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Fiat Chrysler Recalling 50K Pacificas

Second-row seat belt can come unlatched during "extreme" maneuvering.

by on Sep.21, 2017

The Chrysler Pacifica is being recalled by FCA for a seat-belt problem.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling approximately 50,000 Chrysler Pacificas for seat belt issue that may crop up if the minivan is put through “extreme handling maneuvers.”

The second-row seat belt in 2017-18 model year Pacificas with the eight-passenger seating option can unbuckle, according to a new report issued by the automaker. The belt can unlatch in these conditions because the release button comes in contact with the adjacent buckle.

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The recall affects roughly 48,000 vehicles in the U.S. and 1,900 vehicles in Canada, FCA said in a statement. The problem was revealed during testing by the company and reported to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration in May. (more…)

FCA Recalling Half-Million Trucks for Fire Issue

No injuries or fatalities tied to problem, FCA says.

by on Sep.20, 2017

Chrysler is recalling more than 494,000 Ram medium- and heavy-duty trucks with 6.7-liter V8 engines in them.

Fiat Chrysler is recalling nearly 500,000 medium- and heavy-duty Ram trucks due a water pump issue that could potentially lead to a fire.

The problem affects 2013–2017 model year Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups as well as 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs. The action covers only trucks with 6.7-liter engines, according to FCA. The problem hasn’t led to any injuries or fatalities, the company noted.

Safety News!

According to reports, the automaker is “aware of a small number of incidents,” that met the “regulatory definition of fire, which includes everything from a burning odor to open flame.” Some of those fires caused damage to the vehicles in the area around the water pump. (more…)

Spy Shots: 2019 Ram 1500 Pickup

Peeling back the camo.

by on Sep.20, 2017

The new 2019 Ram 1500 is expected to get several upgrades from the previous version, including the use of ultra high strength steel.

Ecdysiasts aren’t the only ones who peel things back one glove at a time. Automakers routinely begin testing new products on public roads wearing heavy camouflage, slowing stripping layers off as they come closer to production.

So it has gone with the next-generation Ram 1500 pickup, which is expected to make its formal debut for the 2019 model-year, parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles optimistic enough about its prospects to expand production capacity. Among other things, the new Ram truck will begin rolling out of FCA’s plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan that, until recently, was producing the Chrysler 200 sedan.

Product News!

While there’s still enough camouflage here to keep some of the next Ram’s naughty bits concealed, we’ve been able to track down some key details about the 2019 pickup, starting with the fact that the 1500 will continue to be made almost entirely out of steel, FCA declining to take its lead from Ford’s big F-150 and migrate to an aluminum-intensive design. (more…)

No Deal for FCA, Marchionne Says

CEO tells reporters to offers for FCA, Jeep or other units.

by on Sep.05, 2017

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne told reporters over the weekend that no offers have come to buy FCA or any parts of the company.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. hasn’t received any kind of offer for the company from firms in China or any other company, FCA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne told reporters as he observed the Italian Formula One Grand Prix.

Up until Marchionne fielded the questions about the rumors of a merger or a sale during the Grand Prix, FCA had refused to comment on the speculation that a deal was in the work. Marchionne also insisted that FCA is not working on any “big deal.”

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Earlier reports suggested that Great Wall Motor Co. was considering buying FCA’s Jeep brand, but nothing has transpired since then. (more…)

Another Former UAW Official Pleads Guilty in Bribery Scheme

King follows Durden's lead and pleads guilty.

by on Aug.31, 2017

Former UAW official Virdell King pleaded guilty to illegally accepting money and gifts from Fiat Chrysler.

The former assistant director of the United Auto Workers’ Chrysler Department, Virdell King, pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy charges stemming from her role in the massive bribery scheme that has engulfed Fiat Chrysler and the UAW.

King served as the chief lieutenant for UAW vice president General Holiefield. She was implicated to a scheme that centered on Holiefield and siphoned off millions of dollars in training funds into the pockets of select union and company officials. Holiefield died in 2015 and King is the most senior union official for far indicted in the federal probe.

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She faces potential jail time ranging from 16 month five years. Her sentence will be handed down in early January. (more…)

Analysts Believe FCA Considering Selling Off Assets

Great Wall still interested in Jeep only.

by on Aug.24, 2017

CEO Sergio Marchionne is open to all options whether that means selling the company, partnering with another automaker or lopping off brands.

Executives at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. continued to keep a low profile amid speculation that the automaker was considering a strategy that would lead to the spinoff or partial spinoff or even outright sale of key assets such as Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Jeep.

But Great Wall, which has disclosed it was interested Jeep, also said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange there are “big uncertainties” whether it will continue to study Fiat Chrysler. The Chinese company’s efforts have “not generated concrete progress as of now,” the filing noted.

Beyond the Headlines!

Great Wall is China’s largest maker of sport utility vehicles and a very logical suitor for Jeep, which is one of the industry’s most iconic brands. (more…)

Great Wall May Not Seek Jeep Takeover After All

“Big uncertainties,” says Chinese carmaker.

by on Aug.22, 2017

Great Wall Motors has been hoping to sell vehicles, such as the Hover H7, in the U.S.

Just a day after reports surfaced that China’s leading SUV maker, Great Wall Motor Co., was considering the acquisition of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand, it is signaling it may not be ready to make a bid, after all.

On Monday, news reports quoted several Great Wall officials indicating their interest in Jeep, an icon of the sport-utility market. But a day later, the Chinese manufacturer is signaling there are “big uncertainties” as to whether it will move forward, the Bloomberg news service reported Tuesday. For its part, FCA officials have said they have not been approached by the Chinese company.

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Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has long been expressing an interest in finding a partner, though he has been rejected by a number of Western competitors, including General Motors and Volkswagen. A month ago, Marchionne raised speculation further when he responded, “Yes,” when an automotive analyst asked if FCA might be willing to just sell off its Jeep or Ram brands.

(more…)

China’s Great Wall Planning Bid for FCA – But Will Trump Be a Roadblock

Chinese maker could seek a complete acquisition or just go for the lucrative Jeep brand.

by on Aug.21, 2017

FCA CEO Donald Trump, right, met with Pres Trump and GM CEO Mary Barra earlier this year.

Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors is expected to make a formal bid to acquire all, or at least some of the assets of, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, according to several reports out of Asia Monday morning.

The news comes a week after initial reports surfaced that FCA had rejected an earlier bid from an unspecified Chinese automotive manufacturer. At the time, there was speculation several of that country’s native carmakers might seek such a deal with the spotlight focusing on both Great Wall and Guangzhou Automobile Group, which currently has a joint venture with FCA to produce Jeeps.

Breaking News!

Great Wall is the largest Chinese producer of sport-utility vehicles and pickups, something that would be a “perfect fit” with FCA’s Jeep and Ram brands, said analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting. It is not clear if Great Wall would seek to acquire just those two divisions or all of Fiat Chrysler.

(more…)

Ex-UAW Official Indicted in FCA-UAW Corruption Probe

Long-time UAW employee received designer shoes and clothes.

by on Aug.21, 2017

Virdell King, a former assistant director of the union’s Chrysler Department, allegedly accepted money and gifts from Fiat Chrysler.

A former official from the United Auto Workers has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit for criminal violations of federal labor statutes for taking bribes from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Virdell King, 65, of Detroit, Michigan, a former assistant director of the union’s Chrysler Department, was charged Friday with taking part in a multiyear conspiracy for UAW officials to accept money and things of value from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles U.S. between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice said in court documents filed in Detroit.

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The money came from a UAW-FCA training fund controlled by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles labor relations staff and violated the Federal Labor Management Relations Act – Landrum Griffin – of 1958, which was drafted to prevent union officials from taking money and gifts from third parties outside the union. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Moves Excite Speculation

Automaker attracting interest from Chinese companies.

by on Aug.18, 2017

Sergio Marchionne's continuing search for a partner for Fiat Chrysler has attracted interest from potential buyers and investors.

(CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect an error regarding the financial status of Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors. The country’s largest producer of SUVs and light trucks has not undergone a reorganization or a Chapter 11-style filing, as we originally reported. We apologize for that error.)

Even when he fails to consummate a transaction, as he did two years ago, Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne still enjoys a reputation as an astute deal maker.

So it’s not exactly a surprise that shares of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. climbed to a record high following reports that FCA was dickering with Chinese companies about a possible deal. Fiat Chrysler’s U.S.-listed shares surged 8.5% to $12.60, the highest close since trading began in October 2014. The stock has risen 38% this year.

Global News!

In an e-mail, FCA declined to comment on the rampant speculation of a potential alliance or sale of the company. (more…)