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10 Best from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show

Choices range from city cars to super cars.

by on Mar.07, 2019

This year's Geneva Motor Show was smaller than in year's past, but there were plenty of debuts for the press to cover.

It may be snowy up in the hills outside Geneva, but things were decidedly green inside Palexpo, the sprawling convention center that serves as home to the city’s annual auto show. The event wasn’t quite as busy this year, a number of automakers choosing to sit things out, as has been the growing industry trend. That said, there were some significant debuts during the Geneva Motor Show media preview.

And green really was the word, manufacturers rolling out more than a score of environmentally friendly products. That included quite a few all-electric models, but also hybrids, plug-ins and even a breakthrough gas engine.

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As always, Geneva covered a broad spectrum of product segments, from little city cars, such as the Honda e, all the way up to hypercars like the 1,900 horsepower Pininfarina Battista. Here’s a look at 10 of our favorites among the new products that debuted at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show: (more…)

Alfa Romeo Signals Plug-In Plans With Tonale Concept

Jeep Renegade-sized SUV a smaller alternative to current Alfa Stelvio.

by on Mar.05, 2019

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Concept will offer a plug-in hybrid driveline shared with Jeep.

Named after one of the most famous passes through the Italian side of the Alps, the Alfa Romeo Tonale provides a vista into the future of the brand as it both expands its line-up of SUVs and begins rolling out an array of battery-based vehicles.

Though the model that debuted today at the Geneva Motor Show is officially just a concept, the Jeep Renegade-sized crossover will soon join the Alfa line-up as a more compact alternative to the brand’s current Stelvio model.

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Tonale, meanwhile, highlights Alfa’s electrification plans. First outlined by Sergio Marchionne, the late CEO of parent Fiat Chrysler last June, Alfa plans to offer a wide array of battery-based offerings, including two plug-in hybrid halo cars.

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Alfa Romeo Bringing Back 4C Spider for 2020

It will enjoy a limited run of just 15 cars.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia will be a limited-edition vehicle this year with just 15 units.

Despite rumors floating around of its imminent demise, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider will stay around for the 2020 model year, officials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have confirmed.

Alfa Romeo unveiled the limited-edition 2020 4C Spider Italia for North America with its limited production run of only 15 vehicles, during the press preview at the Chicago Auto Show. In keeping with the special color and badges, each car will be numbered.

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Ben Lyon, FCA product expert, said the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia, which is hand-built in a factory in Italy, offers enthusiasts a chance to own a unique mid-engine design inspired by the brand’s legendary racing history and the essential sportiness embedded in the brand’s DNA.  (more…)

FCA Pledges $5.7B Investment in Italian Auto Plants

Plans call for new 500 EV and Alfa Romeo hybrid.

by on Nov.30, 2018

FCA CEO Mike Manley signed off on a $5.7 billion investment plan in the company's facilities in Italy.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said this week that its plants in Italy would return to full employment with a $5.7 billion investment in new cars and engine technology, including a fully electric version of the Fiat 500 city car and a plug-in hybrid Alfa Romeo compact utility vehicle.

The FCA announcement plans to mollify anxious union workers – and uneasy political factions in its home country – offer a sharp contrast to the tack taken by General Motors Co., which announced plans to close seven plants and eliminate 15,000 jobs.

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GM’s announcement angered union officials in the U.S. and Canada as well as figures from opposite end of the political spectrum, such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Chief Manley Shuffles Executive Team

Gorlier takes over supervision of European operations.

by on Oct.01, 2018

FCA CEO Mike Manley handed out new assignments to his executive team including naming Pietro Gorlier to COO with oversight of European operations.

After just about six weeks as CEO, Fiat Chrysler’s Mike Manley has shuffled the company’s top managers to his liking, with one appointment in particular drawing attention.

He announced the changes in an email sent to employees.

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“The next five years will continue to be extremely challenging for our industry, with tougher regulations, intense competition and probably slower industry growth around the world,” he wrote.  (more…)

Volvo Backs Out of IPO Due to Trade and Market Conditions

Trump's ongoing tensions with China and Europe push decision.

by on Sep.10, 2018

Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said that trade tensions between the U.S. and China as well as the EU were one reason to halt its IPO.

President Donald Trump’s seemingly ongoing trade war with, well, everyone as well as a less-than-robust period for auto stocks has forced Volvo Cars to put off its initial public offering — for now, anyway.

Volvo Cars, which is owned by China-based Geely, previously announced it was considering the IPO to help raise funds for additional research and expanding of production. However, the current trade tensions between the U.S. and China as well as the European Union has forced a rethink.

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“We’ve come to the conclusion that the timing is not optimal for an IPO right now,” Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson told Reuters by telephone on Monday.  (more…)

Alfa Snags a Win, Ferrari Lands the Big Bucks, and Classics Make Room for the Future as Monterey’s Classic Car Week Concludes

Award winner upstaged only by the $48M paid for '62 Ferrari 250 GTO.

by on Aug.27, 2018

David Sydorick's 1938 Alfa 8C 2900B won top honors at Pebble Beach.

While the Alfa Romeo brand may be struggling to gain traction with American car buyers, the judges at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance had no problem deciding what was best in show at the 68th annual running of what is widely considered the world’s premier classic car show. Honors went to a 1938 Alfa 8C 2900B owned by David Sydorick, of Beverly Hills.

But if you’re measuring success in dollars, the weekend’s real winner was a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO which was gaveled off for a record $48 million at one of the many auctions that took place over the long weekend on the Monterey Peninsula. It blew past all estimates and handily surpassed the winning bid for an Aston Martin DB5 used in the 007 adventure Goldeneye.

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While the emphasis during the extended weekend was on classic cars, the past had to make room for the future on at least a few occasions. An assortment of automakers, including BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz, used the Pebble Beach Concours as background to reveal their latest concept and production models, with a big emphasis on electric drive technology. (more…)

Say Goodbye: 17 Models Going Away in 2019

But some nameplates will yet return from the dead.

by on Aug.17, 2018

Death is not permanent, at least in the auto industry. Some old nameplates will return in 2019, like Ford's Ranger.

We’ll be seeing a host of new models make their debut during the 2019 model-year, including Ford’s newly reborn Ranger pickup, the brand-new Subaru Ascent SUV and complete makeovers of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500.

But there are also plenty of familiar products that will be waving bye-bye as the 2018 model-year wraps up or at some point during the 2019 season. The obituary list is rather extensive this year and, you likely won’t be surprised to learn, it’s primarily filled with sedans, coupes and sports cars, something that reflects the ongoing shift from passenger cars to light trucks.

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That said, some of the products that might be gone or going soon could stage a comeback in the future if market trends again shift. The Ranger is a good example. Ford killed it off in 2011, anticipating the demise of the midsize pickup segment. New arrivals, like the also-reborn Chevrolet Colorado, proved there was life left in the segment. Ford is also getting set to bring back the long-absent Bronco.

Here’s a look at the U.S. models about to drive off into the sunset:

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FCA Reports Lower Than Expected Earnings as it Mourns Marchionne

Former chief memorialized with a moment of silence on earnings call.

by on Jul.25, 2018

Mike Manley, new CEO of FCA, led a moment of silence today before leading the reporting of the company's second quarter earnings.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported Q2 earnings that were lower than expected, but that was surpassed by news that former CEO Sergio Marchionne died due to complications from surgery in Switzerland.

The company’s executives, including the newly appointed replacement for Marchionne, Mike Manley, soldiered on through the earnings call, starting with a moment of silence to honor the man many believe saved Chrysler from extinction.

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Then they moved on, as they believed Marchionne would have insisted, to describe how slow sales in China put a drag on the company’s earnings results despite impressive sales in North America during the first half of the year. (more…)

Former FCA CEO Marchionne Dead of Stroke at 66

A “force of nature,” the Italian-born exec rescued two car companies.

by on Jul.25, 2018

Sergio Marchionne was a dynamic game-changer that many could only watch as he raced by.

Sergio Marchionne, a man more than once called “a force of nature,” has died from a stroke at the age of 66, an unexpected complication following what had been expected to be “routine” shoulder surgery last week.

In an era when many businesspeople crave anonymity, Marchionne’s public appearances often turned into events, rather than mere news conferences. And perhaps for good reason considering there are few executives who could lay claim to having saved two separate automakers, Fiat and Chrysler, before bringing them together to form a global powerhouse.

Word that something had gone wrong came around noon Eastern time on Saturday when FCA issued a brief statement revealing that the Italian-born and Canadian-educated Marchionne experienced “unexpected complications,” and that his conditions had “worsened significantly in recent hours.” Subsequent news reports from Europe indicated the executive had suffered a stroke, fallen into a coma and was placed on a ventilator at a Swiss hospital. FCA issued another terse statement indicating his passing early this afternoon in Europe.

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