Honda Jumps to #4 in US Auto Sales

Friday December 11th, 2009 at 1:1212 PM
Posted by: michael.leroy

honda fiat chrysler logo
Honda laps a broken down Chrysler to become No. 4 in US auto sales

Honda, the company that got its start selling mopeds, has replaced Fiat-Chrysler as the No. 4 automaker in the US.

If you think Honda gained the No. 4 spot by selling a few extra Civics from the cash for clunkers program, think again. The Japanese automaker has sold over 1 million cars this year and has crushed Fiat-Chrysler with a sales lead of 200,000. Last year, Chrysler outsold Honda by 25,000 cars.

Fiat-Chrysler has insisted that this is just a temporary setback and they will regain lost ground after their new products hit the US market. Honda is going to stay at No. 4 for the time being because it’s going to take years to fix Chrysler.

Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat-Chrysler, announced last month a five-year plan to restructure the company. Deadweight like the PT Cruiser has been axed, but its replacement may not come until 2012.

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Fewer Dealer Cuts For GM and Chrysler

Thursday November 5th, 2009 at 1:1111 PM
Posted by: tonyb

GM Chrysler

Look, it’s even more good news out of Detroit. What with Ford actually making a profit, it looks like all the doom and gloom about the number of dealers set to be shuttered might have been estimated on the high side.

At least that’s the case if you believe David Cole, who is Chairman of the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research. Cole told federal investigators that he thought General Motor’s and Chrysler’s projected dealership cuts will reduce market share in small to mid-sized markets. Cole summed it up by saying, “These cuts didn’t make any sense to me.”

David Cole cautioned the investigators that he has no research expertise or experience working directly with dealerships, and that he was asked to come speak only after he sent a letter to the Obama administration’s auto task force earlier this month stating his case for fewer dealership terminations. Although Chairman Cole did agree that terminations in larger metropolitan areas were in fact justified, he made the case that the automakers would be harming their historical stronghold in rural areas as well as modest-sized markets with many of the planned dealership terminations.

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Dodge Ram Hybrid Coming In 2010

Wednesday October 28th, 2009 at 9:1010 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Hybrid Two-Mode HEMI

You can call this a good news/bad news sort of thing. The bad news is that Chrysler’s two-mode hybrid joint development program has been disbanded, and the good news is that the hybrid Ram pickup is coming in 2010.

The joint development program, which was a very big deal for a while, was created several years ago between Chrysler, General Motors, Daimler, and BMW to work out a two-mode hybrid system for light duty vehicles, is now effectively over. The four automakers involved have either launched or are about to introduce versions of the two-mode hybrid system, so the program is being wound down and the engineering office will be closed by the end of this year.

But the Ram pickup hybrid should be in dealerships by 2010.

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Fiat May Have Technology to Save Chrysler

Friday July 3rd, 2009 at 7:77 AM
Posted by: m35man

Fiat 500

Rinaldo Rinolfi may just have something up his sleeve to make Fiat SpA’s partnership with Chrysler Group LLC work.

The 62-year-old engineer, who designed the Fiat diesel engine in the 1990s that became an industry standard and powers some of Europe’s most energy-efficient cars, has a new invention he says will cut fuel consumption by at least 10 percent. His work is at the heart of the Fiat technology that Chrysler said was worth $10 billion when they formed their alliance.

“We needed to do something radical with the gasoline engine,” Rinolfi said in an interview at Fiat’s research center in the northern city of Turin, the company’s headquarters.

Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne, seeking to turn around Chrysler after two previous owners failed, has engineers flying between Detroit and Italy every other week on the project as Fiat prepares to offer models that meet stricter consumption and emissions levels required by President Barack Obama.

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Dodge To Reopen Viper Factory First

Tuesday June 23rd, 2009 at 7:66 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Dodge Viper

Well that was quick. Chrysler, restructuring everything down to the last nut, bolt and pencil during their bankruptcy has announced that the first of their idled plants to be reopened will be the factory that builds the Viper.

It’s an interesting move, and one that is sure to please performance car enthusiasts the world over, and seems to run counter to the rumors that Dodge is looking to sell off the Viper brand the way General Motors sold off Saturn and Hummer. The other part of that rumor was if Chrysler couldn’t unload the Viper marque, it would go the way of Pontiac (and AMC and DeSoto, et al).

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A Brand New Day for Chrylser

Friday June 12th, 2009 at 7:66 AM
Posted by: m35man

Sergio MarchionneChrysler Group LLC employees officially met the new boss earlier this week–and he’s not anything like the old boss – which is probably a very good thing, indeed. Chrysler is now run by Fiat, and the first item on the new agenda is profitability—something the old bosses didn’t seem to be all that concerned about.

In his first day on the job, CEO Sergio Marchionne announced sweeping changes including his senior management team and a reorganization that will force every brand to be profitable on its own.

This is the age of bailouts and acquisitions. And a bailout is a weird thing, because it’s a happy moment, yet so many questions arise. Will it be a success? Whose heads will roll? Who will get hired to turn things around? It represents a new beginning, but one burning question keeps coming up—will it be better this time or will the mistakes of the past repeat themselves?

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Fiat & Chrysler: A Match or a Mistake?

Thursday May 28th, 2009 at 9:55 AM
Posted by: m35man

Fiat Chrysler

The future for Chrysler LLC remains unknown after a hearing to sell its assets to a group headed by Fiat SpA ended late Wednesday evening without resolution.

During testimony in a packed Manhattan courtroom Wednesday, the value of the Auburn Hills automaker was central to arguments heard in U.S. bankruptcy court here. Lawyers for Chrysler said the sale of the assets was critical to the company’s future and that without approval by June 15, it would result in the liquidation of the company.

How will this play out? Will Fiat get what it wants? I believe they will, primarily because they seem to be the only company willing to take on Chrysler. Sure, Fiat will end up getting a lot of concessions. But, that’s what you get when you’re buying a ticket on the Titanic. If Fiat is willing to take on this problem child, they deserve some major breaks, the way I see it.

The hearing was to continue today before Judge Arthur Gonzalez. If he approves the sale of the assets, the new company, Chrysler Group LLC, will prepare to start operations to build and sell Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles as soon as possible.

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Fiat Adds 6 CNG Models To Line Up

Wednesday May 13th, 2009 at 10:55 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Fiat Punto

Fiat, Italian auto giant who seems to be slowly absorbing every small-fish automaker they can find seems to be gearing up for building more models fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG). Normally, this wouldn’t make too much of a difference to us over here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. but with Fiat soon to be marching down the aisle with Chrysler, it’s worth paying attention to. CNG is mainly used in fleet vehicles in America. Lots of taxis, lots of cop cars, lots of delivery trucks run on CNG. There has been talk (mainly from oil company shills) that it would better from an infrastructure standpoint to offer more CNG fueling points, than to screw around with stuff like EV charging stations or working on hydrogen fueling. If there were to be more CNG filling stations, that would leave Fiat, and therefore Chrysler, sitting pretty.

In some parts of Europe, CNG is a popular fuel for several automakers. There are already CNG versions of the Grande Punto, Panda, Punto, as well as the Multipla and Doblò available from Fiat, and the Punto and Panda are both expected to form the basis of new small cars for Chrysler.

It’s not that CNG is without its merits. Compressed natural gas offers some advantages over gasoline and diesel as a fuel. It has lower CO2 emissions and emits practically no particulates.

More options are always better.

Source: AutoBlogGreen

Photo from Flickr user Familie Gevaerts

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The Italians Come to the Rescue!

Friday May 8th, 2009 at 11:55 AM
Posted by: m35man

Fiat Chrysler

Let’s hear that old Spaghetti Western theme music. You know, from those Clint Eastwood films like “Hang ‘Em High” and “For A Few Dollars More”. Because the Italians are coming to the rescue, in the form of automaker Fiat–here to save the day for Chrysler!

It was announced today that Fiat SpA Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne plans to run Chrysler LLC after the Auburn Hills automaker emerges from bankruptcy, a company source confirmed.  Chrysler Chairman and CEO Robert Nardelli said that he would step down.

Marchionne has discussed his plan to take over as Chrysler CEO with officials from the U.S. Treasury, which will have the biggest presence, at least initially, on the board of a new company comprising Chrysler assets.

Marchionne, who became Fiat’s chief executive in 2004 and returned the struggling Italian automaker to profit, wants to combine Fiat’s auto business and its prospective interest in Chrysler with GM Europe’s operations, which include the Opel, Vauxhall and Saab brands.

GM declined to comment on the negotiations with Fiat.

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Moms Speak Out About Safest Cars

Thursday May 7th, 2009 at 7:55 AM
Posted by: m35man

In honor of Mother’s Day (it’s this Sunday, so don’t forget people) I thought I’d do a mom-related car posting. In my search, I found a great Web site called motherproof.com. Let’s face it, mothers do a lot of driving. A group of women on motherproof.com take a look at the vehicles, road-test them for two weeks at a time, and then evaluate them based on performance and values. It’s a great idea. Who knows more about car safety than mothers do?

“We load the kids in, test out the latch connectors and the car seats, and the cargo space, and to really ensure that the car that we’re driving would really be a perfect vehicle for the people who visit our website,” said Sara Lacey, a mom-reviewer.

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