FCA whipped Ford in Q2 sales growth

July 29, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

Ford reported its second quarter financials yesterday, and Fiat Chrysler reports them tomorrow. While Ford impressed Wall Street with record profits and its best financial statement since the turn of the century, its performance on US dealer lots was lackluster, especially compared to Fiat Chrysler.

FCA’s sales volume grew by 5.9% in the second quarter of 2015. Chrysler brands rose by 6.6%, twice the rate of the total market.

Ford, on the other hand, grew at just over half the industry rate and even that took a double-digit improvement in Lincoln sales. While the industry grew by 3.3%, the Ford brand only grew by 1.3%.

In short, FCA US gained market share; Ford lost it.

Sales Volume Market Share Q2/2014 Q2/2015 Change Q2/2014 Q2/2015 Change FCA US 544,159 576,289 5.9% 12.31% 12.62% 0.31% Chrysler Brands 530,612 565,426 6.6% 12.00% 12.38% 0.38% Chrysler 68,585 88,315 28.8% 1.55% 1.93% 0.38% Dodge 161,700 133,631 -17.4% 3.66% 2.93% -0.73% Jeep 186,963 222,940 19.2% 4.23% 4.88% 0.65% Ram 113,364 120,540 6.3% 2.56% 2.64% 0.08% Fiat/Alfa 13,547 10,863 -19.8% 0.31% 0.24% -0.07% Ford 685,097 696,419 1.7% 15.50% 15.25% -0.25% Ford 662,178 670,785 1.3% 14.98% 14.69% -0.29% Lincoln 22,919 25,634 11.8% 0.52% 0.56% 0.04% Industry 4,420,710 4,566,666 3.3% N/A N/A N/A

The difference between key vehicles for the two companies is even more pronounced. (...) →

Georgia judge slashes Jeep award

July 29, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

Reuters reported that judge J. Kevin Chason reduced the jury award in the wrongful death suit brought against Fiat Chrysler (FCA) involving a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The judge ruled that the family of 4-year-old Remington Walden, who died in the crash, should receive $30 million for wrongful death and $10 million for pain and suffering, rather than the jury’s award of $120 million for the death and $30 million for pain and suffering.

Chason also denied a motion from FCA for a new trial, calling the evidence presented during the two-week trial “overwhelming.”  FCA spokesman Michael Palese said said the judge’s latest ruling did not address errors in the trial. (...) →

Chasing down rumors: FauxPar begins

July 29, 2015 - by David Zatz

For years, Mopar followers have seen rumors that seem to be without any basis in reality — or are based in misunderstandings or old plans that have been dropped long ago.

Patrick Rall has been following these rumors for some time, and he has a new series called “FauxPar” in which he will go into them, one car at a time. The first one is the return of the ’Cuda in Dodge form, which may have a true origin but… perhaps you should read the first FauxPars segment for the rest. (...) →

FCA badging on new Dodges?

July 28, 2015 - by David Zatz

Brian Williams caught this car with an FCA badge, possibly the first FCA badge ever to be used on a Fiat Chrysler vehicle.

This Dodge Challenger Hellcat has a distinctive new color scheme, using navy stripes over the car and matching navy wheels and red mirror caps and trim around the grille.  Other than that, it is apparently a standard Hellcat underneath. The Hellcat badges were painted matte white to match the car, but instead of having the SRT logo on the grille, it had the FCA logo in the same spot. It’s unclear whether this is a one-off; the FCA badge is highly unusual.
(...) →

Scat Pack back at the track for faster runs

bg scat pack track still 1
July 28, 2015 - by Patrick Rall

Recently, we brought you a video of a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack blasting down the quarter mile in the mid-12-second range. That Challenger is owned by Allpar reader Brent Gravel, and he was back at the track this past weekend to see if he could improve on his previous best time – which he did in a big way.

The weather was hot in Oklahoma, but that didn’t stop Gravel from turning out a stunning new best time for his Challenger. He stopped the clock at 12.183 with a trap speed of 110.18 miles per hour and to pull off this awesome run, his Nitto drag radials hooked hard enough to pull off a show-stopping 1.315 60 foot time. (...) →

More Jeep growth in July?

July 28, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

Kelley Blue Book’s July sales forecast says Jeep will drive Fiat Chrysler to another month of year-over-year growth, which would make 64 consecutive months of growth.  Alec Gutierrez of “KBB” wrote, “Jeep has set monthly records for the past 20 months, and Jeep has grown nearly 40 percent of Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. sales numbers. With the Cherokee more popular than ever, and the increasing availability of the new Renegade, July should be another month of double-digit growth for Jeep.”

FCA’s predicted 4.4% growth would be the strongest of the Detroit automakers and second only to Nissan among the major car companies.

The market continues to play to Jeep’s strong suits: compact and mid-size SUVs and crossovers. Total compact and mid-size SUV sales growth is forecast at about 10.5%: compact SUVs and crossovers are predicted to see growth in the range of 13.4%. (...) →

Update: truck buyback and more

July 27, 2015 - by David Zatz

Earlier, FCA released a statement saying they would buy back trucks due to suspension defects. Not all vehicles in these lists are being bought back — in same cases it affects only certain runs or option groups.

  • 2009 Chrysler Aspen / Dodge Durango (made 1/3/08 to 12/18/08)
  • 2009-12 Dodge Ram 1500 (made 2/27/08 to 6/30/09)
  • 2009-11 Dodge Dakota (made 2/27/07 to 6/30/09)

This group of 278,229 trucks is covered under recall 13V-038; their axle may lock due to the use of an undersized pinion flange, resulting in the loss of steering power.

  • 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 MegaCab 4×4
  • 2008-12 Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 4×4
  • 2008-12 Dodge Ram 3500 RWD chassis cab

This group of 265,057 trucks is covered under recall 13V-529, to replace tie rods that can cause loss of control. (...) →

2016 Hellcats, 2015 orders

July 27, 2015 - by David Zatz

Dodge has good news and bad news for people who ordered a 2015 Hellcat Charger or Challenger that wasn’t built. The bad news is that their order may have been cancelled. The good news is that they will get a discount on a 2016, but they should order it as soon as they can.

Ordering is not yet open for the 2016 Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats, but when it does open, the process will be “streamlined” and, according to Dodge’s Tim Kuniskis, production will be “more than” doubled.

Remaining 2015 orders will be built out; then all unscheduled orders will be cancelled. Dealers will get a 2016 model-year allocation in August, based on past Dodge sales, adjusted based on “dealers’ average historical Dodge SRT Challenger and Charger Hellcat “days on lot” performance.”

Ordering starts in the second week of August with production starting in September. (...) →

Record recall penalty for FCA

July 27, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

FCA US has agreed to a $105 million civil penalty, the largest ever levied by the government, after the company admitted to violating  the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

The fines dwarf those issued to GM and Toyota, partly because of the number of recalls involved. The company was cited in three areas: effective and timely recall remedies, notifications to owners and dealers, and notifications to the NHTSA.

FCA will also have to buy back an estimated 500,000 vehicles and submit to federal oversight for three years. GM escaped the latter, though an estimated 125 people have now died in incidents involving defective ignition-key switches.

Owners who could lose control of their vehicle due to defective suspension components will be able to sell the vehicle back. (...) →

Vettel wins wild race; Beckman, Ranger win with Dodge

July 27, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

Sebastian Vettel cruised to an easy win in the Hungarian Grand Prix, crossing the finish line nearly 16 seconds ahead of Daniil Kvyat.

“It has been a week with a lot of ups and downs and as I said after the race I dedicate this win to Jules (Bianchi) and his family,” Vettel said in a post-race interview. “The race was difficult especially at the end with all the thoughts coming through my mind but for sure I’m very happy with the result. Our race was very strong from the beginning, we had a great start and after that we had great pace and were able to control the race.”

“We dedicate this victory to the memory of Jules Bianchi, a fantastic guy whom we all miss terribly,” said Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne, speaking of the young Ferrari Academy driver who died last week from injuries suffered in an October racing accident in Japan. (...) →

Record fines coming?

July 26, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

Detroit News reported that Fiat Chrysler will get hit with a record-making $105 million fine, and will have to repurchase some vehicles, due to sloppy treatment of recalls.

Citing an unnamed source, the News and Wall Street Journal wrote that the settlement between the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) and FCA US LLC could be announced as soon as tomorrow.

The agency could have levied fines of up to $700 million over the 23 recalls it claims were not handled properly. FCA’s Scott Kunselman admitted that FCA’s behavior was “sloppy.”

As is typical in such settlements, Fiat Chrysler will likely have to pay only a portion of the fine. The remainder may be forgiven if the company fulfills its end of the deal. (...) →

Busy racing weekend

July 25, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

ARCA: With Tom Hessert and Kyle Weatherman back in the Cunningham Motorsports Fords for the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200, the top Dodge finisher was Chase Briscoe in the No. 72 Cunningham Motorsports car.

Briscoe finished 10th in the race that ran late Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. He was the only Dodge driver to finish on the lead lap.

Bo LeMastus, driving the No. 42 Crosley Brands/T&T Construction/Glad Precision Dodge,was 17th. He was six laps off the lead at the end of the event.

Hessert, who has been switching from Dodge to Ford all season, is now in second place in the point standings. LeMastus is seventh.

Canadian Tire Series: The Lucas Oil National 250 runs Saturday at Autodrome St-Eustache in Quebec. (...) →

Chrysler Is Half Its Pre-Daimler Size

July 25, 2015 - by David Zatz

FCA US, what remains of the former Chrysler Corporation, is not just less profitable than in 1998, when Chrysler was the darling of the worldwide auto industry; it also employs around half as many people.

Figures released yesterday show that employment went plummeting downwards from 2000 to 2009, for both UAW hourly and UAW salaried employees (non-union employees were not mentioned). 2009, the year Fiat took over, was the turning point, with employment gaining for both hourly (from 21,823 to 36,643 people) and salaried (from 2,580 to 3,377) people.

The 2015 figure is from June; other figures are from the end of the year.

Profit sharing is higher now than at any time since Daimler replaced the old Chrysler management. Employees got $4,300 to $8,100 from 1993 to 1999; then either nothing or small amounts every year through 2010, the highest (by far) being $1,500 in 2004.  (...) →

Is Nissan GTR Beating Hellcat Charger a Big Deal?

hellcat gtr 2
July 24, 2015 - by Patrick Rall

A video shows a Nissan GTR beating a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in a pair of quarter mile drag races. Many of the outlets which have covered this video have proclaimed this video as a huge shot to the ego of the Hellcat Charger, poking fun at the 707hp sedan losing to the 545hp supercar.

Regardless of the output of the engine, the fact that a supercar beat a large family sedan isn’t anywhere near as big of a deal as the critics would like to have us believe.

Many of the Hellcat haters posted the video below on their blog and pointed out that the Hellcat Charger has 707 horsepower while the Nissan GTR has just 545 horsepower. From there, they make a huge deal of the GTR beating the Charger in the quarter mile, as if there are no other factors involved in a drag race other than power and that, in losing to the Nissan, the big Dodge sedan has been mortally embarrassed. (...) →

UConnect Fix is Now a Recall

July 24, 2015 - by David Zatz

Several days after a story in Wired showed that two highly skilled security researchers were able to control a Jeep Cherokee from ten miles away, FCA US is conducting a recall to upgrade 1.4 million vehicles with vulnerable systems.

The researchers stated in the article that most current systems from different automakers are hackable. In the past they broke into a Ford and a Toyota.

FCA has already issued new firmware which allows owners to prevent issues in the near term, and has worked with Sprint to increase network security.  The firmware upgrade alone (see instructions on installing it) blocks the hack, according to FCA.

So far, the only known instance of a vehicle takeover was done by the “white hat” security researchers, solely to demonstrate the vulnerability of automotive systems in general.  (...) →

Is This The Fiat 124 Abarth?

July 24, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

Abarth will create an “extreme” version of the Fiat 124 Spider that’s coming to the U.S. next year, according to Fiat brand chief Alfredo Altavilla. Speaking with British magazine Auto Express, Mr. Altavilla said there will be two 124 Spiders, asking, “You want performance?”

Instead of simply tweaking existing Fiat models, Mr. Altavilla sees cars created in the spirit of Abarth 695 Biposto (“two-seater” in Italian), a 187-horsepower, 2200-pound street-legal racer that could go from 0-62 mph in under six seconds. Based on the Fiat 500, it was called the Biposto because the rear seats were removed to reduce weight.

“What I wanted to do with Biposto was mark a very clear cut with the past. Abarth is all about performance and so I’ve told my team to stop working on colors and trims. (...) →

Could Mitsubishi’s Exit Be an Entry for FCA?

July 24, 2015 - by Bill Cawthon

According to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review, Mitsubishi will close its U.S. assembly plant in Illinois and try to find a buyer as well as work for its employees there.

The plant once produced a variety of vehicles for Mitsubishi and Chrysler, but now only makes the Outlander Sport.

Don Swearingen, the executive vice president of Mitsubishi Motors North America, told Ward’s Auto last month that a decision will come this year. Mitsubishi has already ended manufacturing in Europe and Australia and is said to be focusing on  Asia.

The company’s home factory is in Nagoya, Japan, and it has three plants in Thailand, a former Ford plant in the Philippines, and a new plant in Indonesia under construction.  (...) →

Viper Near End of Life?

July 23, 2015 - by David Zatz

According to Auto Forecast Solutions, Viper production will end in August 2017, said John McElroy in today’s AutoLine report. The problem, according to Mr. McElroy, is slow sales, despite the “one of one” program and a $15,000 price cut, coupled with not wanting to spend the cash to develop a next-generation Viper.

The Viper does not seem to still be getting enough press and enthusiast attention needed to justify further investment, either, despite a new ACR version. There had been rumors of upgrades for 2016-17, but these may not have panned out.

Analysts have been wrong before — too often to mention — and it’s possible that something else is in the works. Even if Conner Avenue is abandoned, there are numerous other facilities that could be set up for limited production of the Viper — and the whole thing could be outsourced to a specialty automaker, as well. (...) →

Canadians Need Not Fear New UConnect Hack

July 23, 2015 - by David Zatz

Canadians are immune to the recent hack of Fiat Chrysler vehicles publicized in a recent Wired article, according to a company spokesman.

The reason is simple: they do not have the UConnect Access service which is to blame for the vulnerability. The service, provided by Sprint, sent some information, including vehicle ID numbers, in “cleartext” — without encryption. This hole has been fixed in a security update (see our instructions for installing it).

Canadians, and those in other areas that are not affected by the flaw yet, should still take proactive action, if nothing else then because the service may be launched elsewhere in the future. (...) →

Challenger Drag Packs Ready for Ordering

July 23, 2015 - by David Zatz

The 2016 Dodge / Mopar Challenger Drag Pak is now available for ordering. The cost for the race-only car is $99,426 for the 426 and $109,354 for the supercharged 354 V8.

Designed for the Sportsman class, both cars are race-ready, and are differentiated by graphics scheme as well as engine.

They can cover the first 60 feet in just over a second, and do the quarter mile consistently in the eight-second range, and end up at 150 mph.

The supercharged engine (blue stripes) uses a cast iron block with an aluminum cylinder head, a forged steel crankshaft, and a special calibration. The 426 (black stripes) uses an aluminum block and head and forged steel crankshaft.

The 2016 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak race car lets Mopar racers  compete more effectively with owners of the Chevrolet COPO Camaro and the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet.   (...) →

FauxPar: Return of the Barracuda

1987-1996 Dodge Dakota pickup trucks

Pinner: Chrysler-based ambulances

Meet the Staff

Staff details/contacts

David Zatz, Publisher

Bill Cawthon

Patrick Rall

Dan Bennett

Covering Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and other cars and trucks

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