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Archive for the ‘Jeep’ Category

What’s Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Without Fiat and Chrysler?

Two namesake brands will survive – barely, for now.

by on Jun.04, 2018

The Chrysler Pacifica may soon go it solo as the brand continues to shrink.

It’s been nearly a decade since struggling European automaker Fiat combined with the post-Chapter 11 Chrysler, and if the 5-year plan unveiled during a day-long meeting in Milan last week comes close to being accurate, the carmaker could be in for a “brighter future” than ever, according to John Elkann, the chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the heir to the Italian side of the company’s founders.

There’s just one problem: neither the Fiat nor Chrysler brands seem poised to share in the spoils. The Fiat Capital Day briefing focused all but exclusively on just four brands – Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Maserati – expected to dominate FCA’s future. For now, Fiat and Chrysler will survive, but in greatly diminished form, and observers question whether they’ll be around for the long-term.

We Keep You In the Know!

“There was enough doubt…about their future because they barely showed up in the presentations,” said Joe Phillippi, chief analyst with AutoTrends Consulting, after attending the day-long session at Alfa’ proving grounds near Milan. Fca’s management team “took pains to say (Fiat and Chrysler will have a future, at least in the near-term. But it will be up to the next management team to determine whether they will remain in the portfolio for the long-term.”

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FCA Maps Out a Self-Driving Strategy

Automaker teams up with Waymo, BMW and Aptiv, but carves out its own path.

by on Jun.01, 2018

A Waymo-modified Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid.

While there are a growing number of autonomous vehicle prototypes on the road these days, Waymo and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles made headlines when they announced, earlier this week, plans to direct as many as 62,000 Pacifica Hybrid minivans into the self-driving ride-sharing service the Google spin-off will launch later this year.

By some estimates, 20% or more of the miles Americans clock on the road will be in driverless vehicles operated by ride-sharing services like Waymo, Uber and Lyft by the end of the coming decade. Millions of motorists may opt to give up their personal vehicles and switch to those services. Millions more are expected to own their own autonomous vehicles.

The Last Word!

Until recently considered a laggard in the self-driving field, FCA has jumped in big, relying on partnerships with not only Waymo, but BMW and mega-supplier Aptiv. And that approach will not only help it to make up for lost time but give FCA several alternative paths to follow.

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More Products, More Volume, Bigger Margins: FCA Lays Out Aggressive, 5-Year Growth Plan

Morning presentation outlines plans for Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands.

by on Jun.01, 2018

The Ram TRX will be among the new models FCA will bring out over the coming five years.

(This story has been revised to update plans for Jeep’s pickup and a midsize pickup from Ram that, CEO Marchionne now says will come to the U.S. market.)

In a sweeping presentation designed to give analysts, investors, media and potential buyers a good look at its future, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives are spending a day detailing their plans for the company and its various brands.

At the midway mark, as they break for lunch, they’ve already lifted the kimono far enough to show what’s coming for the Jeep, Ram, Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands and, in a nutshell, it can be summed up as more products targeting lots more volume and much bigger margins.

Breaking News!

The new five-year plan will be the last crafted under the guidance of Sergio Marchionne, the 65-year-old executive who helped pull off the pairing of two struggling manufacturers to form Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. His third five-year plan, Marchionne stressed that “The true finish line is the one always yet to come.”

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Fiat Chrysler Recalling Nearly 5m Vehicles Because Cruise Control Could Lock On

Problem could make it more difficult to stop vehicles.

by on May.25, 2018

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is one of 15 different models covered by the new FCA recall.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling 4.8 million sedans, utility vehicles and pickups due to a problem that could prevent drivers from shutting off their cruise control, making it difficult, though not impossible, to stop a vehicle.

The problem is the latest in a series of large recalls involving the third-largest of the domestic automotive manufacturers, FCA recalling millions of vehicles over the last several years for issues as varied as transmission problems and fire hazards.

Safety News!

The latest service action involves a wide range of products produced for the 2014 through 2018 model-years, and even one 2019 model, and is meant to cope with a cruise control circuit that could short out.

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In Final Move as FCA CEO, Marchionne Expected to Order Massive Shift in Product, Manufacturing Plans

Small Fiat models likely to be dropped, brand may leave U.S.

by on May.18, 2018

Could FCA pull the Fiat brand out of the U.S.?

As Fiat Chrysler Automobiles prepares for life beyond its founding chief executive, CEO Sergio Marchionne is expected to announce major shifts in the automaker’s product and manufacturing strategy, according to several reports.

During a June 1 meeting meant to reveal FCA’s next five-year plan, the 65-year-old executive reportedly will announce that the Fiat brand will abandon two of its base models, the Punto and Mito, while shifting emphasis to more up-market models. The automaker also will put more emphasis on its Jeep brand which, Marchionne said during the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, could help Fiat Chrysler double its earnings during the next five years.

The Last Word!

One of the key questions hanging over the Euro-American automaker may not be resolved during a meeting bringing together analysts and journalists from around the world: who will replace Marchionne as CEO? He has dropped hints that his successor will come from FCA’s current top management ranks, which means no women or outsiders are in the running.

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Last Wrangler JK Rolls Off Line; Jeep Truck Starts in 2019

FCA readying Toledo plant to build the Jeep pickup.

by on Apr.27, 2018

Employees celebrate the last Jeep Wrangler JK rolling off the line in Toledo.

Another piece of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. transformation plan fell into place as the last Jeep Wrangler JK rolled off the assembly line in Toledo, Ohio.

The Wrangler JK had been in production for more than 12 years with more than 2.1 million vehicles built. The new version of the Wrangler is already in production in a newer and larger assembly plant nearby that up until last year was used to build the Jeep Liberty and Jeep Cherokee.

Product News!

The assembly line in the FCA US Toledo Supplier Park where the Wrangler was built will now be used for the all-new Jeep pickup truck, which will launch in the first half of 2019. Sergio Marchionne, FCA CEO, told analysts this week that production of the Jeep pickup will start by the end of 2018. (more…)

Jeep Grand Commander: Bigger is Better, at Least in Beijing

Three-row SUV borrows heavily from Grand Cherokee.

by on Apr.27, 2018

The new Jeep Grand Commander made its debut at the Beijing Motor Show.

We’ve been hearing rumors for as long as we can remember that Jeep will finally catch up to the competition by adding a third-row SUV to its growing line-up.

It’s finally happened – sort of – with the debut of the Jeep Grand Commander at this week’s Beijing Motor Show. The question is whether that seven-seater is what we can expect in the U.S. or if there is another model under development for the States that would revive the old Wagoneer nameplate.

Auto Show News!

That could certainly hit a welcome target for Jeep considering the strong U.S. demand for three-row SUVs and crossover-utility vehicles. The Fiat Chrysler brand is one of the few key players in the ute market that doesn’t offer a three-row model these days. Even Lexus has gotten into the game with the recent unveiling of a stretched version of its long-popular RX model. (more…)

FCA Continuing Diesel Settlement Talks with DOJ, CARB

Discussions centering on potential penalties for automaker.

by on Apr.11, 2018

The 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is part of the group of vehicles that allegedly used a cheat device to beat emissions tests.

Despite repeatedly denying any wrongdoing, Fiat Chrysler is in talks with the U.S. Justice Department and California Air Resources Board to reach a settlement about accusations it used illegal used software to beat diesel emissions tests.

The discussions, which according to multiple reports, are very far along, address allegations that FCA used the software, in a manner similar to Volkswagen’s diesel testing cheat device, for 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles – mostly light trucks – sold since 2014.

Diesel News!

According to Reuters, Ken Feinberg, an adviser in the process, at a federal court hearing in San Francisco revealed that government lawyers and Fiat Chrysler were swapping documents as part of the settlement process, which was moving “at a rather swift pace.” (more…)

Popular Ford Escape Flunks IIHS Crash Test

Five of Seven small SUVs earn good ratings.

by on Apr.04, 2018

The Ford Escape received the worst score yet among small SUVs in the IIHS small overlap test.

Ford Motor Co. is setting sales records with its broad SUV fleet, but a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety could lead potential buyers to question the benefits of one of the maker’s most popular ute offerings.

The compact Ford Escape was the only of seven small SUVs to receive a “Poor” rating in the latest IIHS test for occupant protection, though the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport managed an only slightly better “Marginal” rating in the small overlap front crash test – which is designed to simulate what happens when a vehicle clips a pole, a tree or the corner of an oncoming vehicle.

Safety News!

Ford’s shortfall reflects a curious decision made with the update of the 2017 model-year, according to officials with the insurance trade group. The automaker upgraded the driver’s side of the Escape, which passed the small overlap test. But not the passenger side which was badly compromised and likely would have resulted in serious injuries if a human, rather than a crash dummy, was in the seat.

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Jeep, VW Poised to Launch New Pickups — Maybe in NYC

Could two new concepts debut this week in New York?

by on Mar.26, 2018

The Jeep Sandstorm concept is going to the annual Easter Safari — it's a truck.

Everyone knows pickup trucks are a big deal and a couple of new ones from Jeep and Volkswagen are apparently coming closer to reality.

First off is the Jeep pickup truck built off the new Jeep Wrangler platform. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. officials confirmed that the Jeep pick-up truck was under development a long time ago. In fact, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne predicted Jeep could sell as many as 100,000 annually once production gets rolling.

News Now!

But up until now FCA has been a little vague about when it might actually enter the showrooms. (more…)