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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 Must Buy Back 500K Ram Trucks From Customers

Fiat Chrysler Must Buy Back 500K Ram Trucks From Customers

Security holes in its Uconnect software isn’t Fiat Chrysler’s only issue these days; the automaker has agreed to orders from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to repurchase nearly 500,000 Ram pickup trucks due to major safety concerns. The buyback could cost the automaker billions on top of the $90 million fine from the NHTSA for failing to address these and other safety concerns in a timely fashion.

The safety issues with the Ram pickup line reportedly stem from defective steering and suspension components that could fail, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The effected trucks include certain Ram 1500 models from 2009 to 2012, the 2008 Ram 1500 Mega Cab 4WD, and the Ram 2500, 3500, 4500, and 5500 Heavy Duty with 4WD from 2008 through 2012. On a smaller scale, FCA is also including the 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango, along with the 2009 through 2011 Dodge Dakota in the buyback.

Vehicles will be repurchased at fair market value from customers who choose to participate in the buyback and the necessary repairs completed. FCA can then resell the vehicles. The NHTSA will be monitoring FCA’s progress with the buyback and has the option of issuing another $15 million fine if more violations happen. The oversight will continue for three years by an independent monitor.

Included in the NHTSA’s investigation is FCA’s installation of trailer hitches onto more than 1 million Jeep Liberty and Grand Cherokee SUVs that have their fuel tanks placed between the rear bumper and solid rear axle. At least 75 deaths have been reported due to fire-related rear-end crashes with the two vehicles. The hitches are said to protect the fuel tank from rupturing in such collisions. In total, the fine against FCA covers 23 separate recalls that the NHTSA says were not dealt with on schedule.

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Chrysler Pentastar V-6 Family Surpasses 5 Million Units Produced

Chrysler Pentastar V-6 Family Surpasses 5 Million Units Produced

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has just surpassed making its five millionth Pentastar V-6 engine. That’s easy to believe considering its wide spread use and availability in nearly every FCA product. In fact, 47 percent of all FCA’s U.S.-spec vehicles have come equipped with the V-6 since the start of 2015.

Introduced in 2010 with the then-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Pentastar V-6 began life displacing 3.6 liters. Now the engine design has grown to include a 3.2-liter version for the Jeep Cherokee and a 3.0-liter version for the Chinese-spec Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and Chrysler 300.

It’s thanks to the engine’s compact design that allows so many vehicles to utilize it. A 60-degree V keeps its width to a minimum while its exhaust manifolds are integrated into the cylinder heads, eliminating the jumble of individual exhaust tubing. This allows the Pentastar to be easily fitted into either a transverse or longitudinal powertrain orientation with almost no modifications between applications. What’s more, its A/C compressor and alternator are mounted directly to the block, eliminating the need for numerous accessory drive variations.

In the truck world, the Pentastar makes headlines in both the Ram and Jeep brand. The 3.6-liter V-6 comes standard in the Ram 1500 and offers 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, giving the truck a respectable V-6 max tow rating of 7,600. As for the Jeep brand, the 3.6-liter is still going strong in the Grand Cherokee. The Wrangler also uses the 3.6-liter, except in China, where FCA powers the Jeep with the 230-horse, 210-pound-feet 3.0-liter version.

The Pentastar might not be as iconic as say, the GM small-block V-8, but with FCA’s widespread and continued use of the engine, that could chance over time. Just don’t count on hot-rodders swapping Pentastars in their weekend toys.

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2012 Dodge Ram L'il Red Express Truck

2012 Dodge Ram L’il Red Express Truck

Back in 1978, Dodge rolled out a special edition package for its D150 pickup trucks, which were not yet named “Ram.” This new package was known internally as Package Code YH6 and featured a high-output 360-cubic-inch V-8 engine with a 4-barrel carb pumping in fuel. The engine boasted high-flow cylinder heads and an aggressive cam shave and it all hooked up to a 3.55-to-1 rear end. This package, which we all know as the L’il Red Express, only lasted two years – 1978 and 1979 – and saw only 2,188 units in 1978 and 5,118 units in 1979. This makes it one of the most sought after Dodge pickups ever built.

Well, Ram is rolling out a remake of this classic short-body pickup truck in the form of its SEMA-stationed L’il Red Express Truck. Though it is more modern than the original rendition, it certainly pays it homage rather well. It features the bright-red paint of the original, a side-stack exhaust system, and a wood-trimmed bed.

In addition, this remake of the cult classic pickup features 22-inch Mopar rims with gold inserts, a 5.7-liter HEMI engine that pumps out 390 horsepower and 407 pound-feet of torque, gold accent stripes, “Hyperblack” painted grille inserts, and a custom Katzkin (no, not “cat skin”) interior. Sure, it lacks the flare-side styling and the wood-outlined bed of the original, but it is bad-ass nonetheless.

There is no mention of this special edition ever coming to the Ram lineup, but don’t be too surprised to see it roll out in 2013 and 2014, as Chrysler loves running special-edition Rams – there have been plenty of them. One thing is for sure, it would definitely carry a higher premium than the $1,131 price for the original L’il Red Express package.

Stay tuned to find our of Chrysler plans to launch this model or not.

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2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser with Viper RT/10 engine

2000 Chrysler PT Cruiser with Viper RT/10 engine

The Chrysler PT Cruiser is – or should we say, was – a car that you would never mistake for being a powerhouse. Retro-looking, sure. Snorting horsepower? Hardly.

The only way you could give the PT Cruiser some street rep is to take out its four-cylinder mechanical guts and place something akin to a Dodge Viper’s powerhouse V10 in it, which, fortunately, is exactly what someone did to their beloved, little hatch. The result is a vehicle that epitomizes substance over style. On the outside, the first thing you’ll notice is the fact that this PT Cruiser was turned into a pick-up, which is weird enough on its own considering the retro hatch’s unmistakable profile. So without the rear doors and a hatch that has since been replaced with a pick-up bed, the PT Cruiser’s new profile lends itself a curious look.

That is until you pop open the hood.

Where a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, naturally aspirated engine that produces 150 horsepower and 165 lb-ft of torque once resided is now an old 8.0-liter V10 engine that produces 500 horsepower to go with the Viper’s six-speed transmission, rear suspension, and steering rack. The car is said to have been built some years back, but given it’s uniqueness and downright peculiarity – not to mention the insane power under its hood – it’s still something that will catch your attention.

Now is it enough to warrant a bid on eBay for more than the $13,100 price tag currently on display? We say absolutely only because something this weird with that much horsepower is bound to make anyone stand out in a crowd.

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2011 Ram Long Hauler Concept

2011 Ram Long Hauler Concept

The Ram Long Hauler Concept Truck is a definite eye-catcher in every sense of the word, mostly because it seems to stretch longer than standard-sized pick-up trucks. Incredibly, all this is by design.

Chrysler’s Ram brand has officially unveiled their latest concept creation, a 24-foot long quad-cab pick-up truck that’s so big it can actually carry up to 170 gallons of fuel in one go while trucking non-stop at a distance of over 1,600 miles before it needs to be fed again.

The truck is based on the Class 5 Ram 5500 Chassis Cab, except that the whole thing has been extended to ridiculous lengths. Nothing about this pick-up truck screams ordinary. Even if it’s a concept, Chrysler is presenting it as an ideal ’work horse’ for people who might need to tow heavy trailers for long distances. Judging by the look of this mastadon of a pick-up truck, we already figured as much.

Check out more details of the Long Hauler Concept, together with exhibit dates, after the jump.

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Hyundai: "We have no plans of selling a pickup truck in the US anytime soon"

Hyundai: "We have no plans of selling a pickup truck in the US anytime soon"

We can now finally put this rumor to rest; there will be no pickup trucks coming from Hyundai anytime soon. That’s what the horse’s mouth made very clear when the Korean automaker shut down the rumor that was floating around last week involving Hyundai being in talks with Chrysler LLC to sell a version of the Dodge Ram pick-up re-badged under Hyundai in the US.

In a statement released by Hyundai, the automaker said: ""Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future."

"Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S," the statement concluded.

So there you have it, fellas. There won’t be a re-badged Dodge Ram pickup truck in Hyundai’s future, now or in the foreseeable future.

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Chrysler installs over-the-top building wrap celebrating "Truck of the Year" at the company headquarters

Chrysler installs over-the-top building wrap celebrating "Truck of the Year" at the company headquarters

As if people need to be reminded that Chrysler bagged Motor Trend’s "Truck of the Year" award for the 2010 Ram Heavy Duty, the company decided to announce their achievement by installing a 140-foot tall and 120-foot wide building wrap at its company headquarters at Pentastar Central in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

The building wrap is so huge that it actually covers the entire side of the Chrysler HQ, which, unless you’re blind, you will have a hard time missing. We’re all proponents of celebrating one’s achievement, but we prefer to do it in a low-key kind of way. On the other hand, Chrysler did exactly the opposite.

According to Ram Truck president and CEO, Fred Diaz, the purpose of the wrap was to "share the company’s pride in the Ram Heavy Duty - as well as the Ram 1500 - with our employees that work hard each day to support this company." Coudn’t they have just bought them all a Ram or maybe just a gift certificate to a fancy dinner?

The enormous building wrap that covers one side of the entire building can be seen by about 200,000 motorists that travel along the Interstate-75 in Auburn Hills, Mich., every day. If Chrysler really wanted to get people’s attention, this building wrap is doing a marvelous job at that.

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Video: Ram’s new "My name is Ram" commercial

After breaking off from Dodge to become it’s own self-sustaining brand under the Chrysler Group, Ram decided to kick things off with a new advertising campaign that’s centered on the new brand’s introduction - or re-introduction - to the American truck market.

The new spot, which is titled ’Manifesto’, will feature a bombardment of still photos that comes with a deliberate narration of how the new ’Ram’ is supposed to be ’fueled by optimism’ and boasting of a ’can-do spirit’.

On the first night of its release, the ad ran a total of 190 times in various networks, giving all those glued to their TV sets a first-hand look at the new Ram and how - as it says so frequently in the spot - it’s tank is full.

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Tata developing Electric Vehicle with Chrysler for U.S

Tata developing Electric Vehicle with Chrysler for U.S

Tata Motors earned International attention when it unveiled its small car Nano, earlier this month in New Delhi. Tata Motors is credited for continuously creating new market segments in India and all its attempts have been fruitful so far.

The Tata Ace project was one such low-cost exercise by them to give the nation a tiny truck, a concept only a company like Tata Motors could come up with. It was a run away success and the truck sells like hot cakes for its incomparable strengths which are reliability, running costs and the immense loads that it can haul effortlessly.

The popular workhorse from India could well be on its way to serve people in the United States. According to Reuters, Tata has struck a deal with Chrysler LLC to make an electric version of the mini truck for the United States. Tata will work in partnership with Chrysler’s Global Electric Motorcars Division to develop this vehicle.

Reuters also quotes an unnamed Tata spokesman saying: "We are indeed exploring the feasibility of a vehicle on the Ace platform with an electric engine suitable for the U.S., in collaboration with a U.S. company. But it is premature at this stage to give any details."

In India, the Ace comes with a 700 cc indirect-injection diesel engine which gives out 16 horsepower and 38 Nm torque. The specifications of the vehicle can be seen here

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