Wed, 08 Oct 2014 11:31:00 EST
The end is in sight for Fiat Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne, who confirmed in an interview with Bloomberg that once FCA's sweeping five-year plan is completed, he'd be stepping down from his post to "undoubtedly" do something else that didn't involve turning around global corporations. That would mean he should finish up after 2018 if all goes according to plan.
Mon, 06 Oct 2014 18:01:00 EST
"It's as important to walk away from the table as it is to sit down," Marchionne told Bloomberg.
Marchionne has been at Fiat since June of 2004 and is one of the chief architects behind the Italian company's acquisition of Chrysler. Despite his successes, he does sound quite ready to move beyond the auto industry, rhetorically asking his Bloomberg interviewers if there "are other things I like to do apart from this?"
Among the multitude of models that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced as part of its five-year production plan in May was a plug-in hybrid version of the Town & Country minivan for sometime in 2016. However, according to the latest pronouncement from company CEO Sergio Marchionne, that timetable may have been moved forward quite a bit.
Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:02:00 EST
Marchionne told Automotive News at the Paris Motor Show that the PHEV minivan would now be launching in late 2015. That strategy does seem a bit confusing, though, because the next-gen platform for the T&C isn't supposed to hit the road until sometime in 2016, according to the plan. So it's not clear whether the boss means the PHEV rides on the current chassis or if the new model is going on sale early.
The technology underpinning the new plug-in hybrid has been shrouded in mystery. However, during the five-year plan meeting, FCA claimed the model could earn fuel economy figures around 75 mpge. Chrysler previously tested a 25-unit fleet of them as part of a demonstration test in Auburn Hills, MI, in 2012, but that didn't go so well.
The Center for Auto Safety is officially petitioning the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to begin scrutinizing alleged problems with the totally integrated power module (TIPM) on about 24 Chrysler Group SUVs and minivans. The advocacy group claims that the part's failure can cause affected vehicles to stall or not start at all. NHTSA is still looking into the accusations and deciding whether a full investigation is actually warranted.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:44:00 EST
The CAS petition claims at least 70 TIPM failures, but according to NHTSA, six of the complaints are for models that don't have the modules. In 34 of the reported cases, the vehicles refused to start, and in 17 of them the engine stalled. There were also two allegations of smoke and one of a fire. However, none of these affected airbag deployment or resulted in a crash.
This petition isn't the first TIPM-related problem for Chrysler Group. A recent report in the New York Times alleged that it found 240 complaints potentially related to the issue on NHTSA's website alone. In September, the automaker also recalled 230,760 examples worldwide (188,723 in the US) of the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango replace the fuel pump relay circuit inside of the TIPM-7 with one external to the unit. The original part could allegedly cause the models to stall without warning. Even earlier, the company also recalled about 80,000 examples of the Jeep Wrangler and Dodge Nitro in 2007 to have the module reprogrammed.
Chrysler has announced a recall covering 349,442 vehicles due to ignition switches that can either become stuck or move without warning. All of the affected vehicles are from the 2008 model year, and were built before May 12, 2008.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST
The automaker has learned that ignition keys on some vehicles "may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position during engine-startup," the company said in a statement. Additionally, "an ignition key may not fully return to the 'ON' position after rotation to the 'START' position and may inadvertently move through the 'ON' position to 'ACCESSORY' or 'OFF.'"
Chrysler says it is unaware of any related injuries, and notes that while reduced braking, engine or steering power is possible in such instances, the airbags are not affected. The later stands in contrast to General Motors' recent rash of high-profile recalls, and it's an important distinction that Chrysler (understandably) felt necessary to call out in bold print in its press release.
If it weren't for his Dale Earnhardt Sr. looks, Blue Nelson could be one one of those soft-spoken, nondescript guys whom you meet briefly and never learn much more about. However, as The New York Times shows in a recent profile and video, behind closed doors, Nelson keeps a fascinatingly eclectic collection of automotive oddities and vintage bicycles.
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 16:29:00 EST
While his main career is in the movie industry, Nelson's other job is as a car hunter. He takes on clients searching for a specific model and helps them find and restore the dream vehicle that they're after. Hiring him takes some dedication, though, because Nelson doesn't advertise his services. "If people want to find me, they know how to find me," he says in the video.
Beyond being an automotive private detective, Nelson has a fantastically varied collection of vehicles of his own. He likes to have models that people don't usually see, and his garage holds a classic Chrysler New Yorker and an extremely rare Rometsch convertible. Although, the one that means the most to him is the 1962 Porsche 356 convertible that Blue came home in as a baby. Check out the video to learn more about Nelson and his philosophy about forming a bond with a car.
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 11:27:00 EST
"We figured we'd take the best of both worlds." - Ralph Gilles.
The international makeup of the 2015 Jeep Renegade will serve as a template for cooperation within the newly formed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Senior Vice President of Product Design Ralph Gilles said.
Google is no stranger to showing off some of the most interesting automotive destinations in the world, like the museums for Lamborghini and Ducati, or even a Tesla showroom. However, it's taking that technology even further with a new, in-depth look of the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant where the Chrysler 200 is made. Unlike these earlier online excursions, the new Chrysler factory tour is a fully guided experience that includes several 360-degree videos explaining many parts of the production process.
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:45:00 EST
"Just as we pioneered a completely new Chrysler 200, we are pioneering a new way for consumers to research a vehicle. The Factory Tour is an opportunity for us to prove to consumers that the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200 is not one ever built before," said Olivier Francois, Chrysler's chief marketing officer, in the company's release.
Chrysler was already pretty proud of its nearly $1 billion in recent updates to the Sterling Heights factory having released a look at the 200's assembly process earlier this year. However, the new Google tour goes far deeper by including 12 videos, and between highlighted stops, viewers can swing the camera all over to get a full view of the action. The whole thing is an intriguing way to show the way a modern car gets built.
It seems Fiat is bent on bolstering its image as a global automaker, as word has leaked out that the Italian/American conglomerate has chosen to locate its global headquarters in a rather swanky neighborhood in London. According to Bloomberg, the rental location on St. James Street in London's West End is a 10-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will fill up three complete floors of an office building that also houses The Economist magazine.
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:31:00 EST
As a neutral location between Italy and the United States, the London-based headquarters makes sense, though, at $277 per square foot, this area is said to be the most expensive office space in the world. There's no mention of what FCA has actually agreed to pay for renting the space, but we're certain it isn't coming cheap.
Not surprisingly, Bloomberg also cites research indicating that the largest number of immigrants moving into London from January through August of this year hail from Italy, which makes sense considering the number of Italian executives and workers we'd expect would have to relocate to the UK in order to work at Fiat's new home. The company reportedly plans to be in place in London by the time it holds its next round of board meetings in October.
The saga of the Washington state community college hoping to keep its allegedly pre-production Dodge Viper out of the maw of the crusher is going strong. Not only does the school still have the car, but there's a chance that the college might even get to keep it.
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:31:00 EST
The whole situation flared up in March when the South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, WA, received a notice from Chrysler Group that requested that the school's Viper be destroyed. The automaker had loaned the muscle car to it about a decade ago to use for educational purposes in its auto tech classes. With the Dodge growing long in the tooth, "it is unlikely that these vehicles offer any educational value to students," the company said in its press release on the matter.
However, the college balked at destroying its Viper, despite the fact it had signed a contract with Chrysler Group to do so. The school further claimed that its car was incredibly special because it was a pre-production example and just the fourth one made back in 1992. Although, as we pointed out at the time, the photos of the school's vehicle showed a coupe that looked like a newer Viper GTS.
When Chrysler showed us its hand and revealed its five-year product plan to the world, we learned that the updated 300 sedan will bow at the LA Auto Show in November. Now, thanks to Allpar, we might have our first (super grainy) look at the new sedan a full two months ahead of its official debut.
Unlike its Dodge Charger platform mate, the new 300 isn't really all that different from the model currently on sale. That said, we're not sure if the changes shown here really reflect styling that we'd call "better," with the company's logo sort of floating at the top of the grille, and a more simplistic front end that lets the schnoz stick out a bit. Again, nothing drastic to talk about, but the new tweaks are kind of weak. Of course, we'll wait until we see the finished product in the metal before we make up our minds.
Don't expect things to change too much in terms of interior refinement or powertrain offerings, as well, with all the same leather and technology we've enjoyed in the 300 before, and the usual 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and 5.7-liter Hemi V8 powertrain options. We'll know for sure when the car shows its freshened face in Los Angeles in November.