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Chrysler recalling hundreds of thousands of Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander SUVs

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 08:30:00 EST

The public might associated ignition switch recalls with General Motors - and with good cause - but that's not the only automaker calling its vehicles back in to fix that sort of issue.
Last month we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating an array of Chrysler Group vehicles for electrical-related safety issues. The administration and Chrysler subsequently issued a recall for 700,000 Dodge Journey crossovers, Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. But while the Jeeps that were also under investigation were not covered in that recall, they are being addressed in a separate one now.
Although Chrysler reports that it is only aware of a single accident stemming from this issue, it is "committing now to conduct a recall out of an abundance of caution." The recall affects the 2006-2007 Jeep Commander and 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee, of which it reports there are 792,300 on the road: 649,900 in the United States, 28,800 in Canada, 12,800 in Mexico and a further 100,800 outside of North America.

How a Chrysler New Yorker rally car turned father and son into best friends

Thu, 10 Jul 2014 19:00:00 EST

Cars have a weird way of bringing fathers and sons together. You might not want to talk to your dad (or son) about politics, but if you can get him into a conversation about 1950s automotive design, then you can chat for hours. The latest video from Petrolicious looks at how Jonathan Auerbach and his dad bonded through racing in long-distance rallies in an absolutely brutish 1951 Chrysler New Yorker.
The Auerbachs have over 10,000 miles in competition on this behemoth of a Chrysler. It packs a 354-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) hemi V8 with Weber carbs under the hood, and driving it looks more akin to piloting a ship than any kind of on-road vehicle. The New Yorker can take a pounding and just keep going, too. Jonathan says that they hit two deer during one event, and the only damage to the car was some missing trim up front.
The next goal is to prep the car for the arduous Peking to Paris Rally. The big Chrysler should be quite the sight when it rolls across the finish line in France. Scroll down to hear this poignant story about a father and son becoming best friends while racing an American classic. You might want to have a tissue handy, if you're close to your dad, though.

Hot sales have Detroit automakers shortening summer shutdowns

Tue, 08 Jul 2014 14:01:00 EST

Back in May, there was speculation that the Detroit Three automakers would maintain or perhaps even extend their traditional summer shutdowns, mostly due to a bitingly cold winter that saw below-freezing temperatures infiltrate the southernmost reaches of the US, putting a chill on auto sales. Now, though, the numbers are in, and thanks to some promising sales figures, it looks like some domestic line workers are going to be working clear through July, in some cases.
According to Automotive News, Ford has slashed its traditional two-week hiatus for factory workers in half at four of its plants, while both Chrysler and General Motors will keep factories running nonstop (two plants in Chrysler's case and a third of GM's factories).
This is, as we said, thanks to some positive numbers. Chief among those is the Seasonal Adjusted Annual Rate, which was at an eight-year high of 17 million units. Individual figures were less promising. GM, embroiled in its recall scandal, still saw a one-percent increase while Ford dropped six percent in year-over-year sales. Chrysler was the big winner, though, with a nine-percent jump in June.

Chrysler de Mexico to sell rebadged Mitsubishi model in shades of Colt deal

Wed, 02 Jul 2014 16:29:00 EST

Chrysler and Mitsubishi have had a close relationship since the early '70s. Back then, they partnered up to sell the Japanese brand's models under American names as captive imports in the US. Vehicles like the Dodge Colt, Eagle Summit, and eventually the 3000GT/Stealth twins and lots of other cars and trucks became the fruits of that alliance. In fact, the two companies still maintain a good rapport, as evidenced by reports of a new deal to sell the Mitsubishi Attrage, also known the Mirage G4, in Mexico starting in November.
The Attrage is a small, four-door sedan that borrows many of the mechanical bits from the Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback. According to Automotive News, the deal allows Chrysler to sell the model in Mexico for the next five years. The deal could be a win-win for both companies. Mitsubishi gets to use more capacity at its Laem Chabang, Thailand factory where the car is made, and Chrysler gets a new vehicle for a growing market with almost zero development costs. At this time, there's no indication of the new model's name in Mexico, though.
There's also still a chance the Attrage might make it to the US market as well. The automaker showed off the sedan as the Mirage G4 at the 2014 Montreal Motor Show ahead of promised sales in small-car-friendly Canada. The Mirage hatchback was introduced to the US in a similar way, debuting in Canada first and then crossing the border. While reviews for the Mirage have been pretty atrocious, it would still be interesting to see Mitsubishi further expanding its lineup in North America.

Chrysler recalling 700k minivans and Dodge Journey for ignition switch woes

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 11:29:00 EST

General Motors isn't the only automaker with ignition switch problems. Chrysler is fighting it too and is now announcing a recall of 695,957 examples worldwide of the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans from the 2008-2010 model years, plus the 2009-2010 Dodge Journey.
According to a statement from Chrysler, the models have a bad wireless ignition node detent ring in the ignition switch, making it possible for drivers to appear to have the key in the "Run" position but for the spring not to fully engage. It can then slip back to the "Accessory" position and shut the car off. If this happens, the vehicle loses power steering, brake boost and the airbags.
There is some disparity about the number of vehicles affected under this recall. In its statement, Chrysler claims that it covers 525,206 vehicles in the US, 102,892 in Canada, 25,591 in Mexico and 42,268 elsewhere. However, the recall announcement posted by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists an estimated 438,109 vehicles in the US. Chrysler spokesperson Nick Cappa told Autoblog via email that the reasoning for the different figures "will become clear at a later date."

Google's new Android Autos OS unveiled, will be in cars this year [w/video]

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:59:00 EST

Connected cars are coming en-masse. We know this much. How, though, remains something of an open question, especially as two of the world's largest tech companies are preparing to battle for control of your car's dashboard. On the one hand, we have Apple and its CarPlay system. And now, we know what Google has been working on with Auto Link.
Its new name is Android Auto, and yes, it's based off the Android architecture that is the primary challenger to Apple's iOS mobile operating system. Announced at Google's I/O conference today, Android Auto functions similarly to CarPlay - owners will need to plug their smartphones into their cars to access the full breadth of capability.
In Android Auto's case, that means a wealth of voice controls to limit distracted driving. Google's marquee apps will be available when the interface arrives in production models later this year, including Google Play Music, Google Maps and voice-activated texting and text playback. Meanwhile, developers will be able to begin designing custom apps for the new system via an upcoming software development kit.

Some Jeep Cherokees and Chrysler 200s to get standard stop-start in 2015

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 09:28:00 EST

Automakers the world over are striving to find ways to make their models more efficient, and Chrysler has a solution for some versions of the 2015 Chrysler 200 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee (2014 model shown). The Tigershark 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the 200 and the 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 in the Cherokee are getting a slight boost later this year thanks to the addition of Chrysler's Engine Stop-Start system as standard equipment. The company predicts modest gains - a three-percent improvement in fuel economy and a three percent reduction in CO2 emissions with the new tech compared to without it. While it's not much, those who sit in traffic a lot may see a difference.
Chrysler's stop/start system uses a high-speed starter motor to restart the vehicle in a claimed a third of a second. It works by detecting when the vehicle comes to a stop and turning off the engine. A more powerful battery maintains all of the model's accessories while it sits. When the driver lets off the brake, the car starts up again to drive away. There is even a button in the cabin to turn the ESS off, if desired.
The Jeep will be the first to receive ESS in the third quarter of this year to coincide with the start of production of the 2015 model-year version. The 200 will follow in the fourth quarter as a rolling change in production.

Airbag recall widens to include BMW, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota

Mon, 23 Jun 2014 15:45:00 EST

The recall of faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata has exploded today to grow to seven automakers. In most cases, only models in certain high-humidity regions were affected because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found in its investigation that moisture played a roll in determining whether there would be a problem. However, some companies opted for national campaigns. The exact number of affected models for these campaigns isn't yet known at this time.
BMW is recalling an undisclosed number of 325i, 325Xi, 330i and 330Xi models from the 2001 through 2005 model years and the 2001-2006 model year versions of the 325Ci and 330Ci for the driver side and passenger side inflators. Only vehicles currently registered in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands are covered under this recall.
Neither Chrysler's filing with NHTSA nor its press release list the specific models affected, but a company spokesperson told Autoblog that at this time it only covers the driver and passenger side inflators for the 2006 Dodge Charger in Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the US Virgin Islands

NHTSA investigating Chrysler for airbags, ignition switches

Wed, 18 Jun 2014 16:01:00 EST

Chrysler is being targeted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a pair of actions that focus on over 1.2 million Jeeps, minivans and crossovers.
The first is a "preliminary investigation" that focuses on an airbag issue afflicting the Jeep Commander built in model years 2006 and 2007 and Grand Cherokee from 2005 to 2006. In total, 700,000 vehicles could potentially be affected. It's not entirely clear what the airbag issue is, with The Detroit Free Press simply stating that the restraint systems in the affected Jeeps may be "faulty."
The other investigation is what's called a "recall query" and it covers a problem that General Motors should be familiar with. In this case, there could be a problem with the ignition switches of 525,000 vehicles, ranging from 2008 to 2010 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, to the 2008 to 2010 Dodge Journey crossover. Again, it's not entirely clear what sort of behavior prompted the 32 complaints that NHTSA has received on these vehicles.

Fiat GIF-based ads make our heads spin

Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:58:00 EST

Take a good, long look at the image above. Don't worry, it's completely real; you're not hallucinating. Would you believe that's an actual screencap from an actual ad commissioned by Fiat that's airing on actual television? Believe it.
The commercials started as a series of animated GIFs from The Richards Group for Fiat's Tumblr page, according to Adweek. Chrysler's Chief Marketing Officer reportedly liked them enough that he had them cut into ads for TV. The result is a combination of Internet meme heaven that includes the above horse mask and "Deal with it," animation, experimental filmmaking, cats, a person in a bunny suit twerking on a Fiat 500 and more general bizarreness.
Whatever your opinion on them, you have to admit that the advertising is certainly attention grabbing. Imagine looking up at the TV form your tablet to catch a glimpse of this weirdness. If you don't like them, Fiat is even giving people the chance to do a better job. Its Tumblr is open to submissions of new GIFs, which could lead to some very inappropriate and potentially hilarious results given the way that the Internet often works.