Say what you want about the violence and gore that comes with the video game Call of Duty, but it is one of the most popular games to have come out in our generation. Actually, it’s so popular that Chrysler has even decided to jump on its bandwagon – or in this case, MPVs – after the automaker announced that they will be building, through their Jeep brand, a Call of Duty-inspired Jeep Wrangler to go in line with the upcoming release of the video game franchise’s latest bloodfest, Call of Duty: Black Ops.
The game, which is scheduled for a November 9, 2010 release, is expected to be wiped out within days of its release. That’s a good thing for Chrysler because they’d look like complete yahoos if the game flopped massively and here they are, flaunting their limited run COD-themed Jeep Wrangler. Not surprisingly, the special edition off-road vehicle – it even makes recurring appearances throughout the game - will also be released at the same time giving those COD fanatics with enough spare change to buy a special edition Jeep Wrangler first dibs on the off-roader.
Chrysler is in the process of unveiling a whole army of refreshed models for 2011, and one of those models is the 2011 Town&Country. This year’s Town and Country will receive many changes to the exterior, interior, and even the powertrain. The new model will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The 2011 Town & Country will be powered by a new Pentastar V-6 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, producing 283 HP and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The interior gets a new instrument panel and instrument cluster, upgraded cloth and leather seating materials, new “soft touch” door trim and new heating and cooling control system. The pièce de résistance for all of the revised Chrysler models is the new Chrysler Brand steering wheel with integrated controls that allows the driver to operate the radio, cruise control, handsfree phone, and other vehicle functions while keeping their hands on the wheel.
The list of standard equipment will include Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, SIRIUS Backseat TV – both of which are exclusive to Chrysler Group minivans - voice command functions for radio, iPod/mp3 players, phone, navigation and information, and the SafetyTec bundle.
The Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord better watch out because the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan has just been revealed. What used to be the Sebring has now been completely restyled and re-engineered into the Chrysler 200 and not the Nassau, as we had originally thought. It will be ready to go on sale in the fourth quarter 2010 with the Accord and the Camry as its main targets.
For 2011, the 200 sedan will be getting front and rear fascias and fenders and a grille featuring the new Chrysler brand winged badge. It will also feature a new hood, rear decklid and exterior mirrors, projector headlamps and fog lamps, LED taillamps, and an LED center high-mounted stop light. A glance to the interior of the vehicle will show a new instrument panel, bezels and gauge face, upgraded leather and cloth seats with a new design, new “soft touch” door trim panels, new “soft touch” armrests and dash, new heating and cooling outlets in the instrument panel, acoustic laminated glass for lower sound levels, and revamped HVAC outlets. Although there are no full interior pictures at this time, we are hoping that the 200 continues with the current trend of well built interiors that started with the Dodge Ram and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Under the hood Chrysler has given customers a choice of two engines: a 2.4-liter I-4 World Gas Engine mated to either a four- or six-speed automatic transaxle, or the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that delivers 283 HP and 260 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transaxle.
UPDATE 10/12/2010: Chrysler has just unveiled the official photos for the Chrysler 200! Check them out in the gallery!
Updated 11/10/2010: Chrysler has announced today prices for the 2011 200 sedan. The new model will be available in four models, LX, Touring, Limited and S (late availability). The 200 LX is priced at $19,995; the 200 Touring at $21,995 and the 200 Limited at $24,495.
UPDATED 12/28/10: Chrysler has released the new online configurator for the 200C, giving you a chance to choose the model, color, and trim of what your imaginary 200C is going to look like. It’s already up at the Chrysler website so just head over there, put your creative hats on, and get to work!
Ranking the best cars is fun, but ranking the worst is like frolicking on a perfect beach, it just never gets old. Taking into consideration that the year is almost complete, we wanted to rank the worst vehicles of the decade and seeing as how there were so many, ten just wasn’t enough.
Some weren’t very hard to think of, stuff like the Chevrolet Aveo and the Smart ForTwo were obviously going to be on the list, but there were a few that will shock you. If one sentence can sum up our thought process during this evaluation it would be this, ’high sales don’t mean anything’.
Look at the Chevrolet Impala and the Jeep Wrangler. Both sell fairly well, but both are awful. The Impala is fat and drives like a boat and the Wrangler is an off-road machine that most won’t take in their yard, leaving it hard and uncompromising on the road. Despite these two perfect examples of automotive incompetence, both didn’t make the list.
After a long and lengthy absence, Fiat is finally returning to the US, and they’re bringing with them the 500 hatchback. The US-spec version of the minicar, which will be sold in the US through Chrysler, is set to make its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, giving us a first-hand look at Fiat’s first offering to the US market after an extended absence in the country.
Earlier this week, the Italian auto conglomerate hosted a meeting with 400 of its car dealers to gauge the amount of interest for the 500 in America. Apart from these dealerships, Chrysler is also looking at opening about 165 Fiat dealerships across the country, more specifically in areas where there is a healthy market for small hatchbacks that the 1.4-liter 500 hatchback can take full advantage of.
According to Laura Soave, Head of Fiat Brand North America, “Our dealers will be able to interact with a group of individuals that are not part of their current customer base.”
“These are individuals interested in Italian automotive design coupled with fuel efficient technology," she adds.
As part of Fiat’s return to the US, the company is set to begin their retail network later this year with plans of bringing in the American version of the 500 and following that up with the release of the 500 Cabrio edition sometime in 2011.
After a year of having its share of ups and downs - more on the latter, actually - Chrysler is in the middle of reinventing itself with the hopes of returning to its former place as a competitor in the auto industry. As part of their efforts, the US brand is aggressively marketing both its Jeep and Dodge brands with a series of carefully-planned commercials to ensure consumers that the rough patches have passed, and that the company has come back better and stronger than ever before.
As part of this campaign, Chrysler has released a number of commercials featuring the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with the latest one being appropriately called, "Stronger".
In the ad, Chrysler details the painstaking lengths that go in building Jeep’s new flagship SUV while carefully pointing out the importance of the vehicle in the company’s attempt to restore the brand’s image and reputation. As the ad ever-so poignantly says, Chrysler isn’t "building just a car, it’s building a company."
The Lancia Stratos that we saw driving around keeps getting more interesting every day. Many thought that this was just a one-off car built for some rich person with way too much money to spend. This might not be true after all, as Car and Driver has done some research.
This car was said to be in the works for years and Jason Castriota designed it when he worked for Pininfarina. The website, Italiaspeed, has a sketch of the Stratos with a different front end that is signed by the designer. If this drawing is accurate, it could mean big things for Lancia.
Lancia has come back with rebadged Chryslers – which isn’t going to work – and they haven’t been very good. This new Stratos could give the company the car it needs to get back on the world stage. We truly hope that this information is accurate because the car looks sensational.
Sales might not be as good as they were once thought to be for the Detroit automakers. New documents uncovered by Automotive News shows that these sales figures were being inflated by sales to rental fleets.
Through July of this year, GM’s overall sales were up 13 percent and Chrysler wasn’t far behind with an 11 percent increase. Yet, take away fleet sales and the game changes.
According to the documents, GM has increased its fleet sales by 53 percent, or 400,000 units. Chrysler’s doubled with 242,000 vehicles. Once these figures are taken away from the overall company sales things begin to look different, as GM’s figure would be down 1 percent, while Chrysler’s sales would fall 19 percent.
Don’t think that these two are the only ones guilty. Ford is in this party as well. Chrysler is top of the charts with 39 percent of sales going to fleets, but Ford is a close second with 35 percent, while GM sells around 31 percent to rental companies.
“We all are — every one of the Big 3, even the imports,” Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said last month. “As new models start launching, you’ll start seeing an increasing share of retail.”
Not so Mr. Marchionne. Hyundai has only sold 16 percent of its total to fleet companies and Nissan is around 15 percent. Toyota has 9 percent of its total sales going to fleets, while Honda is at 2 percent.
Many moons have passed since Fiat left the United States after their reputation took a hit for poor quality. Yet, while they’ve been gone, a lot has changed. Fiat has transformed itself into a well oiled machine with top notch engineering quality.
The Italian automaker is giving its knowledge to Chrysler, who they now own. The company says its productivity is up about 10 percent, while costs have dropped 8 percent. The best news of all is that injuries are down 30 percent.
Fiat relies heavily on input from its workforce to modify the production system in the hopes that they can reduce costs and injuries, while raising productivity.
One good example of this happened in Belvidere, Illinois, where Chrysler’s Jeep plant workers developed a suspended chair, eliminating the need to reach into a vehicle’s ceiling when assembling parts. The plant now has fewer injuries in that area.
Around 30 employees in each plant focus on fit-and-fitness issues and 14 Fiat coaches move about the plant each week.
Do auto execs run around town with their briefcases hanging open or is it just luck that leaked patent drawings randomly show up on the ’net at the perfect time? After Chrysler’s announcement of the Sebring’s eventual demise, Noticias Automotivas reports that this images is one of the leaked patent drawings of the future 200C.
The Chrysler 200C EV concept appeared at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show quite unexpectedly and seemed to be set to compete against Chevrolet’s Volt. The concept has a 40 mile range purely on battery power with some added mileage provided by the vehicle’s small gasoline engine. Total power for the concept was said to be about 270hp.
The patent drawings are very similar to the concept car shown to us at the Detroit Auto Show. The drawings feature the same rounded front fascia and distinct grille. The elongated headlamps and fog lamps are still there as is the puckered up back end. In fact, it literally looks exactly the same as the concept vehicle and if the similarity on the exterior extends throughout the entire vehicle, then we can expect the same power and interior as found in the concept as well. However, we might see Chrysler’s new Pentastar V6 get dropped in there.
We’ll let you know as soon as we received more information on the Chrysler 200C.