rumors

rumors

  Automotive industry rumors and gossip

Rumors about an SRT -prepped Dodge Dart have been floating around ever since the compact sedan was unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show . But hopes of a successor for the Neon SRT-4 – phased out in 2005 – were somewhat crushed when SRT CEO Ralph Gilles said at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show that the brand has yet to find the right powertrain for the car.

Months have passed since we’ve heard anything about the Dart SRT, but it appears Dodge finally came to its senses and started working on a high performance compact. The good news came straight from the Fiat Chrysler alliance, who has just unveiled its massive five-year production plan.

With the SRT brand now back under Dodge , a host of new models will be built by 2018, with a high performance version of the Dart among them. Although the company has yet to confirm whether the compact will roll out with a SRT4 badge, it did say the vehicle will arrive in late 2016, right after the current-generation Dart gets its mid-cycle refresh.

The big news is that the brawny version of the sedan will be motivated by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, just like the Caliber SRT4 and the Neon SRT4, and sold with an all-wheel-drive configuration. Specific details aren’t available at the time of this writing, but expect for the Dart SRT to get a beefed-up 2.4-liter Tigershark engine tuned to deliver at least 260 horsepower.

Naturally, the sportier version of the Dart will also arrive with a host of visual upgrades (check out our rendering here ), including a pair aggressive bumpers, a larger apron intake, a rear diffuser, and probably a hood scoop. Under-the-skin improvements are likely to include a stiffer, performance-tuned suspension and additional driving modes.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Dodge Dart SRT.

Is it possible that we could be seeing a lot more Ferrari models in dealerships in the near future? And by a lot more, we’re not just talking about the usual four or five models that Maranello has at any given point in time. Apparently, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne seems to think that more Ferrari models out on the streets would be an ideal scenario, or at least that’s what he told Autoblog recently.

According to Fiat-Chrysler’s main man, the Italian automaker is planning to launch a new car every year between now and 2018. Do the math and that’s five entirely new models that will be launched in the next five years. Marchionne didn’t dive into the specifics of what models are being prepared, but don’t be surprised if somewhere along the way, a successor to the 458 Italia is one of them.

Looking at the company’s current lineup, the 458, believe it or not, is now the elder statesman of the group. The FF , the F12berlinetta , and the just-launched California T are still relatively new compared to the 458. Once you add the LaFerrari to the mix, that’s five unique models Ferrari currently has in its portfolio.

Now, Marchionne also mentioned that these future models will have a four-year lifecycle and from there, "M" versions will be built, of which another four years will be tacked on to them. What these models are, we still don’t know, but we’re certainly curious as to how Ferrari can pull it off given that it has no plans of exceeding the 7,000-unit cap it has for its models in a given year. There’s talk that the company plans to ramp that up to 10,000 units, but such discussions aren’t expected to be taken seriously for a few more years.

All this, of course, leaves us with a mix of excitement and anxiety regarding Ferrari’s future. Introducing one new model a year is the exciting part, but not knowing what these models are is making us really anxious.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ferrari LaFerrari.

Source: Autoblog

If you’ve been drooling at the sight of the Maserati Alfieri since its introduction at the Geneva Motor Show in March, then the latest news coming from Italy should make you very happy: both the Coupe and the Cabrio versions will make it into production.

The good news arrives via Fiat ’s five-year masterplan for all of its brands, with Maserati set to launch five all-new vehicles by 2018. The Alfieri Coupe will hit the market two years from now - sooner than initially anticipated - with the roadster to follow in 2017.

The Italians have also released an "engine grid" for their current and upcoming models and, surprisingly enough, the Alfieri won’t get the proven 4.7-liter V-8 under hood. Both the Coupe and Cabrio will be powered by V-6 engines offered with different outputs.

The rear-wheel drive versions will benefit from 410 horsepower, while the all-while drive models will have 450 horsepower and 520 horsepower at their disposal. There’s no word whether the Alfieri will borrow the same 3.0-liter twin-turbo unit from the Ghibli , but it appears the range-topping sedan will have the same output as the base AWD Alfieri.

Additional details are still under wraps, but expect for the Coupe model to be unveiled in production guise sometime next year.

Click past the jump to read more about Maserati Alfieri.

Source: WCF

Jeep has finally confirmed that the highly-anticipated Grand Wagoneer nameplate will return to its lineup. Unfortunately, that won’t happen until 2018, according to the Chrysler five-year plan that was unveiled today by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

There are very few details we can cling on right now, but we do know that the Grand Wagoneer will offer seating for seven and will climb atop the Jeep lineup in both size and premium features. It is currently unknown whether or not the SUV will share underpinnings with the Dodge Durango , which is scheduled to receive a mid-cycle refresh in 2017.

But until that happens, Jeep has numerous goals to achieve, like expanding its lineup from five models built in one country to 6 nameplates assembled in six countries. Specific details haven’t been released, but the brand is expected to start building vehicles in Asia and South America as well. So far, we only know that the 2015 Renegade will be built in Italy, alongside the Fiat 500X .

Aside from that, Jeep is also looking to increase global dealerships from 4,706 to 6,023, with the largest expansion to come from South America and Asia to help double its sales by 2018.

As far as new models are concerned, a yet unnamed C-segment SUV will arrive in 2016, the year that marks the iconic brand’s 75th anniversary. Details are slim to say the least, but the new SUV is likely to replace the Compass and the Patriot , both scheduled to retire the same year. Also in 2016, the Cherokee is scheduled to get its first facelift since being revived.

The larger Grand Cherokee will also get a refresh, but that will happen in 2015, two years before a brand-new generation will be unveiled. 2017 will also see the introduction of an all-new Wrangler to replace the current JK. And if previous reports are correct, the new iteration will arrive with a redesigned frame, a power-retractable top, and a fixed windshield.

As you might have noticed, there’s no word in regard to a future Grand Cherokee SRT . With the SRT performance brand axed and its entire lineup handled over to Dodge , the Grand Cherokee might have to do with upgrades provided by Mopar.

More details after the jump.

With news pouring in about Chrysler Group ’s five-year production plan that includes new brand strategies , new launches and axing of long-standing models, the Detroit-based manufacturer has also filed to trademark the "Rebel" moniker

The patent filing, which has been submitted with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office nearly a month ago, according to Ignitionist, states that the trademark is to be used on "motor vehicles (...) and structural parts therefor," suggesting we might see anything from an automobile to an SUV wearing a "Rebel" badge in the near future.

There’s no info as to what sort of Rebel will hit the streets over the next few years, but that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate a bit.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about this nameplate is the AMC Rebel, a midsize built by American Motors from 1967 through 1970. It’s true that Chrysler is somewhat entitled to use the name it purchased in 1987 along with the AMC brand, but that’s not likely to happen. With the Challenger and Charger filling in the muscle car and sedan spots, we see no reason for Chrysler to push the envelope in that direction.

On the other hand, the "Rebel" moniker may very well be used to name a replacement for the Dodge Avenger , a slightly smaller sedan that’s scheduled to go out of production by the end of 2014. However, with no actual details in sight aside from the fact that it could be underpinned by an Alfa Romeo rear-wheel drive platform, it might be years until we find out.

Lastly, there’s a chance the newly-filed "Rebel" name is set to be used to more utilitarian purposes, like christening an upcoming Jeep crossover or even a special edition pickup truck based on the Ram 1500 . Of course, we could go as far as to dream about a Jeep-badged truck (remember the Gladiator ?), but that’s far-fetched on too many levels.

Either way, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the matter and bring you an update as soon as more info surfaces. Meanwhile, don’t be shy about sharing your own opinion on the "Rebel" conundrum with us via the comments section.

Click past the jump to read more about the Rebel nameplate.

Source: Ignitionist

The Alfa Romeo 4C still hasn’t arrived in the U.S. and yet, company executives are already thinking of building more performance-oriented versions of the low-volume sports car. Company CEO Harald Wester made the proclamation, telling Automotive News that while the 4C already has the makings of an impressive sports car , there’s still plenty of room for improvement, especially if it wants to be as big of a hit in the U.S. market as it is in Europe.

This rationale looks to confirm Alfa’s previous announcement that it plans to make annual updates of the 4C in the next four or five years, including the possibility of even building a more performance-oriented version that could appeal to a U.S. market that prefers sports cars that also have the added luxury appeal.

One of the first things Wester brought up was the potential for the 4C’s chassis to handle more power while also tinkering with the car’s turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. "We are only at 134 horsepower per liter, so there is space," Wester told Automotive News.

As for the U.S.-spec 4Cs, Alfa remains cognizant in its belief that offering a European-spec 4C to a U.S. market is a bad business move. That’s why it’s building a different spec 4C that has better equipment to go along with its own share of technical changes. That includes putting in place a different monocoque, reinforcing the suspension, and adding new and improved headlights that we all first saw on the 4C Spider .

Or in the words of Wester, "a significant overhaul."

With all these changes expected for the U.S.-spec Alfa Romeo 4C, you can be sure that the cars are going to command a steep price. Alfa has yet to announce the price, but reportedly the base 4C will retail for about $55,000 with a top-of-the-line, fully-loaded model fetching close to $70,000.

Click past the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C.

There are chunks of big news coming from the Chrysler Group today, as the Detroit giants has outlined a five-year plan that includes major changes across all brands. However, the most important piece of information has SRT in the spotlight, with the performance marque scheduled to die as a standalone brand and become part of Dodge .

Naturally, the first question that surfaces is what will happen with the Viper . Well, Chrysler says we don’t need to worry about it, as its halo sports car will live on under Dodge, with a refresh planned for 2015. So basically the Viper is regaining the badge it was launched with back in 1992. A bit ironic, eh?

As far as the SRT-prepped Challenger muscle car and Charger muscle sedan are concerned, they will be reintegrated into the Dodge lineup as range-topping, performance iterations. And with the new product plan revealed, Dodge has finally confirmed that the two will be redesigned for the 2018 model year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also announced that former SRT CEO Ralph Gilles will continue to serve as Senior Vice President of Product Design and President and CEO of Motorsports within Dodge.

But that’s not all that’s bound to change at Auburn Hills. The Dart , for instance, will be revised in 2016, followed by the launch of the Dart SRT. Surprisingly enough, the latter will sport a turbocharged engine under the hood and all-wheel drive. The same year will also see the introduction of a brand-new Dodge Journey with a beefed-up SRT version to arrive the next year. What’s more, all-new B-segment sedan and hatchback models, of which we know nothing about, will be unveiled in 2018.

Lastly, Dodge is getting ready to unload two vehicles from its lineup. As expected, the Avenger will get the axed by the end of this year. However, we were surprised to find out that the company will stop producing the Grand Caravan as well. The vehicle that started the whole minivan craze 30 years ago will be phased out in 2016, when the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country rolls off the assembly line.

Click past the jump to read more about the SRT Viper.

2015 BMW i8 pictured above
We already know that BMW has trademarked an entire range of nomenclatures for its "i " range, but up until now, the only models that we know of that will carry the names are the i3 , the i8 , and the rumored i5 . Now, it appears that another model will be added to the i range and according to Auto Motor und Sport, and other sources. Word has it the new car is a four-door futuristic sports car that will be called the "i9."

This is interesting because it follows in BMW’s plan to create an entirely new segment of vehicles that will address the company’s commitment to future mobility and sustainability. The i3 and the i8 got the ball rolling on that end, presenting customers with two different models that share the same principles of combining BMW’s renowned engineering prowess with a fresh approach towards functionality and efficiency.The rumored i5 midsized MPV is also expected to follow in that blueprint, all while bridging the gap between the i3 and the i8.

All this eventually leads us to the i9, a model that a lot of people know little about but has instantly become a hot subject just by word of its impending arrival. Given its name and BMW’s standard way of badging vehicles, we can assume that the i9 is going to be slotted above the i8, if you can even imagine that given how ridiculously awesome the i8 already is.

Our best guess about the i9 is that it’s going to be a more exclusive version of the i8, one that will come with a similar carbon fiber body and all of the car’s latest technological features. More importantly, we see the i9 as something of an evolution of sorts from the i8, especially when it comes to improvements BMW will make on its hybrid technology to increase performance and efficiency at the same time.

All this is, of course, is speculation on our part. What we do know is that the i9 is going to be sick, kind of the way BMW blew us away with the introduction of the i8.

Click past the jump to read more about the current BMW i8.

Source: BMW Blog

The LaFerrari is proof that Ferrari can work with hybrid technology, but assuming that it’s going to wake up one day and start dropping the technology on all future Ferraris is taking it a little too far. Ferrari knows that hybrid engines have a future in its company; it’s just that we shouldn’t expect it to happen anytime soon.

Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa spoke with Auto Motor und Sport and admitted as much, telling the German paper that while a hybrid successor to the 458 Italia is an "interesting idea," the company still doesn’t see it as a feasible idea unless there’s a "leap forward in battery technology."

Apparently, the biggest concern with using hybrid technology on Ferraris is the cost that comes with it. Felisa pointed out that the LaFerrari’s electrical engineering already costs €60,000 ($82,970 based on current exchange rates), and that doesn’t even count the "technical and financial effort" needed to compensate for the weight added by a hybrid system.

Ferrari can get away using hybrid technology on the LaFerrari because the exclusivity of the supercar , coupled with its astronomical price tag, was enough to justify using it. But "mass produced" supercars like the 458 Italia are a different story. For one, Ferrari can’t risk adding any more weight to the cars and the sheer volume of production is just too expensive to handle. It could probably still work, but the cost of doing so would be to make the cars more expensive to buyers - an option that Ferrari isn’t too keen on taking.

But the technology is there, and Ferrari knows now that using it can dramatically improve the performance of its sports cars. That’s the good news. It’s just not feasible to do at this point in time.

For now, Ferrari’s plan is to continue pushing forward with developing new technology that reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of its vehicles. A combination of mild hybrid technology and turbocharged engines could be used on that end. But as far as the kind of hybrid tech the LaFerrari has, don’t expect Ferrari to start using it on its other models just yet.

Click past the jump to read more about the LaFerrari

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV has soldiered on largely unchanged since its introduction in 1979 with only few cosmetic pieces, more elegant interior accommodations, and newer engine options separating the 30-year span. However, a report coming from AutoCar suggests the Germans will be changing more than just a few bits and pieces on the upcoming G-Wagen facelift.

Although it will retain its iconic boxy looks, the 2017 G-Wagen will have its width increased by around 100 mm (nearly 4 inches). The widening will allow the body to accommodate a redesigned front suspension with a three- or four-link setup and to improve stability and increase cabin space, the report adds.

Furthermore, the SUV is scheduled to get a modern electro-mechanical steering system and a redesigned structure that will include more aluminum parts. Consequently, the SUV could get rid of at least 440 pounds (200 kg) of the G350’s current 5,665-pound curb weight.

Changes are set to continue in the cabin with wider front and rear seats and a number of C-Class -inspired features. Of course, the Germans are looking to make the rugged SUV more comfortable and luxurious.

Engine-wise, the new 3.0-liter, inline-six gasoline and diesel mills currently developed by Mercedes-Benz for the 2016 E-Class will find their way into the G-Class with around 365 horsepower and 304 horsepower respectively. Both will be offered with a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic transmission as standard.

Note: Current Mercedes G-Wagen pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Mercedes G-Wagen.

Source: AutoCar

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