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Chrysler minivans under investigation for stalling after fuel refill

Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:16:00 EST

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least one man has reported that his 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan stalled unexpectedly on the highway shortly after being refueled. The unidentified man who contacted NHTSA regarding the issue cited as many as eight similar instances reported by other drivers.
NHTSA has announced that it will launch an inquiry into this issue, which could affect as many as 160,000 minivans from Dodge and Chrysler that were sold in 2007 (or more, if a problem is found that extends to additional models years, we'd assume). As of yet, there's no formal investigation, let alone a recall, on these vans, as the agency is merely determining if further action is needed.
Two months ago, Chrysler recalled nearly 700,000 vehicles, the majority of which were minivans, from the 2008-2010 model years to replace ignition switches after an investigation found that their weak springs and detent positions could fool a driver into thinking the car was in the "Run" position, when it's actually in the "Accessory" position.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles targets mid-October IPO

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 09:31:00 EST

The merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is targeting October 13 to launch its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters assembled for a meeting in Rimini, Italy.
"The most likely date for the listing in the US is October 13," Marchionne said, according to Reuters.
Marchionne is trusting that the money made in the IPO will be contribute heavily his ambitious, $64-billion five-year growth plan, which will see FCA reboot Alfa Romeo and Maserati and expand Jeep's global presence. Should the IPO fall short, though, Marchionne has confirmed that "all decision [sic] on any capital increase will be taken by the board of FCA at the end of October."

This forgotten Chrysler was its bid for Humvee contract

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 16:01:00 EST

Today, the Humvee might be as associated with the dead automotive brand from General Motors as it is with the hard-working truck that has long served as one of the backbone vehicles of America's military. But Autoline host John McElroy is showing off a practically unknown part of the model's story by digging out some old photos from his personal archive.
The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle project, better known today as the Humvee, can be traced back to a US Department of Defense request for bids to build a new military truck. According to McElroy, he was invited to the Chrysler proving grounds in 1981 to check out the bid from the brand's defense division. The company's concept was that it might be able to build an inexpensive, capable vehicle by using off-the-shelf parts.
The angular body panels gave the truck a look almost like a modern, stealth vehicle. However, the flat look was actually just to make the tooling as cheap as possible to produce. Still, this Chrysler looked surprisingly futuristic for the early '80s. It's actually not too far away from the famous Lamborghini LM002, itself intended as a possible military-spec machine.

Chrysler investigating complaints of vehicles with faulty power modules

Sun, 24 Aug 2014 15:09:00 EST

Chrysler owners are hopping mad after experiencing a series of electrical gremlins in some of the company's vehicles. Issues range from mere annoyances - windows rolling down and radios turning off of their own accord - to serious safety issues, with headlights that randomly shut off at night and cars that stall and refuse to start.
The issues are being blamed on the total integrated power module, which can cost up to $1,000 for customers to replace. This, of course, has led to a hefty batch of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with 240 owners expressing their displeasure so far. Another site, CarComplaints.com, has registered over 300 complaints relating to the 2010 to 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, alone, according to The New York Times.
Chrysler has acknowledged that it's investigating the complaints and is analyzing the faulty TIPMs, but that isn't quite enough for customers of the affected vehicles. The newspaper has snagged a few of the more harrowing tales with the electrically challenged Chrysler products, culled from the NHTSA complaints.

Chrysler appoints new heads of Alfa Romeo and Ram

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:30:00 EST

Chrysler has announced to two key appointments to its senior leadership, both of them taking immediate effect. First up is Reid Bigland, who has been named head of the Alfa Romeo brand for North America. Bigland has served until now as head of the Ram Truck brand, a portfolio he now hands over to Robert Hegbloom, who had served until now as its director.
As a result of the appointments, both Bigland and Hegbloom will take up seats on Chrysler's NAFTA Leadership Team, and Bigland will also join the Fiat Chrysler Group Executive Council - the highest decision-making body in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire.
As per Sergio Marchionne's leadership style, Bigland will continue to serve in two major capacities, maintaining his role as president and CEO of Chrysler Canada. Other senior executives who hold multiple key portfolios include Harald Wester (who serves as the group's Chief Technology Officer and also overseas Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Abarth), Olivier Francois (group Chief Marketing Officer and head of the Fiat brand) and Michael Manley (head of the Asia-Pacific region and the Jeep brand).

2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat revealed [UPDATE]

Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:20:00 EST

Almost immediately after we drove the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, we began wondering: what's next? Pumping 707 horsepower into the Challenger seemed so crazy - and so intoxicating - we just assumed that Dodge would try that trick again.
Rumors swirled about a Charger Hellcat. Frankly it makes even more sense than the Challenger version. The Charger is a bigger car, and Dodge has never been shy about dropping monster engines under its hood. Hell (cat), we've seen Charger mules running around town that appeared to be the super sedan.
And finally, it's here. The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat was revealed today at a preview event near Detroit, and it will be a centerpiece of the Chrysler display this weekend at the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Chrysler, Nissan looking into claim that their cars are industry's most hackable

Sun, 10 Aug 2014 14:35:00 EST

A pair of cyber security experts have awarded the ignominious title of most hackable vehicles on American roads to the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, 2014 Infiniti Q50 and 2015 Cadillac Escalade.
Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek are set to release a report at the Black Hat hacking conference in Las Vegas, Automotive News reports. The two men found the Jeep, Caddy and Q50 were easiest to hack based not on actual tests with the vehicles, but a detailed analysis of systems like Bluetooth and wireless internet access - basically, anything that'd allow a hacker to remotely gain access to the vehicle's systems.
Considering this lack of hands-on testing, the pair acknowledge that "most hackable" could be a relative term - they point out that the vehicles may actually be quite secure.

What's in a trademark? Sometimes, the next iconic car name

Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:45:00 EST



The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a treasure trove for auto enthusiasts, especially those who double as conspiracy theorists.
Why has Toyota applied to trademark "Supra," the name of one of its legendary sports cars, even though it hasn't sold one in the United States in 16 years? Why would General Motors continue to register "Chevelle" long after one of the most famous American muscle cars hit the end of the road? And what could Chrysler possibly do with the rights to "313," the area code for Detroit?

Fiat shareholders green-light Chrysler merger, end of an Italian era

Fri, 01 Aug 2014 14:03:00 EST

Fiat has just taken a major step away from its Italian heritage, as shareholders officially approved the company's merger with Chrysler. That move will lead to the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, a Dutch company based in Great Britain and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Automotive News Europe.
The company captured the two-thirds majority at a special shareholders meeting, although there are still a few situations that could defeat the movement. According to ANE, roughly eight percent of shareholders opposed the merger, which is a group large enough to defeat the plan, should they all exercise their exit rights outlined in the merger conditions.
Meanwhile, Fiat Chairman John Elkann (pictured above, right, with CEO Sergio Marchionne and Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo), the great-great-grandson of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli, reaffirmed his family's commitment to the company beyond the merger. Exor, the Agnelli family's holding company, still maintains a 30-percent stake in Fiat.

40+ cars that barely avoid the gas guzzler tax

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:59:00 EST



The Gas Guzzler schedule, with mpg ratings and charges that haven't changed since 1991, lays out which fuel-swillers owe what to Uncle Sam.
I started thinking about the "Gas Guzzler Tax" - considerably less well known as The Energy Tax Act of 1978 - when I was driving Dodge's new Challenger SRT Hellcat last week. Unsurprisingly for a car that can burn 1.5 gallons of gas per minute at max tilt, theoretically able to empty a full tank of premium in about 13 minutes, the Hellcat will be subject to the Gas Guzzler Tax schedule when it goes on sale.