Expect a Future Fiat Chrysler With a Lot Less Fiats and Chryslers: Report

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, due to retire in less than a year’s time, will lay out the automaker’s future on Friday. Well, the next five years of its future — and we all know how malleable those plans can be.

According to a Bloomberg report, sources with knowledge of the plan say the near future contains far fewer Chryslers for those living outside the U.S., and no Fiats for those who are.

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4,846,885 Vehicles: Fiat Chrysler Launches Massive Recall to Prevent Runaway Cruise Control

In terms of size, this recall is one of the largest from a single manufacturer in recent memory. And the problem it’s designed to fix once served as the plot of a 1990s TV movie I can’t recall the name of.

While there’s only one known incident on its radar, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to go ahead with a recall of over 4.8 million Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram vehicles to prevent them from getting stuck in cruise control.

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Sergio CONFIRMED as Trump's 'Favorite' Auto Exec, Hackett and Barra DESTROYED

Ten automotive executives met with President Donald Trump this week, hoping to find ways to increase domestic production and mitigate the coming changes to corporate fuel economy regulations. The meeting, held in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, included General Motors’ Mary Barra, Ford’s Jim Hackett and Fiat Chrysler’s Sergio Marchionne. While a large portion of the event was spent discussing the administration’s attempt to roll back established fuel economy rules, Trump was focused on returning manufacturing jobs to the United States.

The president noted that FCA’s decision to spend $1 billion in order to expand truck assembly in Michigan made Marchionne more appealing than his contemporaries. “Right now, he is my favorite person in the room,” Trump said.

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Brampton FCA Plant Shuts Down as Supplier Strike Continues

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles cancelled both shifts at its Brampton, Ontario assembly plant Thursday, stemming the flow of Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger models.

Blame the work stoppage on a lack of seats. Brampton’s just-in-time supplier, Lear, saw its workforce go on strike last weekend after failing to reach a collective-bargaining agreement. However, a new wrinkle in this relatively commonplace labor action is that Lear plans to close its plant.

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Large Fiat Chrysler Cars Suffer Production Setback as Supplier Goes on Strike

If every full-size car built by Fiat Chrysler was a Dodge Demon, the automaker’s limited supply of seats wouldn’t be as big an issue.

Well, the Demon’s dead, and all of the Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, and Dodge Challengers built at FCA’s Brampton, Ontario assembly plant need a place for five occupants to plant their asses. As of a minute after midnight on Saturday morning, those seats are no longer rolling out of supplier Lear Ajax. A production slowdown in Brampton ensues.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Chrysler Pacifica L

Yes, yes, yes. I know that most of you wouldn’t sign on the line that is dotted for a minivan, and, honestly, neither would I. It makes no sense, really, given that a large box-shaped living room on wheels is just the ticket for road-trip comfort with the family while offering enough space for shuttling hockey bags to the rink and making hardware store runs on the weekend.

Minivan Monroneys can climb uncomfortably high – witness loaded up Odysseys and Siennas which can handily crest $50,000. Is there a lot to like at the Ace of Base end of the spectrum? Let’s see.

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Minivans Sales Show Some Buoyancy in the U.S., but Only Because of Two Automakers

You’d think the advent of dedicated electric vehicle platforms would breed a new era of flat-floored minivans, but most automakers just aren’t interested in going that route — internal combustion or otherwise. There’s no electric Chevrolet Venture on the horizon, nor will Ford resurrect the Aerostar in EV form and name it after a late ’60s muscle car.

Even in our clean, green future, SUVs reign.

The present, however, hasn’t abandoned the minivan, even if the segment is a shadow of its former self. March minivan sales in the U.S. topped that of last March, and year-to-date sales are up compared to 2017, despite the disappearance of two nameplates. Unlike SUVs and crossovers, however, there’s just not enough demand to put wind in every minivan model’s sales. It’s easy to imagine a near future where Fiat Chrysler and Honda own the segment.

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Breaking Up Isn't Hard to Do: Fiat Chrysler Announces Parts Division Spin-off

As Magneti Marelli prepares for its 100th birthday next year, the Italian parts supplier can expect to mark the occasion while newly single.

In a bid to streamline its operations, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced it is moving forward with a plan to spin off the weighty subsidiary. The split should be complete by the end of this year or early next.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: 2018 Upmarket American Sedan Showdown

Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we took a look at full-size sedans of an American persuasion and non-luxury intent. The consensus was loud and clear on which vehicle of the trio to burn; the Taurus was the subject of a flame war. Citing the sedan’s outdated everything and bad packaging, most of you didn’t like it.

Some of you also complained that the three offerings were too basic, and lacking in content and luxury. Today we turn up the luxury dial and look at three full-size Americans which are a bit more aspirational.

Ready, comrades? This might be tough.

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Rare Rides: A 1957 Facel Vega Typhoon, for Luxurious People

As I was perusing the eBay listing for the Dual Ghia we previously featured in this series, another blue two-door classic appeared as a recommended listing at the bottom of the page. It’s from the same seller as the Ghia, and is remarkably similar in concept, execution, and customer.

Presenting the Facel Vega Typhoon, from 1957.

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Rare Rides: The Extremely Luxurious 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible

The Rare Rides series started off in the early part of 2017 with a concept Ghia that was all Ford underneath. A year later we featured the Quicksilver, which wore Lincoln badges. And more recently, a Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia caught our brougham attention.

Time for some change, and to have a look at a Ghia which is all Chrysler beneath its luxury fittings and beautiful styling.

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FCA Wants to Turn Detroit Viper Factory Into an Auto Museum

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said Wednesday that it will transform the former Detroit production site of the Dodge Viper into a haven for historic vehicles. Unfortunately, it also said the collection will not be open to the public — at least not right away. Conner Avenue Assembly produced its last Viper in August, as updated safety regulations made future manufacturing impossible. The future of the site looked bleak. While large enough to produce hand-built models of a low-volume supercar, the 400,000-square-foot facility would prove insufficient for much else.

Many expected FCA to shutter the building until it could be sold.

Fortunately, that will not be the case. As the company prepares the space for the future, it’s auctioning hundreds of mass-produced and one-of-a-kind pieces of Viper memorabilia to benefit the local United Way. Afterward, the factory will be renamed Conner Center and house a collection of 85 of the company’s nearly 400 historic vehicles — cars FCA says have remained scattered across various locations for far too long. Hopefully, it’ll eventually let the public enjoy them.

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QOTD: Were There Any Lustworthy American Cars Built Between 1979 and 1989?

Earlier this week, our Junkyard Find was a totally rad 1989 Chevrolet Camaro RS, complete with interesting personal touches applied by an owner who was quite familiar with taste and elegance.

In the comments, things quickly turned to the nature of the automobile during a dark and Malaisey period — 1979 to 1989. A question bubbled to the surface for me: Were there any lustworthy American cars made in that period? Let’s find out.

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Fiat Chrysler Was in Geely's Sights Before Daimler Deal: Report

After last week’s announcement of a $9 billion Daimler stock buy-up by China’s Geely Group, an old story is once again rearing its head. Remember last year’s buzz surrounding a possible takeover of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles? The rumors CEO Sergio Marchionne subsequently refuted? Yes, that story.

A new report claims Geely did indeed give FCA the once-over, even engaging in preliminary talks. Obviously, this first date went nowhere, as Geely now owns nearly 10 percent of German auto giant Daimler, not the maker of Jeeps and Rams.

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Fiat Chrysler to Stomp Out Diesel Across Its Lineup, Report Claims

The popular thing among automakers last year, besides the incessant preaching of “mobility,” was the pledging of allegiance to an electrified future. This year, it seems diesel fuel is the bogeyman all automakers must reject. We’ve already told you about Porsche’s abandonment of the blacklisted power source. Now, it’s Fiat Chrysler’s turn.

Though unconfirmed at this time, the Financial Times (subscription required) reports that FCA’s mid-term plan, due out this June, will announce the dropping of diesel across its lineup by 2022. If you’re currently wondering how you’ll tow a horse trailer using a battery, don’t get too upset just yet.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Toasting a Luxury Minivan From 1994

When the Picture Time post for the Villager Nautica went up on these pages last year, the idea for this particular edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was already on my mind. In fact, in the big list of trios I keep for this series, this one has always been at the top of the list.

The year is 1994, and you’ve got a luxury minivan to set alight.

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Marchionne & Co.: Style Will Be Essential in the Vanilla Future We've All Been Promised

The future is going to be absolutely terrible. Everything is going to be so sterile and automated that humans won’t have anything to do between mealtimes but eagerly anticipate their own death.

At least, that’s the picture being painted by experts. We’re probably further out from autonomous cars, world peace, and robotic butlers than society’s “thinkfluencers” want to admit, but be that as it may, the times are changing and some of this is coming down the pipe.

Automakers are all about the “nextification” of the industry; always promising technological marvels at an accelerated rate. However, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne now claims most visions of the future lack an essential element — any semblance of style.

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Bigland Gets a Break as Fiat Chrysler Shuffles the Executive Deck

There’s going to be a lot less Italian in Reid Bigland’s diet going forward, after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles removed the Alfa Romeo and Maserati portfolios from the high-ranking executive’s oversight. It’s all part of a broader raft of management changes announced today.

Bigland, quite a star in FCA’s upper echelon, will continue in his existing role as head of U.S. sales and president and CEO of FCA Canada. The executive had the two Italian luxury brands dropped in his lap back in May 2016. Earlier in his career, he headed up the Dodge and Ram brands.

Other changes are afoot as FCA attempts to give Alfa and Maserati the full-time guardian the two brands need in order to thrive.

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This Union Corruption Scandal Is Getting Awfully Messy

The multimillion-dollar corruption scandal involving the United Automobile Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is starting to cross the line from hubbub to full-on fiasco. Earlier this week, three FCA employees filed a federal lawsuit against the automaker and the UAW seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages over allegations that union officials colluded with company executives to influence collective bargaining.

Meanwhile, a recently released plea deal with former FCA labor relations head Alphons Iacobelli implicated former UAW Vice President Norwood Jewell — the man tasked with overseeing the most recent round of contract negotiations with FCA. Iacobelli claims he and other FCA employees transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal payments to tax-exempt organizations controlled by UAW officials, including Jewell’s Making Our Children Smile Foundation.

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Rolling In It: FCA Announces Q4 Earnings

Sticking with its bullish profit predictions for 2018, FCA announced today its fourth quarter earnings for 2017 in which net profits nearly doubled to almost a billion dollars.

With a new Ram 1500 waiting in the wings, the old Ram set to print money while selling alongside the new one, and a healthy Jeep brand serving a public thirsty for crossovers, FCA’s cupboard seems particularly full right about now … so long as the company keeps its focus.

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Feds Allege FCA Executives Bribed UAW Officials to Play Nice

Former Fiat Chrysler labor relations chief Alphons Iacobelli pleaded guilty to two of seven charges relating to his role in a plan to divert more than $4.5 million in training center funds to union and company officials on Monday. As part of a plea deal with federal authorities, Iacobelli provided information regarding confidential retirement offers and a former union vice president being groomed to support company initiatives.

In an admission that he and other FCA employees paid various senior UAW officials over $1.5 million in an effort to “obtain benefits, concessions, and advantages for FCA in the negotiation, implementation, and administration,” Iacobelli is now helping map the deepening mire that is the FCA-UAW training center scandal.

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Rare Rides: The Cadillac Allante, Which Was a Race Car in 1992

The year is 1986. There’s a new, V8-powered convertible on the horizon from Cadillac — the Standard of the World. This particularly special convertible is slotted above the Eldorado in the product lineup. And it was designed by a famed Italian house.

You’re drooling by now, 1986 person. Vamanos, to Allanté!

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Junkyard Find: 1989 Chrysler New Yorker Landau Mark Cross Edition

Ford really set the standard for designer-edition luxury cars during the late 1970s, with the Lincoln Mark V available with Superfly-grade styling by Bill Blass, Givenchy, Emilio Pucci, and Cartier. The competition scoured the world for competing designers, with even AMC getting into the act, and Chrysler signed up Mark Cross for some glitzed-up luxury cars based on stretched variants of the aging K Platform.

Here’s a 1989 Mark Cross Edition New Yorker Landau, spotted in a Denver self-service yard a couple of weeks ago.

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QOTD: What's Your Favorite Diamond-Star Motors Crapwagon?

Earlier this week in TTAC’s always entertaining Slack chat, Adam Tonge suggested (without sarcasm) how the B&B might enjoy discussing the market entrants of the Diamond-Star Motors company and picking favorites. Shortly after this discussion, the very DSM Plymouth Laser we saw in yesterday’s Rare Rides fell right in my lap, and this all seemed like destiny.

Of the varied selection, which Diamond-Star Motors vehicle is your favorite?

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Complaints Over Stalling Chrysler Pacificas Flood NHTSA

Back in June, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles faced a problem with its Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid. One so significant, in fact, that it briefly stopped production of the vehicle. After recalling all models sold to date to replace faulty inverter diodes, production resumed, ending the problem of hybrid minivans suddenly going dark while underway.

The Pacifica Hybrid’s electrical gremlin appears slayed, but there’s no such luck with the gasoline-only version. Public safety advocates are raising their collective voice following multiple complaints of 2017 Pacificas behaving as if possessed while on the road.

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What Does This Design Patent Mean for America?

It may look like a strange amalgam of Ford and General Motors styling cues, maybe with a dash of something else (Nissan?), but the model in the image you see above is no mystery. And it’s certainly not domestic.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office bestowed a design patent on a certain automaker today and, while the model isn’t named, we know exactly what it is. Does this Trumpchi get your vote?

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Sergio Talked to the Feds About UAW Corruption Investigation

Apparently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne had an extended chat with authorities at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in downtown Detroit one year before the $4.5 million corruption scandal involving the automaker’s training center was made public.

Marchionne and his lawyer participated in a private meeting in July 2016, discussing the alleged corruption between FCA executives and high-ranking members of the UAW with investigators. One year later, former Fiat Chrysler Vice President Alphons Iacobelli was indicted and accused of funneling kickbacks to UAW officials.

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QOTD: Automotive Tech Flops - Past, Present, and Future

TTAC commenter Bruce suggested today’s Question of the Day, and he wants to talk tech features. Specifically, the kind which are all the rage for a short period of time, then fizzled into nothingness.Today we ask you to tell us about automotive tech flops – past, present, and future.

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Detroit's October 2017 Sales: Ford Soars, Fiat Chrysler Hits the Brakes

If the Detroit Three want to keep wind in their [s]sales[/s] sails, it sure won’t happen on the strength of traditional passenger cars.

Several brands from Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles posted U.S. sales declines in October 2017, all thanks to the slipping popularity of regular cars. In many cases, the continued strength of the crossover/SUV/truck market wasn’t enough to tip the scales back in the automakers’ favor.

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QOTD: Where to Go for a Chrysler Halo?

As often happens here at TTAC, yesterday we brought you a story that illustrates the Chrysler brand’s slow decline — both in sales and in status. Yes, the brand is pulling out of several countries, even as sales in its home country have declined, year-over-year, for 23 straight months.

The Chrysler brand, once the pinnacle of American near-luxury, has been shedding models at breakneck speed. With just a minivan and an aging full-size sedan in its lineup (due for price cuts in 2018!), even Rolls-Royce’s stable sports more occupants. Meanwhile, sales have followed suit — slipping from 649,293 U.S. vehicles in 2005 to 231,972 units in 2016. The brand will be lucky to break the 200k marker this year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles doesn’t seem content to let its one-time prestige brand wither to oblivion, however, so two saviors are on the way: a three-row midsize crossover due for 2019 and a full-size crossover scheduled to appear for 2021.

It seems that Chrysler could use a little attention; something to get eyeballs on the company. The brand that brought us the New Yorker, Fifth Avenue, Imperial and, for better or worse, the Crossfire, could use a halo vehicle. Something aspirational. Certainly, sales considerations aside, a full-size crossover (rumored to carry the Aspen name, yet again) doesn’t strike us an appropriate range-topper. What would you like to see Chrysler build?

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As Chrysler Fades Away on the Global Stage, Right-hand-drive 300s Remain in Production

On the surface, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand is everything a modern-day brand should be. SUVs and crossovers, a looming pickup truck, and no cars. This is what the world wants.

On the opposite side of the coin, Chrysler is the brand seemingly no one, save for North American minivan buyers and a shrinking pool of traditional luxury sedan devotees, wants. Year-to-date, sales of the brand’s two-model U.S. lineup is down nearly 10 percent.

Overseas reports claiming FCA has ended production of right-hand-drive models at its Ontario, Canada assembly plants paint an even grimmer picture, even though the core RHD Chrysler model — the rear-drive 300 — is not, apparently, extinct.

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Rare Rides: A 1989 Chrysler TC by Maserati - the Lemon Mix-up

The heart of a K-Car, the styling of a LeBaron, the build quality of an Italian, and the price of a Corvette. Just one car in the history of the world managed to combine all these virtues together into a gelatinous, custard-like vehicle.

And our Rare Ride today just happens to have a similar color, too. Come have a look at the majestic Chrysler TC, by Maserati (not really).

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The Murdered-out Chrysler Pacifica of Your Dreams Is Just a Dealer Away

You’ve decided to stay in the minivan fold. Or, to Fiat Chrysler’s delight, you’ve decided to join it. Just because your Pacifica spends its days shuttling around colorful little Playskool houses and playing Paw Patrol videos on the seatback media screens doesn’t mean it shouldn’t also strike terror into the hearts of passers-by on the mean streets of America.

Right on cue, or perhaps a little belatedly, Chrysler is adding a hint of menace to a decidedly non-menacing model with the return of the S Appearance Package to its minivan stable. Last offered on the defunct Town & Country, the package does for the Pacifica what it does for the 300 and what it did for the departed 200.

Bring on the darkness.

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Rare Rides: Maserati Merak SS From 1981 - a Seventies Time Warp

We’ve featured a Maserati previously in our Rare Rides series — a bespoke Quattroporte shooting brake which drew mixed styling opinions from the informed and gracious peanut gallery of the B&B. Today though, we step back in time to something closer to the traditional two-door, sporty exotica that makes up much of the brand’s history.

Presenting a Maserati Merak, this one decked out in special SS trim.

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Junkyard Find: 1985 Chrysler LeBaron Woody Convertible

While Chrysler made a bewildering array of vehicles based on the staving-off-bankruptcy K Platform, only four models could be called pure K-cars: the Dodge Aries, Plymouth Reliant, Dodge 400, and Chrysler LeBaron. All the rest, from the Town & Country minivan to the Imperial, were based on mutated K hardware.

Here’s an example of a fully luxed-up LeBaron convertible, featuring body trim made from the stately trees of the Magical Petrochemical Forest, spotted in a Phoenix self-service wrecking yard.

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FCA's Sergio Says Spinning Off Magneti Marelli is His Best Option

Fiat Chrysler is trying to work some financial magic to make itself look more appetizing to prospective investors. However, few buyers are likely to be interested in the whole of FCA. Its North American half has proven adept at assembling sport utility vehicles and Jeep would be a tasty morsel for any company hoping to expand its portfolio. But the Italian arm’s focus on smaller automobiles could get in the way of a potential deal — especially if the buyer already has their own.

CEO Sergio Marchionne wants the company to be purchased by an established automaker, but there are precious few that would want everything it has to offer. One possible solution is to separate subsidiaries from the core group. Marchionne says that might be the best solution for dealing with component supplier Magneti Marelli.

FCA has been of the mind that streamlining the business is the best way to attract investors without harming subsidiaries. After all, it worked well enough for Ferrari. The brand was spun off from FCA in late 2015, and its stock valuation embarked upon a rocket ride to the moon the following month.

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Detroit's Passenger Car Sales Are Falling Way Faster Than the Overall U.S. Auto Industry's

Across the U.S. auto industry, there are a number of auto brands that are actually selling more passenger cars in 2017 than in 2016: Jaguar, Lincoln, Infiniti, Subaru, Volkswagen.

Some specific models, many with all-wheel-drive availability like the Audi A5, Subaru Impreza, and Volkswagen Golf, are enjoying far greater sales success this year than last.

But you know the story. Generally speaking, Americans are buying far fewer cars now than they used to. From more than 50 percent just five years ago, passenger car market share is down to 37 percent. Nowhere is this more obvious than at traditional domestic manufacturers, the Detroit Three.

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Non-Detroit Three Automakers Already Sell More Cars in North America, and Soon They'll Make More

Detroit’s dominance in the domestic automotive sphere continues to erode. Whereas the manufacturing hub, home to Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, once churned out the bulk of vehicles built — and sold — in the United States, times have changed.

The former Big Three automakers no longer hold the majority market share in the U.S. (in 2016 it was 44.9 percent), necessitating a name demotion to “Detroit Three.” From Silicon Valley to the Midwest and South, a diverse group of automakers is busily assembling cars and SUVs for a population with very wide-ranging tastes. We’ve long since become used to the idea that many Hyundais now hail from Alabama, several Subarus come from Indiana, Honda models grow in Ohio, and BMWs arrive from South Carolina with a Southern drawl.

Now, one industry watcher claims the Detroit Three won’t even finish the year as the majority builder of North American-made vehicles.

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Rumors of FCA Seeking Asian Partner Reignite - This Time With Hyundai

Snubbed by both the Germans and the Chinese, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is continuing its journey to find the automaker that will sweep it off its feet and say, “Let’s build a factory together.” However, if CEO Sergio Marchionne maintains that FCA will be bought by an established automaker, he’s running out of options. The automotive dating pool isn’t particularly deep.

While there was some stirrings of vague Korean interest when news broke of talks between FCA and Chinese automakers, those rumors dissipated quickly. But reports of a possible business deal between Hyundai and the Italian-American company surfaced recently after Great Wall Motors shrugged off its proposed bid for Jeep. FCA later said it had not received any offer from the Chinese manufacturer.

Presumably, Great Wall would have used FCA to supplement its sport utility sales and begin making moves on North America. Another brand that might be interested in bolstering its supply of SUVs is Hyundai — something the South Korean press has been buzzing about all week.

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Hold on, Minivan Enthusiasts - Don't Hoon That Chrysler Pacifica Just Yet

We all know minivans bring out a driver’s inner beast. Here at TTAC, hardly a day goes by where we’re not discussing which minivan is best suited for an impromptu spin around the track. Seriously.

However, if exploring the limits of your minivan’s handling abilities tops your short list of things to do today, Chrysler Pacifica drivers had best hold off — at least if you’ve got a crowded backseat. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles doesn’t want owners driving aggressively until they’ve taken their van in for a voluntary recall.

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Investigators Uncover Sleazy New Chapter in FCA-UAW Corruption Saga

It’s been two months since federal investigators blew the lid off a years-long corruption scheme between certain Fiat Chrysler Automobiles executives and counterparts at the United Autoworkers Union, but a new court filing shows some of the funnelled money took an unusual path.

We’re not talking about the Ferrari, the pool, or the fancy purses and pens. Not even the shotgun. After leaving the account of the UAW-Chrysler National Training Center, a corporation designed to give workers a leg up, investigators claim cash made its way to a former UAW vice-president’s personal foundation and then to two apparently fake hospices.

The kind that don’t perform any hospicing.

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Sorry, Mopar Fans: FCA Says 'No' to a 2019 Chrysler 300 Hellcat

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Go ahead and shake your money maker.

Or not.

After reports surfaced at Automotive News earlier this week that the 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 from the Dodge Charger Hellcat, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, and Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk would appear in a Chrysler 300 next year, Motor Authority has heard from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on the subject.

It’s not going to happen.

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As It Awaits New Models, Chrysler Does What It Can With the 300

If Chrysler’s model lineup was a parade, you wouldn’t have to wait long before crossing the street. With just two models on offer — the Pacifica minivan and elderly 300 full-size sedan — following the ill-fated 200’s demise, the Chrysler brand’s U.S. sales volume has fallen to a six-year low.

Plans are afoot to repopulate the meager stable, but the first of two new models — both crossovers — won’t arrive until the end of the decade. In the meantime, the only “new” product you’ll see is a refreshed 300. After a $3,345 price cut for 2018, the 300 appears destined for more buyer enticements in 2019.

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FCA's Remaining Pentastar Product Pair, the Chrysler 300 and Chrysler Pacifica, See Prices Slashed for 2018

Only two models remain in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. Chrysler lineup, but both models will benefit from dramatic price cuts for the 2018 model year.

The 2017 Chrysler 300 was marketed with a U.S. base price of $33,435. That car, the Chrysler 300 Limited, will be renamed for 2018 as the Touring L, CarsDirect reports, one notch above the 300 Touring. Meanwhile, the Chrysler 300C loses its standard V6 engine and is now sold exclusively with the 5.7-liter V8 and rear-wheel drive.

As for the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica, a new Pacifica L below the Pacifica LX allows the 2018 Pacifica to sit well below the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna in the minivan price hierarchy.

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Has Now Been Losing Sales For 12 Consecutive Months

August 2017 represented the twelfth consecutive month in which U.S. sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined on a year-over-year basis.

FCA volume slid 11 percent in August, a loss of nearly 21,000 sales, as retail and fleet volume declined. The decreases were most keenly felt at Jeep and Chrysler, which tumbled 15 percent and 33 percent, respectively. But Dodge, Ram, and Fiat sales also reported losses compared with August 2016.

More troubling than the poor August results, however, is the predictability of August’s results. FCA’s disappointing trendline began in September 2016. Year-over-year, FCA lost 187,000 sales over the last 12 months.

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Junkyard Find: 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser GT Turbo

The quantity of Chrysler PT Cruiser s in the high-turnover self-service wrecking yards remained close to zero for the first decade after the car’s 2001 model year debut (while the Cruiser’s Neon cousins showed up in large quantities starting at about age five). For the first few years of our current decade, I’d see a sprinkling of discarded PT Cruisers… and then the floodgates burst in about 2014, with seemingly every U-Wrench-It yard in the country packed wall-to-wall with the things.

I have ignored them, but the minivan version of the SRT4 Neon seemed worth photographing.

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No One's Kicking the Tires on Fiat Chrysler, Marchionne Says

He came to watch a race, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne took some time out from a busy Saturday at the Italian Formula One Grand Prix to squash some rumors.

You know the ones. Reports emerged last month that Chinese automakers were hanging around FCA’s door, just waiting for a chance to sweep the company off its feet. An unnamed company pitched a buyout offer, the story goes. Not high enough, FCA allegedly responded. Another company, Great Wall Motors, isn’t interested in FCA, just its lucrative and growth-poised Jeep division.

Is a Chinese-Italian-American automaker in the works? Will the buck one day stop in Beijing or Shanghai, instead of at the desks of Auburn Hills executives? Hardly, says Marchionne. No one wants to dance with FCA.

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Automakers Bolt From the Gates With Post-Harvey Discounts

There was quite a debate occurring in TTAC’s private Slack channel yesterday — a conversation sparked by knowledge of a new discount from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles extended to those who lost insured vehicles in Hurricane Harvey.

The timing of the offer — CarsDirect claims the deal was valid as of August 28th, even as images and video of the waterborne and helicopter rescues of Houston-area residents filled television screens and social media — raised an eyebrow. How soon is too soon? It would seem the main concerns of impacted residents over the past couple of days included finding food and shelter, reconnecting with loved ones, and perhaps picking up the pieces in both flood- and wind-damaged communities. Not shopping for a new vehicle online.

The nature of the offer sparked further debate. Affected residents in certain Texas and Louisiana counties can show a copy of their insurance claim form to receive $500 off the purchase or lease of a new FCA vehicle, certain models (like the Jeep Wrangler, Chrysler 200, SRT models, and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio) not included. Buyers can combine the offer with other applicable discounts.

$500 off that new Grand Cherokee? Whoo-wee, you might say. At what dollar amount does a post-disaster offer change from feeling like an opportunistic sales grab and more like a gesture of kind-hearted humanitarian assistance? Or is this just cynical thinking — should we regard any offer as a sign of generosity? It’s certainly not a new practice for any automaker. On and on it went.

Of course, any conclusion comes down to the individual. But this morning we heard FCA isn’t alone in offering deals to Harvey victims.

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The 2018 Honda Odyssey Just Lost a Minivan Comparison Test (*Shock Horror Gasp*)

It was quicker, quieter, more fuel efficient, and less expensive, but the all-new 2018 Honda Odyssey failed to win its first Car and Driver minivan comparison test.

The fifth-gen Odyssey is also the newest minivan redesign. The Toyota Sienna was updated for 2017 with a new powertrain but remains in large part the same minivan that arrived for the 2011 model year. The first Chrysler Pacifica minivan — aka the second Chrysler Pacifica — has been on sale for nearly a year and a half. The Kia Sedona, having lost its previous Car and Driver comparison test, was not deemed eligible for the test. Likewise, the Dodge Grand Caravan, while currently America’s top-selling minivan, was rendered ineligible by past performance.

With only three minivans in the test, all upper-crust examples of their specific nameplates, each contender finished on the platform. But lofty expectations for the all-new Odyssey failed to come to fruition, and the segment progenitor’s party trick produced a solid victory.

Stow’N’Go isn’t the only differentiator, however.

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Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen in Talks About Joint Truck and Van Production: Report

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the manufacturer currently at the center of rampant speculation over a possible Chinese buyout and a spin-off of its Italian luxury brands, is reportedly in early talks with Volkswagen over the joint production of certain light utility vehicles.

Volkswagen, which has made crystal clear it wants nothing to do with a merger, might have products the Italian-American automaker could find beneficial. Despite the awkward back-and-forth between FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne and VW Group chief Matthias Müller earlier this year, the German automaker didn’t rule out discussions with FCA.

According to a source close to the issue, the discussions include future versions of VW’s small commercial van and, interestingly, a midsize pickup truck.

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'Fat, Dumb and Happy': Fourth Executive Charged as Feds Dish on UAW-FCA Conspiracy

Federal prosecutors charged a fourth player in the widening United Auto Workers-Fiat Chrysler Automobiles corruption scandal on Friday, providing a clearer picture of how the years-long conspiracy went down.

Virdell King, a former senior UAW official and the first black woman to head a UAW-FCA local, now faces the same charges as three others indicted in the $4.5 million money-funnelling scheme. King, who retired in 2016, served on the board of the scandal-plagued UAW-Chrysler National Training Center — a facility prosecutors claim acted as a money pit for the enrichment of FCA and UAW execs.

In a document filed in U.S. District court in Detroit yesterday, prosecutors allege former FCA vice president Alphons Iacobelli opened the cash taps to UAW brass in an attempt to bribe them into taking “company-friendly positions.” The training center’s funds, earmarked for autoworkers, served as the bank. NTC credit cards apparently made making the lavish purchases a breeze.

“If you see something you want, feel free to buy it,” Iacobelli said, according to the court filing.

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FCA Losing Potential Dance Partners, Foreign and Domestic

First it was Geely. Then Dongfeng. Now add Guangzhou Automobile Group to the list of Chinese automakers that have denied interest in acquiring Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).

FCA has seemingly been seeking a dance partner for a merger or acquisition for a year or two now, and the company’s stock rose earlier this week when Automotive News reported that a “well-known Chinese automaker” had made an offer to acquire FCA. The company has a market value close to $20 billion. Automotive News reported that the offer was rejected for not being enough.

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High-end Shotgun, Designer Purses Among the Latest Items ID'd in UAW-FCA Spending Scandal

On the surface, the UAW-Chrysler National Training center is a facility offering a helping hand to blue-collar workers looking to improve their employability. But the widening spending scandal involving former top brass at both the union and automaker has exposed a previously unknown use for the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-funded NTC: a trough of cash at which to gorge oneself.

Two weeks after former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles financial analyst Jerome Durden, indicted for funnelling $4.5 million in training center funds to other execs, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States, the scandal has spread to existing execs.

The Detroit News reports current United Auto Workers Vice President Norwood Jewell (seen above, on left) became the recipient of some of those funds in the form of a high-powered gift: a $2,180 shotgun.

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Chinese Automakers Are Sweet and Sour on Fiat Chrysler Ownership

After a bombshell report stated multiple Chinese automakers are courting Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the interests of a buyout, the country’s most well known manufacturer says it wasn’t the one making an offer.

Geely Automotive, an unknown entity until its parent holding company’s 2010 purchase of Ford castoff Volvo Cars, claims it isn’t planning a takeover of the Italian-American automaker. However, it’s not like Geely’s parent company doesn’t have deep pockets. Surely there’s roughly $20 billion in clanky bits somewhere in those trousers.

Still, a source claims Zhejiang Geely Holding Group did hold preliminary talks with FCA late last year.

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Rare Rides: The Crazy 1998 MSV, an RV That Time Forgot

Look at the large creature before you. A fiberglass cacophony of components from various manufacturer parts bins, known as the MSV. Initially, I thought the short acronym could only mean My Special Van, but those letters actually represent the company behind this beast: Mauck Specialty Vehicles.

Hop in the back, and we’ll embark on a voyage to… recreation.

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Fiat Chrysler Alleged to Have Multiple Chinese Suitors

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has been hoping to sell the company to the right kind of buyer for a while now. But, with no serious contenders, FCA has been forced to trudge onward into the future without a bonafide suitor.

That’s rumored to have changed, as numerous sources are claiming Chinese automakers have taken an interest in the Italian-American company. However, whether these are potential one-night stands or a serious courtship remains unknown. Marchionne has previously specified he only wants to see FCA enter into the warm embrace of an established automaker and, while China has them, some would be better partners than others.

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Fiat Chrysler Files 'Angel' Trademark for Passenger Vehicles

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the term “Angel.” Submitted on July 17th, the name would be applicable to FCA-branded vehicles, specifically passenger automobiles, their structural parts, badges, and trim.

Is this to be a special edition Dodge SRT Demon emblazoned with blinding white bodywork or a electric economy car named to poke fun at the beastly coupe? Either way, FCA could certainly use something angelic in its lineup, because the heavenly Pacifica can’t be left to do all the heavy lifting.

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QOTD: What's the Biggest Piece of Crap From the Year of Your Birth?

Earlier this week in his Question of the Day, Matthew Guy asked everyone to share a favorite vehicle from their year of birth. An interesting walk through history ensued in the days following, and I encourage each of you to head there and read through the comments if you haven’t done so already. You’ve probably already guessed from the title above where I’m going with this particular question.

Today’s inquiry is all about the worst, steamiest pile of junk on sale the year you were born. Let’s get down and dirty.

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Picture Time: Vintage American Luxury From Keeneland Concours

The other weekend, I traveled down to the rolling green acres of Kentucky for the annual Keeneland Concours event. There was a wide selection of vehicles at the show, and I love taking pictures.

Read on if you’re ready for some vintage American luxury.

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Fiat Chrysler Thinks Americans Outside of California Don't Know What the Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid Is

It’s a fact that California contains half of the country’s electric vehicles and a solid chunk of America’s hybrids, but that doesn’t necessarily mean residents of the other 49 states can’t tell a plug-in hybrid from a turnip.

As all-electric range grows, plug-in hybrids have begun eclipsing conventional hybrids in the U.S. marketplace, enticing buyers with the prospect of leaving the gas engine shut off (potentially) for the whole commute. After hopping on the green bandwagon with its Pacifica Hybrid, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was able to boast of having the only plug-in minivan in North America.

Only, it won’t boast about the “plug-in” part anywhere except California. Nope, you won’t hear the company call it a plug-in in New York City, or Seattle, or Chicago. Not in Vermont or Georgia, either. Apparently those people just can’t handle it.

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  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.