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Chrysler to Send Thousands of Pacifica Minivans to Waymo

Chrysler to Send Thousands of Pacifica Minivans to Waymo

“Hey Google. Take me across town.”

Fiat Chrysler is supplying Google’s self-driving division, Waymo, with “thousands” of Chrysler Pacifica minivans for testing on public roasts. Waymo already has a fleet of 600 FCA vehicles, which were supplied after the two companies formed a partnership in 2016. The fleet already includes vehicles capable of fully self-driving thanks to Waymo’s autonomous driving systems were installed.

John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, said, “With the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving vehicles on the road, we’ve moved from research and development to operations and deployment. These additional vehicles will help us scale.”

Continue reading for more information.

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2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid - Driven

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid - Driven

Though the badge says “Hybrid,” the important thing to know about the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid right off the bat is this: It’s actually a PHEV. You plug it in, and it runs on electricity for the first several miles of your day.

As I found during a week at the wheel of the electrified minivan, if you have the right commuting or parking situation, you might find yourself using little or no gasoline.

It’s noteworthy Chrysler is the first automaker to put a PHEV minivan on sale in America. For a brand with only three models in its showroom nowadays, this was an even bigger home run than the non-hybrid Pacifica that birthed it. The hybrid takes a great, competitive minivan and makes it truly special — even buzzworthy.

Best of all, it’s the kind of plug-in vehicle that just makes sense for a huge number of families. It’s not much more expensive than any comparably equipped competitive minivan, yet it gets an EPA-estimated 84 MPGe. It’s remarkable because the Pacifica Hybrid squeezes that kind of efficiency out of a big, practically sized, attractive family hauler instead of a small, weirdly styled car wrought with compromises.

After spending a week with the Pacifica Hybrid, I find myself hoping I see a lot more of them on the roads — and hoping FCA has the good sense to adapt this powertrain to other vehicles we might not normally associate with hybrid efficiency. Chrysler 300? Ram 1500? Jeep Grand Cherokee? All have the potential to be transformed into segment-changing vehicles if they can incorporate the Pacifica’s hybrid system.

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The 6.2-Liter Hellcat V-8 Is Finally Available As A Crate Engine

The 6.2-Liter Hellcat V-8 Is Finally Available As A Crate Engine

Mopar calls it the “Hellcrate” and it’s ready to plug-and-play in your project car

Chrysler’s famed parts division, Mopar, is officially offering the mighty 6.2-liter Hellcat Hemi V-8 as a crate engine anyone can order. The package is called the “Hellcrate” and includes a brand-new engine with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty. The optional Crate Hemi Engine Kit adds all the parts needed for a plug-and-play style engine swap into nearly any vehicle. The announcement comes as the 2017 SEMA Show kicks off in Las Vegas with thousands descending Sin City for all things in aftermarket automotive upgrades. This marks the first time the Hellcat V-8 has been available directly from Mopar. Before this, gearheads were left scouring junkyards for wrecked Hellcat Chargers and Challengers hoping to find a working engine.

“Never before has a supercharged, factory-direct 707-horsepower crate engine kit been offered, and we are proud to be the first to deliver a solution enthusiasts have demanded,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Mopar for FCA. “This ultimate powertrain option fits the needs of owners and fans who demand iconic performance.”

The Hellcrate, combined with the optional engine kit, includes the powertrain control module, power distribution center, wiring harnesses, accelerator pedal, fuel pump control module, and all the necessary sensors scattered between the air intake and exhaust manifolds. In other words, the package makes it relatively simple to install the 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8 into any project car, providing you know what you’re doing. Additionally, there is a front-end accessory drive kit that adds the alternator, power steering pump, pulleys, and belts.

Naturally, the Hellcrate isn’t cheap. Mopar charges $19,530 for the base Hellcrate package and $2,195 for the Crate Hemi Engine Kit. The Hellcat engine joins the 6.4-liter Hemi and 5.7-liter Hemi V-8s, which retail for $9,430 and $6,135, respectively.

So, what would your power with a Hellcat crate engine? Let us know in the comments below.

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2018 Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package

2018 Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package

For those families with “attitude”

There you are – sitting in the parent pick-up line at the kids’ elementary school. You’re looking at the never-ending row of gray and silver SUVs, crossovers, and sedans. You feel trapped – stuck in a rut of perpetual boredom fed by routines and complacency and made worse by cookie-cutter transportation. You need to escape this automotive purgatory. But you’re a good parent and know you can’t shuck the responsibilities of chauffeuring your brood to and from their various activities. What’s the solution? The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat or Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk? No, those are just overkill on horsepower and underwhelming on people room. No, you need space. You need seven or eight seats. You also need vogue styling. You aren’t the average PTA parent, after all. Well, Chrysler has a solution. Meet the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica S and its murdered-out S Appearance Package.

For the 2018 model year, the Pacifica can be had with the S Appearance Package for an extra $595. It’s available on the Touring Plus, Touring L, Touring L Plus, and the Limited model. It’s blacked-out theme spans from its black paint and Gloss Black accents to its 18-inch wheels in a hue called Black Noise. Tim Kuniskis, head of Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat, said, “The Chrysler Pacifica definitely stands out in the school drop-off line, and its class-leading style has won over many new customers. The Pacifica’s S Appearance Package takes that style to the next level and offers our customers yet another unique personality that further differentiates Pacifica from the rest of the segment.” Kuniskis is right about that – no other minivan offers such a blacked-out appearance package.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package.

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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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FCA Could Be Bought by a Chinese Automaker

FCA Could Be Bought by a Chinese Automaker

Four Chinese brands reportedly looking to score a deal

Formed in 2014, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) alliance has been doing very good these past three years, which is why Sergio Marchionne is on the lookout to either sell the company or make another merger with a big brand. FCA was refused by General Motors back in 2015 and Marchionne’s attempts to find a new collaboration have been unsuccessful so far. However, it seems that FCA is actually on the brink of finding a new owner. According to new reports, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has received at least one offer in August from a "well-known Chinese automaker."

That’s the word from Automotive News, which claims that the over was slightly higher than FCA’s current market value, but the Italian-American alliance rejected it for not being enough. There’s no detailed information as to what Chinese automaker made the offer, but speculation has it that FCA is negotiating with more than one company. Also, a source close to FCA said that company executives have traveled to China to meet with Great Wall Motor Co., while different sources claim talks with Dongfeng Motor Corp., Zhejiang Geely, and Guangzhou Automobile Group.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Predicting FCA's Plans For its Recent "Angel" Trademark

Predicting FCA’s Plans For its Recent "Angel" Trademark

We have ideas, some more serious than others

Proving yet again that the auto world can be a place rich in irony, Fiat Chrysler Automobile has filed a trademark for the name “Angel,” which the automaker plans to use on a “passenger vehicle” of some sort. Color me amused because, at the very least, FCA is turning its troll game up to a new level; the “Angel” name runs diametrically opposed to the identity of the automaker’s latest muscle car masterpiece, the Dodge Challenger Demon. So what gives here? What’s FCA up to exactly?

Unfortunately, your guess is as good as ours at this point because FCA didn’t exactly divulge details on what it has planned for the “Angel” name. All we know at this point, thanks to our friends over at Fiat Chrysler Authority, is that the name could be used on “trims and badges” of any future model. The fact that the trademark was only filed on July 17 means that this is a new deal for FCA. It’s got plans for the name at some point in the future. How it plans to use it, or if it does at all, is the question that all of us need some answers to sooner or later. You’ve got our attention, FCA. That much I’m sure of. Now, how about giving us some hints because, at this point, all we have are predictions on what you have planned for the “Angel” name.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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What's The Best Sporty Luxury Sedan You Can Get For Less Than $50K?

What’s The Best Sporty Luxury Sedan You Can Get For Less Than $50K?

Four doors for fun

At its most basic, a sport sedan should be a happy balance between two competing philosophies. The “sport” half of the equation should make it engaging, both in the way it drives, and the way it looks. A sport sedan should issue a dose of adrenaline when the hammer is down, and be a willing dance partner in the corners. It’s also gotta draw attention, turning heads as it goes, making its owner pause momentarily after exiting and locking the doors. Then there’s the “sedan” bit. A sport sedan isn’t supposed to be stripped down and basic – practicality and comfort are paramount. Often used as a daily driver, backside coddling should be there in abundance, complementing the car’s speed potential, rather than taking away from it. All told, it’s a big ask, but this segment has plenty of contenders vying for the title of best. In this comparison, we look at six of the top entries and sort them out, from first to last.

Listed in alphabetical order, this comparison will take a look at the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Chrysler 300, Infiniti Q50, Jaguar XE, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. We’ve evaluated each in terms of exterior aesthetics, interior comfort and technology, powertrain and drivetrain specs, and chassis and handling. We’ve also included a glut of info in chart and graph form to help you make a quick comparison. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best sporty luxury sedan you can get for less than $50,000.

Continue reading for the full comparison.

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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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Is FCA Bringing Back the Straight-Six?

Is FCA Bringing Back the Straight-Six?

Rumors suggest new powertrains on the horizon

News out of Auburn Hills regarding powertrain changes is becoming regular these days. First is was a rumor suggesting the venerable and widely used 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 will soon end production. Now sources are telling Allpar that FCA is toying with the idea of inline six-cylinder engines.

Chrysler has a long history of using inline six-cylinder engines. Major players include the AMC straight-six found in everything from sedans and budget muscle cars to Jeeps and pickups between 1964 and 2006. The iconic 4.0-liter I-6 found in Jeep products is perhaps the pentacle of Chrysler I-6 design and one of the most legendary Chrysler engines of all time. Sadly that engine met its demise with the introduction of the Jeep Wrangler JK in 2007.

Allpar speculates the new inline six-cylinder would be based on FCA’s current Global Medium Engine four-cylinder. Currently displacing 2.0 liters and found in the Alfa Romeo Giulia, the turbo-four makes 280 horsepower and 306 pound-feet of torque thanks to an intercooler, 16 valves operated by dual overhead cams, and direct fuel injection. Adding two extra cylinder to the GME could result in horsepower levels over 400 and torque levels beyond 450 pound-feet. That is, if power levels grow at the same percentage as the cylinder count.

So, could a 3.0-liter inline-six be on the horizon for FCA vehicles, including Ram, Dodge, and Jeep? Only time will tell, but the path to that end seems oddly clear. Consider the resurgence of rear-wheel drive vehicles, like the Alfa Romeo Giulia, along with new versions of current rear-wheel drive models like the Jeep Wrangler, Ram 1500, and even Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

Ford has already proved that turbocharged engines with smaller displacements can generate quite the kick, while providing impressively reliability despite outrageous payload and towing demands. Should FCA follow in the EcoBoost’s footsteps, we could see an impressively powerful yet butter-smooth straight-six under the hood of the next generation of FCA vehicles.

Continue reading for more information.

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2017 Chrysler Portal Concept

2017 Chrysler Portal Concept

Is this the future of cars?

Every year, the Consumer Electronics Show turns up some outlandish but cool technology or conceptual technology that could one day be in our future. This year, Chrysler showed up on the scene with a new concept known as the Chrysler Portal – a vehicle that Chrysler claims is “designed to keep the driver and passengers connected to each other, to the vehicle and to the surrounding world.” The Concept was built, in part, with Panasonic, and uses the brand’s Cognitive Infotainment platform as a foundation for the technology contained within. To put it simply, the concept car showcases a future for vehicles where device sharing, social media interaction, and individual recognition of passengers is commonplace.

On the outside, this concept looks oddly familiar to the Volkswagen ID concept – at least as far as generalized design goes, while the interior is wildly futurist and looks like something straight out of Star Trek. With touch panels and a massive display suppressing the need for mechanical buttons to go with a two-handled steering wheel, this thing is quite literally a space shuttle on wheels. The only thing it’s missing is a self-sustaining atmosphere, an impulse drive, and gravity plating. Otherwise, this thing could be shipped off to space for an interplanetary joyride.

Okay, in all seriousness, we’re still a ways off from that, but this concept does showcase a unique interpretation to technology, future vehicles, and perhaps a future where autonomous cars don’t actually take away our ability to manually drive a vehicle, should we choose to do so. So, let’s take a quick walk down the page and see what all the hype is about.

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5G Cellular Networks are Bringing Automotive Competitors Together

5G Cellular Networks are Bringing Automotive Competitors Together

This new association could put all automakers under the same roof working together in the name of advanced connectivity

4G hotspots in cars haven’t really been around that long, but it has already had a major impact on our daily commutes. It allows all of the semi-autonomous cars out there to communicate, and it has become the basis for Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) communication that has helped to shape our future autonomous car network. Cars like the Tesla Model S can receive OTA updates, while kids can watch Netflix, and your creepy uncle can watch porn in the back seat during family road trips. In the grand scheme of things, we haven’t had 4G very long, but 5G mobile networks are on the horizon, and it’s a pretty big deal. Not only for those of us who are stuck to our cell phones 24/7, but for our cars as well. And that’s exactly why Audi, BMW, and Daimler AG, along with various tech companies, have formed the “5G Automotive Association.”

In partnership with Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Nokia, and Qualcomm, the aforementioned luxury automakers believe 5G networks will open the door for better support in C-V2X communications and connected mobility solutions. As such, these tech and automotive companies are looking to work together by defining and harmonizing use cases, technical requirements, and implementation strategies; supporting standardization and regulatory bodies, certification and approval processes; addressing vehicle-to-everything technology requirements, such as wireless connectivity, security, privacy, authentication, distributed cloud architectures and more; and running joint innovation and development projects leading to integrated solutions, interoperability testing, large-scale pilots and trial deployments.

Alfons Pfaller, the Head of Infotainment Development for Audi AG, said, "Connected cars will shape the future of individual mobility, and next generation mobile networks will take car to X connectivity to a new level. The key to success is in cross-industry collaboration. This is why we set up the 5G Automotive Association where experts from all relevant fields are teaming up." And Sajjad Khan, the Director of Digital Vehicle and Mobility for Daimler AG, said, "The connected car enables us to offer our customers services, both inside and outside the vehicle, which make their daily routine tasks easier, increase comfort and safety and thus create considerable added value. The fundamental basis for this is a reliable and fast connectivity technology whose standards have global validity."

So what does all this mean to you? Keep reading to find out.

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1946 - 1949 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible

1946 - 1949 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible

Arguably the most beautiful woodie convertible ever built

Although the Chrysler Town & Country is mostly known as the minivan that the company launched in 1989 as a more luxurious alternative to the popular Dodge Caravan, the nameplate was originally used on a station wagon. First introduced in 1940 as a four-door, eight-passenger hauler, it was maintained in production for no fewer than eight generations, until 1988. However, while all generations of the Town & Country were station wagons of various sizes, the first-generation model also had sedan and convertible models. The drop-top was offered for the 1946 to 1949 model years.

The first-gen was launched in 1940, but production was discontinued after the 1942 model year due to the U.S. entering World War II. The marque was revived in 1945, but the station wagon was dropped, being replaced by two cars – a four-door sedan and a two-door convertible. The sedan was discontinued in 1948 and the convertible ceased to exist in 1949. For 1950, the final model year of the Town & Country, Chrysler sold the nameplate as a two-door coupe only. Beginning with the 1951 model year, all Town & Country vehicles were station wagons until 1988, when Chrysler decided to use the name for the minivan we all know today.

The Town & Country Convertible was one of the most luxurious vehicles when it was introduced in 1945. Priced from $2,743 in its first year, almost as much as a Cadillac, with only the Crown Imperial being costlier, the drop-top had a beautifully appointed interior and one of the best looking wood body panels. It also featured Chrysler’s most potent engine at the time. Only some 8,700 examples were built, making it one of the rarest and most sought-after American classics.

Continue reading to learn more about the Chrysler Town & Country.

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1962 Ghia L6.4

1962 Ghia L6.4

The Ghia L6.4 was just about as exclusive as you could get in the 1960s, as it was designed and built only for actors and other high rollers in Hollywood. The final of the 26 Ghia L6.4s ever built was built for one of the largest stars of that era, Dean Martin. Martin was not the only Rat Pack member to own a L6.4, as Frank Sinatra also owned one, as did other Rat Pack members.

Recently, one of the 26 Ghia L6.4s built, the one owned by Dean Martin, was put up for auction on eBay as Hyman Ltd. got its hands on Martin’s old L6.4. For a car of its age, the modern features are plentiful, but it still wasn’t enough for Dean Martin, as he shipped the car off to George Barris, “Hollywood’s King of the Kustomizers,” to have even more customizations performed on this already rare vehicle. This customization turned Martin’s L6.4 into a one-of-a-kind vehicle.

Update 08-19-2016: This article has been updated with new images from RM Sotheby’s Auction at Monterey Car Week in 2016.

Click past the jump to read the full review on this vehicle and see how it has held up throughout the years.

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Hackers Have Stolen More Than 30 Jeeps and Have Finally Been Arrested

Hackers Have Stolen More Than 30 Jeeps and Have Finally Been Arrested

FCA really needs to get a handle on these vulnerabilites

A while back news surface of high-tech thieves that managed to steal a Jeep in a matter of minutes. So far, the tally of Jeeps stolen by hackers in the Houston area has risen to more than 30, but Local police have finally caught up with these two hackers and have arrested them. As reported by local media outlet ABC 13, the local police had been aware of the robberies, but until a home surveillance video caught the thieves in the act, they had very little to go by.

The two that have been arrested go by the names Michael Arcee and Jesse Zelaya, but local police say there is a possibility that they aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the vulnerability. According to the report, the hackers were using pirated software to infiltrate the vehicle’s built-in security system and bypass it. This enabled them to start the vehicle and roll away in as little as six minutes. It’s not exactly like Gone in 60 Seconds, but six minutes isn’t very long either. According to HPD, the jeeps were being stolen and smuggled into Mexico.

It is important to note that outside of the Pirated software, the hackers also had to gain entry into the vehicle without setting off the alarm. Most stock alarm systems are set to only go off if the door is opened from the interior after it has been locked, so to prevent that the thieves either climbed through a broken window or the vehicles were unlocked – the latter of which is the most likely scenario. Once they were in, it is safe to assume the laptop was plugged into the OBDII diagnostics port with a simple USB adapter available at multiple online outlets. The software that was used is still unknown at this time, but it’s safe to assume that it was likely FCA internal software that was stolen at one point or another.

Keep reading for the rest of the story.

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Has FCA been Reporting Fraudulent Sales Performance Reports to Investors?

Has FCA been Reporting Fraudulent Sales Performance Reports to Investors?

FCA could be in some serious trouble.

Back in January of 2016, a civil lawsuit was filed against FCA by dealers in Illinois and Florida that claimed FCA was using dirty reporting tactics to pad its sales numbers. The suit came after FCA posted record sales numbers for December of 2015, and has finally garnered a lot of attention. According to Bloomberg, FCA is now being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Securities and Exchange Commission over the alleged sales padding scheme.

The suit filed back in January claims that FCA was paying dealers to create false delivery reports, which in turn, made it look like the brand was selling way more vehicles than it really was. There was also a similar lawsuit filed previously by a Maserati dealership, which also claimed FCA was paying its dealers to pad their sales numbers. According to Bloomberg, Fiat Chrysler announced that “an internal investigation concluded the padding allegations were baseless and the lawsuit was nothing more than the product of two disgruntled dealers” as early as January 14, 2015, but that wasn’t enough to keep investigators off their back.

In fact, multiple media outlets are reporting that the FBI and SEC hasn’t only raided FCA offices, but the homes of staff as well. According to Automotive News, Federal staff attorneys paid a visit to FCA headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan on July 11 and that employees were advised not to speak with investigators without counsel present. These allegations of performance padding, should they turn out to be true, could be a massive blow for FCA and could turn out to be the next big automotive scandal.

Keep reading to learn about what this means to FCA and why it is such a big deal.

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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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April Fools' 2016 – Recap

April Fools’ 2016 – Recap

The industry loosens its tie for a little four-wheeled silliness

These days, it can be a little tricky figuring out when something is real and when someone is just messing with you. Sometimes it’s obvious, but other circumstances warrant a careful second look. That’s doubly the case on April 1st. Of course, the auto industry loves chain yanking, but when you have 1,500-horsepower production cars and Maserati SUVs running around, it’s always a good idea to double check. But don’t worry – we found the best automotive April Fools’ pranks, and we assembled them all right here for you in this recap.

Included is a driverless RV, a pair of highly desirable Minis, a kinetically powered Vauxhall, a very expressive Honda, a smoke machine Nissan cargo van, and Lexus’ latest interior upgrade, not to mention the hottest minivan to ever grace a suburban driveway. In fact, looking over a few of these “jokes,” I can’t help but see some excellent real-world applications…

Continue reading for a recap of April Fools’ 2016.

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Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat Canceled, FCA Reports

Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat Canceled, FCA Reports

And just like that, the project is dead...

Just hours after TopSpeed broke the news that FCA would be building a 707-horsepower minivan, the automaker has abruptly canceled the project. The news comes from a company insider close to the action. “I just know it’s not happening,” the unnamed source said.

Answers unfolded when we contacted Mike Manley, the global head of both Ram and Jeep brands, about the cancellation. “Honestly, I can’t have the Chrysler guys using my Grand Cherokee Trackhawk powertrain and stealing my customers away. The Jeep project was started first, plus I’m not allowing the Pacifica to make my Jeep look slow!”

While this sort of inter-company drama is rarely leaked to the media, it makes sense for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk to reside atop the Hellcat heap. Such a vehicle would further boost the Jeep brand’s market presence in preparation for the upcoming Grand Wagoneer launch. That high-end, ultra-luxurious SUV is set to compete with the Cadillac Escalade and BMW X5. FCA would be foolish to thwart its own progress.

Speaking of being foolish, you, our loyal readers, might be considered one should you believe any of this. Yep, happy April Fools day. And no, FCA is not building a Pacifica Hellcat – and it never was. (At least to our knowledge!) We also never had a “candid conversation” with Ralph Gilles, though we’d never turn down the opportunity. We hope you had as much fun reading these jestful Pacifica Hellcat stories as we had writing them.

Continue reading to see our full coverage of the Pacifica Hellcat joke.

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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.

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