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Archive for the ‘Chrysler’ Category

3 Familiar Models May Vanish as Sales Shift to SUVs

Ford Taurus exiting for a second time, along with Fiesta and Chevy Sonic.

by on Apr.05, 2018

The Taurus is one of two Ford models that are expected to be dropped over the next few years.

March saw an even bigger surge in demand for SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks but, according to industry data, sales of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks continued to decline – an ongoing trend that is expected to lead to the demise of a number of once-popular passenger car models, including Ford’s big Taurus and subcompact Fiesta, as well as the little Chevrolet Sonic.

And even more passenger car models could be on the way out, according to industry sources, even as manufacturers move to expand their light truck portfolios to take advantage of one of the biggest market shifts in decades.

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“I think we’re going to see some contraction in passenger car nameplates,” said Stephanie Brinley, principle automotive analyst at IHS Automotive. “That’s not to say they’ll go away. Some people still like them….but there’ll be some rationalization over time.”

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Waymo Putting 20k Jaguar I-Pace EVs into New Driverless Ride-Share Service

Moving from “R&D to deployment,” despite cloud form fatal Uber crash.

by on Mar.27, 2018

Waymo and Jaguar are partnering to produce 20,000 I-Pace SUVs for next few years.

Despite a cloud created by this month’s fatal crash of an Uber autonomous vehicle prototype, Waymo today announced it will be full speed ahead as it launches what is expected to become a nationwide driverless ride-sharing service.

During a New York news conference, Waymo CEO John Krafcik revealed the Google spinoff will begin adding as many as 20,000 Jaguar I-Pace SUVs to its fleet, the battery-electric vehicles joining thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans Waymo had already committed to purchase.

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Waymo has spent nearly a decade developing what many experts call the most sophisticated self-driving technology on the road, but Krafcik said his company has now “shifted our focus from research and development to operations and deployment.” (more…)

Back From the Dead: Chrysler Finds New Use for Old Viper Plant

Maker auctioning Viper memorabilia for charity.

by on Mar.21, 2018

The last Viper - and the original Viper Concept - will join 400 other classics kept at the newly renamed Conner Center.

The Dodge Viper may have been relegated to the automotive scrapheap but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has found a new use for the old factory on Detroit’s Northeast side that spent a quarter-century building the high-powered sports car.

The Conner Assembly Plant, which was idled last year when production of the Viper was halted, is in the midst of being converted into a combination corporate meeting center and car museum, FCA officials revealed Wednesday. At a media gathering at the 77,000 square-foot plant, meanwhile, they also announced that nearly 2,000 items of Viper memorabilia – ranging from signed hoods to kiddy cars – will be auctioned off, the money to go to a regional charity.

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“This is a way to get this memorabilia into the hands of people who will appreciate it … while giving back to the community,” said Mike Tonietto, the last manager of the Conner plant and now a director of manufacturing for FCA. (more…)

FCA Claims Web Developer Bribed Exec $2.4M to Raise Prices

Website maker denies claims in lawsuit.

by on Mar.16, 2018

Fiat Chrysler claims a website developer bribed an FCA executive to inflate website development costs.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. overpaid for new car dealer websites after the developer bribed Clyde Campbell, who was then the company’s managing director in the country, according a lawsuit now being tried in the United Kingdom.

The UK High Court heard evidence from Robert Olver, a web services expert appointed to come up with a fair price for the contract signed in 2010 between Chrysler and British car industry web developer Motortrak.

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Olver told the court there was no commercial justification for some elements of the contract, and Motortrak charged well above a fair price, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. (more…)

Waymo Lets Folks Peer Behind the Autonomous Curtain

CEO Krafcik promotes self-driving cars with videos at SXSW.

by on Mar.15, 2018

These girls commemorated their ride in Waymo's autonomous minivan with a selfie.

Surveys are showing that a majority of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of riding in an autonomous, or self-driving vehicle.

In fact, the most recent AAA study shows that 63% of Americans are reticent to get into an autonomous car. That number is down from 78% from the previous year.

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Although the numbers of nays are shrinking, its apparent that it’s going to require some heavy marketing on the part of automakers that are heavily investing in self-driving technology development, and Waymo CEO John Krafcik is helping to lead the charge. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Said to be Exiting Diesel Business on Car Side

Plan reportedly set to be announced in June.

by on Feb.26, 2018

FCA appears ready phase out diesels in all but pickups and Jeeps.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to end production of diesel-powered passenger cars by 2022, according to a newly published report, though it left open the possibility the automaker will continue offering the high-mileage technology in some of its trucks.

The plan is set to be announced in June as part of the broader five-year strategy the carmaker will unveil – about the same time it is expected to outline plans to replace the soon-to-retire CEO Sergio Marchionne.

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A phase-out of diesel production by FCA would not be entirely unexpected in the wake of the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal sales of the technology has slumped in many markets, especially in Europe. And regulators in many places, including the city of Paris, are now considering diesel bans. Porsche last week announced its own plan to phase-out the technology. (more…)

Waymo Gets the Go to Launch 1st Driverless Ride-Sharing Program

Service set to begin within the year in Phoenix area, then expand to other markets.

by on Feb.19, 2018

Waymo has been testing its ride-sharing program in Phoenix but now has a permit to go fully driverless.

Waymo, the autonomous ride-sharing service spun off by Google, has gotten permission to launch a commercial ride-sharing service that will completely eliminate human drivers.

The company has confirmed receiving a permit from the Arizona Department of Transportation and is now expecting to launch service using a small fleet of modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans in the Phoenix area. It has been operating a pilot program in the Phoenix area for the past year using autonomous vehicles that still had a backup “operator” behind the wheel ready to take control in an emergency.

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“As we continue to test-drive our fleet of vehicles in greater Phoenix, we’re taking all the steps necessary to launch our commercial service this year,” a Waymo spokesman told TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)

Lexus and Buick Lead Industry in Long-Term Dependability

But latest J.D. Power study finds reliability is up overall.

by on Feb.14, 2018

The Lexus ES led in the Premium Compact Car segment, while Lexus was ranked the most dependable brand overall.

While many studies look at the quality of vehicles soon after they roll off the showroom floor, the real question is how they hold up after a few years on the road. And the answer, according to annual J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, is better than ever.

Almost across the board, reliability showed a large jump – the first improvement since 2013 – though some manufacturers did notably better than others. For the seventh consecutive year, the Japanese luxury brand Lexus led the VDS overall while Buick was tops among mass market brands. Chrysler lagged at the back of the pack, with nearly twice as many problems as those two rivals, but it also showed some improvement.

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“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” said Dave Sargent, the head of automotive practices as J.D. Power and Associates. “A 9% improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever. For people looking for a new or used model, now is a good time to find that special vehicle.”

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FCA Shuffling Top Execs as Marchionne’s Retirement Looms

Changes in top posts has some wondering who will take CEO's post.

by on Feb.06, 2018

Dodge passenger car boss Tim Kuniskis with the Dodge Demon during a background briefing.

With the choice of a new CEO to replace the soon-to-retire Sergio Marchionne looming ahead for the company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. made a series of executive changes aimed at filling key changes.

Tim Kuniskis was named Head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands globally. Kuniskis, a 26-year veteran of FCA, most recently served as head of passenger car brands in North America, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat and SRT.

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Prior to that role, he held a series of positions in U.S. sales business centers as well as in the Dodge and Fiat brands.  (more…)

Ram Panned: MLK Super Bowl Spot Sounds Sour Note

Toyota scores, however, with a tug on the heartstrings.

by on Feb.05, 2018

Getting muddied up: Ram's 60-second commercial was hit for its use of a Rev. King speech.

Trying to select the winners among the ad fest also known as Super Bowl is, at best, an inexact science, but one thing virtually every Monday morning commercial quarterback seems to agree on is the spectacular fail of the spot by Fiat Chrysler’s Ram division.

It’s not that the truck brand didn’t follow FCA’s formula proven out over much of the past decade, a longer-form spot pairing dramatic words and images aimed at building to a higher calling than crass commercialism. Since the Italian-American automaker’s first spot, featuring rapper Eminem twinning the themes of Detroit’s and Chrysler’s comeback, its ads have frequently been the Super Bowl’s most eagerly awaited and subsequently talked-about commercials.

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The Ram ad on Super Bowl LII is also generating a lot of buzz, but most of it is not what the truck brand’s marketing team aimed for. In both social and mainstream media , the decision to use a 50-year-old speech by the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. drew comments like “tasteless” and “cheesy,” one Facebook user suggesting it inadvertently “mock(ed) every FCA manifesto ad that came before it.”

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