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2015 Fiat 500X offers Italian Renegade spirit

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:01:00 EST



The 500X will be built alongside the Jeep Renegade at Fiat's Melfi, Italy factory, with sales to begin during the first half of 2015.
Fiat is following up on the March unveiling of the Jeep Renegade with its own compact crossover, the oft-rumored and teased 500X, which is making its big debut later today at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show.

Six 'shut up and take my money' cars

Tue, 11 Nov 2014 11:30:00 EST

Any time you see this iconic moment in pop culture - Shut up and take my money! - posted in response to a new car reveal, rumor for an upcoming model or even lip-service to a vehicle that should exist, you can bet there's some intrinsic good in the idea. Though depending on the person offering up the cash, that good could take the form of extraordinary form, functionality, weight savings, power, handling, etc. You get the idea.
In fact, when I first proposed this list, I reached out to the Autoblog staff to help me brainstorm. Here are some of the ideas they offered up that I ultimately didn't use: Jaguar XE Coupe, Pagani Huayra Roadster, Mercedes-Benz S-Class "parade car" (cabriolet), Morgan 3-Wheeler with Ducati V-twin, Ford Transit Connectamino (pickup), Mercedes CLA63 AMG, Ford Fusion 5.0, BMW i8 Spyder, Lexus RC-F Shooting Brake, Volvo XC90 Polestar. Oh, and things we collectively wanted to stick Dodge's Hellcat in were almost as numerous as models that Fiat Chrysler Automotive currently makes (though none quite so compelling as the Grand Cherokee you see above.)
Ultimately though, while I used a couple of ideas from my colleagues, the list of cars I'd shell out for unquestionably is very personal. Though it isn't complete, what follows is a selection of cars whose very existence would prompt me - or the trust-fund-baby versions of me - to utter without hesitation: "Shut up and take my money."

Fiat debuts 500 Ribelle, 500L Urbana Trekking

Sat, 08 Nov 2014 15:14:00 EST

Fiat has introduced a pair of special edition models at the 2014 Miami Auto Show, trotting out the 500 Ribelle and the 500L Urbana Trekking.
The smaller of the two, the compact 500 Ribelle, expands on the 500's retro-chic looks by adding a red roof, spoiler and mirror caps, which should contrast nicely with the limited color palette of Bianco, Billet Argento, Grigio and Nero Puro. Aside from the paint changes, Fiat has added gloss black headlight and taillight bezels and black wheels. The cabin comes with a choice of two upholstery colors: gray and red or gray and black.
The five-door 500L Urbana Trekking adds a few pieces of matte-painted trim, in the form of new mirror caps, side sills and body side molding. Matte-black, 17-inch wheels spice up the exterior and match the standard black roof, while Fiat's six selectable colors (Verde Bosco Perla, Rosso Perla, Giallo, Bianco, Grigio Scuro and Blue Tornado) add a degree of customization to the limited-edition five-door. For some reason, the pretty matte paint shown in the gallery was a one-off item for the debut car, and won't be offered to consumers. Gloss black interior trim pieces and a mix of black leather and leatherette change up the interior ever so slightly. Beats Audio and satellite radio are both standard features.

Mopar maneuvers into SEMA with a multitude of modified models

Wed, 05 Nov 2014 20:00:00 EST

As the aftermarket and performance arm of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Mopar has a duty to extract everything from the company's models that it can, and there's no better place to show all of its work off than the annual SEMA Show.
Dodge really gets in on the act this year with several customs to show off different parts of the brand's performance heritage. Perhaps the most interesting among them is the track-prepped Viper ACR Concept (pictured above). It wears a custom body kit to produce even more downforce, thanks in no small part to a monstrous wing at the back. To shed weight, most of the interior is stripped out, as well. Next up, the Challenger T/A Concept takes inspiration from '70s Trans-Am racing in a livery of Sublime Green and matte black paint. The center scoop in the hood keeps the 6.4-liter V8 fed with cool air, and the special's 20-by-9.5-inch matte black wheels keep it planted in the corners.
Also getting the once-over from Mopar is the Charger R/T. It wears the division's body kit, and under the hood, a cold-air intake keeps the 5.7-liter V8 breathing. The suspension is retooled to hold the road better with a coil-over kit, upgraded sway bars and strut tower braces for the front and rear. The company is also showing off a snazzy blue Charger with a mean look. The final Dodge getting work from Mopar is the Dart R/T Concept with bright, O-So-Orange paint and a matte black hood with a scoop hooked directly to the air intake. The performance-oriented design is finished off with a coil-over suspension and big brake kit, as well.

Ram 700 by Fiat may be the small truck we've been waiting for

Sat, 01 Nov 2014 17:07:00 EST

It seems like auto buyers throughout the whole world outside of the United States and Canada have a plethora of small pickups to choose from to fit their needs. In fact, there's one just south of the border that might be perfect for many American consumers - the 2015 Ram 700.
The little, front-wheel-drive pickup is a badge-engineered version of the Fiat Strada, which is also sold in Mexico. The powertrain is limited to a 1.6-liter four-cylinder making 115 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque with a five-speed manual gearbox. However, buyers can choose between either a two-door, two-passenger body or a three-door, four-person version (pictured above and right) that's also available with a locking front differential. While the 700 isn't big, the two-door version still offers a cargo capacity of up to 1,554 pounds, and opting for the three-door still allows for 1,433 pounds of goods.
Prices for these little trucks aren't bad either. The two-door is priced at 182,900 Mexican pesos ($13,576 at current rates), while 241,900 pesos ($17,955) gets customers the three-door.

Fiat reveals oddball FCC4 in Sao Paulo

Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:30:00 EST

The striking new concept vehicle seen above is called the FCC4, which stands for Fiat Concept Car... with, um, four doors. We're not quite sure what else to call it, because the Fiat Design Center Latam (as in, Latin America) has apparently tried to transcend market segments and traditional bodystyles as much as possible. It's sort of like a four-door coupe, riding high on a jacked-up suspension, with what looks at first like a pickup bed but is actually covered by a sloping glass fastback.
And we thought the Strada was weird.
This Sao Paulo Motor Show showcar is the kind of thing that makes the BMW X6 look positively conventional. Only BMW actually, you know... built theirs and put it on the market. And then it built another. The FCC4 is also longer than an X6, and less than two inches smaller in both width and height. All that weirdness is done up in metallic blue with LED lighting and a face that looks like someone gave the Range Rover Evoque a fat lip.

Ferrari to be spun off from Fiat Chrysler

Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:02:00 EST

The recently merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles empire has ambitious plans for growth, and it's going to need some big bucks in its coffers in order to enact them. Part of that cash injection is coming from the floating of its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, but now FCA has announced a further capital campaign to be based on the enormous asset that is Ferrari.
FCA's board of directors has just approved the separation of Ferrari from the rest of the group as a separate entity. Once that separation is complete, Ferrari will put 10 percent of its shares on the stock market "in the United States and possibly a European exchange" as well.
This isn't the first time that the idea of a Ferrari IPO has been raised. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive of Chrysler, Fiat and Ferrari (pictured above), first raised the idea four years ago. Former Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo nixed the idea, but now that he's been discharged, it appears there's nothing to get in the way of Marchionne's desires.

Chrysler-Fiat quality chief out after another poor Consumer Reports showing

Tue, 28 Oct 2014 18:30:00 EST

Fiat Chrysler has announced a management change following the company's woeful performance in the latest Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey. Of the 28 brands surveyed, FCA's marques occupied the five the seven lowest scores, while Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat were the four lowest scorers.
Doug Betts, FCA's 51-year-old head of quality "left the company to pursue other interests," which, considering the aforementioned paragraph, means he was sacked. According to Automotive News, Betts joined Chrysler in 2007, defecting from Nissan, and, insiders report, had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with new boss Sergio Marchionne.
His replacement is the newly promoted Matthew Lidane (shown at inset), who was formerly VP of systems and components. Lidane has been at Chrysler since 1987 and was previously chief engineer of the Jeep product team as well as the vehicle line boss for the compact US wide platform which (ironically) underpins two of FCA's lowest scoring vehicles, the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee.

Fiat-Chrysler shows its SEMA lineup

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:29:00 EST

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles already previewed its 2014 SEMA show lineup with some slick renders. Now, the automaker has finally showed us the actual cars, and among the group there are definitely some that stand out more than others.
Dodge is really showing off its muscle at this year's show with four concepts that all pump up the power of the brand's models. Perhaps most interesting among them is the Challenger T/A Concept (pictured above) in striking Sublime Green and matte black. It's meant to resemble the classic Trans Am racer from the '70s. Under the hood is a 6.4-liter V8, and to fit the vintage style there's a pistol-grip gearshift inside.
The Charger R/T also gets some attention with the Mopar concept that shows off what FCA's aftermarket performance arm can do. Mods include an updated body kit, cold-air intake for the 5.7-liter V8 and a coil-over suspension kit. Beyond that, the Dart R/T Concept looks a lot meaner with a black hood with duct work that leads straight to the air intake. The rest of the compact sedan is dolled up in O-So-Orange paint and is fitted with upgrades to improve handling like a coil-over suspension and big brake kit from the Mopar catalog.

Fiat opens doors at Abarth factory on Google Street View

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:02:00 EST

Google Street View has emerged as a great tool for checking out locations along your driving route, and even scoping out places you don't have a chance to go yourself. And that includes some great automotive installations. The online tool has taken us inside museums, race tracks and factories around the world, but while it has not to date allowed us virtual access to a European automotive factory, Fiat is out to correct that wrong by letting the Street View team inside Officine Abarth.
The new Abarth Virtual Tour allows online visitors to see the complex in Turin where it makes its hot hatches, including the lifts where the mechanics go to work, the paint spray booth, and a variety of technical workshops, as well as a display of historic Abarth models, a 360-degree view inside and out of the extreme Abarth 695 Biposto and even inside a reproduction of founder Karl Abarth's office. Scope it out for a visit inside Italy's premiere hot hatch studio.