Jeep was responsible for a stunning 55% of Asia-Pacifica Fiat Chrysler sales in the second quarter, according to the company’s financial results. While the group’s sales fell by 20% (by revenue) from the prior year, mostly due to hits in China (27%) and Australia (9%), it did have gains in India (12%) and Japan (2%) which outperformed the market.
Jeep sales are expected to increase in China once domestic production begins and a new dealer channel is set up in coordination with partner GAC. China penalizes imported cars heavily, favoring domestic production — which must be done as a joint venture, since foreign companies are not allowed to own more than half of any production facility in China.
By volume, Fiat sales plummeted in the Asia-Pacific region by a whopping 36%. By comparison, Jeep sales fell 7% and Dodge sales fell 8%. Net revenues were up slightly, ending up at €1.5 billion on 46,000 units — reflecting more gross revenue per unit.
Greg Kwiatkowski, known to many for his restoration of the 200 mph Dodge Charger Daytona, pointed us to the National Film Preservation Foundation’s screening of a Dodge Brothers film from 1917. From a 35mm original film, this video shows how the legendary Dodge Brothers cars were made.
The video was copied at 16 fps from a print preserved by the Academy Film Archive, based on material from the New Zealand Film Archive. It’s an incomplete, silent, 28-minute film. The Foundation wrote that it might be two reels of a three-reel movie distributed to dealerships in 1917, along with projectors. View the film now.
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.
The difference between key vehicles for the two companies is even more pronounced. Every Mopar other than the Dodge Charger and Jeep Grand Cherokee easily outpaced the industry, while every Ford came up short.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
While Fiat Chrysler is unlikely to report profits on the scale achieved by Ford, and the company has to deal with a $70 million fine and $20 million in potential buyback costs, there should be some good news for investors tomorrow.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This Scat Pack Challenger has the 8-speed automatic transmission and stickier-than-stock Nitto drag radial tires, but the Dodge muscle car is otherwise unchanged from the way the factory made it.
That is an awesome time for a car that has a starting price under $40k. It seems to be just a few mods away from 11s in good air.
This video shows Brent Gravel’s 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack laying down a 12.18 quarter mile pass.
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%.
Data Source: Kelley Blue Book
Automakers close the books on July at the end of this week. Results will be reported on Monday, August 3.
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.
2008-12 Dodge Ram 4500 and Dodge Ram 5500 chassis-cabs (made 2/20/07 to 12/22/12)
This relatively minor recall, 13V-527, also covers loss of steering due to the left tie rod breaking.
The number of vehicles actually bought back is likely to be much smaller. Updated with details thanks to Larry V.
The company clarified later today:
FCA US will offer to owners whose vehicles have not yet been remedied, as an alternative remedy [emphasis ours], to repurchase those vehicles at a price equal to the original purchase price less a reasonable allowance for depreciation plus ten percent. However, customers responding to the recall may continue to keep their vehicles and have them repaired in accordance with the original recall.
… repairs have been completed on well over 60% of the subject vehicles, leaving less than two hundred thousand eligible vehicles. … FCA intends that any vehicles repurchased will be remedied and resold.
In addition, FCA US is offering consumer incentives to encourage owners of vehicles subject to the structural reinforcement campaign to participate in the campaign. With respect to the 1993 through 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJs, FCA US is also offering to increase the trade-in allowance to be applied to the purchase of another FCA product, service or parts for those owners of these very old vehicles who would prefer this alternative over the installation of a trailer hitch.
All premiums paid to repurchase vehicles in the three recall campaigns and customer incentives will be applied as credits to the $20 million that FCA US has agreed to spend on industry outreach amounts…
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.
Changes for the 2016 model year are standard Laguna leather, Uconnect 8.4AN with navigation, HD radio, and five years of SiriusXM Travel Link and SiriusXM Traffic on both Charger and Challenger Hellcat.
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. Owners of Jeeps that the NHTSA has said are prone to fires will either be allowed to trade their vehicle in for above its market value, or will be eligible to get a financial incentive to get their vehicle fixed.
Fiat Chrysler will hire an independent monitor approved by the NHTSA to track and report the company’s performance.
The government’s share of the fine is $70 million, the same that Honda paid in January; the additional costs are $20 million to follow the consent order and a possible $15 million more if the monitor discovers more violations.
An official statement noted, “… We are intent on rebuilding our relationship with NHTSA and we embrace the role of public safety advocate.” The company said it planned to find best practices for recalls and to find “obstacles that discourage consumers from responding to recall notices.”
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.
Unlike General Motors, whose shortfalls have caused an alleged 125 deaths, Fiat Chrysler will have to have an independent monitor to audit compliance.
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. In 2011, employees took home $1,500; in 2012, $2,250; in 2013, $2,500; and in 2014, $2,750. (These are averages combining hourly and salaried employees. Starting in 2011, profit sharing was based on North America profits.)
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. However, when you look at more specifications than just horsepower, the results of this drag race shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
The 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2L Hellcat Hemi with 707 horsepower and 650lb-ft of torque, with an 8-speed automatic transmission sending all of that power to the rear wheels of the 4,575lb sedan. This gives the Charger – which is the fastest, the quickest and the most powerful 4-door sedan in the world – a power to weight ratio of 6.47lbs per horsepower. The Hellcat Charger starts around $65,000 and tops out around $70,000.
The modern Nissan GTR has a twin turbocharged 3.8L V6 that sends 545 horsepower and 463lb-ft of torque to all four wheels via a dual clutch automatic transmission, with a curb weight around 3,800lbs. This gives the GTR a power to weight ratio of 6.97lbs per horsepower. The GTR starts at $102,000 and it tops out around $150,000.
While the Hellcat Charger has a slight advantage in its power to weight ratio, but traction plays a big role in a drag race, and the all-wheel drive Nissan has a massive advantage there. The Charger has traction issues well into second gear, whereas the GTR is able to put the power to the ground far more efficiently right off of the line.
On these runs, as well, the Hellcat car ran much slower times than we have seen other cars running, and the ETs turned in by the Nissan supercar are still much slower than many of the Hellcat Challengers – some of which we have featured here on Allpar running in the mid-10s with nothing but sticky tires. There are a great many Hellcat cars at tracks around the USA that would make very short work of a GTR running 11.20s, but in this video, the Nissan owner got ahold of a Hellcat car that is running far slower than the ones we have featured.
So, to the import crowd celebrating because the $102,000 Nissan GTR supercar narrowly beat the $65,000 Dodge Charger Hellcat sedan, congratulations – Japan’s greatest supercar can beat America’s most powerful family sedan in the proper circumstances. In the meantime, Nissan continues to try to build a Maxima “sport sedan” that will keep up with the basic Charger R/T.
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. The vulnerability was in the “UConnect Access” system and was based in part on the sending of the vehicle identification number without any encryption.
The recall affects certain cars and trucks with the 8.4-inch touchscreen stereo among the 2013-2015 Viper and Ram pickups and chassis cabs; 2014-15 Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Durango; and 2015 200, 300, Charger, and Challenger.
The recall does not add anything new, as far as Allpar can tell, to what FCA has already done, but puts additional pressure on customers to have the upgrade done (and, by current law, requires car rental agencies to do the upgrade before they can rent affected cars). Customers will get a USB device to help them update their firmware, or can visit the aforementioned web site to do it.
FCA noted, “The software manipulation addressed by this recall required unique and extensive technical knowledge, prolonged physical access to a subject vehicle and extended periods of time to write code…Customers are urged to acquire the software update. Those with questions or concerns may call the FCA US Customer Care Center at 1-800-853-1403.”
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. However, with the performance gap between Corvette and Viper ever-narrowing, many would argue that the snake has to either get upgrades or end its distinguished career.