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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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Fiat Chrysler Lays Out Broad Growth Plan

All-encompassing blueprint shows the way to 2018.

by on May.06, 2014

A worker puts the finishing touch on the new FCA sign at the company's North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, this morning.

With a veiled reference to the disastrous, failed alliance that nearly destroyed Chrysler during the recent recession, CEO Sergio Marchionne and his management team laid out a broad and ambitious plan for the U.S. maker and its Italian partner, Fiat, that will see the newly merged company roll out a flood of new products during the next five years.

Following up on a day-long session in late 2009, after Fiat first came to Chrysler’s rescue, the new Fiat Chrysler Automobile (FCA) detailed its next five-year plan, outlining a strategy that will see it try to sharpen the focus of each of its many brands. In most cases, that will mean adding a number of new products, though in some cases, key brands like Dodge will actually reduce their line-ups to eliminate models that don’t fit their image.

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With several hundred investment analysts and an equal number of journalists in the audience, Marchionne’s clear intent was to show that Fiat Chrysler, currently the world’s seventh-largest automotive manufacturer, is well-positioned to challenge rivals ranging from Toyota to Ford, General Motors to Volkswagen, in an increasingly competitive market. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Hopes to Redefine, Sharpen Image as it Outlines Global Strategy

Tuesday session could deliver some surprises, sources say.

by on May.05, 2014

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne completed his long-sought merger - but must now show he can do something with the company.

Almost exactly five years after taking control of the bankrupt automaker, CEO Sergio Marchionne will outline his global strategy for both Detroit-based Chrysler and its Italian partner Fiat during a day-long strategy session this week.

The marathon meeting will be a follow-up to one that Marchionne and his management team staged shortly after Chrysler emerged from Chapter 11 protection in 2009 – a session that saw skeptics question whether the U.S. maker could survive, never mind flourish under Italian control. But five years later, that’s exactly what is happening, Chrysler last week reporting its 49th consecutive monthly sales gain as it continued to outpace the industry’s overall recovery.

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But the smallest of Detroit’s so-called Big Three has plenty of challenges to deal with – as does partner Fiat. Together, the newly merged Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will need to sharpen and, in some cases, redefine the identity of its various brands, roll out a wave of new products, and expand its presence in key emerging markets. That’s especially true for Chrysler which was pushed out of China after the collapse of its previous marriage to Germany’s Daimler AG.

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Jeep Invading Easter Safari in Utah with Modded 4x4s

Three Wranglers bring Cherokee siblings for first time.

by on Apr.11, 2014

Jeep Wrangler MOJO is one of the six concept vehicles developed by the Jeep and Mopar brands for the 48th Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari.

Jeep is rolling into Moab, Utah, for the 48th annual Easter Jeep Safari with six new concept vehicles, including for the first time two Cherokees and a Grand Cherokee, for enthusiasts to pore over and give a thumbs up or down.

The three Wranglers, two Cherokees and one Grand Cherokee are laden with Jeep and Mopar accessories that are currently available as well as some that are in development.

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The week-long event attracts Jeep enthusiasts across the country who spend their days crawling along several trails in the Red Rocks area of the southwest. The Jeep owners often modify their Jeep Wranglers extensively to meet their needs so it’s perfect spot for Jeep to get feedback on these developmental items. (more…)

Jeep Eyes Scaling 1 Million Sales Mountain by 2015

Sorting out long-term Wrangler plans key to Jeep future.

by on Jan.14, 2014

Jeep is planning on sales of the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee to remain strong as it attempts to surpass 1 million units by 2015. Photo credit: Len Katz.

Jeep has set its sights on selling more than 1 million vehicles annually by the end of 2015 and is also putting in motion a revolution that will help broaden its global reach and remake its product portfolio.

Fiat/Chrysler chairman Sergio Marchionne said this week that the company’s executives and board of directors will make several decisions in the next few months that will have a major impact the Jeep brand. A key issue waiting final approval from top management: the plan for the next generation Jeep Wrangler.

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The Wrangler is an iconic vehicle that’s perennially in short supply and has unique characteristics. (more…)

Jeep Brings Back Memories with Wrangler Willys Wheeler

Military-inspired brute features plenty of go-anywhere spirit.

by on Nov.20, 2013

The new Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler was inspired by the original go-anywhere beast that was a staple of the U.S. military.

U.S. military lore is filled with stories about the importance the Jeep played in World War II, the Korean War and even Vietnam. Some of those include tales of soldiers sending home the vehicles pieces at a time and reassembled upon their return because they loved the rugged beasts.

While an original military-style vehicle is now hard to find, Jeep is making it easier for aficionados to get their hands on something close with the 2014 Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler edition, which debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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“The new Jeep Wrangler Willys Wheeler Edition is a Jeep purist’s dream, delivering a Jeep vehicle that harkens back to the original, classic CJs of the 1940s,” said Mike Manley, CEO of Chrysler Group’s Jeep brand. “This new Jeep vehicle delivers pure functionality.” (more…)

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 Won’t Return to “Old Days of Sin,” Insists CEO Marchionne

Global realignment coming, no big-buck payouts planned for top managers.

by on Jul.26, 2011

Sergio Marchionne hints he'll likely remain CEO of Chrysler after the upcoming management realignment.

Gone are the “days of sin,” when cash was seen as the answer to everything at Chrysler, said CEO Sergio Marchionne, as he answered questions about the maker’s second-quarter loss and dodged others looking at the planned global consolidation of Chrysler and its Italian partner Fiat.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Marchionne made it clear his goal is to “extract value” from the combined Chrysler-Fiat organization by making them work more closely together.  But he cautioned that he does “not want to screw up” Chrysler’s nascent revival – something that could readily happen if it lost focus on what it does best.

Marchionne downplayed concerns about Chrysler’s $181 million second-quarter loss – noting the maker went into the red because of a $551 million charge related to the recent payoff of its federal bailout loans.  (Click Here for more on Chrysler’s earnings.)

“I think we have made great progress,” said the Canadian-educated executive.  “We feel we are on target.”

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In the coming days, Marchionne confirmed he will announce a global realignment that will consolidate key positions in the Chrysler/Fiat alliance, eliminating the current redundancy and creating a more streamlined enterprise that is “ultimately the best way to extract value” for shareholders.  While he declined to provide specifics, the CEO suggested that the move “should show benefits quickly.”

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GM’s New App Turns Smartphones into Virtual Key

New app uses OnStar to access vehicle functions.

by on Jul.22, 2010

Well, does this have anything to do with selling cars? Comments requested.

The automotive world is going smartphone app crazy.

The latest to join the fray? General Motors will roll out smartphone apps – specialized apps geared for customers of its four remaining U.S. brands – this fall.

GM will release a new app for smartphones that will allow owners to access all of the functions of a traditional key fob. No longer will the car owner have to be within a certain distance to control vehicle.

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Apps, Apt or Otherwise!

Say you park the car at the mall, but realize you forgot to lock it while shopping at Aeropostale. Just log in and send a remote lock signal to the vehicle.

This could also eliminate many of the calls subscribers make to have their vehicle unlocked by an OnStar advisor. So long as you don’t lock your phone in the car, you could just unlock it yourself.

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Chrysler Smartphone App Coming

Starting with iPhone owners can view manuals and promotions.

by on Jun.17, 2010

Chrysler Group LLC is the first automotive company to introduce vehicle-information apps. The app is free and will be available first on the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The app will phase into select Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram Truck vehicles by the end of this year.

The app is free and will be available first on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The app will phase into select Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram Truck vehicles by year end.

Chrysler is joining the smartphone craze with an app to help customers learn more about their vehicles and connect with other owners.

The new owner information app, an industry first, will be introduced with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, then rolled out for the rest of Chrysler’s lineup soon after. Initially, it will be available only for iPhone, but Droid and Blackberry versions will soon follow. It will play on the iPad, but images are not optimized for that platform.

Mopar President and CEO Pietro Golier made the announcement Thursday morning to reporters on a live chat feed.

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Customers can view owner’s manuals, product literature, feature descriptions, instrument panel information, maintenance and service contracts and frequently asked questions. They can browse and buy Mopar parts and accessories. Potential customers will be able to use the app to learn about Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Fiat vehicles.   (more…)