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Chrysler Posts $166 Million Profit

Q1 results negatively impacted by product launches.

by on Apr.29, 2013

Chrysler Group's Q1 earnings dropped in part, to the launch of the new Dodge Ram.

A sharp downturn in the company’s production of new vehicles tied to new product launches undercut Chrysler Group’s cut Chrysler’s profits by two-thirds during the first quarter of 2013.

Chrysler Group reported Q1 net income net income dropped 65% to $166 million, compared with $473 million for the same quarter last year. It was the seventh consecutive quarter of positive net income.

The results, which were expected, were a result of lower vehicle shipments as well as industrial costs related to several key product launches, and lower vehicle shipments to Europe and Latin America, even as retail sales in North America remain strong, the company said.

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Nonetheless Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne insisted the company remains on a path to longer-term prosperity as it ramps up production of the new Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee as well as the Dodge Ram.

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Reborn Jeep Cherokee Takes a Radical Design Turn

Optimistic plans for a well-equipped new ute.

by on Mar.27, 2013

The Jeep Cherokee may revive an old new, but there's nothing old about its distinctive design.

Making its formal debut at the New York Auto Show, the Jeep Cherokee replaces the maker’s old Liberty model – and brings back a nameplate that decades ago helped touch off America’s love affair with sport-utility vehicles.

The name may be retro, though the design is anything but.  The new Jeep Cherokee may maintain the maker’s familiar, 7-slot grille but it has virtually nothing in common with the old, chunky Cherokee, never mind the Liberty.

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The most distinctive design detail is the new ute’s face, with its unusual, creased grilled and split headlamps. The main lamps sit just above the bumper and in contrast to traditional automotive styling, smaller slit daytime running lights frame the hood.

“It could be a bit controversial,” admits Ralph Gilles, the head of design at Chrysler LLC, who is nonetheless convinced buyers will fall in love with the distinctive shape of the new crossover.

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Chrysler Scrambling to Boost Jeep Production, Add New Models

Toledo plant could near 500,000 annually.

by on Mar.21, 2013

Jeep is struggling to meet surging demand for the flagship Grand Cherokee - the 2014 model shown here.

Chrysler is looking to kick up production of Jeep vehicles as it stretches to reach its objective of selling 800,000 Jeeps annually. More than half of those are to come from the SUV brand’s expanded plant in Toledo, Ohio.

The ramp-up of Jeep production is happening significantly faster than outlined in the playback Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne unveiled in late 2009, shortly after the U.S. maker emerged from bankruptcy. But Jeep’s aggressive growth plans can’t soon enough for the Italian side of the company.

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Marchionne told reporters in Italy earlier this week that a lack of Jeeps caused by the work at its factories – and a changeover to new models — will hurt the company’s finances during the first quarter. But he is hoping that the trans-Atlantic alliance can more than recover from that shortfall by year-end.

Chrysler’s Jefferson North plant in Detroit is still ramping up production of the new 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is also being prepared for expanded export as Marchionne pushes to transform Jeep into a truly global brand.

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Cherokee Revives Old Name for New Jeep

No more Liberty for SUV brand.

by on Feb.25, 2013

The look is familiar but distinctive, with head and foglights in a notably unusual arrangement.

Chrysler is turning to an old name for a brand new Jeep. Say farewell to Liberty.  The replacement model that will added to the line-up for 2014 will be rechristened the Jeep Cherokee, reviving a nameplate that helped kick off one of the most dramatic transformations in modern automotive history.

Jeep isn’t saying much beyond describing the 2014 Cherokee as an “all-new, ‘no-compromise’” vehicle that will set “a new standard with even more best-in-class capability, exemplary on-road driving dynamics, and fuel economy improvements of more than 45% versus the outgoing mid-size SUV model.”

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The new mid-size sport-utility vehicle will make its formal debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show.  The 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be assembled at Chrysler’s big Toledo Assembly Plant a half-hour south of Detroit, the same factory that produced the old Jeep Liberty.

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Officials Confirm New Jeep Liberty to Debut in NY

Name may yet change.

by on Feb.19, 2013

The 2014 Jeep Liberty undergoing testing prior to its introduction at the NY Auto Show.

Chrysler Group is planning to show off the new version of the Jeep Liberty at the New York Auto Show, Mike Manley, president and chief executive officer of the Jeep brand has confirmed.

Manley also said Chrysler plans to have the new version of the Liberty on sale by “the end of the second quarter,” following its debut in New York at the end of March.

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Other sources inside Jeep said the final, final call on the name for the upcoming vehicle has yet to be nailed down. There is plenty of speculation Jeep could drop the Liberty name and start fresh. The final call, however, will be made by Manley and other Chrysler executives prior to the unveiling at New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center.

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Spy Shots: 2014 Jeep Liberty

Mid-line Jeep returns in more stylish, more flexible trim.

by on Feb.15, 2013

The newly reborn Jeep Liberty makes a camouflaged appearance during street testing.

As Chrysler clearly hinted with the roll-out of its refreshed Jeep Grand Cherokee last month, the maker’s SUV brand will be a busy place in the coming months.

Not only will we see the updated flagship model but replacements for the small Compass and Patriot models. But wait, there’s more, as those commercials on late-night TV like to say.  There’s an even smaller model to be built in Italy and rumor of a reborn Grand Wagoneer.

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But one of this year’s most significant introductions – at least now that Grand Cherokee is out of the way – will be the rebirth of the Jeep Liberty.

As these spy shots illustrate, there are a number of major changes slated within a year for the mid-size Jeep line, which will turn into a sort of junior Grand Cherokee.

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Chrysler Planning Car, Truck, Crossover Blitz

Maker expects to introduce 47 new or refreshed models over next four years.

by on Jan.31, 2013

A US version of the Alfa Romeo 4C will be one of the 47 new products coming from Fiat/Chrysler.

The only domestic automaker to gain market share in 2012, Chrysler is betting it will need a new product blitz to keep its momentum going.

And it has plenty of new cars, trucks and crossovers on the drawing board – 47 all-new or significantly refreshed models coming to market over the next four years, according to CEO Sergio Marchionne, including six from the Italian Alfa Romeo brand which is scheduled to make its return to the U.S. market late in 2013.

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“We are overspending, and we understand this. But we are doing this with a very clear agenda and a very clear intent,” Marchionne said during a conference call with analysts and reporters. “We’ve earned a lot of goodwill by providing a dramatic improvement in the quality of our products and by launching what we have launched. I still think that we need to continue to pound the ground.”

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Jeep – Imported From Italy

Next-gen “small Jeep” to be Produced Overseas.

by on Dec.21, 2012

The replacement for the Jeep Patriot and Compass will be produced in Melfi, Italy and share underpinnings with the new Fiat 500X.

This story has been updated following clarification from Chrysler about plans for Jeep.

A new small Jeep will be produced in Italy and then exported to the U.S. and other markets, according to Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, a move the maker hopes will help improve capacity utilization as European car sales collapse.

While Marchionne did not specifically identify the Jeep product, company officials have since advised TheDetroitBureau.com that the new product would be an “additional model to the (brand) and not (a) replacement for the current Jeep Compass or Patriot models, as had been earlier reported.

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The new products will be based upon a crossover chassis developed by Fiat and Chrysler using their new Small-Wide “architecture.”  That platform will be shared with several Fiat additions, the recently-introduced 500L and the new 500X.

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Will this Be the New Jeep Liberty?

Alfa Romeo Giulietta to provide foundation for Liberty replacement.

by on Dec.21, 2012

A Jeep Liberty "mule" based on a modified Alfa Giulietta is caught during testing.

Chrysler is getting ready to bring out an all-new, radically changed Jeep Liberty that will debut within the next 18 months. Like the Dodge Dart, the new model will be based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, or more precisely on the modified CUSW platform derived from the Fiat subsidiary’s 5-door hatchback.

What we’ve captured here is a mule of the future Liberty prototype show a modified Giulietta hatchback sporting a completely new, covered, front end.

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By switching to the CUSW (or Compact U.S. Wide) platform the future Liberty will be inches wider and longer than its Italian progenitor and carry traditional Jeep styling features such as the more box-like body shape and vertical slotted grille design.

Evidence of the enlargement can be seen in the “stretch marks” seen on this view of a prototype (note the alterations in sheet metal at the roof, trunk and rear door).

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Chrysler Dealers Peek at Dozens of New Models

“We have an almost completely rejuvenated product line-up,” says Marchionne.

by on Sep.12, 2012

The reborn 2013 SRT Viper was one of 66 different models and variants shown during the Las Vegas dealer meeting.

Chrysler is getting strong marks from dealers who attended the maker’s product sneak peek in Las Vegas this week, an event that revealed dozens of new and upcoming models designed to “completely rejuvenate the product line-up.”

The preview was intended to not only show Chrysler retailers what will be landing in showrooms in the coming months but also give a hint of what’s on tap further down the line.  CEO Sergio Marchionne and his team are hoping to prove that the broad Chrysler revival plan they laid out in a day-long session in November 2009 is coming to fruition and that the maker will defy skeptics who thought it was only a matter of time until it would collapse once again.

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“We are less than two years away from having an almost completely rejuvenated product lineup compared to what we could offer customers when we began this journey in June 2009,” Marchionne told the dealers gathered in Las Vegas.

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