- Fiat 500(2031)
Fiat is really trying to push its five-door 500L, which has gotten off to a rather disappointing first year of sales. The Italian brand's first big-name effort involved rapper P. Diddy and a pair of very unfortunate desert pedestrians. Now, it's gone even bigger (quite literally), teaming up with everyone's favorite, city destroying, radiation-breathing green lizard monster - Godzilla.
Yes, the Japanese monster icon is getting rebooted in a new film starring Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, as well as Ken Watanabe and Elizabeth Olsen. With the iconic kaiju hitting US theaters on May 16, the release of the Fiat/Godzilla ad is well timed.
In the ad, Godzilla is doing what he does best, all while devouring standard-sized 500s in the same way that you or I might eat a few grapes. This is working out quite nicely, until the big lizard bites off more than he can chew with the 500L.
Ram Trucks CEO and President Reid Bigland got his turn among the executives elucidating the near-term futures for brands in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles umbrella, laying out the plans for both Ram trucks and Fiat Professional. After Bigland said that the company "will continue to invest heavily in commercial vehicles" for the Italian arm, he didn't give many specifics as to where that investment would go. What we do know for now is that a new Fiat Doblo will come next year - that's the truck we've been catching spy shots of and that will be the basis for the Ram ProMaster City.
In 2016 will come the next-generation Fiorino, a small cargo van sold in markets outside the US as a Fiat, as the Citroën Nemo and Peugeot Bipper. The European and South American markets will also get a new midsize pickup that same year.
Bigland's goal for Ram Trucks and Ram commercial is just a touch more ambitious: "Build the best pickup trucks and commercial vehicles in the industry" and increase NAFTA-market sales from 463,000 in 2013 to 620,000 in 2018. The waypoints along that road include a refresh for the Ram 1500 in 2015 and then a brand new 1500 to come two years later in 2017. Bracketing that, a refresh for the Heavy Duty lineup happens in 2016, and two years later it will also get an all-new generation.
The Maserati share of the big Fiat Chrysler event today was expected to be something of a snooze, at least relative to the very busy Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Alfa Romeo portions. But the truth is there was plenty to pay attention to where the premium Italian brand was concerned. After all, moving from its 15,400 unit sales in 2013 to a target of 75,000 global sales in 2018 is going to take some doing.
One piece of big news is a shakeup in the existing ranks. 2014 will mark the final year of production for the GranTurismo (and its soft-top counterpart), meaning Maserati will be limited to just its Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans until the Levante SUV arrives in 2015, confirming previous reports. The first SUV to wear the trident, the Levante will only be available with all-wheel drive, but it will boast a Porsche Macan-smiting pair of V6s, with 350 and 425 horsepower, respectively.
Things get back to normal in 2016, as Maserati resumes sports car production with a road-going version of the Alfieri Concept from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Again, this is confirmation of a previous report. That car will be joined by a convertible variant in 2017. It seems like Maser is taking aim at, well, everything with the Alfieri, offering a 410-hp, V6-powered variant that dispatches its power to the rear wheels, to go along with 450- and 520-hp versions of the Alfieri's V6 that will only get their power to the road through an all-wheel-drive system.
Alfa Romeo will go back to being the brand people admire, according to CEO Harald Wester.
After a few streams of news on the various brands in the Fiat Chrysler family, here's the deluge we've been waiting for - Alfa Romeo. The legendary Italian brand is being pointed towards a renaissance, as shown by the brand's five-year plan.
You've no doubt perused the big news coming out of Fiat-Chrysler's headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI today. But at the end of the brand discussions, Sergio Marchionne spoke briefly about an incredibly important, low-volume part of the Fiat-Chrysler empire: Ferrari.
"You do need one of these cars in your driveway," Marchionne joked. And while other brand heads today lined out detailed plans for future product, Sergio's words about Ferrari's next five years were very simple, and very vague.
Marchionne confirmed that Ferrari will launch a new car every year between now and 2018. The cars will have a four-year lifecycle, after which, "M" versions will be produced, with a separate four-year cadence. No specific models were mentioned during Marchionne's presentation.
With its name freshly on the mailbox at the Chrysler Technical Center, Fiat took its turn on the stage for Fiat Chrysler's five-year plan. Unlike the other members of FCA, though, the maker of the mustachioed minicars didn't have a great deal to talk about.
The big (and most heartbreaking) news is the announcement that Fiat will begin selling a trucklet. There was no mention of specifics, although we are sad to report that it will be reserved for Latin America alone. Sigh.
For US Fiat consumers, you can look forward to the rumored 500X, which as we've reported before, will be quite closely related to the Jeep Renegade. We can expect the bigger, all-wheel-drivier 500 to hit showrooms in early 2015 after the 500X makes its debut in Paris.
According to a report in Automotive News that quotes "people familiar with the matter," the next big play in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan for Alfa Romeo is to break it off from Fiat Group Automobiles and set it up as a separate company within the Fiat empire, giving it the same structure as Ferrari and Maserati. The idea, say the sources, is that a transparent, standalone Alfa Romeo that has to justify its every move could clearly prove its success in the public financial statements it would have to report, finally achieving Marchionne's aim of making Alfa Romeo "a credible business proposition."
That, of course, assumes that Alfa Romeo will make a success of it. The brand hasn't made a profit in any year of Marchionne's decade at the helm; sales last year fell to numbers not seen in almost half a century and its new product offensive might not include the two vehicles currently responsible for 99 percent of its sales. We're told that the brand's six new models will begin arriving in 2016 - a roadster, a midsize sedan and large sedan, a compact SUV and large SUV, and a large coupe.
Marchionne aims to expand Alfa's global appeal in several ways, the first by stressing that they are Italian products that 'belong' to Italy. This is the stance that appears to have put the kibosh on the roadster twinned with the coming Mazda MX-5/Miata. Alfa Romeos will all be made in their home country, and if they take off they'll help bandage Fiat's problem with underused plant capacity, a bugbear that is just as problematic culturally and politically as financially. Top-tier trims would use V6 engines developed by Ferrari, and global access would get a boost by selling Alfa Romeos in Jeep's 1,700 international dealerships.
The Ram ProMaster only introduced itself to US buyers - prognathous jaw first - last year, but it might quickly be the recipient of some plastic surgery. Above is the new face of the 2015 Fiat Ducato, which does duty as our ProMaster, the Citroën Jumper and the Peugeot Boxer and will be officially unveiled on May 12. Its face still slopes forward all the way to the bottom, but the distance and weight of the jutting chin has been greatly reduced by curving lines that more artfully integrate the new three-piece bumper with the sheetmetal. That bumper can be had in two colors, and the front end also gets new, sleeker headlights with LED DRLs.
Trims are named Classic, Tecno and Lounge, and all benefit from ESP, a new underride guard and an upgraded cockpit with touches like better seats, Bluetooth and a clipboard that can be affixed to the dash and is robust enough to hold smartphones and tablets. High-zoot options - which would give the ProMaster better fight against the Mercedes Sprinter if they carry over to our market - include lane departure assist.
The Ducato will come with choices of three roof heights, four lengths and eight capacity ratings. You'll find info on that and much more in the press releases from Fiat and Peugeot below, and we'll find out more about how the ProMaster will benefit in a few weeks.
Just last month at the Geneva Motor Show, Fiat announced some updates for the European-spec 500, including a new dashboard display. Now it's announced that the same updates are being applied to the US-spec model.
Similar (if not identical) to the display in the 500E, the conventionally powered 500 now benefits from a seven-inch high-definition TFT instrument display to monitor data including vehicle speed, fuel level, fuel consumption and remaining range. Data from the infotainment system is also displayed on the panel, and if you spec your Cinquecento with the rear parking sensor, that'll be displayed on there too.
There's a redesigned center console and some new color options as well, but those looking for a turbocharged experience without the hassle of swapping gears themselves will be more interested in the new automatic transmission option. Previously available only with a manual, Fiat is now offering the 500 Turbo, 500 Abarth and 500 Abarth Cabrio with a six-speed automatic transmission supplied by Aisin. Look for the new models to hit your local Fiat Studio this July, and feel free to read the official announcement below.
A report in Bloomberg adds more details to the plans for Alfa Romeo's fourth turnaround plan in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's tenure, and this time Ferrari is apparently going to be part of the show. In December Automotive News Europe reported that a new Maserati-derived rear-drive architecture would be the centerpiece at Alfa Romeo, as well as coming Chrysler and Dodge products. At the time, ANE said the platform would support a new midsize sedan and wagon perhaps to be called Giulia, a fullsize sedan and a midsize crossover, with retail appearance of the product initiative commencing perhaps as soon as next year. It would be part of Fiat's $12.3-billion spend on new models and European recovery.
The Bloomberg report says that particulars haven't been finalized, but the plan is to have six new Alfas appear over the next five years, two of which would be SUVs. The futures of the Mito and Giulietta, two of the three cars Alfa currently sells and 99 percent of sales last year, aren't assured, meaning that the lineup in six years could be seven cars (including the 4C), six of which we haven't any definitive clue of yet. The top-tier versions of those cars, according to the report - perhaps the Quadrifoglio Verde - "will be equipped with motors developed by Ferrari."
Marchionne wants to get sales up to 300,000 units per year when the lineup is complete, pairing Alfa sales with Jeep's global dealer network to open up the retail channel. That kind of volume would get Fiat's Italian plants back in business properly, even though Marchionne's stance on Italy-only Alfa production would mean the end of the anticipated roadster that was to be twinned with the coming Mazda MX-5 Miata. Alfa's direction will be laid out in Detroit in May as part of the overall strategy presentation for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
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