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Auto blogThu, 27 Feb 2014 13:00:00 EST
Consumer Reports has announced its annual list of worst vehicles, a cringe-inducing contrast to its list of top vehicles. Ignominiously leading the way in 2014 is Chrysler, which has a staggering seven models listed.
Jeep nearly sweeps the small SUV segment by itself, with its Compass, Patriot and 2.4-liter version of the new Cherokee, while the only midsize sedans listed by CR were the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. The new Dodge Dart and the Dodge Journey round out CR's condemnation of Chrysler.
Ford is taking heat as well, with the Taurus, Edge and their counterparts from Lincoln all listed as the worst vehicles in their respective segments. Toyota doesn't fare much better, with its Lexus IS, Scion iQ and tC also making the list.
The Chrysler Crossfire was, suffice it to say, a matter of taste. Based on old Mercedes-Benz mechanicals, it included retro styling accents and an armadillo roofline. Some loved it, but there was clearly room for improvement - not to mention more sales - and that's just what Italian coachbuilder FB Tuning had to showcase at the Top Marques show in Monaco this year.
Called the FB-ONE, it's based on the Crossfire, which itself was based on the same R170 chassis as the first-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK. It packs the same 3.2-liter V6 as well, which FB claims to have tuned farther than anything Daimler-Chrysler ever managed with the same engine. Whereas the SLK32 AMG packed 354 horsepower and the Crossfire SRT-6 offered 330, the FB-One packs a nice, round 400 hp, which ought to be good for a 0-60 time of little over four seconds.
As you can see, that's not all they've done with FB-One. It's also been rebodied in carbon fiber, with gold accents, deep-dish alloys that look like they came out of a casino and the headlights from an Audi A8. Whether the result is your cup of tea likely depends, as it did with the Crossfire in the first place, on your own personal tastes, so check it out for yourself in the video below.
Sergio Marchionne is the CEO of Fiat, which as you may have heard, has finally worked up a deal to finish acquiring the Chrysler Group after months of bargaining with the United Auto Workers and its VEBA healthcare trust, which owned just over 40 percent of the American brand. Where was Marchionne when the deal was finally hammered out? Well, not tucked away in a frigid Detroit board room until the wee hours of the morning.
Nope, one of the largest deals in automotive history was reportedly hammered out on the beach - at the home of a banker, in the Florida resort town of Vero Beach. Marchionne traveled to the home of Alain Lebec, a senior managing director at Brock Capital LLC, one of the advisory companies for the VEBA fund, where both sides met to make final arrangements in the $4.35-billion exchange. The location of the final deal, though, is nearly as remarkable as the pace with which it came about.
According to anonymous sources pinned down by Automotive News Europe, before the meeting, the two sides were meeting in Detroit as recently as December 19, which is where Fiat made one of its final revised offers. Naturally, the VEBA made a counter offer, which led Marchionne to initiate the Vero Beach meeting.