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Archive for the ‘FCA’ Category

Marchionne Out, Manley In as Fiat Chrysler CEO

Questions about health issues blamed for Marchionne’s early departure.

by on Jul.21, 2018

Larger than life: Marchionne outlined a broad 5-year-plan during a day-long June session in Milan.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced on Saturday that Jeep and Ram brand boss Michael Manley will replace CEO Sergio Marchionne, who due to complications from recent surgery is gravely ill and will not return to work.

Though the 66-year-old Marchionne was known to have undergone surgery this past week for what was reported to be a shoulder problem. According to FCA’s statement, the Italian-born and Canadian-educated Marchionne experienced “unexpected complications,” while his conditions had “worsened significantly in recent hours.”

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Word of Marchionne’s departure quickly echoed through the automotive grapevine. Few industry executives have had a higher profile presence in recent decades, and even fewer could be said to have done more to shape a company in his own image as did Marchionne, who rescued the then-bankrupt Chrysler by securing a U.S. government bailout and then merging it with Italy’s Fiat S.p.A.

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Dodge Debuts 10,000+ HP Hellcat

New NHRA Funny Car to make its first race this weekend.

by on Jul.19, 2018

The new Dodge Funny Car aims to pick up design cues from the Charger SRT Hellcat.

While Dodge may have pulled the Demon out of production, it isn’t easing up its assault in the horsepower wars. In fact, it’s got a new Hellcat that it expects will churn out more than 10,000 horsepower when it makes its official debut this coming weekend.

Unlike the Challenger SRT Hellcat Demon, however, there has been no pretense at making the 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car street legal. It’s designed to dominate the quarter-mile adding to the 50 wins and one NHRA Funny Car World Championship the previous Dodge Charger Funny Car racked up.

Track News!

“The Dodge//SRT brand is all about performance, and the introduction of the Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car body showcases our commitment to performance and excellence at the dragstrip,” said Steve Beahm, who heads up North American passenger car brands, including Dodge, for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

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Holiefield’s Widow Gets 18 Months in Jail in FCA Scandal

Morgan also paying 100K in restitution.

by on Jul.16, 2018

Monica Morgan, the widow of former UAW VP General Holiefield, was sentenced to 18 months in jail for her role in the FCA-UAW scandal.

The widow of a former top United Auto Workers official was sentenced to 18 months in jail for tax evasion uncovered during a federal investigation of the illicit diversion from training funds set up jointly by the UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Monica Morgan, 55, the widow of General Holiefield, the late UAW Vice President, who was at the center of the training-center scandal, was handed the jail time by a federal judge in Detroit.

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Holiefield headed the UAW’s Chrysler Department from 2006 until his retirement in 2014 and has been described by FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne as critical to the company’s comeback. Holiefield died in 2015. (more…)

First (Short) Drive: 2019 Maserati Levante GTS

Racing between the raindrops.

by on Jul.13, 2018

The new GTS is the second most powerful model in Maserati's GTS line-up.

What has been an otherwise hot and dry summer turned into a storm of almost biblical proportions as I headed up to the M1 Concourse near Pontiac, Michigan for a chance to check out the latest products from Maserati and sibling Italian brand Alfa Romeo. But almost as if on cue, the rain clouds briefly parted when I was handed the keys to the new Maserati Levante GTS for some lap time on the tight and twisty circuit.

There were plenty of skeptics when Maserati announced plans to get into the SUV game – as there were when Porsche revealed similar plans a decade earlier. But the Levante won over most of those naysayers when it made its debut two years ago, initially offering two versions powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6. The GTS turns things up a notch.

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The latest version of Maserati’s first-ever sport-utility vehicle is, certainly on paper, an impressive piece of machinery, thrumming out 550 horsepower and 538 pound-feet of torque from its 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 – just a slight bit less than the Levante Trofeo first unveiled at the New York Auto Show last spring. That’s enough to launch the GTS from 0 to 60 in just 4 seconds – and to take a broadside at the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, destined to be its most direct competitor.

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Mercedes, Bosch Team to Launch Self-Driving Car Service

Set to debut in late 2019 in Silicon Valley.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Initially, Daimler will use the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan for the pilot ride-sharing project.

Mercedes-Benz is teaming up with German mega-supplier Bosch to launch a new ride-sharing service in Silicon Valley next year that will rely on self-driving vehicles.

The project marks the latest entry into the fast-expanding field that, by some estimates, could eventually account for as much as a quarter or more of the miles Americans travel by automobile. Other planning to launch ride-sharing services using self-driving vehicles include General Motors, Google spin-off Waymo and Uber, the country’s largest ride-sharing service.

Making Sense of the Brave New World!

While Mercedes’ parent Daimler AG is referring to the vehicles it will use as “automated shuttle(s),” customers will be able to ride in style. When the project initially gets underway during the second half of 2019, it will rely on modified versions of the luxurious S-Class Sedan. Eventually, the goal is to switch to a production version of the edgy Mercedes concept vehicle, the F 015.

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Dodge Boss Beahm Fills in the Blanks About Brand’s Product Plans

“Everything will have a performance element.”

by on Jun.28, 2018

Dodge boss Steve Beahm with the 2019 Dodge Challenger ScatPack discussed the brand's future.

During a daylong session in Milan, Italy, earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ senior management team offered an in-depth look at the company’s next five-year plan – but they focused all but exclusively on four global FCA brands: Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Maserati, raising more questions than answers about the company’s two other U.S. divisions, Chrysler and Dodge.

While the fate of the Chrysler brand appears to be far from certain, there’s far more opportunity for Dodge, it appears, albeit as a niche brand increasingly focused on muscle.

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“Any vehicle in the Dodge brand going forward will have a performance element to it,” said Steve Beahm, the head of Dodge and the other U.S. passenger car brands, in a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com. (more…)

Dodge Pushing Boundaries Again With Debut of Challenger Hellcat Redeye

“Possessed by the Demon.”

by on Jun.28, 2018

Dodge continues to bring out new variants of its popular Challenger model. The Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye puts out 797 horsepower.

The Dodge Demon may be gone, but it’s certainly not forgotten, and Fiat Chrysler’s muscle car brand is again pushing the limits with another spin-off of its Hellcat line.

While the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye won’t quite match the numbers delivered by last year’s limited-edition Demon, it looks to have little to apologize for considering it will still make 797 horsepower – 90 more than the original Hellcat coupe. That will be enough to launch it from 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds, with a top speed of 203 mph.

Muscle Up!

“The Dodge Brothers would be proud that we’re leveraging the power and performance of this proven engine to bring a Demon-possessed Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye to an even wider high-performance enthusiast audience,” proclaimed Dodge boss Steve Beahm, during a debut event at FCA’s proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan.

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Alfa Romeo, Maserati Betting on Batteries to Build Global Demand

“Going after Tesla.”

by on Jun.28, 2018

The original concept version of the Maserati Alfieri. There will soon be all-electric versions of both the production coupe and convertible.

Things are looking blue at Maserati. Make that Maserati Blue, the name of the new brand-within-a-brand the Italian automaker plans to launch during the next several years that will help it target Tesla.

Like all global automotive manufacturers, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will be pushing into electrification over the coming decade, and that includes FCA’s two high-line marques, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. But rather than focus on “compliance cars” meant to barely meet emissions and mileage regulations, the Italian brands are betting they can focus on the performance capabilities electric drivelines offer and actually command a price premium.

Plug In!

Alfa, for example, is working up a 700-horsepower plug-in hybrid supercar. But it’s the more upscale Maserati that will make the broadest bet on electrification. “Everything gets electrified,” Maserati chief Tim Kuniskis told TheDetroitBureau.com during an exclusive interview. That includes four all-electric models that will be grouped together as the new Maserati Blue brand.

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EV Tax Credits Soon to End for Some Automakers – But Will That Short-Circuit Sales?

Tesla expected to become the first to top threshold.

by on Jun.26, 2018

Tesla is quickly approaching the 200,000 vehicle limit that ends the $7,500 federal government tax incentive for EV buyers.

With a fourth assembly line now operating under a tent at its Fremont, California plant, Tesla is pressing hard to hit the weekly 5,000 Model 3 production target set earlier this year by CEO Elon Musk.

The good news for the battery-carmaker is that it appears to be close to that goal. The bad news is that with each new vehicle it sells in the U.S., Tesla also comes closer to reaching the threshold at which point it will see the phase-out of federal tax credits for its buyers.

Get Charged Up!

The credits, totaling as much as $7,500 a vehicle, are set to begin phasing out when any individual manufacturer reaches U.S. sales of 200,000 qualifying plug-based cars, trucks or crossovers. Tesla is expected to reach that figure within a matter of weeks. And several other manufacturers, including General Motors, Nissan and Ford, are approaching that target, as well. (more…)

Ram Selling Something Old, Something New

Brand offering old truck with new name: Classic.

by on Jun.26, 2018

Ram will sell the new and previous body styles concurrently this year. The new model goes on sale soon.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed it will sell both an older body-style version of its popular Ram Truck alongside the new version during the upcoming model year.

The company had signaled its intention to keep both trucks in production during the transition. Moreover, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne acknowledged during the earnings call back in April that the launch of the new Ram was going slower than anticipated.

Product News!

With two concurrently selling body styles of its 2019 model year pickup, have given the “legacy” or older edition its own name: Classic. (more…)