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Young Buyers May be Ready to Shift Back to Sedans, Claims Nissan

Millennials particularly interested – but will that translate into renewed demand?

by on Jun.20, 2019

Nissan's found significant interest in sedans from millennials, so it's doubling down on its four-door line-up like the Altima.

Conventional wisdom suggests that it’s only a matter of time until SUVs, CUVs, pickups and other light trucks take over the automotive market, but not everyone is convinced the traditional sedan is on its way out.

If anything, Nissan says it is “doubling down on sedans” by expanding its global line-up. The automaker justifies the move by pointing to a new survey conducted for it in the U.S. and 10 other countries by market research firm Edelman Intelligence that found there is still strong interest in sedans among potential buyers, especially among millennials.

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“As some of our competitors walk away from sedans, we’re seizing the opportunity,” said Ivan Espinosa, Nissan’s corporate vice president of global product strategy and planning, adding that future Nissan sedans will put a premium on meeting “the needs of buyers, particularly young people who may be looking to buy their first car.” (more…)

Fiat Chrysler and Renault Poised to Form New Alliance

Pairing would form third-largest automaker.

by on May.26, 2019

Could another sign change be in Fiat Chrysler's future?

What appeared to be a two-horse race to partner up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. is now just down to one – Renault SA – with a deal potentially announced as early as Monday.

The deal, which was reported first by Bloomberg News, not only provides some each company with a strong ally to shore weak areas, it also opens the door to a potential deal with the Renault Nissan Alliance.

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In late March, FCA was linked to talks with Renault as well as another French automaker, Peugeot, about a tie-up of some sort. While a deal was never consummated with either automaker at the, it appears discussions with Renault have been fruitful. (more…)

Product Launches Hammer FCA’s Q1 Earnings

But Ram pickup sales provide a cushion.

by on May.03, 2019

CEO Mike Manley needs to prove he can maintain the pace set by his former boss, Sergio Marchionne.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles reported profits dropped 41% in the first quarter as a slump in sales in key markets cut the company’s revenues by 5 percent.

The automaker attributed the decline to the normal production challenges related to an array of new product launches in North America, as well as pricing pressure in China and South America.

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FCA CEO Mike Manley, however, reaffirmed the company’s guidance for the full year. “We expect earnings to grow in the following quarters,” he said as FCA completes the launch of the new Jeep Gladiator and the Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck.

(more…)

FCA Partnering With Google, Samsung on Connected Car Tech

System will include over-the-air updates and support future autonomous vehicle efforts.

by on Apr.30, 2019

Fiat Chrysler is partnering with Google and Samsung to upgrade its in-car infotainment, including Uconnect.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will team up with Google and Samsung in a push to put connected car technology in all of its vehicles by 2022, the automaker announced on Tuesday.

The new system being developed by the three partners will use and update FCA’s current Uconnect system and rely on the Google Android operating system. It will allow the automaker to offer a common system worldwide, rather than an infotainment system that is currently tailored to individual markets.

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“The modern, in-vehicle experience must be designed for seamless connectivity and digital content, and provide an integrated, but familiar experience for the on-the-go consumer,” said Patrick Brady, vice president of Engineering at Google. (more…)

Mitsubishi Could Be Next to Reenter U.S. Pickup Market

As sales surge, more manufacturers look for an opening.

by on Apr.29, 2019

Mitsubishi could be back in the U.S. pickup market with an Americanized version of the Triton.

Mitsubishi could be one of the next manufacturers to target the booming U.S. pickup market, according to the company’s North American chief operating officer.

With truck sales, in general, booming, and pickups, in particular, generating a disproportionate share of industry earnings in the region, an assortment of manufacturers have either gotten back into the game or are looking for ways to join established brands like Chevrolet, Ford, Ram and Toyota.

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The Japanese automaker would “have to have one that’s the right fit for Mitsubishi, for our demographic, and something that’s really competitive in the market,” Mitsubishi North America COO Mark Chaffin told trade publication Ward’s.

(more…)

Fiat Chrysler Recalling 320K Dodge Darts

Most of the affected vehicles located in the U.S.

by on Apr.19, 2019

Fiat Chrysler killed the Dodge Dart as part of its realignment of its product portfolio.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling more than 320,000 Dodge Dart compact cars in North America that could roll away due to defective shift-cable bushings.

An FCA US investigation discovered certain cars are equipped with a cable bushing that may degrade after prolonged exposure to high ambient heat and humidity. Should degradation occur, it may prohibit the driver from shifting gears.

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It may also allow the shift cable to detach from the transmission, which permits the car to roll away. The Italian-American automaker said the recall covers 2013 through 2016 model year automatic transmission Dart cars. (more…)

Big Three Group Supports Trump Report on USMCA Benefits

Support comes despite conflicting study from IMF.

by on Apr.19, 2019

A new report from the U.S. Trade Representative says the new USMCA will bring substantial benefits; however, an IMF study suggests otherwise.

Detroit’s automakers are rushing to defend a report from the Trump administration that touts the benefits of the new North American Free Trade Agreement.

The Trump administration report, produced by the United States Trade Representative (USTR), was released Thursday in advance of less than an underwhelming independent government estimate of the economic impact of proposed U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

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Trump has portrayed the new agreement he negotiated as a replacement for NAFTA as likely to lead to a rush of new investment and jobs in the U.S. and an end to the outsourcing he and others have blamed for a hollowing out of American manufacturing. (more…)

New Dodge Challenger Gets “Angry” in the Quarter Mile

"Angry Bee" gets NHRA approval to race.

by on Apr.16, 2019

The new 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 has been approved by the NHRA to race.

So often sports car owners are looking for a vehicle that can go from the street to the track with a minimum of effort. However, that’s usually for road-style track vehicles, not a drag racer — until now.

The 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is now National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) approved so burning rubber at the stop sign can help warm up the tires for a first pass in the quarter mile at the track.

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The Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320, which is named for distance of the quarter mile, can be modified for competition in NHRA Stock and Super Stock Sportsman class competition for the 2019 season. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Confidently Pays First-Ever Dividend

Payout marks optimism about rest of 2019 performance.

by on Apr.15, 2019

Fiat Chairman John Elkann told shareholders at the FCA annual meeting that he expected strong results in 2019.

The top executives of Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V. delivered an upbeat assessment of the company’s future prospects during the company annual shareholder meeting in Amsterdam, agreeing to pay a dividend to shareholders for the first time since Fiat took effective control of the Chrysler Group in 2009 and brought it out of bankruptcy.

In the first shareholders gathering since the death of Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s longtime chief executive, it fell to John Elkann, Fiat’s chairman, to deliver an optimistic forecast for 2019 despite the drop in the company’s business in North America and the slowdown in the sales of Jeep, which has emerged as the company’s principal brand.

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Elkann, the representative of the founding Agnelli family, which has run Fiat for more than 100 years, told investors the Italo-American group was ready to play a part in the “new and exciting” era for the auto industry. (more…)

American Automakers Leaving Their Mark at NYIAS

Crossover lead the pack with a little muscle mixed in for good measure.

by on Apr.15, 2019

U.S. automakers are looking impress NYIAS attendees this year with a mix of utility vehicles and muscle cars.

Among the dozens of new vehicle debuts coming to the New York International Auto Show, American automakers have plenty to brag about this year.

Like their foreign counterparts, they cover the crossover and sport-utility market like a swarm of locusts with luxury performance iterations to lower-priced, well-appointed smaller models that will still turn heads during this year’s event.

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However, while the foreign makers have also sprinkled a smattering to speed with some sports cars and supercars, one maker has provided the American counterbalance: brute force muscle that certainly taps into the patriotism that always garners attention. That said, there will be more surprises to come during this year’s show. (more…)