Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Archive for the ‘Chrysler’ Category

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.

Stay Plugged In!

“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.

Insight!

“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.”

(more…)

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.

News Now!

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.

Insight!

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.”

(more…)

Waymo Buying “Thousands” of Chrysler Minivans for New Driverless Ride-Hailing Service

Project will target “multiple U.S. cities.”

by on Jan.30, 2018

Waymo has been testing its ride-sharing program in Phoenix but plans to launch in other markets as it goes fully driverless.

Waymo plans to buy “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to be used as Google’s autonomous vehicle spin-off sets up a driverless ride-hailing service in “multiple U.S. cities,” Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced Tuesday.

The announcement marks a significant step forward for both companies. While considered a leader in the field, it had not been clear how Waymo was planning to commercialize its development of self-driving vehicle technology. For its part, FCA has been reluctant to invest in autonomous vehicle research but could now make a big leap by expanding its nascent alliance with Waymo.

Tech News!

“In order to move quickly and efficiently in autonomy, it is essential to partner with like-minded technology leaders,” Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “Our partnership with Waymo continues to grow and strengthen; this represents the latest sign of our commitment to this technology.”

(more…)

UAW Disputes Iacobelli’s Chrysler Stock Sale Claim

Former FCA VP claims to have scripted UAW leader's response to stock sale.

by on Jan.30, 2018

General Holiefield, left, UAW vice president, and Alphons Iacobelli, right, former FCA union negotiator.

The United Auto Workers has flatly rejected the claims by a former Fiat Chrysler Automobile executive, who has plead guilty federal felony charges, that he influenced a critical decision about FCA’s restructuring.

As part of the plea agreement, Alphons Iacobelli, former FCA vice president of labor relations had to admit to his crimes, including the making illicit payments to officials of the United Auto Workers to influence union negotiations.

News You Can Trust!

UAW President Dennis Williams flatly denied the illicit payments to the late General Holiefield, the former head of the union’s Chrysler Department, and union’s top negotiator with FCA, had any influence on the 2011 contract negotiations, which were restrained by a “no-strike” clause that was imposed as part of the government bailout of the automaker. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Doubles Profit in 2017

CEO Marchionne says company will be debt-free by end of Q2.

by on Jan.25, 2018

Sergio Marchionne said FCA will be debt-free by the end of the second quarter of this year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. profits nearly doubled in 2017 as a more profitable model mix helped overcome a sales decline in North America.

“We were the only leveraged automaker in the world. We no longer are leveraged,” said FCA Sergio Marchionne, who said the company plans to outline new four-year plant on June 1. FCA will not only be debt-free this year, it will also have 4 billion euros in cash reserves.

Financial News!

“I’m really looking forward to 2018,” he said. “FCA is well positioned to be a top performer.” (more…)

What Does New China-Only Jeep Grand Commandeer Reveal About Upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer?

Official debut set for Beijing Motor Show in April.

by on Jan.23, 2018

The Jeep Grand Commander will debut in China before it hits U.S. dealerships in 2020.

Jeep expects to reach a critical milestone this year, topping 2 million sales worldwide, or more than triple its volume when the old Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy and was transformed into FiatChrysler early in the decade.

To get there, Jeep has taken a two-pronged approach: entering into new markets and both expanding and updating its line-up. Nowhere is that strategy paying off like China, a market that has only belatedly been caught up in the SUV craze. To take advantage of that trend, the automaker is launching an all-new model specifically targeting the Chinese market, the Jeep Grand Commander.

Product News!

According to Jeep, the three-row, seven-seat model has been designed specifically for China. But it just happens to be coming online not long before the company plans to launch another three-row model, the Grand Wagoneer. And that raises the question: how much of what we’re seeing in China will carry over into the American seven-seat SUV? (more…)

Waymo Coming to Atlanta

Self-driving minivans will soon be traversing Atlanta streets.

by on Jan.23, 2018

Waymo's driverless Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids may be seen on Atlanta roads pretty soon.

Looks like Waymo is moving from AZ to the ATL! The self-driving car company put out a tweet letting Atlantans know that it was the next stop on Waymo’s tour.

“Hello ATL! Metro Atlanta is the next stop for Waymo’s test program. Now that we have the world’s first fully self-driving vehicles on public roads in AZ, we’re looking to take our tech to more cities,” the company tweeted.

News You Can Trust!

Georgia is the seventh state that Waymo has tested its vehicles in, although its only admitted to starting to map the city of Atlanta at this point. The company’s been testing and evolving its self-driving vehicles for nine years now. (more…)