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Archive for the ‘FCA’ Category

Marchionne Memorialized in Turin

“Life doesn’t stop.”

by on Sep.14, 2018

FCA Chairman John Elkann, (c), is shown entering the Turin Cathedral for the Marchionne memorial.

An overflow crowd filled the Turin Cathedral on Friday morning marking the first of two planned memorials for Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles who died unexpectedly at the age of 66 nearly two months ago.

The ceremony brought out a mix of political and industrial elites, including FCA Chairman John Elkann and two former Italian prime ministers, as well as company workers and many local residents, according to Italian news reports.

Insight!

“Never take a break or a deep breath because life doesn’t stop,” said Elkann, the heir to the founders of the Fiat side of FCA, recalling Marchionne’s always-on-the-go work ethic.

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FCA Upgrades Proving Grounds for Self-Driving Vehicle Testing

Late to the game, FCA races to make up lost time with $30 mil project.

by on Sep.05, 2018

A Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has invested $30 million to upgrade its sprawling Chelsea Proving Grounds, an hour west of Detroit to expand its ability to develop and test both autonomous vehicles advanced driver assist system technologies.

The automaker has been slow to embrace self-driving vehicle technology, though it has been able to leapfrog some of its competitors with an expanding tie-up with Waymo, the self-driving spin-off of Google. The new project will allow FCA to test technology from Waymo and other potential partners, as well as systems it may develop in-house.

Tech News!

“The all-new facility at Chelsea Proving Grounds will help support and enable the successful rollout of the company’s five-year plan laid out earlier this year,” said Mike Manley, who took over as FCA’s CEO just two months ago. “Our ability to test for autonomous and advanced safety technologies enables FCA to offer our customers the features they want across our brand portfolio.”

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Proposed Class-Action Suit Against FCA, UAW Dismissed

Judge says plaintiffs haven't exhausted contractual remedies yet.

by on Aug.30, 2018

Former UAW President Dennis Williams maintained that the collective bargaining process between the UAW and FCA wasn't tainted.

A U.S. District Court has dismissed a proposed class action by autoworkers against car maker Fiat Chrysler and the United Automobile Workers that claimed the company and union colluded to sacrifice workers’ interests during collective bargaining.

The judge, following a long line of precedents, ruled that the workers who brought the suit have not exhausted contractual remedies and internal procedures to address their grievances against the company and the union.

Breaking News!

The lawsuit, filed by three UAW members, claims the union’s FCA contract was skewed in the automaker’s favor by the corruption of two top negotiators and alleges millions of dollars in dues collected from union members were “wasted on tainted bargaining.” (more…)

Lexus, Volvo Tie for Top Spot in New Brand Survey

Overall, consumers slightly happier with ownership experience.

by on Aug.30, 2018

Volvo tied with Lexus for the top brand honors in the latest ACSI survey, receiving its highest score ever.

Vehicle owners in the U.S. are slightly happier with their ownership experience this year than last year, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index, which is the result of surveys of car owners on their overall service and product experience with specific auto brands, creates a score between 1 to 100. According to the latest edition, the industry-wide score for 2018 is 82, up from 81 in 2017.

News You Can Trust!

“Car owners are often highly satisfied—they’ve kicked the tires enough times that they’re happy with their decision when they buy,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI.  (more…)

Former FCA Executive Gets 5.5 Years in Prison

Conviction comes after intense federal investigation.

by on Aug.27, 2018

Alphons Iacobelli, right, was sentenced to 5.5 years in prison for his role in the FCA-UAW training fund scandal.

A former senior executive from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., Alphons Iacobelli, was sentenced to five and half years in prison for his role in a bribery scheme aimed at influencing decisions by the United Automobile Workers union.

Federal investigators found that Iacobelli, who headed FCA’s labor relations staff until 2015, and others stole money from the joint FCA-UAW National Training Center for their personal benefit and lavish items, such as a used Ferrari and $35,000 Mont Blanc pens.

News Now!

The money was also used for travel, home improvements and to pay the mortgage of General Holiefield, a former UAW vice president, who headed the union’s Chrysler Department from 2006 to 2014 when the scandal was in full flower.  (more…)

KKR Looking at Taking Over FCA’s Magneti Marelli

Acquisition price could be high as $6.5 billion.

by on Aug.23, 2018

Selling off Magneti Marelli could accelerate the development of EVs and AVs FCA CEO considers critical to FCA's success.

KKR & Co., one of the leading specialists in leveraged buyouts that turn public companies private, is in talks to acquire the auto parts business of Magneti Marelli from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., according to a number of published reports.

FCA announced last spring it planned to put Magneti Marelli up for sale after a lengthy study initiated by the late CEO Sergio Marchionne.

News You Can Trust!

The appeal of selling off Magneti Marelli, which has been part of the Fiat automotive empire for almost 100 years, is that it would provide an infusion of cash that could help shore up the company’s balance sheet at a time when it is looking for new funds to finance projects ranging from the automaker’s expansion in China to financing the development of electric and autonomous vehicles. (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.

Stay in Sync!

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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Odyssey, Pacifica Top IIHS 2018-19 Minivan Rankings

Toyota Sienna falls from top ranking.

by on Aug.16, 2018

The Honda Odyssey earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2018-19.

The competition among minivans is already tight and the most recent ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for the current model year have only made that wrestling match tighter.

The Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey are 2018 Top Safety Picks. They were among the qualifiers when IIHS announced initial winners of the 2018 awards last December. Both earned a superior rating for front crash prevention and have acceptable-rated headlights. Better headlights would have secured Top Safety Pick+ awards – the group’s top rating – for these minivans.

News Now!

To earn a 2018 Top Safety Pick, according to IIHS, a vehicle must have good ratings in all IIHS crashworthiness tests except the passenger-side test. Other requirements are a front crash prevention system that earns an advanced or superior rating and headlights that earn an acceptable or good rating.  (more…)

Rising Inflation Challenges Profitability for Automakers

Car companies getting hit on rising material costs due to Trump tariffs.

by on Aug.14, 2018

Trucks are still protected in the U.S. by a 25% tariff, despite a lower tax on all other vehicles.

A rising rate of inflation now poses an additional threat to an auto industry already under pressure from new tariffs and trade restrictions.

From June 2017 to June 2018, the U.S. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 2.9%, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor. The Congressional Budget Office, in a report in which it indicated it expects U.S. economic growth to slow next year, also said this week it expects the rate inflation to top 3.1% through the last half of 2018.

News You Can Trust!

U.S. workers’ paychecks are worth less than they were a year ago, the Labor Department reported Friday, as modest wage gains have not kept pace with inflation. (more…)

Ford Wants a Premium for All-New Ranger Pickup

Base model to start at $4,000 over Chevrolet Colorado.

by on Aug.14, 2018

Ford will offer a wide range of Ranger body styles, beds and powertrain configurations.

After a lengthy absence, the Ford Ranger is about ready to return to the U.S. market and shoppers now can price and build their own version of the midsize pickup at a special micro-site the Detroit automaker has launched.

Set to reach showrooms early next year, Ford will be offering a wide array of body styles, bed and powertrain options, ranging from the base, 4×2 SuperCab XL with a six-foot box, up to the more lavishly equipped 4×4 SuperCrew Lariat with a five-foot cargo box.

Product News!

But the heavily updated version of the global Ranger launched earlier in the decade won’t come cheap. The 2019 pickup will carry a starting price of $24,300 plus $1,095 in delivery fees. That’s about $4,000 more than its cross-town competition, the base, extended cab version of the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado starting at $20,500. And for truck buyers on a tight budget, the aging Nissan Frontier starts at just $18,900.

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