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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.

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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.

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“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.


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.


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.

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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…)

NHTSA Opens Two New Investigations

Agency checking Jeep Cherokees and Nissan Rogue problems.

by on Jan.16, 2015

NHTSA is investigating 195,000 2013 Nissan Rogues due to an airbag inflation problem.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened two probes involving more than 200,000 Chrysler and Nissan vehicles.

The safety agency is examining 195,000 2013 Nissan Rogue models due to airbag problems after receiving two complaints about the deployment times of the devices. In both cases, the airbags inflated slowly, taking as long as a minute to inflate, and did not fully inflate. Additionally, both devices deployed several seconds – more than a minute in one case – after the crash.

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Additionally, NHTSA is looking to 50,000 2015 Jeep Cherokees for fire risks. The report in this case stemmed from an incident in San Diego, which was captured by a local news crew. The vehicle began smoking right after it was parked and within minutes it was fully engulfed in flames – some nearly 20 feet high – and was a total loss. No injuries were reported. (more…)

Marchionne Throws Down Jeep Sales Gauntlet: 1.9 Million

FCA leader expects brand to hit the mark by 2018.

by on Jan.14, 2015

Sergio Marchionne gave Jeep a few years to meet his latest sales goal: 1.9 million units.

FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne is at it again. After Jeep met Marchionne’s goal of selling 1 million vehicles in 2014, he’s thrown out another sales target: 1.9 million Jeeps. Fortunately, he’s given the rugged off-road brand until 2018 to hit the mark.

“This is the goal,” added Marchionne, who favors bold announcements.

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Marchionne laid down the new objective during an informal chat with reporters after his annual press conference at the North American International Auto Show. It was during this chat at last year’s show that Marchionne predicted that Jeep sales would reach 1 million units in 2014 even though FCA, then known as the Chrysler, was struggling with the launch of the Jeep Cherokee. (more…)

Jeep Sales Trek Past 1 Million Mark in 2014

Brand surpasses FCA Chief Marchionne’s lofty goal.

by on Jan.09, 2015

Sergio Marchionne set a sales goal of 1 million units for Jeep this year and the brand hit the mark.

When FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne told reporters at last year’s Detroit Auto Show he expected Jeep to sell 1 million units worldwide in 2014, many considered it a stretch goal, especially since the original forecast was for about 800,000 units. Well, what Sergio wants, it appears he gets as frenzied U.S. sales helped propel Jeep past the mark.

Jeep set a new all-time record for the third consecutive year with sales of 1,017,019, which bettered the brand’s 2013 record of 731,565 by 39%.

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“2014 marks the fifth consecutive year that Jeep vehicle sales have increased both globally and in the U.S. market,” said Mike Manley, president and CEO – Jeep Brand. “While we are especially pleased with the way the new Jeep Cherokee is resonating in the marketplace, the fact is that every vehicle in the Jeep lineup recorded significant worldwide sales gains.” (more…)