That Ram dip is about 6,400 trucks. On the bright side, the Caravan posted a sales increase of 7% despite renewed competition, and twice as many Durangos (10,508) were sold compared to last October.

To summarize - October 2003 to 2004, Dodge Brand stayed even with cars, Durangos, and minivans compensating for Rams and Dakotas. Chrysler Brand was ahead 38%, and Jeep was down 23%.

For more, click on Full Story.

Reported by Dave at (November 04 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler Wins Four Awards from Edmunds.com

Chrysler Group captured four separate product awards from Edmunds.com in the Web site's seventh annual "Editors' Most Wanted" awards program. Chrysler Group accepted the awards at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show in Las Vegas.

Edmunds.com named the all-new 2005 Chrysler 300 as itsMost Significant Vehicle of the Year and the Editors' Most Wanted Sedan Under $25,000 for 2005. The Dodge Magnum was named Editors' Most Wanted Wagon Under $25,000 for 2005, while the Dodge Dakota was honored with the Editors' Most Wanted Compact Truck for 2005.

The all-new Chrysler 300 succeeds on so many levels that it is hard to pinpoint exactly where it all comes together, said Brian Moody, Edmunds.com Road Test Editor. However, it has a lot to do with its capacity to blend past and present, big sedan performance and luxury, and value and style into one enticing package.

Reported by Chris H at (November 04 2004, 02 PM)

Chrysler SEMA Highlights

Following are highlights of the six "SkunkWerks" Chrysler show cars for the 2004 SEMA show (click "Full Story" to read the highlights):

Reported by Chris H at (November 04 2004, 02 PM)

Jeep Liberty CRD Pricing

The base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the Jeep Liberty CRD Sport 4x4 is $25,125, including $610 destination. The base MSRP for the Jeep Liberty CRD Limited 4x4 is $27,355, including $610 destination. The Jeep Liberty CRD will begin arriving in dealerships later this year.

"Response to the new Jeep Liberty CRD has been huge," said Bell. "Nearly 40,000 consumers have expressed interest in the diesel-powered Jeep Liberty, well ahead of the manufacturing launch in November. Jeep vehicle owners and prospects understand that the Jeep Liberty CRD is another go-anywhere, do-anything option from Jeep that will help them enjoy their active life-styles."

Reported by Chris H at (November 08 2004, 05 PM)

Chrysler Products Awarded Popular Science's "Best of What's New" for '05

The Dodge Magnum, the new shape of American muscle, continues to turn heads, this time at Popular Science. The magazines editors chose the Dodge Magnum as the Grand Award winner in the Cars Category for their annual Best of Whats New competition. In addition, the Stow n Go seating and storage system that is featured in the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans was named Best of Whats New in the Auto Tech Category for the innovative technology that allows both the second- and third-row seats to be easily folded flat into the floor.

To win a Popular Science Best of Whats New award, a product or technology must represent a significant leap in its category.

Best of Whats New" is the ultimate Popular Science accolade, representing a years worth of work evaluating thousands of products, said Editor Mark Jannot. These awards honor innovations that not only impact the way we live today, but change the way we think about the future.

Reported by Chris H at (November 11 2004, 10 AM)

Chrysler Bond Exclusively Managed by Minority Investment Firms

DaimlerChrysler AG today announced its first-ever bond offering managed and co-managed exclusively by minority-owned investment banks. The $300 million medium-term note offering, due November 2006, is being led by two African-American owned firms: Chicago-based Loop Capital Markets and New York-based Williams Capital Group. The issuance is part of the company's routine financing and the proceeds that will be used by DaimlerChrysler Services North America to help finance dealers and retail sales.

In addition to the two lead management firms, a syndicate of seven co-managers will include other minority-owned investment banks representing African-American, Hispanic and female-owned investment banks.

Reported by Chris H at (November 15 2004, 07 PM)

Charger Build Updates, SRT-8 Info

According to sources close to Allpar News, a reported build of Charger SRT-8's are being held at CTC, and possibly tested, currently. The SRT-8 prototypes are painted Blaze Red and stand on 20" (245-45-20) ten spoke polished aluminum wheels, along with "massive brakes," and have 3" dual exhausts, automatic transmissions (5-speeds), RAK stereos, less badging then the "regular" Charger models. The horsepower is said to higher then that of the same 6.1L engine that will be used in the upcoming 300C SRT-8 - probably 440 Horsepower and just over 400 pounds/feet of torque. As Allpar predicted last month, the SRT-8 will have acceleration numbers (0-60) in under 5 seconds.

Reported by Chris H at (November 15 2004, 07 PM)

Charger book nominated for award

Hey Charger has been nominated for the New Zealand Montana book awards, the annual Oscars for the New Zealand publishing industry. Getting nominated for these awards is prestigious indeed. Hey Charger is a detailed history of the Chrysler Valiant Charger in Australia and New Zealand. It may be ordered directly from the publisher, or read our full review at this link.

Reported by Dave at (November 16 2004, 10 AM)

NAIAS-January ticket deal

It's time once again for the largest new car show in North America - the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, January 15th-January 23rd, 2005.

Cost (Full Price): Adults $12 per person-Per day.
Discount cost (groups of 25 or more): $8 per person-per day.

Chlidren under 12 get in free!

For more information, see www.NAIAS.com

If you need help to get to the show or help with tickets please see or post a message on the Events and Shows forum. It may be possible for Allpar to qualify for the group rate and save you $4/day. Click here for details.

Reported by Dave at (November 16 2004, 12 PM)

Chrysler GST, Jeep Pickup Renderings Shown

From DaimlerChrysler Media:

Chrysler brand standards of elegance, refinement and affordability are executed with precision and passion in this "grand tourer" concept, currently code named "Firepower." Powered by a 6.1-liter HEMI V8, the Viper-based vehicle is rooted in a feeling of luxury and performance through sleek design and precise engineering. The Chrysler-branded concept pushes beyond the "sports car" realm by blending expressive detail and engineering. The two-seater concept features a tinted glass roof that extends to the rear liftgate, allowing driver and passenger an enhanced feeling of spaciousness.

Also posted:

The Jeep Gladiator is a lifestyle pick-up with all the capability of the famed Wrangler. It is an authentic statement of Jeep brand heritage, featuring the historic box side-mounted spare of past models. This "Flexible Utility Truck," featuring an open-air canvas top, an expandable truck bed and a stow-away rear-seat cushion, has a rugged functionality only found in Jeep.

Reported by Chris H at (November 17 2004, 08 PM)

300 wins Motor Trend Car of the Year

The Chrysler 300 scored a surprise victory over the likes of the Ford Mustang and Honda Accord hybrid, winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year award.

Reported by Dave at (November 18 2004, 09 AM)

Chrysler making vehicle stability standard on SUVs

Like GM and Ford, Chrysler will be making electronic stability control standard on all its SUVs. Chrysler will phase in the program to take effect on all SUVs in the 2006 model year. Currently, the only Chrysler vehicles to have it are the LX series, Grand Cherokee, and Crossfire.

Reported by Dave at (November 18 2004, 02 PM)

Jeep, once again the sponsor of '04 Army-Navy Game

Chrysler Groups Jeep brand, returning for the third time as the exclusive automotive sponsor of the Army-Navy game, along with UPS, the Philadelphia Sports Congress and the Philadelphia-area Jeep dealers, have joined forces with OPERATION GRATITUDESM to collect and deliver care packages for United States troops deployed overseas.

OPERATION GRATITUDESM care package drop-off sites at Army-Navy game and Philadelphia-area Jeep dealers

Since 2003 inception, OPERATION GRATITUDE has delivered more than 36,000 packages to American troops stationed overseas

Jeep brand continues to support U.S. armed forces as exclusive Army-Navy vehicle sponsor and through other military-based programs

Reported by Chris H at (November 22 2004, 02 PM)

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving wishes from Allpar. Be safe and don't eat too much!

Reported by Chris H at (November 25 2004, 01 PM)

DCX Joint Ventures to Produce Mercedes-Benz Cars and Vans

DaimlerChrysler will be a 50 percent joint venture partner in the new passenger car corporation. In the van joint venture, DaimlerChrysler Vans Hong Kong, in which DaimlerChrysler is a majority stakeholder, will have a participation of 50 percent. Both contracts are effective until 2034. Already in October, DaimlerChrysler received approval for its feasibility-plans through the Chinese government. (see full story)

Reported by Chris H at (November 29 2004, 03 PM)

Down for Maintenance

ALLPAR WILL BE DOWN FOR MAINTENANCE STARTING AT 5 PM EASTERN TIME TODAY. We expect to be back up within 20 minutes.

Reported by Chris H at (November 30 2004, 04 PM)

November Sales

Driven by the youngest product lineup in the industry, Chrysler Group reported November U.S. sales of 164,280 units, an increase of 9 percent compared to November 2003 when 157,212 units were sold. November sales results represent the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases for the Chrysler Group. Retail sales increased six percent over last year. Sales figures are adjusted for the number of selling days and unadjusted figures are contained in the chart at the end of the release.

"We have completely reinvented the products in our showrooms this year, giving us the youngest product lineup in the industry," said Gary Dilts, Chrysler Group Senior Vice President - Sales. "Our showroom traffic is up and sales are improving thanks to customer response to our new products."

Salesfor the Chrysler brand surged 55 percent to a record 50,440 units, led by the Motor Trend 'Car of the Year' Chrysler 300, which posted sales of 11,506 units and marks the seventh consecutive month of sales surpassing 10,000 units. The Chrysler Pacifica achieved a second consecutive record month of sales, posting sales of 11,878 units, an all-time high and a73 percent increase over November 2003 results. The Chrysler Crossfire set a sales record by posting sales of 1,047 units, an improvement of 67 percent compared to November 2003.

Chrysler Group minivan sales improved 29 percent in November continuing to solidify its position as industry leader in the minivan segment.Led by models with Stow 'n Go seating,Dodge Caravan, the industry minivan leader, posted sales of 15,452 units, an increase of 14 percent, while Chrysler Town & Country sales surged 55 percent to 11,985 units.

Jeep brand sales decreased 21 percent to 30,730 units as the new Grand Cherokee continues to arrive in dealer's showrooms and existing Grand Cherokee stock is depleted. Sales of Grand Cherokee declined 32 percent to 13,372 units. Jeep Wrangler sales declined 27 percent to 4,078 and Jeep Liberty sales were down a modest 1 percent to 13,280 units.

Sales of the Dodge brand increased 4 percent to 83,110 units. Dodge Durango sales increased 44 percent to 10,717 units. Dodge Magnum sales increased 23 percent over October sales to 5,192 units.

Chrysler Group finished the month with 608,184 units of inventory, or an 89-day supply.

Reported by Chris H at (December 01 2004, 04 PM)

US brands fall in sales - Chrysler rises

Month-to-month, GM sales fell over 16% November 2003 to November 2004, while Ford sales fell 8%, and Chrysler sales rose over 4% (not adjusted for selling days). At the same time, Toyota rose by over 4%, with fewer than 10,000 vehicles separating their sales from Chrysler; Honda fell 1%; and Nissan rose a whopping 26% to 80,376 vehicles. (GM sold 297,355 vehicles, Ford 217,859, Chrysler 164,280). GM's market share was a healthy 31% in December 2003, but is now down to 25%. Ford's market share fell slightly from 19% to 18%, while Chrysler's rose slightly from 13% to 14%.

Ford expects to see a major sales boost from the Mustang, but Focus sales plummeted 40% in November. (The Focus is most likely less profitable than the Mustang). Chrysler's sales hike appears to largely be due to the new LX cars, with Jeep sales falling dramatically while the new Grand Cherokee ramps up.

More details will be posted soon.

Reported by Dave at (December 02 2004, 08 AM)

Magnum tested by Michigan State Police

The Dodge Magnum is not available with an "official" pursuit package as far as we know, but test cars were made available to the Michigan State Police for their annual squad-car tests. Acceleration with the 3.5 liter V6 was disappointing, with 0-60 in about 9.1 seconds (compared with, say, the Impala squad at 8.8), 0-100 in about 25 seconds, and a top speed of about 116 mph. The Hemi Magnum RT did far better, with the quickest times of any vehicle tested this year - 0-60 in 6.44 seconds, 0-100 in 16.33, and a top speed of 143 mph, beating the Crown Victorias by at least 15 mph and about 2 seconds 0-60.

It is worth noting that the Chevy Tahoe pursuit vehicle did 0-60 in 8.2 seconds with the 5.3 liter engine, beating the standard-gearing Crown Victoria and matching the high-ratio Crown Victoria (which has lower top end performance). Gas mileage was not reported in these preliminary results, though.

In road-holding, the Crown Victoria bested other contenders, but by a very tiny margin. Only five seconds separated the best and worst average track times, so that the Impala came in just two seconds behind the Ford, and the two Chevy Tahoes came in just behind the Impala. The Magnums, not being official pursuit cars, were not tested.

Reported by Dave at (December 06 2004, 10 AM)

Chrysler to Create World's Largest Indoor Test Drive Track

Chicago Auto Show attendees will have the opportunity to experience Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products on a half-mile track at McCormick Place

Chrysler Group is taking the auto show experience to new heights with the creation of a half-mile test drive track that will debut at the 2005 Chicago Auto Show in February. Consumers visiting McCormick Place will have the opportunity to test drive Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products on a specially designed course around the perimeter of the 156,000-square-foot exhibit. The collective displays are the largest ever constructed in Chrysler Group history.

Camp Jeep New York at the Jacob Javitz Center was a homerunearlier this year, drawing over 300,000 visitors and conducting more than 36,000 test drives over a two-week period, said George Murphy, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Marketing. Based on this overwhelming success,we decided toexpand the concept to include the Chrysler and Dodge brands in Chicago.

Chrysler Groups innovative and consumer-friendly concept to allow Chicago Auto Show attendees the opportunity to drive Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge branded products could only have been done in Chicago.

The test track will include a Jeep Trail Rated course to demonstrate the Jeep brands off-road capabilities, including traction, articulation, ground clearance, maneuverability and water fording, and a Dodge truck off-road course. Thirty vehicles will operate on the test track at any given time, featuring Chrysler and Dodge brand passenger cars.

Reported by Chris H at (December 06 2004, 07 PM)

MSP Police Car Tests - More Information

The full tests have been published. The Dodge Magnum Hemi and a second 3.5 liter model, which had acceleration tests, were not included in the full results. The Magnum's braking distance was shorter than the Crown Victoria - amusingly, the Tahoe also stopped shorter than the Ford which has become known for its inflammability. The best performer for braking was the Chevrolet Impala, stopping nearly a full short shorter than the Ford Police Interceptor.

The Tahoe was the clear winner in the ergonomics and communication test, while the Impala and Crown Victoria were roughly tied, and the Magnum at the low end, along with the Ford Expedition. Part of this may be the lack of bench seating; the smaller interior space was probably also a factor. This rating is subjective and may easily be swayed by officers' feelings about the cars. Given that in the past the MSP referred to "DaimlerChrysler Dodges" there may be some issues there.

The Chevrolet Tahoe - a big truck - not only beat the Crown Victoria in ratings of ergonomics and stopping distance, but came close in gas mileage, 15 city, 20 highway vs. Ford's 15 city, 22 highway. The 3.5 liter Magnum and Impala vied for gas mileage winner, with the Impala turning in 20/29 (EPA), 23 combined, and the Magnum turning in 19/27 , 25 combined. (No, it doesn't make sense to us, either.) The worst of the bunch was, as expected, the Expedition, just a little below the E85 Tahoe at 13 city, 17 highway, and 15 combined (the Tahoe was 16.5 combined). The Explorer also managed to out-drink the larger Tahoe.

The overall score is 30% vehicle dynamics, 20% acceleration, 15% top speed, 20% braking, 10% ergonomics/communications, and 5% fuel economy. However, no overall scores were given - and even if they were, the Dodge was not included in the vehicle dynamics tests because Chrysler has not marked it as a pursuit vehicle. It is clear, though, that when a Hemi LX is entered into police duty, it will sweep the Crown Victorias - though by then there might be competition from General Motors.

Reported by Dave at (December 07 2004, 03 PM)

New Appearance Group for Magnum

A new package for ordering as of today (for Jan-Mar production) is the "Performance Appearance Group" which adds RT fog lamps, RT horizontal trim on grille, RT silver headlamp bezels, RT body color mirrors, 3.5L HO badging, and upgraded 17" aluminum wheels to the V6 SXT model. With pricing under $500, this seems like a nice upgrade to the SXT.

Thanks KerrymanMopar

Reported by Chris H at (December 07 2004, 03 PM)

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Sales Rise 53%

Driven by customer response to one of the industry's best Certified Used Vehicle programs, Chrysler Group reported sales for its Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles (CPOV) during November rose 53 percent to 8,222 units. Sales were up across all three Chrysler Group brands. Year-to-date, Chrysler Group CPOV units posted sales of 90,514 units, surging 20 percent year-over-year.

"We offer the kind of certified program customers are looking for," said Ray Fisher, Chrysler Group Vice President - Sales and Service & Parts Operations. "Chrysler Group's certified program is recognized as one of the best in the industry, and customers have appreciation for the additional value we offer versus our competitors."

Reported by Chris H at (December 08 2004, 04 PM)

300 Wins AJAC '05 Best New Luxury Car

The all-new Brampton-built Chrysler 300 continues to bring home the gold with an award from the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) as the 2005 Best New Luxury Car, putting it in the running for the prestigious Canadian Car of the Year award, which will be announced in mid-February 2005 at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

Chrysler Groups product renaissance started with Canadian-built vehicles, which makes this award especially meaningful for our employees, dealers and suppliers, said Mark Norman, Chairman, President and CEO, DaimlerChrysler Canada. Some of the biggest companies in the world brought their best hardware for the most discerning automobile journalists in Canada to evaluate.This AJAC award validates what nearly half the consumers in the segment already know Chrysler 300 provides world-class performance for a tremendous value. (see full story for more on the AJAC award)

Reported by Chris H at (December 08 2004, 04 PM)

Chrysler and UAW Wellness Program Awarded

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today that the DaimlerChrysler/United Auto Workers (UAW)National Wellness Program is one of 11 winners of the second annual Innovation in Prevention Awards.

Innovations in Prevention Awards highlight businesses and organizations that are leading efforts to promote healthy lifestyles. The awards are part of President Bush's "HealthierUS" initiative and Secretary Thompsons emphasis on preventing chronic disease and improving the lives of Americans. The program, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., improves employee health, contains health care costs, cuts absenteeism and raises productivity.

"The UAW worked closely with Chrysler to develop the goals of the wellness program," said Susan Crabtree, benefit coordinator for the UAW. "We support programs that encourage healthy lifestyles and preventative care, benefiting our members."

Reported by Chris H at (December 08 2004, 04 PM)

Recall - Dodge Durangos, Dakotas to Replace Ball Joints

DaimlerChrysler will replace Front Suspension Upper Ball Joints on approximately 600,000 2000-2003.5 MY Dodge Durango 4x4 SUVs and Dodge Dakota Pickups

An additional 400,000 4x2 SUVs and pickups in the same model years to be covered with extended 10-year/100,000-mile warranty

Chrysler Group will recall approximately 600,000 Model Year 2000-2003.5 Dodge Durango 4x4 SUVs and Dodge Dakota pickup trucks to replace front suspension upper ball joints that may be subject to progressive wear.

In addition, to alleviate potential customer concerns, the company will extend the warranty to 10 years or 100,000 miles on the suspension upper ball joints on an additional 400,000 MY 2000-2003.5 Durango and Dakota 4x2 vehicles.

Repairs will be made at no cost to owners. Owners of vehicles covered by this action who have previously paid for the repair will be reimbursed by Chrysler Group.

Chrysler Group's internal investigation has shown that the front suspension upper ball joints on some vehicles may be subject to corrosion and progressive wear. If this condition is ignored for an extended period of time, it could lead to front end noise, tire wear, and in extreme cases separation of the front suspension. There have been no substantiated reports of injuries associated with this condition on these vehicles.

Owners will be notified of the action by letter beginning later this month.

Reported by Chris H at (December 10 2004, 07 PM)

Ram Hybrid in Production

Chrysler has begun production of the Dodge Ram Diesel HEV. The Ram HEV has start-stop capability, which shuts the engine off at full stop and restarts when the accelerator is pressed. A regenerative braking system helps recharge the batteries. The savings on fuel is up to 15 percent over comparable engines.The Ram HEVwill be available to fleet customers.

The Dodge Ram Diesel HEVis built on the Ram Heavy Duty (2500/3500) chassis and is equipped with diesel/electric hybrid propulsion. Diesel works well as a hybrid because there is fuel economy savings with a diesel compared to a similar gasoline engine. And, in the case of our 325hp/600 lb-ft Cummins Turbo Diesel, there isn't a comparable gasoline or diesel engine.

Improved fuel economy and lower emissions are reasons that customers choose hybrids, butthe Ram HEV offers another benefit. The truck can operate as an electric generator, providing 110/220-volt AC power, which would be useful on job sites, for recreational use and for use during emergency power outages. In fact, it can provide enough electricity to power four average households.

Reported by Chris H at (December 13 2004, 10 PM)

DCX and GM to Develop Two-Mode Hybrid System

DCX and General Motors Corporation announced a cooperative effort that will advance the state of hybrid technology to benefit their customers, and the environment. The companies plan to work together to develop a two-mode full hybrid propulsion architecture for applications in GM, Chrysler Group and Mercedes Car Group vehicles. Variants planned include rear- and front-wheel-drive versions for cars, trucks and other vehicles. This technology is expected to improve acceleration performance while also improving vehicle fuel economy and range significantly.

GM and DCX have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding and intend to enter into a definitive agreement in early 2005.

Our planned cooperation will draw on the technical expertise of two of the largest auto companies in the world, said Dr. Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler Board of Management member with responsibility for Research and Technology and Development Mercedes Car Group. The result is expected to be a series of strong hybrid propulsion systems that will serve as a solution for our alternative powertrain needs.

Reported by Chris H at (December 13 2004, 10 PM)

M-Class Production Ramps Up

The first customer-ready, next-generation M-Class sport utility vehicle has rolled off the line at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The vehicles worldwide public debut will take place at NAIAS - Detroit in January 2005.

Since 2001, DaimlerChrysler has invested $600 million to expand the plant and double production capacity from 80,000 to 160,000 vehicles per year. The plant expansion is nearly complete. The Tuscaloosa plant was the first Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle factory outside of Germany. Currently MBUSI employs approximately 3,400 people, with the workforce growing to approximately 4,000 by 2006. Both the M-Class and the all-new Mercedes-Benz R-Class Grand Sports Tourer will be produced at the Tuscaloosa plant beginning in 2005.

Reported by Chris H at (December 14 2004, 09 PM)

Power Wagon to get high-tech suspension

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings announced the
production launch of its 2005 Dodge Ram Power Wagon driveline system. The Dodge Ram Power Wagon is the first production vehicle to feature a fully integrated, computer-controlled chassis system utilizing AAM's
SmartBar(TM), TracRite(R) GTL differential and TracRite(R) EL differential in conjunction with the standard AAM heavy duty front and rear axles and driveshaft.

AAM's patented SmartBar(TM) utilizes a microprocessor controlled disconnecting stabilizer system that provides maximum suspension articulation. The control module continuously monitors vehicle speed, four-wheel-transfer
case selection, and driver-selected inputs from the dashboard-mounted SmartBar(TM) and TracRite(R) switches. The patented AAM control logic determines the allowable vehicle speeds and sequencing for the front and rear TracRite(R) differentials to transition to fully locked modes. The system will automatically disengage and return to on-road mode, if optimum speeds are
exceeded.

The AAM 10.5" Heavy Duty rear axle and new TracRite(R) GTL differential provides full-time traction enhancing torque biasing through a helical gear set for normal operations as well as electronically-controlled full locking
capability when maximum traction is required.

The AAM 9.25" Heavy Duty front steerable beam axle and new TracRite(R) EL differential provides an open differential for normal on-road driving and electronically controlled full locking capability for maximum off-road
traction.

AAM Vice President - Engineering & Chief Technology Officer John J. Bellanti said "AAM's TracRite(R) differentials
distribute maximum traction and the driver actuated-SmartBar(TM) delivers the maximum wheel travel needed for driving on the toughest trails, or the most severe construction sites. As a result, Dodge Ram Power Wagon offers the best wheel articulation in its class..."

Reported by Dave at (December 15 2004, 12 PM)

Chrysler Revs-Up All-New Line of Engines

Chrysler Group engineering leads the development of key technologies that will give its customers high-value benefits in cost-efficient engines. These technologies will debut on the Chrysler Group version of the World Engine, co-developed by DaimlerChrysler, Hyundai Motor Company and Mitsubishi Motors Corporation for the Global EngineManufacturing Alliance (GEMA).

The Chrysler Group will deliver customer benefits with this series of engines, including significant refinements in sound quality, improvements in fuel efficiency, world-class horsepower and torque and reductions in noise, vibration and harshness, said Eric Ridenour, Executive Vice President Product Development, Chrysler Group. Our engineers leveraged the cost savings of the GEMA program to give customers the valuable benefits they desire with these premium technologies.

Aggressive performance and fuel economy targets are achieved through advanced cylinder head port and intake manifold design -- Chrysler Group core competencies, and technologies not typically found in engines of this class. These technologies include dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and intake manifold design with flow control valves, both launching in the U.S. first in Chrysler Group versions of the World Engine. (see "Full Story" for more)

Reported by Chris H at (December 16 2004, 03 PM)

Chrysler Names New Executive

Ronald E. Kolka, formerly Director - U.S. Sales and Marketing Financial Control, has been appointed Vice President - Corporate Financial Control, effective Jan. 1, 2005. He reports to David H. Olsen,Executive Vice President and Controller, Chrysler Group.

Kolkasucceeds William F. Jones Jr., who was previously appointed Vice President - Chrysler Brands Financial, DaimlerChrysler Services North America.

Kolka holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Wayne State University and a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Michigan State University.

Allpar Note: Many of our Forum's members are wondering, who is Ronald E. Kolka?

Reported by Chris H at (December 18 2004, 10 AM)

SIRIUS Satellite Radio Demand Soars

SIRIUS Satellite Radio and the Chrysler Group announced today the completion of the launch of the 2005 model year lineup of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles with SIRIUS Satellite Radio.

"Production rates for 2004 are on-par with our100,000 unit goal," said Mike Kane, Director, Feature Innovation and Advanced Technology Strategy, Chrysler Group.

Availability on additional Chrysler Group models is anticipated, and total volumes of over 500,000 SIRIUS equipped-vehicles are expected over the next model year.

Starting with the launch of the award winning Chrysler 300 Series and Dodge Magnum in April, 2004, Chrysler Group further instituted factory installations on 13 high-volume vehicle lines for the 2005 model year.

Reported by Chris H at (December 20 2004, 12 PM)

Hemi on Ward's "10 Best" once again

Every year since its introduction,the Chrysler 5.7-liter HEMI has earned a place on Ward's 10 Best Engines list. The results of this year's Ward's 10 Best were recently made public, and the HEMI was back for another award.

"The HEMI's 10 Best Engines win for a third consecutive year is no accident. The HEMI is a powerhouse, both literally and as a marketplace phenomenon," said Bill Visnic, Senior Technical Editor, Ward's AutoWorld. "A look at the HEMI's installation rates proves it's a home run in every vehicle that gets it."

On a product-by-product basis, the HEMI remains a popular engine choice. For the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, the take rate is 43%. The Dodge Durango take rate is 54%, Ram is 46% and the JeepGC is at 29%.

Reported by Chris H at (December 21 2004, 07 PM)

Grand Cherokee ~ "SUV of the Year" by Truckin's SUV Magazine

Jeep Grand Cherokee- the benchmark among sport-utility vehicles for off-road capability and on-road refinement - is the winner of Truckin's SUV magazine "SUV of the Year" award.

"All of us at Truckin's SUV are proud to name the all-new 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV of the Year," said Carl Calvert, editor of Truckin's SUV. "We put all of the vehicles through a series of exhausting tests, including comprehensive performance testing, a grueling off-road course and two weeks of tough use, and the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee was the clear winner."


Truckin's SUV praised the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee for its "refined ride, off-road performance, and high-feature content coupled with notable quality, excellent road manners, and a warm and inviting interior."

"We are very pleased to add yet another award to the trophy case of the2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee," said Craig Love, Vice President, Rear Wheel Drive Product Team and Core Team Leader.

Last week, 4-Wheel and Off-Road magazine named the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee the winner of its 4x4 of the Year competition.

"The new Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most off-road capable Grand Cherokee we've ever built," said Love. "At the same time, its on-road manners and refinement achieve luxury car standards.And with its 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee has class-leading power and torque. The design is authentically Jeep, yet contemporary at the same time. It is truly an award-winning package."

Reported by Chris H at (December 21 2004, 07 PM)

UAW organizes new engine plant

The UAW won the right to represent employees of the new Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GMEA) plant in Dundee, Michigan, where engines for the Neon and Stratus replacement, as well as some Mitsubishis, will be built.

Reported by Dave at (December 28 2004, 08 AM)

Dodge Charger, Jeep Gladiator, Chrysler Firepower coming

According to North American Auto Show publicity materials, the January show will include debuts of the Dodge Charger, as well as two concepts, the Jeep Gladiator pickup and Chrysler Firepower (a Hemi-powered car on the Viper chassis). Mercedes will also introduce its Grand Cherokee-based M-Class, and Mitsubishi will unveil its new Eclipse and Dakota-based Raider pickup. Hyundai will show a new Sonata to be built in the United States.

Reported by Dave at (December 29 2004, 08 AM)


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