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Jeep Chasing Renegade Software Glitch

Marchionne implies problem is related to nine-speed transmission.

by on May.22, 2015

FCA may be battling a software issue with the Jeep Renegade and its nine-speed transmission.

Fiat Chrysler may be battling a new software bug with its Jeep Renegade …and it may have CEO Sergio Marchionne experiencing a case of deja vu.

Marchionne told multiple media outlets earlier this week implied there is a problem and implied it is related to the automaker’s problematic nine-speed transmission it sources from ZF.

The Last Word!

The same transmission that caused the automaker to delay the introduction of the Jeep Cherokee as the automaker attempted to recalibrate it to improve the ride quality. (more…)

FCA Appealing $150 Million Jeep Verdict

Maker claims award violates Georgia law.

by on May.11, 2015

Despite testimony by CEO Sergio Marchionne saying the Jeep's rear-mounted fuel tank is safe, jurors awarded a $150 million to a Georgia family.

Fiat Chrysler asked a Georgia judge to set aside the $150 million verdict levied by a jury against the company and grant a new trial in the case of a boy who burned to death in a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee after a rear-end collision.

In its appeal, which is pound to prolong the high-profile case, which has garnered substantial media attention, FCA US is claiming that the damages were excessive and unconstitutional under the state of Georgia’s laws. The case, which was decided in April, featured a video deposition of FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne, who argued FCA US should not be held liable in the case.

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The jury awarded $150 million to the family after finding that the rear-positioned fuel tank in the Jeep posed a fire risk and killed the child. (more…)

Chinese Turn Car Clones into High Art

Copycat makers often outsell the originals.

by on Apr.24, 2015

No, that's not a $475,000 Rolls-Royce Phantom.

That may look, at first glance, like a vanity license plate on a Rolls-Royce Phantom, but take another glance and you might be in for a surprise. You’re actually looking at a Geely GE, a Chinese knock-off that has closely copied the classic Rolls grille and Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament – but which goes for a fraction of the original’s $475,000 price.

Automakers from around the world put their latest wares on display at this month’s Shanghai Motor Show. But a walk down the hall revealed that local Chinese automakers already had fresh copies of a number of the hottest products from the U.S., Europe, Japan and Korea.

We're No Clone!

While some picked up subtle styling cues and features, others blended attributes from several different models to create weird Franken-cars, like the Suzhou Eagle EV that was one part Porsche Cayman, with a face lifted from a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and a battery-electric drivetrain to make things even weirder.

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Slow Jeep Repairs Could Create Problems for Fiat Chrysler

Only 4% of recalled Grand Cherokee models have been fixed.

by on Apr.14, 2015

Mandated repairs on 1.56 million recalled Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs are not being completed as quickly as expected.

This coming June will mark the second anniversary of a settlement between Chrysler and federal regulators that resulted in the recall of 1.56 million Jeeps due to a potential fire hazard.

But so far, only a tiny fraction of the vehicles covered by that service action – 4% of the Jeep Grand Cherokees and 27% of the Jeep Liberty models – have actually been brought in for repairs. By comparison, about 75% of the vehicles subject to recalls in the U.S. are typically repaired within 18 months.

Automotive Insight!

The slow response rate has generated concerns in Washington where Mark Rosekind, the new chief at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has been hinting the agency might re-open its investigation. (more…)

Marchionne Defends Jeep Safety in Court

CEO deposed in wrongful death trail about 4-year-old.

by on Mar.27, 2015

FCA Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne defended the safety of Jeep vehicles in a deposition in Atlanta.

Sergio Marchionne is defending the safety of Jeep products in a high-profile Georgia lawsuit, involving the death by fire of a 4-year-old boy.

The top executive at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles denied trying to stop top federal regulators from finding a safety defect in older Jeeps with rear-positioned fuel tanks. Instead, he argued that the vehicles are safe, in a recorded deposition that was played for Georgia jurors in a wrongful death trial about a fuel tank fire that killed the boy.

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Marchionne and the plaintiff’s attorney clashed over a 2013 meeting with then-U.S. Secretary Ray LaHood in Chicago in June. (more…)

Jeep Reveals Seven Concepts for the Moab Safari

Working prototypes could influence future models – including a possible Jeep pickup.

by on Mar.20, 2015

You're always close to home with the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overlander's pop-up tent.

As spring approaches, serious SUV fans get ready to hit the trails. And Jeep is offering up some ways to have a bit more fun and adventure with seven new concepts for the 49th Annual  Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.

Unlike the concept vehicles you’ll typically see at an auto show, these are real “runners,” largely based on existing Jeep products and using an array of parts and accessories already available in the Mopar parts catalog. Not surprisingly, one goal is to get loyal Jeep owners to customize their vehicles. But the Safari concepts also offer a hint of special editions to come. And one Wrangler prototype underscores Jeep’s serious interest in adding a pickup to its line-up.

Happy Trails to You!

“Jeep is the most accessorized vehicle” on the road, suggested Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, during a preview of the Easter Safari concepts. Mopar sold 1.2 million parts and accessories for the Jeep brand last year, and Gorlier noted that 98% of Wranglers on the road use at least one of those modifications.

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Pickup, Plug-in Hybrid Appear on Jeep’s Horizons

Maker looks for new options, new models as it aims to double sales.

by on Mar.19, 2015

The shape of things to come? The Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder concept could be followed - eventually - by a production Wrangler pickup.

Looking to nearly double global sales by 2018 – while also having to address increasingly stringent emissions and fuel economy standards — Jeep is looking at a variety of product and powertrain options that could include a new pickup as well as the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, revealed CEO Mike Manley.

Jeep recently launched its smallest model, the new Renegade, and is gaining momentum in markets as diverse as Beijing and Berlin. It is adding new factory capacity in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and is set to make a critical decision about future production at its ancestral home in Toledo, Ohio.

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It is “a transformational year,” said Manley, during a preview of seven concept SUVs Jeep will take out onto the trails during its annual Easter Safari in Moab, Utah.

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Jeep Tracking to Surpass 2014’s 1 Million Units Sold

Marchionne rewarded for success with $8 million earnings.

by on Mar.06, 2015

Sergio Marchionne earned more than $8 million in 2014 in salary and other compensation.

After rolling up sales of more than 1 million units in 2014, the Jeep brand is off to a fast start in 2015 as it records increases of more than 20% for the first two months of the year despite getting drubbed by Consumer Reports.

Moreover, the newest member of the Jeep family, the Jeep Renegade, is just beginning to reach dealers and showrooms in the next several weeks. “They’re outside the fence,” noted Art Anderson, FCA US chief engineer and vehicle line executive for the Renegade, during an interview webcast on AutoLine’s “After Hours” program this week.

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The Renegade is the first Jeep vehicle produced outside the U.S. and while FCA US executives insist the launch is on schedule, Anderson acknowledged the ships carrying the first batch of Renegades from Italy to the west did run into some foul weather. However, the ship was unloaded in timely manner once it reached San Diego, he said. (more…)

First Drive: 2015 Jeep Renegade

Little SUV delivers big performance on road and off.

by on Jan.23, 2015

The 2015 Jeep Renegade builds on Jeep’s heritage. It has the Wrangler-inspired round headlights and a seven-slot grille.

The Jeep Renegade is one of the most important vehicles the Jeep brand has launched, well since last year when it introduced the Cherokee. But it’s vital to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which is eager to emerge as a truly global company.

The launch of the Renegade also means FCA has to show it can take the secret sauce that has made the Jeep brand popular over the years in the U.S. and transform it into a truly global brand. It also certainly means that the Renegade also has to show that it can live up to the brand’s reputation for agility and capability when the pavement ends.

Automotive Insight!

My distinct impression, after driving the Renegade, both on road and off is that the Renegade measures up to the other vehicles in the Jeep portfolio. The only difference is that the Renegade is smaller. (more…)

Renegade to Lead Jeep’s Global Expansion

Jeep’s Manley expects big results from little Jeep.

by on Jan.20, 2015

The Jeep Renegade - shown here at its Geneva debut - will be a critical piece of FCA's global focus.

The new Jeep Renegade holds the key to the brand’s global expansion.

Mike Manley, president of the Jeep brand, said that Jeep sales have tripled during the past five years expanded by revitalizing and renewing the existing product portfolio. The sales growth surprised many observers who thought it was unlikely or even impossible for Jeep to sell 1 million vehicles, the target set out in the first five-year plan laid out by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne last January.

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The Renegade, however, represents a genuine expansion of Jeep portfolio, Manley said. It also represents Jeep’s coming of age as a true global brand. (more…)