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Chrysler SEMA Concepts Hint at Niche Products to Come

Mopar generating double-digit growth for maker.

by on Oct.24, 2014

The Dodge Challenger T/A concept is a 485-horsepower beast that the maker is displaying at the SEMA show.

It’s a beautiful autumn morning as Mark Trostle leads a group of journalists out to the design department courtyard behind the Chrysler Technology Center.  “It’s like Candyland out here,” says the chief designer for Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Mopar division, as he surveys an assortment of concept vehicles that will soon head to Las Vegas for the annual SEMA Show.

That’s the yearly gathering of the automotive parts and accessories world, a fast-growing industry that generates more than $30 billion in business annually. Not surprisingly, makers like Fiat Chrysler have been increasing their presence at SEMA each year hoping not only to put a halo around their brands, but also to help sell more of their own parts and accessories.

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Mopar, in fact, has been generating double-digit growth in recent years, in part by coming up with striking concept vehicles that illustrate ways to use products from its own parts catalogue. But it’s also going to be showing several special concepts that could soon be put, in whole, into production by various Fiat Chrysler brands. (more…)

Chrysler Recalling Nearly 1 Million Vehicles

Maker still plagued by ongoing fuel pump problem.

by on Oct.16, 2014

Scott Kunselman heads up Chrysler's recently formed Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance office.

Chrysler Group’s announcement today it is recalling 907,000 vehicles in two new campaigns is latest in a steady string of actions during the last six weeks from the Auburn Hills, Michigan-unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The recalls involve faulty alternators and power mirror electrical connectors. There have been no injuries, fatalities or accidents as a result of either problem, according to the automaker.

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Chrysler is recalling 470,000 2011-2014 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Challenger, Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles with a 3.6-liter engine and a 160 amp alternator because the alternator may suddenly fail and result in vehicle shutdown, shutoff or a fire. (more…)

Airbag Issues Force Recalls at GM, Chrysler

New GM midsize pickups among those impacted.

by on Oct.15, 2014

They’ve been called one of the industry’s most important safety breakthroughs, but manufacturers might also call airbags a major headache lately, as a growing list of problems have led to the recall of millions of vehicles over the last year.

The latest on the list are Chrysler and General Motors, both announcing service actions due to wiring defects that could cause airbags in some vehicles to fail when needed. The issue at Chrysler is similar to one that forced a major recall by cross-town rival Ford last month.

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Among the vehicles covered by the latest pair of recalls are the all-new General Motors midsize pickups just coming to market. GM initially ordered a stop-sale in hopes of making repairs before the vehicles got into consumers’ hands, and it now says only 138 of the 2,432 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon trucks covered by the service action have actually been delivered to buyers.

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Chrysler Recalling 184,000 SUVs for Airbag Issue

Maker suffering same problem that plagued Ford last month.

by on Oct.14, 2014

The 2014 Dodge Durango is being recalled for a problem with the airbag and safety restraints.

Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Co. have more in common than just being located in metro Detroit: Chrysler is recalling 184,000 SUVs for an airbag defect that caused Ford to recall 850,000 vehicles last month.

The Auburn Hills-based division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is recalling thousands of 2014 Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees due to a possible problem with short circuits that may cause the airbags and safety restraints to fail.

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The problem may cause the airbag warning lights to come on, which is a sign that there is a problem with the airbags and the seat-belt pretensioners. The recall covers more than 126,000 SUVs in the U.S. while the rest are in Canada, Mexico and other regions. (more…)

Ford F-150 Lassoes Truck of Texas Trophy

Ford, Jeep and Ram corral a hatful of victories.

by on Oct.13, 2014

Ford's new F-150 snags a welcome honor.

The Ford F-150 scooped up the first of what the company’s executives hope will be several awards over the weekend as it was named Truck of Texas at the 2014 Texas Auto Writers Association Truck Rodeo.

That’s particularly good news for Ford considering the growing concerns about whether the maker can pull off a smooth launch for the “aluminum-intensive” remake of what has long been the country’s best-selling motor vehicle.

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Ford actually got a triple-dose of good news from the Lone Star State’s automotive scribes who named the 2015 Lincoln MKC the crossover of Texas, while Ford also was named the Truck Line of Texas. But the Detroit carmaker couldn’t pull off a clean sweep, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee capturing the SUV of Texas title for the fifth straight year.

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“Green Truck” Finalists Revealed – and Surprises Abound

The truck world is “changing in a very big way.”

by on Oct.10, 2014

GM jumped back into the midsize truck market with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

It’s that time of year, nominees for all sort of automotive awards being revealed in time for the launch of the 2015 models. But where performance and luxury features might sway most juries, at least one major award focuses on things environmental.

So, it might come as a surprise to see Green Car Journal tipping its hat to five new pickups, but the magazine says vehicles like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Chevrolet Colorado underscore the dramatic changes sweeping through all aspects of today’s automotive world.

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“The significant efficiency and environmental improvements being made in the truck segment signal an important change in the industry,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.

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Fiat – Chrysler’s Marchionne “Done” in 2018

Will leave future turnarounds to the “young punks.”

by on Oct.08, 2014

Sergio Marchionne may have reason to smile as he considers his retirement in 2018.

After helping lead the smallest of Detroit’s automakers out of bankruptcy while also turning around its Italian partner Fiat, CEO Sergio Marchionne says he’s close to “done” and ready to find something a little less challenging to do.

Marchionne’s key goal will be completed this coming weekend with the formal merger of the two companies into the new Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, or FCA, which will have its headquarters in London while being incorporated in the Netherlands.

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That leaves Marchionne the challenge of putting in place the company’s new business plan which will take it through to 2018 when he apparently plans to retire, he said during an interview with the Bloomberg news service.

“I am not going to do any more turnarounds,” he said, adding that, “I’m done. Let some of the young punks do it.”

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Chrysler Dumps Viper Racing Program

Move comes after program takes home championships.

by on Oct.07, 2014

Chrysler cut its SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R racing program just after it won two championships.

After taking home a championship trophy last weekend, the Chrysler Group has dropped the Viper racing program supported by its Street and Racing Technology (SRT) unit.

“Our company has made a business decision to discontinue the SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R racing program,” said Ralph Gilles, senior vice president of Product Design, Chrysler Group LLC, who has headed up the SRT program, which Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had considered making a separate brand at one point.

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“We are very proud of the amazing achievements our fantastic teams, drivers and partners have achieved on track the last few seasons,” he said. “We thank them for their hard work, effort and commitment to SRT Motorsports. Its been an honor to be a part of the inaugural IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season and we wish them every success in the future.” (more…)

Toyota Recalls Tacomas While NHTSA Probes Chrysler

Feds looking at problems with 4.9 million Chrysler vehicles.

by on Sep.29, 2014

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Toyota is recalling 690,000 Tacoma trucks due to a problem with leaf springs that could cause a fire.

Toyota is recalling 690,000 Tacoma midsize pickup trucks due to a suspension problem so severe it could cause the truck to catch fire.

The Japanese maker is recalling 2005-2011 model year Tacoma 4×4 and Tacoma Pre-Runner trucks due to the problem. According to the company, the truck’s rear leaf springs could become corroded, which may lead to a fracture. If the leaf spring fractures, a plate could move out of position puncturing the gas tank. The fuel leaking from the tank could catch fire.

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The company is unaware of any injuries or fatalities due to the problem. (more…)

Chrysler Recalls 349,000 Vehicles for Ignition Switch Defect

One crash linked to defect.

by on Sep.25, 2014

The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee, one of the vehicles covered by Chrysler's ignition switch recall.

General Motors isn’t the only automaker facing problems with ignition switches. Chrysler is recalling 349,442 older sedans, wagons and SUVs because of a problem that could inadvertently lead vehicles to shut off while being driven.

The announcement is one of the latest involving faulty ignition switches, though the most notorious case involves 2.6 million small cars produced by GM that were recalled last February and which have since been blamed for at least 21 deaths.

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In the case of Chrysler, the ignition switches may inadvertently slip out of the Run position without a driver’s intervention. In some cases, that will simply shut off accessories such as the windshield wipers. But if the key turns all the way to the Off position, the vehicle’s engine may then shut off, leading to a potential loss of control and possible crash.

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