FCA

FCA

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Apparently, Nobody Wants to Partner Up with or Buy FCA

Apparently, Nobody Wants to Partner Up with or Buy FCA

Turning down an offer above market value probably wasn’t a good idea

Just a few days ago, it was reported Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had an offer on the table and could ultimately be sold to an unknown Chinese company. Since then, it has been said that Geely was out of the running, as was Dongfeng, and now you can add Guangzhou onto the list of companies that said “no thanks.” Word was that a well-known Chinese automaker had put up an offer, and after being reported to the masses via TV and Internet, FCA’s stock even climbed a bit. That being the case, it tells us that investors have more faith in Chinese automakers than FCA itself, but despite this, the most recent offer was rejected because it just wasn’t enough. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other companies that could bring some much-needed love to FCA, including brands like SAIC, Chery, and even BYD. But, rumor has it that the most recent offer was just over FCA’s market value, which is right around $20 billion. It almost sounds like Sergio Marchionne seems to think FCA is more valuable than it really is.

Let’s look at past events. An FCA purchase, or at the very least, a partnership, has been on the table for years. General Motors was a potential suitor, but that all fell apart, and Volkswagen ran away screaming. (No surprise there after the financial problems it ran into with the Dieselgate scandal.) And now, we’ve got three well-known Chinese manufacturers that would rather go it alone than obtain even a portion of FCA. That brings the total of companies to give FCA the middle finger up to five, including one American manufacturer and one German manufacturer. Of course, since the most recent deal was rejected, the potential buyer could come back with more money and see what old Sergio says, but at this point, I’m not sure. It just doesn’t look like anyone is dumb enough to buy into FCA. Yeah, that’s pretty harsh to say, but I have my own reasoning. Keep reading to find out more about it.

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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.

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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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Jeep Brand Worth More Than FCA, Report Suggests

Jeep Brand Worth More Than FCA, Report Suggests

Morgan Stanley analyst says Jeep strong enough to stand alone

There’s no question the Jeep Brand is doing extremely well. But, according to Adam Jonas, a Wall Street analyst with Morgan Stanley, Jeep is more valuable than the rest of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Jonas conducted a sum-of-the-parts analysis that concluded Jeep’s value is 120 percent of FCA’s $23.6-billion market capitalization. That’s a huge deal for a sub-brand of a global automaker. What’s more, Jonas estimates Jeep could account for nearly half of FCA’s total vehicle sales by 2018.

Of course, Jeep’s upcoming 2018 Wrangler JL and the Wrangler Pickup likely contribute to Jonas’ optimistic estimates, but even currently, Jeep has seen tremendous growth since 2009 when Fiat took control of Chrysler. CNBC reports Jeep sold 1.4 million vehicles worldwide in 2016, which is four times its sales volume in 2009. New models like the Renegade and Cherokee are undoubtedly contributing thanks to the boom in popularity for the crossover segment. However, Jeep’s success could mean big bucks for FCA and its shareholders if the brand is sold or spun off. FCA has already done this with Ferrari with great success. FCA’s market cap was listed between $15 and $16 billion before the Ferrari spin-off in late 2015, according to CNBC. Since then, FCA and Ferrari now have a combined market cap over $31 billion. When Jonas asked FCA boss Sergio Marchionne if he would consider spinning of the Jeep brand, Marchionne reportedly said, “yes.” However, no plans have been made public by FCA or its executives. What does this mean for Jeep? Keep reading for more.

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More Bad News For Oil Burners; DOJ Sues FCA Over Cheating Diesels

More Bad News For Oil Burners; DOJ Sues FCA Over Cheating Diesels

Once again, the infamous “defeat device” rears its ugly head

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, also known as FCA, has issued a statement in response to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division over alleged diesel vehicle emissions cheating. The suit claims FCA pursued “a deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests,” similar to the dieselgate scandal that’s plagued the Volkswagen Group since 2015. In response, FCA is offering up a software fix that will hopefully quell the problem without affecting individual vehicle fuel economy.

In the recent statement, FCA says it has collaborated with the EPA and California Air Resources Board (CARB) for the past several months to rectify the issue, testing diesel emissions for 2014 through 2016 model years of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500. Back in January, the EPA and CARB accused FCA of diesel cheating via “defeat devices” that alter engine programming during emissions tests, providing cleaner results than those returned during normal operation. It’s estimated that roughly 100,000 vehicles are affected. The suit has already dinged FCA’s stock price, which hovers at 10.57 as of this writing.

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More Rumors On FCA's Straight-Six; This Time It's Diesel!

More Rumors On FCA’s Straight-Six; This Time It’s Diesel!

Could a turbodiesel inline-six be on the horizon?

Rumors are circulating that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is investigating the use of inline six-cylinder engines for future use. The FCA-dedicated yet independent new site Allpar reported earlier this week FCA is working on a gasoline-powered I-6. Now Allpar is reporting its sources within FCA a turbodiesel version is also under consideration.

Unlike the gasoline I-6 that’s said to be based on FCA’s Global Medium Engine family, the six-cylinder diesel is a member of the FPT, or Fiat Powertrain Technologies line of four-cylinder diesels. These FPT engines are already widely used, even in the U.S., within vehicles like the Ram ProMaster.

The current FPT engine displaces 3.0 liters and generates 174 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Adding two cylinders to block would push displacement to 4.0 liters while increasing power. The engine could potentially generate 261 horsepower and an impressive 442 pound-feet of torque – that is, if the power increases at the same percentage as the cylinder count.

But what would FCA power with this engine? There are several possibilities.

For one, the Ram 1500 could see its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 turbodiesel get swapped for this. The ProMaster van might use the 4.0-liter I-6 as its range-topping engine, barring any issues with its transverse packaging. Even Jeep could use the turbodiesel, both in the Wrangler and other vehicles like the Grand Cherokee and upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

Even more interesting, Allpar speculates the engine, (perhaps called the 4.0-liter EcoDiesel I-6) might be used as an entry-level turbodiesel in the Ram Heavy Duty trucks. The smaller EcoDiesel would surely undercut the cost of the 6.7-liter Cummins inline-six turbodiesel. Then again, Ram isn’t likely to jeopardize its relationship with the famed diesel engine manufacturer.

These rumors could shed light on a new era in FCA engine building and America’s true adoption of turbodiesel engines as a viable power source. On the flip side, these rumors could prove to be complete off base. FCA could even scrap the inline-six idea altogether if the market changes. Only time will tell, but the possibilities seem open.

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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.

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Is FCA Killing the 5.7-liter Hemi? Rumors Say Yes

Is FCA Killing the 5.7-liter Hemi? Rumors Say Yes

Let’s hope it’s merely a generational change

Rumor has it Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is killing off the venerable and well-respected 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 sometime after the 2018 model year. The word comes from Allpar, a news source dedicated to Mopar and FCA news with close ties and inside sources inside the automaker. Allpar says several of its sources agree the 5.7-liter Hemi is slated to leave production next year.

As a reminder, the 5.7-liter Hemi is used in everything from the Dodge Challenger and Charger, and the Chrysler 300 to larger vehicles like the Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango. The engine relies on tried-and-true technology like a cam-in-block design with overhead valves with variable timing. It even has cylinder deactivation for fuel savings.

The rumor further details FCA’s ramp in Hemi production to create a stockpile before assembly is forever closed. But why would FCA discontinue one of its most popular and widely uses engines?

The first and most obvious answer would be the introduction of a new V-8. This new engine could have far more modern technology like dual overhead cams, forced induction, a variable pressure oil pump, direct fuel injection and a smaller displacement. FCA might even include its MultiAir valvetrain technology for more control of the intake valves.

Though a turbocharger and dual overhead cams would require more room under the hood, both would help improve efficiency while giving the engine more power. The current 5.7-liter is rated at 395 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque in the Ram 1500 pickup. Other Hemi-powered vehicles have tunes tailored to their needs.

Currently Ford holds top honors for technological wizardry with its second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. It pumps out an impressive 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque thanks to a twin-turbocharger setup, yet still, achieves nearly 26 mpg on the highway. Ram would be smart to benchmark the EcoBoost.

The second theory, and one far less attractive to V-8 fans, would be the introduction of an EcoBoost-like turbocharged V-6. Ford has had major success with the EcoBoost and FCA might be following that lead. However, it’s hard to imagine FCA – a company devoted to displacement and horsepower – dumping the V-8 for something less iconic.

It’s worth noting the rumors also say the 6.4-liter and supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat V-8 will continue production.

Either way, FCA should reveal its plans within the next year or so. The Ram pickups are scheduled for a full generational change for the 2019 model year, so it’s highly likely we’ll see any powertrain updates coordinate with a mid-2018 launch.

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FCA Design Boss Says Fiat Toro Not Coming to U.S.

FCA Design Boss Says Fiat Toro Not Coming to U.S.

Ralph Gilles “cleared something up” from his speech at Chicago Auto Show

The Fiat Toro, a mid-size lifestyle pickup sold in Latin America, looks like a promising competitor to the Honda Ridgeline. Only it isn’t coming to the U.S. That news comes directly from FCA’s design boss, Ralph Gilles, and his Twitter feed. Gilles tweeted Wednesday that FCA has no plans on selling the unibody pickup in the U.S.

Gilles’ tweet said, “I must clear something up from this morning #MAMA I meant I love the new 2017 #Fiat Toro sold in Latin America, no plans to sell it in the U.S.”

As he stated, the tweet was meant to clear the air after his speech at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, which led many to believe the Fiat Toro would have a future in North America. “You’re going to be seeing more from fiat on the truck side, especially,” Gilles said at the auto show.

This is disappointing news for the mid-size truck segment. Currently the Honda Ridgeline is the only unibody offering. It competes with several body-on-frame trucks, including the ever-popular Toyota Tacoma. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon also make up a large portion of market share.

What’s more, the mid-size truck segment isn’t slowing down. Ford recently made headlines with confirmation of the mid-size Ranger pickup’s return for the 2019 model year, along with the Bronco SUV, which will share the Ranger’s underpinnings. Then, of course, Jeep is set to debut its new 2018 Wrangler and its pickup variant.

For whatever reason, FCA doesn’t seem inclined to enter the market. Perhaps FCA bean counters are worried the Fiat Toro would compete too closely against the Jeep Wrangler pickup. Perhaps FCA simply couldn’t meet demand with the U.S. joining the customer base.

Then again, Gilles could have spoken too early about FCA’s plans to debut the Toro for U.S. consumption, having then to cover his tracks with pacifying statements regarding FCA’s lack of plans for a U.S.-sold Toro.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear many are passionate about the Fiat Toro and its potential launch in American dealerships.

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Ram EcoDiesel Now Under EPA Investigation

Ram EcoDiesel Now Under EPA Investigation

FCA says it’s “disappointed” EPA filed a notice of violation

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is now under investigation from the Environmental Protection Agency over the emissions control technology used in the 2014-2016 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6. Scrutiny of diesel engines has exponentially increased as a result of Volkswagen’s emission scandal.

FCA says it intends to work with the incoming presidential administration in resolving the case “fairly and equitably.” While it’s unclear if FCA believes the Trump administration might be more lenient on emission regulations, it seems that is the case. It’s also a safe bet FCA is looking to avoid Volkswagen’s fate. The U.S. Justice Department just announced VW must pay $4.3 billion to settle the civil and criminal allegations over its emissions test-cheating software in some 590,000 vehicles in the U.S. Some of VW’s executives are also facing jail time.

While FCA’s investigation is unlikely to have similar results, the automaker is not treating the situation lightly. It responded with statements says it has already “spent months providing voluminous” information in response to requests from the EPA over its emissions control software. FCA has already developed extensive software updates to the software for improved emissions performance.

In regards to the actual emissions equipment, FCA says its diesel engines are fitted with state-of-the-art emission control systems that include selective catalytic reduction, which is used to control tailpipe emissions in order to meet EPA regulations. It says all automakers must balance these regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxide with the engine durability, performance, safety, and fuel efficiency, and that it believes its systems meet the requirements.

FCA’s official statement didn’t mince words in saying, “FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’s emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not ‘defeat devices’ under applicable regulations and to resolve this matter expeditiously.

Let’s just hope this matter doesn’t explode into Dieselgate 2.0.

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Will FCA Sell off Alfa Romeo and Maserati?

Will FCA Sell off Alfa Romeo and Maserati?

Some say it might

FCA isn’t in the best place right now. It’s been posting low profits, and as of the third quarter of 2016, it has close to $7-billion in debt. Combine this with the investigation of the Dodge Durango and Ram 1500 over roll-away complaints to go along with the airbag recall that affects more than a million vehicles, and it’s safe to assume there are at least a few executives sweating. While that’s not exactly good news for FCA, some reports are indicating that FCA may sell off Maserati, Alfa Romeo, and even Magneti Marelli help it dig itself out of the deep hole that it is in.

Of course, it isn’t all bad over at FCA. It does have its focus on SUVs and Crossovers, and as popular as those models are – especially here in the U.S. – that’s a huge positive for the brand, but whether or not that will be enough to start digging the company out of debt as yet to be seen. And, some market analysts like Evercore ISI recently changed the forecast for FCA from negative to positive, based on the thinking that the brand could sell off Alfa Romeo and Maserati. Berenbeg Bank thinks that Magneti Marelli should also be thrown into the mix.

Whether or not FCA will take this route to dig itself out of debt is still a mystery, but Sergio Marchionne promised the company would be nearly debt free and highly profitable when he retires in 2018. With the financial situation being what it is right now, he has a lot of work to do, and selling the brands mentioned above could be his ticket to success. Alexander Haissl, an analyst for Berenberg bank, says that Maserati could be worth anywhere between $3.6 and $4.8 Billion while Magneti Marelli could bring in an additional $2.3 to $3.7 billion. With those kinds of figures in mind, the brand could manage to attain anywhere between $6.5 billion and $8.5 billion, the former being enough to make the company almost debt free and the later enough to give it some extra capital.

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NHTSA Investigating 1 Million Ram Pickups, Dodge SUVs for Rollaway Risk

NHTSA Investigating 1 Million Ram Pickups, Dodge SUVs for Rollaway Risk

More problems with electronics shifters, this time with the rotary dial

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investing nearly a million Ram pickup trucks and Dodge Durango crossovers over complaints registered against the rotary dial transmission shifter. The complaints allege vehicles roll away after being parked and point to the rotary electronic shifter as the culprit.

The news comes from Automotive News, which says FCA is cooperating with the NHTSA over the concerns. The NHTSA says it has reports of 25 crashes and nine injuries from owners claiming their vehicles rolled away after being parked. No deaths have been reported in relation to the rotary shifter issue. That is in contrast to FCA’s previous electronic shifter issues. Most notably, “Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin was killed when his 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled down his steep driveway, pinning the 27-year-old against a brick pillar of his security fence in June of 2016.

Unlike the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Charger, and Chrysler 300, the Ram trucks and Dodge Durango in question uses the rotary dial rather than the joystick-like gear shifter. However, this now puts both versions of FCA’s electronic shifter into question.

The NHTSA is specifically investigating the 2013 through 2016 Ram 1500 pickup and 2014 through 2016 Dodge Durango. Both vehicles are equipped with the ZF-scoured, eight-speed automatic transmission that requires an electronic shifting mechanism. The rotary shift knob was designed by FCA.

Jaguar Land Rover also uses the same transmission with a similar rotary knob. The NHTSA is including roughly 39,000 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque and Jaguar XF vehicles within its investigation after seven reports of rollaway crashes. Four injuries were associated with the reports. The affected model years include the 2012 through 2014 JLR products.

FCA is urging owners of these vehicles to set the parking brake before exiting the vehicle. We’ll bring you more information as we have it.

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Jeep Grand Wagoneer “Placed on Hold,” Sources Say

Jeep Grand Wagoneer “Placed on Hold,” Sources Say

At least FCA has not canceled its Range Rover competitor… Yet.

News about the future Jeep Grand Wagoneer has gone from promising to problem-ridden over the last month. Reports have suggested Jeep is canceling the high-end SUV for good, while others suggest nothing is wrong. Well, word has just surfaced from two different third-party parts suppliers that Jeep in putting the Grand Wagoneer project on hold.

The news comes from Larry Vellequette, a reporter with Automotive News whose dedicated beat for the last decade has been Chrysler and now FCA. He reports the luxo-Jeep isn’t officially dead, but it isn’t alive and well. The major problem, according to Vellequette, is FCA’s very limited cash reserves. FCA is currently funding a company-wide game of musical chairs and retooling with its assembly plants. Vehicles are being moved around, plans are getting refurbished, and this is eating into cash reserves.

Also a major factor is the limited size of vehicle that’s capable of being produced at FCA’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. It currently builds the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango, but anything larger, say like a three-row Range Rover competitor, simply wouldn’t fit down the assembly line.

Vellequette makes an interesting observation though. Why retool Jefferson at great expense for a low-volume SUV rather than build a high-volume, body-on-frame SUV that competes with the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition? Why not base that SUV on the upcoming refreshed Ram 1500? It’s certainly an idea worth exploring.

Ram has never made a three-row SUV based on its pickup despite GM and Ford having outstand success with the concept. Should Jeep choose to pursue this, the Grand Wagoneer name would likely drop the “Grand” portion, recalling the more utilitarian Jeep Wagoneer of 1974 through 1983.

Should Jeep go this route, it could even create a heavy-duty version, competing where the Suburban 2500 and Ford Excursion once did. What’s more, it could even create a Rubicon or Trailhawk version based on the Ram 2500 Power Wagon. Best of all, FCA would need far less cash to pull this off. The Ram’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant could accommodate the 1500-series Wagoneer, while FCA’s Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico could accommodate the heavy-duty and Power Wagon versions.

Of course, this is pure speculation on our part based on speculation by Vellequette. One thing is for sure though – Jeep will not be getting its Grand Wagoneer by 2018 or 2019.

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Ram Doubling Up – Will Continue Selling Current 1500 After Next-Gen launch

Ram Doubling Up – Will Continue Selling Current 1500 After Next-Gen launch

A new focus on fleet sales drives the decision

Ram will continue to build the current 1500-series pickup well into the 2019 model year. This, despite the next-generation Ram 1500’s launch for the 2018 model year, will allow Ram to target fleet sales with the older truck thanks to discounted pricing. The move will also help save the next-generation Rams for higher-paying retail buyers. The report comes from Automotive News who spoke to FCA’s CFO, Richard Palmer.

"Going into 2018, having more pickup capacity will allow us also to satisfy the fleet customers’ demand on pickup, which we struggle to do today because we favor retail in the U.S. and Canadian volume, which have higher margins," Palmer told AN during a conference call. "As we realign our capacity, we’re going to be able to continue to work on improving our fleet mix."

This move isn’t unusual, however. Both Ford and General Motors have executed similar strategies. Ford continued to build 10th generation F-150s well into 2004 and labeled as the F-150 Heritage, despite having an all-new F-150 in showrooms. GM did the same for the 1998 and 2007 model years, continuing production of the previous Silverado, dubbed the Classic, while rolling out the newer truck in showrooms.

FCA is even doing the same with its minivans. The Dodge Caravan is still in production despite the new and drastically better Chrysler Pacifica months past its initial launch. And just like the trucks, the Caravan is targeted at fleet sales.

AN also confirmed with its anonymous sources inside FCA that the current Ram 1500 will be produced at the Warren Truck Assembly in Detroit and in Saltillo, Mexico. Combined, the two plants will produce a planned 200,000 pickups in 2018 and another 65,000 in 2019 before being retooled to produce the next-gen Ram.

Ram will build all of its next 1500-series trucks at the soon-to-be-renovated Sterling Heights Assembly plant. Some 325,000 units are planned for the 2018 model year and more than 400,000 for 2019. Currently Sterling Heights builds the ill-fated Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 – sedans that are facing extension after tremendously slow sales.

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FCA Teases SEMA Lineup, Includes Power Wagon & Wrangler

FCA Teases SEMA Lineup, Includes Power Wagon & Wrangler

FCA & Mopar to bring 14 concepts to Vegas

We’re less than a week away from the 2016 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show, better known as SEMA. Thousands of cars, trucks, SUVs, and custom creations will be present representing the best the aftermarket industry has to offer. OEMs will be out in full force, too, including Fiat Chrysler. Helping drum up interest for the show, FCA released renderings of five concept vehicles its brining, including a Ram 2500 Power Wagon and a Jeep Wrangler customized to look like a CJ. In total, the automaker is bringing 14 vehicles to SEMA.

FCA has not given any specific details on the vehicles, but its clear to see they are far from stock. The Ram 2500 Power Wagon has unique fender flares, a custom matt-black lower color scheme, and two hoops over the cargo bed. The front hoop is up near the cab, looking like those aftermarket hooks made popular in the 1980s. The rear hoop features louvered slats and the name “RAMRACK” embossed in red. There’s no obvious purpose for the hoops (like holding ladders or kayaks), so they could be purely aesthetic.

The Wrangler is a retro throw-back build that purportedly transforms a modern Wrangler into a classic CJ. The front grille and fenders carry the iconic CJ lines, while the hood is a modified version of American Expedition Vehicle’s Heat Reduction Hood. The hood also features black graphics, spelling out “CJ-Sixty Six.” The orange paint really makes the graphics pop, while the blacked-out grille, fender flares, hood accent, and front bumper give it an aggressive appearance. The headlights appear to be the new LED units found in the 2017 Wrangler.

We can see the Jeep sports a Warn winch and the bumper from a Wrangler Rubicon Hard Rock. The Jeep rolls on BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A tires mounted on beadlock wheels with a body-colored rim. We can also spot a rock rail protruding from the rocker panel, meaning this thing is set up for serious wheeling.

FCA is hosting is annual SEMA press event at 4:26 pm Pacific/7:26 pm Eastern time on Tuesday, November 1. You can watch the whole thing go down via this livestream.

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Mopar Teases Its Lineup For SEMA

Mopar Teases Its Lineup For SEMA

At least five new concepts are headed to Las Vegas

The 2016 SEMA Show is just around the corner and, as usual, Mopar has released a set of shadowy sketches that preview its lineup at the specialty event in Las Vegas. The brand also announced that its new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles fitted with production and concept parts and accessories will share the booth with hundreds of Mopar products. In all, no fewer than 14 Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles vehicles will be on display across Mopar’s 15,345-square-foot exhibit.

As to what we’ll see in Las Vegas, Mopar’s first teasers show five FCA models. First up, there’s a Chrysler Pacifica minivan sporting a white-and-blue paint job with surfer graphics over the the rear fenders and bumper. The hauler also sports a set of custom wheels with bright-blue accents. Next up, Mopar readied a Challenger 392 Hemi in dark-gray and with black and red offset stripes on the engine hood and roof. The third vehicle appears to be a Dodge Durango SUV, but other than the flashy blue paint and white or gray engine hood, there’s nothing else to see in the teaser.

Naturally, Mopar also created a special Ram Power Wagon pickup truck for the event. The vehicle sports an orange paint job with black accents, what appears to be a new Ram Rack design, and off-road wheels with red accents. Finally, Mopar is also bringing a modified Jeep Wrangler at SEMA. This vehicle has a more revealing teaser that suggests Mopar is paying tribute to an older Wrangler model. The "CJ-Sixty Six" lettering on the engine hood as well as the vintage-looking front end point out toward the CJ-3B model built between 1953 and 1968. The Wrangler sports a bronze-orange livery with a black hood insert and black grille, a heavy-duty bumper, and off-road wheels with black rims and body-colored accents.

All these concepts will debut new Mopar parts and accessories, including products that will be released throughout 2017. As usual, Mopar may also have a few surprises up its sleeve, so make sure you stick around for updates from the SEMA Show.

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Samsung's Note 7 Issues Put A Damper On FCA's Mission To Sell Magneti Marelli

Samsung’s Note 7 Issues Put A Damper On FCA’s Mission To Sell Magneti Marelli

The massive smartphone recall is apparently a hot button issue

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) just can’t seem to catch a break lately. Rumor has it that negotiations between FCA and Samsung Electronics over the sale of Magneti Marelli have halted as Samsung scrambles to fix issues with its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, once again obstructing FCA’s plans to reduce its debt and raise some much needed capital.

That’s the latest from Automotive News, which cites unnamed sources familiar with the deal.

Magneti Marelli is an Italian auto parts producer that was founded in 1919 and has been part of Fiat since 1967. Samsung was reportedly on its way to buying some or even all of the company, with some estimates placing the deal at around $3 billion.

However, according to Automotive News, Samsung and FCA have yet to agree on a valuation or even a deal structure for the sale of Magneti Marelli. With Samsung now under fire with a massive recall of one its most important products, it’s looking less likely that a deal between FCA and the tech producer will be found before the end of the year.

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Jeep Launches Sales of Wrangler, Grand Cherokee in India

Jeep Launches Sales of Wrangler, Grand Cherokee in India

Part of FCA’s plans for larger global reach for Jeep brand

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has official begun selling the U.S.-built Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee to the Indian market. It’s part of FCA’s push to make Jeep a stronger global brand, with a concentration in China and now India. Both products compete with high-end vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and Audi, while wearing a price tag nearly three times larger than U.S. pricing.

The Wrangler Unlimited, for example, will cost the equivalent of roughly $107,000, while the EcoDiesel-powered Grand Cherokee Limited will cost around $140,000. The range topping Grand Cherokee SRT commands a whopping $167,000.

This comes after Jeep squared away a $280 million partnership with Jaguar Land Rover’s parent company, the India-based Tata, to build an assembly plant in Ranjangaon, India for the construction of the Compass, Renegade, and upcoming compact A-segment Jeep. These smaller, lest costly Jeeps will still bring a premium when they begin selling next year.

With over 1.2 billion people in India, the market represents a huge potential selling ground. It, along with China, will go far in helping Jeep achieve its goal of 2 million annual worldwide sales by the end of 2018. Combined, China and India will account for roughly 500,000 of those sales. The remaining sales will come from Jeep’s traditional markets like the U.S. and Europe.

“The heart of that market is still very, very low-priced, dominated by local manufacturers,” Manley told Automotive News. “Even when global manufacturers break into that marketplace, it is with their lowest-cost platforms. All the signs are that, at some stage, India is going to develop and develop strongly, which is why we need to be there.”

Despite most Indian buyers purchasing low-cost vehicle options, there are the plenty of high-earners wanting luxury vehicles. And while Americans might not consider the Wrangler particularly luxurious, Land Rover Defenders were sold at a high premium on U.S. soul – showing the relationship can flow both ways.

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Germany Says that FCA is Using Emissions Cheating Devices Too

Germany Says that FCA is Using Emissions Cheating Devices Too

Could FCA be involved in its own dieselgate scandal?

It seems like the word “emissions” just won’t go away lately. There’s all that drama with Volkswagen and, back in May of 2016, Germany accused Fiat Chrysler of using a cheating device on the Fiat 500X. After Italian regulators put the 500X under a microscope, it was deemed that there was no such device, but Germany just isn’t taking that for an answer. As we flipped our calendars over to the month of September, Germany was busy at the European Commission and Italian Transport Ministry filing papers that claimed FCA used illegal exhaust manipulation devices on at least three models.

According to Reuters, those models include the Fiat 500X (again,) the Fiat Doblo, and the Jeep Renegade. Furthermore, it is claimed that testing by German authorities could “prove the illegal use of a device to switch off exhaust treatment systems.” Of course, a statement from Fiat was quick to release with claims that all of the brand’s vehicles comply with emissions laws and that there are no cheat devices. For now, sources indicate Italy have yet to receive any communication from the German government, however, that does seem unlikely given Germany’s consistent push that FCA is indeed cheating on emissions.

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Magnetti Marelli and Samsung May Become "Strategic Partners"

Magnetti Marelli and Samsung May Become "Strategic Partners"

New deal could come as a huge benefit for struggling FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s head honcho, Sergio Marchionne, recently revealed that FCA could team up with Korean electronics giant Samsung. The news arrives alongside rumors that FCA is shopping for buyers for Magneti Marelli, FCA’s auto parts subsidiary.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Marchionne said, “We have a very good relationship with Samsung, both as a supplier and as a potential strategic partner.” Marchionne went on to say he has a good relationship with Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae Yong, who serves on the board of Exor SpA together with Marchionne.

So far, talks regarding Samsung’s purchase of Magneti Marelli have yet to be confirmed, but citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Automotive News reports that “some or all of the Marelli operations” are currently on the negotiating table with Samsung.

Magneti Marelli was founded in 1919, and has facilities in 19 different countries, employing roughly 40,000 workers. The company produces vehicle safety system components, powertrain systems, vehicle electronics, suspension systems, and exhausts. It also provides the electronics for Formula One and the World Rally Championship.

Samsung is reportedly most interested in Marelli’s lighting, in-car entertainment, and telematics systems.

According to Bloomberg, the deal could be worth as much as $3 billion.

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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.

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