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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.

Your Auto Safety News Source!

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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Desperate Dodge Slashes Viper Price

More power, better mileage, $15,000 cheaper.

by on Sep.08, 2014

Dodge hopes to kickstart demand for the 2015 Viper by offering more - power and mileage - for less.

If you were one of the relatively few folks to have bought a Viper in recent weeks you might be muttering angrily when you discover Dodge has slashed the price of the 2-seat muscle car in a desperate bid to boost sagging sales.

The 2015 Dodge Viper SRT will start at $84,995, or $15,000 less than for the 2014 sports car – though dealers will not give a similar discount on leftover models.

Power to the People!

The drop in price comes even as Dodge upgrades the sports car. In 2015 trim it will get an extra 20 horsepower, boosting the pony count to 645 – or just short of the 650-hp under the hood of the Corvette Z06 Chevrolet will bring to market early next year.

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Marchionne Puts Bigland in Charge of Alfa Romeo

Appointment reflects CEO’s desire to see brand succeed.

by on Aug.18, 2014

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne put Reid Bigland, right, in charge of Alfa Romeo today.

Sergio Marchionne has been telling everyone who will listen for several months now that he’s serious about Alfa Romeo’s success. Today he proved it by putting Reid Bigland, formerly head of Ram Trucks, in charge of the brand.

He will continue as Head of U.S. Sales and as President and Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler Canada and the Fiat Chrysler Group Executive Council. Bigland will be replaced at Ram Trucks by Robert Hegbloom, who will also become a member of the NAFTA Leadership Team. Both appointments are effective immediately.

The Word is "Free"!

Bigland’s appointment underscores the importance Chrysler CEO Marchionne places on expanding the reach of the Alfa Romeo brand in the luxury segment around the world, which is expected to expand in the years to come. However, Alfa Romeo has only a limited presence in the U.S. now. (more…)

Marchionne Forms New Safety Compliance Office

Chrysler Group renews focus on regulatory issues.

by on Aug.13, 2014

Scott Kunselman will head up Chrysler's new Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance office.

Just a few months after Sergio Marchionne hired an outside firm to examine Chrysler’s recall efforts, processes and procedures, Chrysler Group created a stand-alone group to handle safety issues and it reports directly to Marchionne.

The Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance office will be led by Senior Vice President Scott Kunselman and it “will help intensify the company’s continuing commitment to vehicle safety and regulatory compliance,” the company said.

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Prior to this, the company’s safety function was part of its global engineering group, and Chrysler’s top safety engineer previously reported to the senior vice president for engineering. While officials claim the new organization is just the result of periodic self-review, there have been plenty of reasons for the automaker to put such a group in place. (more…)

Buttons, Dials and Paddles – This Isn’t Your Father’s Old Transmission

New tech improves performance, mileage, user operation.

by on Aug.11, 2014

The new Lincoln MKC opts for a pushbutton transmission rather than a conventional shift lever.

Button, button, who’s got the button?

Slip inside Lincoln’s new MKC and you may be in for a surprise when you fire it up and reach to put the 2015 crossover into gear. That’s because the traditional shift lever is gone, replaced by a set of buttons on the instrument panel.

The new Chrysler 200 sedan, as well as the maker’s big Ram 1500 pickup, adopts a rotary dial to shift gears. Jaguar uses a similar system on its XF sedan, though here the knob rises out of the center console when the driver presses the start button while an indicator light pulses like a heartbeat.

Insight!

A growing number of new models, from the new Mini Hardtop to the Porsche Panamera Turbo, have adopted paddle shifters akin to what you’ll find in a Formula One race car, meanwhile. Mercedes-Benz and BMW, meanwhile, have downsized the steering wheel-mounted shift levers, while Maserati and Alfa Romeo’s center console shifters are little bigger than the joysticks you’ll find on videogame controllers.

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Marchionne Downplays Threat to Fiat-Chrysler Merger

CEO willing to wait out opponent shareholders,

by on Aug.06, 2014

CEO Sergio Marchionne is confident any shareholder backlash will only be a temporary roadblock.

Disgruntled Fiat shareholders could –  temporarily – thwart the completion of the Fiat-Chrysler merger, Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of both the Italian and American automakers, conceded.

During a conference call today with analysts and journalists, Marchionne emphasized that an adverse vote would not have a long-term impact on the meshing of the two companies.

Keeping You in the Know!

“We have to see how this game plays out,” Marchionne said during the call. “I am absolutely unfazed by this.”

With Italy teetering on the brink of recession and Fiat stock losing value, speculation is mounting that some Fiat shareholders may opt to cash out rather than accept stock in the new company.

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Fiat Profits Plunge 55%

CEO Marchionne points to runaway incentives costs.

by on Jul.30, 2014

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the automaker needed to have great results in the next two quarters.

Fiat says its second-quarter profits plunged 55% as the maker’s U.S. partner Chrysler struggled to move old product with new incentives, while the Fiat side of the company dealt with a slowdown in South America.

Fiat, which expects to complete its takeover of the U.S. maker in October, earned a net profit of 197 million Euros, or $264 million, for the three-month period ending on June 30, compared with 435 million Euros a year before. On an EBIT – or earnings before interest and taxes – basis, the numbers dipped to 961 million Euros, or $1.3 billion, from 1.1 billion Euros a year earlier.

Insight!

“We had a crappy first quarter, a halfway decent second, and we need to have outstanding quarters in the third and fourth,” Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Fiat and Chrysler, said bluntly during a conference call. (more…)

Chrysler Recalling 800,000 Vehicles for Ignition Switch Problem

by on Jul.22, 2014

Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 2005-2007 are part of a larger recall of Chrysler vehicles with ignition problems.

Chrysler is expanding an earlier recall, targeting nearly 800,000 older Jeep models because of an ignition switch problem that could cause the vehicles to stall and disable their airbags and other safety systems.

The move comes as federal safety regulators investigate reports that drivers inadvertently can bump the keys on as many as 1.2 million Chrysler products, causing them to turn from the On to Off or Accessory position. The problem is similar to one that has led to the recall of millions of General Motors products in recent months. But the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the possibility the problem could occur on products built by other manufacturers, as well.

Keeping You Safe!

While Chrysler and its dealers prepare to notify customers and schedule repairs, the maker is advising owners to remove everything but the ignition key from their key rings to reduce the risk of an unintended stall-out. (more…)

First Drive: 2015 Dodge Challenger

Redefining the muscle car.

by on Jul.22, 2014

At 707-hp, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat claims to be the most powerful muscle car ever to roll out of a Big 3 plant.

If you thought the golden age of muscle cars was gone and forgotten, Dodge has a big surprise coming for you next year — actually, a whole bunch of them.

After bringing back its retro-styled Challenger coupe in 2009, the Chrysler performance brand has made steady gains on the stalwarts of the modern muscle car era, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. And for 2015, Challenger is getting not only a major design update, but a host of new variants including the new SRT Hellcat which, at a smoking 707 horsepower, is being billed as the most powerful factory- assembled muscle car ever.

We Give You the Muscle!

While modern muscle cars aren’t for everyone, models like the Challenger are gaining traction not only with the Baby Boomers who grew up listening to the squeal of rubber, but also younger buyers looking for something out of the ordinary.

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