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Chrysler to Ax the 300 and Shift the Portal Electric Van into Production

Chrysler to Ax the 300 and Shift the Portal Electric Van into Production

The six-seater minivanhas a lot of potential

The Chrysler Portal Concept was unveiled last year at the Consumer Electronics Show. The electric van received a lot of attention, and perhaps because of that interest, FCA has given the green signal to commence production. According to Automotive News, the van will hit the assembly line; however, it will come at the cost of the 300 sedan in the brand’s lineup.

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Chrysler Douses Water On Hellcat 300 Rumors

Chrysler Douses Water On Hellcat 300 Rumors

Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.

It seemed too good to be true when we first heard about it. A Chrysler 300 packing Hellcat power? But Automotive News reported as much, saying that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was working on launching a Chrysler 300 that will use a supercharged Hemi Hellcat V-8 engine under its hood. The mere thought of it was perplexing, but stranger things have happened within FCA, so the thought of a Hellcat-powered 300 sedan, as improbable as it was, didn’t seem too far-fetched for FCA. Well, consider the bubble burst because a spokesman from FCA has spoken, needle in hand. There won’t be a 707-horsepower Chrysler 300 Hellcat.

Word comes from Motor Authority, which learned that there no plans for a supercharged Hemi Hellcat-powered 300 sedan. All those who thought that it would be an ideal send-off for the aging 300 will have to settle for something else because it just isn’t happening. On the one hand, it is disappointing here because a 707-horsepower Chrysler 300 is the exactly the kind of variant that would give the current-generation 300 a newsworthy send-off. The appeal is definitely there and the 300 has, at least in the past, housed a V-8 rig under its hood. On the other hand, it’s also a sigh of relief that Chrysler isn’t going in this direction. It can’t just rely on the Hellcat engine as a lifeline of sorts to jolt interest back in a model that’s clearly on its way out. FCA is better than that and to its credit, the automaker seems to understand that rationale too.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Australia Could Get Its Very Own Hellcat Version Of The Chrysler 300

Australia Could Get Its Very Own Hellcat Version Of The Chrysler 300

Hellcat all the things? Makes more sense to do it on a 300 instead of a Jeep…

As you could probably guess, we’re rather fond of FCA’s monstrously powerful 6.2-liter Hemi V-8. You know, the supercharged badass in the Challenger Hellcat that lays down over 700 horses? If we had our way, that engine would be an option on every model FCA produces (and yes, we still think the Pacifica Hellcat should be a thing.) Luckily, it looks like we’re getting a little closer to that ideal with a possible Hellcatted version of the Chrysler 300 sedan.

The rumor comes from our friends over at Autoblog, who recently posted a series of spy shots depicting what appears to be some kind of 300 test mule. While the bodywork is more or less the same as any other 300 SRT model, the wheels are sporting incredibly wide 315-mm tires – the same rubber equipped on the recently released Challenger SRT Demon. In front, the 300 mule is also rocking SRT four-pot Brembo brakes, while the photographer reports that it’s got a burly blown V-8 soundtrack to accompany it. Could this be a forthcoming Chrysler 300 Hellcat? Read on for the details.

Continue reading for the full story.

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FCA Boss Hints At Front-Wheel-Drive System For The Next-Gen Chrysler 300

FCA Boss Hints At Front-Wheel-Drive System For The Next-Gen Chrysler 300

Sergio Marchionne says it’s possible, refused to make a commitment

Intentional or not, FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne has hinted on a significant change for the next-generation Chrysler 300, one that involves a shift to front-wheel drive for the traditionally rear-wheel drive full-sized luxury sedan. Marchionne made the comments during the Chrysler Pacifica’s launch in Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario production facility.

The FCA boss stopped short of confirming his comments when asked to clarify on them. He likely realized that his words could be taken out of context so instead, he clarified that the Windsor facility is “capable” of making a production run since it’s possible to use the underpinnings of the Pacifica for the next-generation 300. The facility in Ontario will be the production base of the new minivan and while it would be interesting to see a front-wheel drive 300, Chrysler signing off on such a proposal could entail moving the production of the 300 from its current facility in Brampton, Ontario. The proximity between the two facilities – around 217 miles – could make for an easy transition and would see the 300 leave behind the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger in the Brampton facility.

That said, Marchionne’s comments should be taken with a grain of salt considering that he set the record straight, saying his comments shouldn’t be treated as a commitment to a dramatic shift in production strategy. But it does open the possibility of seeing the next-generation 300 come with a front-wheel-drive configuration. Having that should equate to a more refined driving experience, improved fuel economy, and a bigger and more efficient use of interior space, three characteristics that are likely to be high on the checklist of prospective customers for the next-generation 300.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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The Pacifica Hellcat – Industry Game Changer Or Inevitability?

The Pacifica Hellcat – Industry Game Changer Or Inevitability?

What does Chrysler’s 707-horsepower minivan mean for the future of performance?

At this point, you’ve no doubt heard the news that Chrysler is cramming the supercharged Hellcat V-8 into its Pacifica minivan, while also adding AWD, performance suspension, and all the accompanying bells and whistles needed to harness such prodigious output. While it might seem a bit crazy at first blush, we should have seen it coming.

I’ll explain. These days, high-level performance is available in just about every shape and size imaginable. Sure, you still have the traditional lead-sled muscle cars and nippy track carvers – those never went away. But if you look around, you’ll also notice 200-mph luxury cruisers, hot rod SUVs, and all-electric super sedans. With that in mind, the Pacifica Hellcat actually makes sense.

Which raises a few very interesting questions – what should we expect from the competition, and more importantly, what will the future of performance vehicles look like now that the Pacifica Hellcat is a reality?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat Test Mule Spotted

Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat Test Mule Spotted

New high-performance van already undergoing prep for production

As Chrysler gears up to release the new Hellcat-powered Pacifica later this year, our spy photographers managed to snag a shot of a pre-production mule undergoing road tests just outside FCA’s Auburn Hills headquarters. While the mule lacks a few of the aerodynamic enhancements we expect to see on the finalized design, the plus-sized wheels and meaty tires are clear indicators of the van’s sporting intentions.

For now, it looks like the tester is equipped with lightweight, five-spoke rollers wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero rubber. Our photographer also managed to catch the tire sizing – 265/40/R22, leading us to believe the Pacifica Hellcat may get larger-diameter wheels than its Charger and Challenger siblings. Looking at the slim fender gap, it’s also obvious this tester is equipped with the Hellcat’s upgraded suspension package, which means Chrysler is already looking into real-world NVH development.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see the supercharged minivan undergoing furthering testing at FCA’s Chelsea Proving Grounds soon, which should point to a timeframe for the debut of Chrysler’s latest performance model.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat

FCA’s Ralph Gilles Announces 707-horse Minivan!

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is building a Hellcat-powered Pacifica minivan! That’s what Ralph Gilles, FCA’s Head of Design, tells TopSpeed in an exclusive phone interview. The automaker, with the help of SRT’s engineering team, will produce the heavily modified family-hauler for the 2017 model year.

You may recall Gilles’ January Instagram post of a hand-drawn sketch showing a low-slung Pacifica-looking vehicle with low-profile tires on large wheels and pronounced aerodynamic features. The post, which has received more than 700 likes and 60 comments, started the Pacifica Hellcat rumors.

“The Instagram post was something done in pure fun over dinner,” Gilles said in the phone interview. “But it quickly turned into something else. It made the email rounds here at the office and soon ended up in Sergio’s inbox.” Gilles laughed, saying he thought he was in trouble when FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne called him into his office. “Mr. Marchionne didn’t sound amused when he paged me, but when I walked in his office, he had my sketch printed out. ‘Can you build it?’ he asked. I told him ‘absolutely.’” Gilles admitted the project requires a sizeable investment, both in cash and engineering hours.

SRT’s engineering team is handling the project. The Pacifica‘s chassis is being completely reworked in order to fit the Hellcat V-8, eight-speed automatic transmission, and AWD configuration. Gilles says the powertrain is borrowed from the upcoming Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – itself a Hellcat-powered SUV with AWD.

Though the final design hasn’t been set in stone, Gilles did give us a few ideas how the high-powered minivan will look. “It’s the perfect sleeper,” he chuckled during the candid conversation. We then had our in-house designer construct what the Pacifica Hellcat might look like. There’s also more details about the vehicle past the page break.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat.

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Ralph Gilles Sketches A Possible Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat

Ralph Gilles Sketches A Possible Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat

Gilles shows his skills with crayon and paper

Let’s be honest, the minivan segment has pretty much fizzled away, much like the station wagon did a while back. With the invention of the crossover and the drop in the price of gasoline in recent years, the desire for larger, gas-sucking family haulers is going stronger than ever. The minivan segment refuses to die, however, as a few manufacturers are still pushing the hope that soccer moms everywhere will continue to persuade their husbands into keeping a minivan in the driveway. That was made pretty clear earlier this month when FCA pulled to covers off of the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica.

What if the minivan became more of a “guy’s ride,” though? Would it revive the minivan segment and drive up sales in an otherwise struggling segment? Well, FCA’s Head of Design, Ralph Gilles, has apparently been wondering that himself. Just a couple days ago, the man behind FCA’s design team sat down for dinner and ended up sketching his vision of what a Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat would look like with nothing more than a crayon and some brown paper.

Looking at his Instagram post, where the sketch went public two days ago, the idea has been pretty well accepted by a lot of his followers. Comments like “This needs to be a thing!,” “This has SEMA written all over it. Do it do it,” and “Oh I beg you to make it” fill the comments section below the post that, at the time of this writing, has more than 650 likes. It is no indication that a 707-horsepower minivan is in the works by any means, but now that we’ve seen the Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee testing, there is no telling what might come next.

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FCA Considering Suburban/Expedition Fighter

FCA Considering Suburban/Expedition Fighter

Since the death of the Ramcharger in 1994, Chrysler has been noticeably absent from the full-size, body-on-frame SUV game. That may change with the next generation of Ram pickups, however, as Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, mentioned the possibility of a large SUV during an interview with Automotive News.

The full-size SUV segment is “the near-exclusive use of some other [automakers],” Marchionne said. “We have a reasonable chance of getting at least part of that market.” He continued in saying, “I think we have a unique opportunity with renewal of the pickup line, with the powertrains we selected, to significantly increase output. We will also be exploring, as a result of that investment, some other segments.”

Marchionne didn’t elaborate what other segments he was referring to, but did confirm the proposed SUV would not compete with the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV.

The CEO confirmed FCA is exploring the possibility of a full-sized SUV in response to other popular models like the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition – models that continually help their respective automakers earn double-digit profit margins. According to AN, these body-on-frame SUVs tend to be the most profitable vehicles sold on a per-unit basis.

There’s no further word on what FCA, or more specifically, Ram would call the SUV, but the automaker does have a rich history of names to choose from. Also obscure is the timeline in which FCA plans on rolling out the new model, or if ever. More in-dept studies are most assuredly planned, helping FCA brass to decide if the venture is worth the investment.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Fiat Chrysler Trademarks "Barracuda"

Fiat Chrysler Trademarks "Barracuda"

The 1964-1974 Plymouth Barracuda has been out of production for more than 40 years now, but the name has been popping up in the rumor mill with great frequency over the last six years, and Fiat Chrysler only keeps fanning the flames. The latest Barracuda-related news comes from a trademark filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the name under “motor vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles, their structural parts, trim and badges.”

Chrysler enthusiast site Allpar spotted this trademark news, which was filed on June 23rd, but is quick to point out that it doesn’t necessarily mean that FCA has any plans to apply the name to a future vehicle. Trademarks are updated all the time, and the site even speculates that it could be just to maintain licensing.

As for the rumors of a next-gen Barracuda, they started popping up about the same time as the Challenger’s arrival, and most recently as an SRT-badged replacement for the Dodge Challenger. Of course, that never happened and most likely won’t, especially with the SRT brand being folded back into Dodge.

Either way, only time will tell, but with the strong streak that FCA has been on recently, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a Chrysler Barracuda sports car hit the road in the near future.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Chrysler Plans To Bring The 300 SRT Back

Chrysler Plans To Bring The 300 SRT Back

When the Chrysler 300 received a facelift for 2015, the SRT trim level was dropped for the U.S. market. But plans are afoot to bring the trim level back, and this raises a few questions. For starters, the SRT trim level for the 300 was originally the result of SRT being made into its own division, a bit like AMG is to Mercedes-Benz. But it has now been rejoined with Dodge, and so an SRT product from a division other than Dodge is seemingly something that shouldn’t happen. Not to say that it’s impossible to wrap your mind around, but still an unexpected move.

Chrysler replaced the SRT with the 300S, a 363-horsepower version of the car, with a 5.7-liter V8. It falls well short of the 470 horsepower produced by the 2014 Charger SRT8, Dodge’s performance version of the platform, but it’s currently the only performance option for the car. Of course, Chrysler could simply swap the 5.7-liter engine in the 300S out for the 6.4-liter unit from SRT8 products without changing the badging. But whatever the approach, we’re happy so long as there’s a faster 300, and the whole thing is likely to get shaken up again with the new generation in 2018, anyway.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chrysler 300 SRT.

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Fiat Chrysler Plans 20 New Models By 2016

Fiat Chrysler Plans 20 New Models By 2016

In a move that would see an expansion to challenge the likes of General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp., and Volkswagen AG, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is looking to invest $55.5 billion to expand the Alfa Romeo, Jeep, and Maserati lineups, with 20 new models hitting the road by 2016 to attract customers around the globe. The new models would include two new Alfa Romeos and the Maserati Alfieri.

According to a report from The Detroit News, CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes to boost sales by 60 percent to seven million cars in 2018, following a boost in sales to over five millions cars this year. The automaker expects increased demand in worldwide markets including Brazil, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and North America. 

The Detroit News also reports that FCA is adding over 1,000 new workers to the Italian plant building the Jeep Renegade in order to help meet demand. 

So far, the automaker hopes to cut debt by raising $5 billion with a separation of the Ferrari brand and the selling of a 10 percent stake in the unit on a stock market later next year. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was created last year through the merger of Fiat S.p.A and Chrysler Group, and is represented by numerous brands, including Dodge, Lancia, Ram Trucks, Abarth, Mopar, and SRT.

Click past the jump to read more about Fiat Chrysler’s new 20 models.

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2018 Chrysler 300

2018 Chrysler 300

The modern-day Chrysler 300 was introduced in 2004, nearly four decades after the initial 300 "letter series" was discontinued. Bolted on the company’s rear-wheel-drive LX platform with components from the W211-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the 300 debuted with a host of V-6 and V-8 gasoline powerplants, plus a diesel unit for European markets. The full-size sedan was redesigned for the 2011 model year, receiving many drivetrain and technology upgrades. The second-gen car received a facelift for 2015, which included a significantly modified front fascia among other features. As the refreshed sedan is being readied for U.S. dealerships, the first details of the third-generation model surfaced the Interwebz.

Set to arrive for the 2018 model year, the next Chrysler 300 will be conceived as a global vehicle, with the same bold exterior design that made it stand out in the full-size segment back in 2004, Chrysler head of design Ralph Gilles told Car Advice at the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Read on for more details on the 2018 300.

Note: 2015 Chrysler 300 pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 Chrysler 300.

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Revised Chrysler 300 SRT Will Not be Offered in North America

Revised Chrysler 300 SRT Will Not be Offered in North America

SRT is no longer a separate brand and has returned to its position the tuning arm for all Chrysler vehicles. Having showcased its most recent creations — the astounding Challenger and Charger Hellcats — SRT is now focusing on refreshed versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chrysler 300. Both vehicles are up for a facelift in 2015, which means their beefed-up siblings will arrive shortly after. However, while the Grand Cherokee SRT is scheduled to continue in a similar form, the 300 SRT is reportedly being phased out as a North American model.

That’s the word from Auto News, which claims the high-performance sedan will no longer be sold in the United States, but will continue in select right-hand-drive countries overseas.

The news is not exactly shocking, as Fiat-Chrysler’s five-year plan makes no mention of the 300 SRT beyond 2015, which signals the nameplate’s demise. However, it’s surprising to see the sedan continue outside North America, which basically means outside its main market. An awkward decision if you ask me, but since Auto News quotes no actual sources, we’ll have to wait for an official confirmation on those plans.

Note: 2013 Chrysler 300 SRT8 pictured here.

Click past the jump to read more about Chrysler 300 SRT.

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Chrysler Trademarks "Rebel" name

Chrysler Trademarks "Rebel" name

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.

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2015 Chrysler 200

2015 Chrysler 200

The four-door compact sedan debuts Chrysler’s new design language

The second-generation Chrysler 200 was unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, when the company known as FCA unveiled not only the new compact sedan, but also its new design direction. According to the brand, some of the design features you see in the new 200, like the new grille and headlamps, will also be featured in all future models. Penned by Jeff Hammoud, the new 200 features a more streamlined design that changes everything about the traditional Chrysler design of the last decade.

When Chrysler replaced the Sebring with the 200, the world rejoiced at the elimination of the outdated and never truly impressive drop top. Unfortunately, the 200 was not a full redesign of its predecessor, rather just a nip here, a tuck there, some new headlights and basic interior changes. So, essentially, the 200’s body style was in its sixth production year, making it a year overdue for a revision.

The new Chrysler 200 feels fresh and modern, and even though some say that the Detroit-based brand used the Tesla Model S as inspiration, the sedan sports plenty of original styling cues. The four-door compact was put on sale in the second quarter of 2014.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Chrysler 200.

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Video: SRT Family Ties

Video: SRT Family Ties

The newest member in the Chrysler family is SRT (Street and Racing Technology), which was unveiled at the same time as the new generation Viper that bnow bears its name. According to Chrysler, this new extension of their brand will be responsible for the development of the most powerful performance models available.

A lot goes behind setting up an arm such as SRT. Each department has a specific use in the grand scheme of the automotive world. Today, SRT has unveiled a video that explains the essence of this newly created brand and solidifies its purpose for the company: "The SRT family of five street and racing technology vehicles represents the pinnacle of Chrysler performance. Five different ways to get your revs up - all bred from the minds of those passionate about making cars better, faster and stronger."

SRT has already wowed us with their new generationViper, but we have to wonder what other scintillating models they have in store. The next piece of this SRT puzzle comes in the form of the Barracuda, but will it be able to stand up to its German competitors? Only time will tell, but they are sure off to a great start!

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SRT's future line-up will include three models

SRT’s future line-up will include three models

Chrysler kicked off its new sub-brand, SRT, with the unveiling of the new generation Viper and the cars will just keep coming from here on out. The sub-brand’s second model will be the new generation Barracuda that will join the line-up for the 2015 model year and, according to MotorTrend, SRT is already working on a third model for their line-up.

Details on the third model are a bit unclear at the moment, but it could be either a successor to the Dodge Ram SRT10 or a small, two-seat sports car. Obviously, our hopes lie in a new sports car. Chrysler has already teased us with a Dodge Demon Concept designed as a competitor for the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and now that Mazda and Fiat have teamed up to build a new RWD sports roadster, we are hoping that Chrysler will consider offering a production version of the Demon.

Any thoughts on what this new model could be? Hit us up in the comments section below!

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Rumormill: Lancia May Turn the Chrysler 300 into a Two Door

Rumormill: Lancia May Turn the Chrysler 300 into a Two Door

Ahh, rumors in the automotive world spread just about as fast as the rumor that the captain of the football team was kissing the head of the girls’ chess team under the bleachers at the homecoming dance… And we love ‘em. The latest rumor is an interesting one that actually has a fair amount of validity.

Lancia is one of the many companies under the protective umbrella of Fiat Automobiles S.p.A. and it loves to borrow its models from Chrysler, add a few small touches, and call it their own. One of the latest models to make the Lancia conversion was the Chrysler 300, which prances around Europe bearing the name “Lancia Thema” (image above). That’s not the rumor though, as we already know all about that.

The rumors being whispered are that Lancia really wants a full-size coupe for its European market and the only car available to possibly satisfy this itch is the Chrysler 300. Ask any custom coach builder and he will tell you that turning a four-door body into a two-door car is not as tough as you may think, but going the other direction is nearly impossible.

So, if Lancia decides to hack up the B-pillar on the 300, shorten the opening a little and slap two fewer doors on the 300, would this model make it to the U.S.? The two-door full size car essentially died with the downsizing of vehicles in the late-1970s, but a small niche market may be in order.

This also spawns the possibility of Chrysler finally satisfying its nostalgia buffs by taking the two-door blueprints that Lancia would create and turn that into a two-door Charger. The pair of extra doors have always been a thorn in the side of Charger buffs, so Chrysler could breathe a little extra life into both models – not like the 300 needs more life, but extra sales can’t hurt – by offering two-door models of each.

This is certainly an interesting rumor to ponder and we are more likely to see pigs fly before we see a two-door 300 and Charger, but we’re telling you there’s a chance.

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Fiat Squashes Speculation of Buying into Mazda, but will Increase Chrysler Ownership

Fiat Squashes Speculation of Buying into Mazda, but will Increase Chrysler Ownership

Last week, we reported that Fiat was open to allowing Mazda to use U.S.-based Chrysler factories to manufacture U.S.-bound Mazda models. Before that, Fiat and Mazda officially announced a partnership in building the MX5 Miata and Alfa Romeo Spider. These two announcements brought about a lot of speculation of Fiat taking the same approach that Ford did, by buying into the struggling, but slowly recovering, Mazda.

After hearing plenty of these rumors, Fiat Chairman, John Elkann, had enough and announced at a shareholder meeting that Fiat is not interested in acquiring any percentage of Mazda in the future. Fiat does plan on adding a Japanese partner in the future to help expand its global reach, but there is no mention of what companies Fiat is considering.

We would not be surprised to find out that this is simply a rouge to not tip its hand too early. It only makes sense for the two to partner up in a larger sense, as Mazda needs some help getting over the recovery hump and Fiat needs a Japanese partner. It would be a win-win situation, so we’ll see if Fiat’s tune changes after testing out Mazda’s abilities with the Mazda Miata-Alfa Romeo Spider production deal.

Fiat is planning a little bit of expansion soon though. In July 2012, Fiat is planning to expand its ownership in Chrysler by an additional 3 percent, bringing its total ownership to over 60 percent. Over the course of time, Fiat plans to jump its overall Chrysler ownership to 100 percent, giving it complete control over the recovering automaker’s operations and profit.

It definitely looks like Fiat is on the right track here so far. We will keep you updated as its expansion continues.

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North America-Bound Mazdas may Roll out of Chrysler Plants

North America-Bound Mazdas may Roll out of Chrysler Plants

Just a few days ago, we reported that Mazda and Fiat have joined forces to jointly produce a new sports car based on the upcoming redesigned MX-5 Miata. Fiat would use this opportunity to revive the once popular Alfa Romeo Spider, the car whose shoes the MX-5 filled back in 1990. This could not only revive the Spider overseas, but it could also bring Alfa Romeo back into the U.S. market at a reasonable price.

Recently, at a Chrysler event, a reporter from Reuters learned that this relationship may go even further than simply jointly manufacturing a sports car. The report states that Fiat is also open to allowing Mazda to use Chrysler plants to manufacture their North America-bound cars. This would obviously help Mazda a great deal, as importing cars from Japan to North American countries is extremely expensive and drives up the cars’ MSRPs, which in turn drives customers out of dealerships.

There is nothing official, but we could see something like the Ford-Mazda partnership that started in 1979 and effectively ended in 2010. This would result in various joint-ventures between Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Mazda, making the group one that rivals Volkswagen Auto Group, though a tad less luxurious and expensive. The advancements across the board, however, would be similar.

After some tough times, Mazda finally saw some gains in 2011, as its market share increased 9 percent that year, but it needs more to remain afloat. Mazda should see some additional increases over the next few year regardless, as the RX-8, which was down 33 percent in 2011, is being discontinued and the Miata, which was down 11 percent, is being significantly redesigned. A little added boost from a production-cost sharing venture with Fiat and Chrysler could do nothing but help all three rebounding brands and reinvent Alfa Romeo in the U.S.

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Maserati's future Quattroportes will borrow from Chrysler and Ferrari

Maserati’s future Quattroportes will borrow from Chrysler and Ferrari

As part of their aim for 50,000 units sold per year, Maserati is keeping busy by trying to put together the perfect Quattroporte. Long since considered too big for a daily driver, but too small for a chauffeur’s car, the Quattroporte will need to be just right for customers’ consumption. Maserati’s answer to that dilemma is to create two new sedans - the Quattroporte and ’baby’ Quattroporte - at just the right size and to borrow systems and components from Chrysler sedans such as the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Avenger.

So, will the consumers be force-fed re-badged Chryslers? Not according to Maserati. The company has maintained a clear picture of what they want the Maserati to look like and have therefore stuck to borrowing elements from Chrysler that will not be readily seen. Elements such as wiring, air conditioning, passive safety systems, and seat structures will find their way into to the Quattroporte, leaving the overall look purely Maserati.

Details for the future Maserati Quattroporte and ’baby’ Quattroporte after the jump.

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Future Maserati SUV will be powered by Chrysler, Not Ferrari

Future Maserati SUV will be powered by Chrysler, Not Ferrari

We’ve been drowning in rumors about a Maserati SUV for a little while now - ever since the Maserati Kubang Concept came out in 2003 - so the thought of some semi-concrete evidence was rather inviting. A few months ago, the new Maserati SUV was finally confirmed by the brand, who set a launch for sometime in 2012. That confirmation was followed with rumors of a Ferrari-sourced engine, but as it turns out, Top Gear is hearing that Chrysler will actually be the ones powering the bulkier Maserati.

CEO of Chrysler Group and Fiat, Sergio Marchionne had said that the new SUV would carry a "rock and roll engine," possibly in both V8 and V12 variants. Current rumors suggest that the engine will actually be a Chrysler Hemi V8 with 465 HP and more torque than the original option. This engine will also fit better in the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee platform they have already confirmed for the Maserati model. Now, the future SUV will only be Italian on the badge, as the engine and chassis will be American made at Chrysler’s Jefferson North assembly plant. This should bode well for the SUV, since having a Ferrari engine would have undoubtedly hiked up the price.

Expect to see the official launch of the Maserati SUV at one of the major auto shows in 2012.

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