Chrysler Plant Closings Mean End Of Viper

Tuesday May 5th, 2009 at 9:55 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Well, that’s that then. Chrysler’s troubles, which are hopefully being resolved, have, in the meantime, meant mass plant closings and temporary idling for many workers. Another casualty, it would seem, would be the Viper, Chrysler’s impressive sports car.

The Viper has been the only American car to seriously challenge the Corvette for sports car supremacy. Indeed, in the history of American car manufacturing, this country has been woefully underrepresented in the sports car world. Besides the Vette and the Viper, there have been precious few American sports cars. Sure, there have been sporty cars, things like early T-Birds and the Kaiser Darrin, and an argument could be made for the first Cobras, but those were basically an English chassis with an American V8 crammed under the bonnet, not exactly a home grown sports car. It would seem that collectively we decided to leave high performance two seaters to the Europeans (and later the Japanese) and more’s the pity because of it.

Chrysler has made noises about selling the Viper line to any other carmaker that is interested, but so far, nobody has popped up. Chrysler was planning to end Viper production before 2011, so it’s not like this sad news comes as a total surprise, it’s just a little sooner than we thought the end would come.

Source: LeftLaneNews

Photo from Flickr user ANATOLI AXELROD

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VW Routan Minivan Reportedly Canceled

Wednesday April 29th, 2009 at 9:44 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Here’s some news that’s not all that surprising, Volkswagen’s Routan minivan, essentially a rebadged Chrysler minivan, is on the chopping block. You could pretty much see this coming from a mile away, almost before the Routan was rolled out. Rather than design and build their own minivan (a class of car that VW invented with the Type II way back when) VW decided that a better route was to take Dodge’s Caravan, change the trim here & there, add a VW badge and give it an Euro-sounding name. The Routan was built alongside its Chrysler Corp. counterparts at Chrysler’s Windsor, Ontario, plant until last December, when VW asked Chrysler to stop production. Apparently, not a single Routan has rolled off the assembly line since, and there are no immediate plans to resume production according to sources.

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Viva Italia! Will Fiat Save the Day for Chrysler?

Monday March 9th, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Posted by: m35man

Sergio Marchionne

Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat SpA told the White House auto task force last week that the Italian automaker could help Chrysler LLC recover and repay the billions it is borrowing from the government.

Like the old Spaghetti Westerns of the ‘60s (many starring Clint Eastwood) the Italians ride in to save the day! Hooray! Bravo! American shortsightedness got Chrysler into this mess, and Italian ingenuity is going to get them out of it. It IS a small world after all!

I’m half Italian, so I’m biased, but I have to believe that this is a great move for Chrysler or they wouldn’t be doing it. It’s good news for bloggers too. With so many negative stories out there in the automotive news world right now, this is a positive note.

It’s also a very smart move by Fiat. They won’t have to pay a single dime out of pocket, while attaining 35% of Chrysler. What they will bring to the table is their cutting-edge technology, wise business practices (and hopefully a nice bottle of Chianti and a little antipasti).

One thing you have to say about the opportunistic Italians is that they’re smart. You notice they’re not trying to help GM, are they? (How do you say “bankruptcy” in Italian?) They see something in Chrysler that they believe will lead to the carmaker’s eventual recovery and long-term success. And that’s very good news.

Read the story that appeared in the Detroit News after the jump:

(Continued on page 2)

page 1 page 2

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Dodge Hornet May Still Be Alive

Tuesday February 3rd, 2009 at 9:22 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Dodge Hornet conceptHey, remember the Dodge Hornet? It was this smallish, hot-hatch design that Chrysler said was going to be a serious player in the small car/fun to drive category?

Yeah, that guy. Anyway, when the financial stuff hit the fan a few months back, and Chrysler went from looking shaky to bad to worse, the Dodge Hornet was mentioned as being one of the programs destined for the “never-was” file.

Well, turns out that all is not lost, and the Hornet might be back on the production schedule.

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7 Fiats headed to the U.S.

Wednesday January 28th, 2009 at 9:11 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Fiat 500On the heals of the Fiat/Chrysler quasi-merger, word is out about which products will be coming to the U.S.

According to Automotive News, the companies will bring seven new vehicles to the U.S. market. Four wearing badges from a division of Chrysler, and three as Fiats or Alfa-Romeos. The vehicles will be built in North American Chrysler plants and sold through Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep dealers.

Here’s what Chrysler gets:

The A-Class: the successful 500 mini-car.

The B-Class: the wide-eyed subcompact from Alfa-Romeo, called the MiTo.

The C-class/D-class: Two vehicles from Fiat’s up coming C-Evo platform. One is a possible replacement for the unloved Dodge Avenger/Chrysler Sebring duo and also the next generation of the Alf-Romeo 147 hatchback.

At the moment, this is still largely speculation. The FEC has to approve the deal, and there’s always safety and emissions hoops to jump through, but nothing here seems to be too fanciful or out of line. So, pretty soon, we could see some fun and interesting cars from Italy in Chrysler showrooms.

Source: Edmunds

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Fiat says "buono giorno" to Chrsyler

Thursday January 22nd, 2009 at 4:11 PM
Posted by: m35man

Fiat badgeFiat is purchasing a 35% stake in Chrysler as its private equity owner Cerberus attempts to save the troubled US car manufacturer. The Italians are stepping up to help because they see great potential in Chrysler and believe that the United States car market will rebound. Maybe some of the Italian magic will rub off on Chrysler and help them get back to the coveted position they inhabited for so long.

It’s a win-win situation for both companies. Fiat has been chomping at the bit to expand into U.S. markets more aggressively and Chrysler covets Fiat’s production expertise and high-tech innovative approach. Fiat will direct Chrysler on how to make smaller, greener vehicles and Chrysler will learn how to cut costs in manufacturing. At least that’s the idea. Hopefully in the end, President Obama will also be more receptive to the idea of helping the carmaker out, knowing that they’re now partially owned and partnering with a respected name like Fiat.

The Italians have long been fans of the United States and have given us many great things—including gelato, panini sandwiches, carpaccio and the actress Sophia Loren — not to mention Lamborghini, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Lancia – all owned by the aforementioned Fiat, by the way. Fiat is a smart company. This is not a Mother Teresa charity gesture by any means. The Italian carmaker is banking on a Chrysler comeback and it’s all about the money, no doubt.

I know several parts managers at Chrysler dealerships, and they’re ecstatic about the acquisition. “We need some good news right about now,” said an unnamed source. “This is good for the company, but one of the best things is that it will give Chrysler employees a little more faith and confidence. We’ve been around a long time and this is an indication we’re not going anywhere.

Article originally posted in the Wall Street Journal after the jump:

page 1 page 2

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Three Chrysler EVs To Detroit Auto Show

Wednesday January 7th, 2009 at 9:11 AM
Posted by: tonyb

Chrysler EVGoing down swinging, or not dead yet? One or the other (or something I missed) Chrysler will bring three of its EV concepts to the upcoming North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) to make plain the fact that they’re still in this game, and don;t count them out.

Before the proverbial stuff hit the fan in front of congress, Chrysler had a little dog & pony show concerning the possible future of Electric Vehicles (EV) coming from the company. Some of them looked to be quite smart and far along, and Chrysler is looking to bring those cars to the forefront of everyones attention, and (hopefully) put the recent past and financial nastiness out of everyones mind.

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Major Milestone for Chrysler Minivan

Monday January 5th, 2009 at 2:11 PM
Posted by: m35man

Chrysler minivansChrysler LLC recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the minivan, a vehicle they’re credited with creating a quarter century ago. Since 1983, Chrysler has sold more than 12 million minivans worldwide. The automaker was the first to market the vehicle and leads the world in minivan innovation, with more than 65 minivan-first features. Chrysler and Dodge minivans make up more than 40% of the U.S. minivan market.

Designed for “baby boomers”, Chrysler designers and engineers realized the limitations of the full-sized van and in 1977 began developing a vehicle that would fulfill the needs of young, growing families and be a “family room on wheels.” It needed to be fuel-efficient, easy to get in and out of and family friendly. What they came up with was a flat-load floor plan with the entire powertrain in front of the passenger compartment. Chrysler engineers created a platform offering the driver a tall perspective, while providing easy entry and exit.

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It’s Fun To Be A Top Dealer For Chrysler!

Wednesday December 31st, 2008 at 1:1212 PM
Posted by: goofshow

It’s fun to be a hotshot dealer for a major car corporation. All year long you push hard to be the top salesman so your company will award you with such perks as a free trip to Mexico to show their appreciation for your had work and commitment to the company. That is if you work for Chrysler. Yes, for the first time in decades—that’s right DECADES—Chrysler has cancelled their annual reward meeting for top-performing dealers. The annual pat-on-the-back was going to be held in March and would have included an all-expenses paid trip to the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico. Last year’s meeting was held at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla., with 300 dealers enjoying the perks of a job well done. The canceling of this year’s trip is to cut costs and give time to shift around the deck chairs on the auto industry Titanic.

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Chrysler Still In NASCAR, But With Less Money

Monday December 29th, 2008 at 9:1212 AM
Posted by: tonyb

NASCARWell, this is good news … isn’t it?

Sure, it’s good news for race fans, that being that Chrysler will still have a factory interest in NASCAR racing for the ’09 season, but it will be at a reduced level than in ’08. That all makes sense, given that Chrysler is hanging on by the skin of it’s corporate teeth, and it still holds up the supposition that racing is a worthwhile endeavor.

However, how will this decision be seen by the public at large?

A good portion of the car buying public, the people that are into cars like you and me won’t see it as that big a deal. If you can afford to go racing, then you go. It’s a simple equation. A lot of other people, however, see racing, all racing, as a frivolous endeavor. They don’t see the R & D benefit to racing, and a lot of people don’t see it as being a fun activity, either to watch, or participate in.

These are, most likely, the same people, that have never thought of “going for a drive” as something to do for its own sake. These are, most likely, the same people, that see their cars as little more than appliances (if that). A car to these people is the appliance that takes them from point A to point B, much a like a toaster is the appliance that heats and partially chars their Wonder “bread”

I pity them.

Source: AutoBlog

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