Posts Tagged ‘Chrysler’

Chrysler Wants Original Vipers Destroyed

March 10th, 2014
1992 Dodge Viper Coupe prototype

Heading to the crusher

I checked my phone after the familiar buzz in my pocket. With the swipe of my thumb, the sexy rear end of an SRT Viper popped up in my text messages.

My lovely girlfriend, on her way home from work, sent the text along with a brief message asking about the car. That quick text led to a lengthy conversation about the Viper, why it’s no longer called a Dodge, and the history of the devastatingly powerful car.

Being a Porsche purist, she was only mildly impressed, but left our talk with a healthy dose of respect for the brute. Enough respect, anyway, to shed a tiny tear when we read last night that Chrysler has ordered the destruction of up to 93 vintage Vipers.

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Cars Coming Soon: Diesel-Powered Chrysler 200 and 300?

April 4th, 2013

2013 Chrysler 300

I’ve been a card-carrying member of the diesel fan club for many years. The benefits of longevity and fuel economy speak for themselves, but the advancement of gasoline engines has significantly narrowed the gap in recent years.

The average cost of diesel fuel remains well above that of regular unleaded, and diesel cars typically cost much more than the same model powered by a gasoline engine. So have oil burners lost their edge? Chrysler doesn’t think so, as its turbodiesel V6 could start showing up in more models.

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Chrysler Muddies Up Brand Image with Gift Registry

February 8th, 2013
2013 Dodge Dart

Can't afford one? Have someone buy it for you

The Internet is a crazy place.

Where else can someone go with the intent of researching auto-industry news and end up instead looking at 7 bad pictures of Beyonce?

Thanks to the Internet, we can all see a 1945 Bugatti Veyron or attend an auto show from the comfort of bed. The Internet can do almost anything we want, and now, it might even be able to provide the cash needed to buy a brand-new car.


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Cars Coming Soon: Chrysler to Bring More FIAT, Alfa Romeo Cars to U.S.

January 31st, 2013
Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C: The future of Chrysler is bright

“What Chrysler would you buy today? What does the future hold for coming cars, and when will FIAT’s influence be noticed?”

These questions surfaced while out for a couple of pints with the guys this week. You might think we’d talk about girls and football and other exciting, enticing topics. But no, we talk about Chrysler instead.

FIAT’s ownership of Chrysler is already being felt. In fact, it might be the best thing to ever happen to the Auburn Hills company. Net income for 2012 approached $2 billion. Market share grew to over 11%. The new Dodge Dart is based on FIAT architecture. Good things are happening at Chrysler, with even more good coming. New vehicles of all kinds are on the way for all brands that now sit under FIAT’s U.S. umbrella.

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Used Volkswagen? Take $1,000 Off a FIAT or Chrysler (And Keep the VW!)

December 11th, 2012

2012 Chrysler 200

Thanks to some arguing and name-calling in Europe, used Volkswagens just went up in value by a thousand bucks in the U.S.

How can a European tiff turn into a financial incentive in the United States? Because the auto market is truly international, and when an Italian automaker wants to prove a point against a German competitor, it looks to assets in the U.S. to drive that point home.

The throwdown in question is between Chrysler/FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne and the entire Volkswagen empire.

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Three Pressing Questions for Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne

October 22nd, 2012

Chrysler 700C Concept

On a flight from Los Angeles to Portland yesterday, I sat near actor Sam Elliott, he of “Ghost Rider” and “We Were Soldiers” fame. I thought that was pretty cool, but quickly forgot about Mr. Elliott when I noticed that my seat-mate looked an awful lot like Sergio Marchionne.

I couldn’t figure out why the FIAT/Chrysler CEO would be on a commercial flight, much less sitting all the way back in seat 27E, but there were a few moments there when I was sure I’d struck car-blog gold and would have two hours of Sergio to myself.

Upon further review and a few awkward questions, I discovered that the Italian man in the sweater was not Mr. Marchionne, but rather a perfectly friendly engineer on his way to see his new baby granddaughter in Oregon. Dang-it.

Had I been fortunate enough to sit next to the real Sergio, there are some questions I would have loved to ask him.

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Rumors of a Barracuda Resurrection

September 26th, 2012

SRT Barracuda, front-quarter view

The automotive rumor mill is a wonderful place to hang out. Sometimes it’s where car fantasies come true, and other times it’s a place where we can go to shake our heads in disbelief at ideas we hope never materialize.

The latest rumor churned out by the mill will have people firmly on both sides, because it involves everything a good rumor should include: the return of a storied name, an all-new body style and the epic battle that happens when a muscle car turns into a sports car.

The legendary Plymouth Barracuda just might come back, but it may not look the way you think it should.

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Cars Coming (and Going) Soon: Goodbye to Compass and Town & Country, Hello to SRT Dart

May 31st, 2012

SRT Dart

In the category of things that are long overdue, let’s place this:

Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed that the Jeep Compass and the Chrysler Town & Country will end production. I’ll pause for a collective cheer.

While speaking at the Chrysler Belvidere Assembly Plant, Marchionne said the Compass will continue to be built at the facility through August 2014, at which point it will be replaced by a new model. He also said the Grand Caravan will be the automaker’s only minivan moving forward. Marchionne also let slip his company’s intent on the development of a Dodge Dart SRT model, saying the performance-oriented vehicle is coming just as soon as they figure out how big an engine to put in it.

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2013 Viper Typifies What’s Wrong with American Carmakers

April 19th, 2012

There’s a piece in CNNMoney about how Chrysler was going to kill the Viper, but Ralph Gilles, Chrysler’s SRT boss, impressed Sergio Marchionne with a business case for it.

Exactly how the 2013 Viper is supposed to make money hasn’t been revealed. But in the summer of 2010, the car was approved for production. For a rough beast that some had called the “Dodge Corvette,” the new Viper seems a solid improvement.

But with all its new-found power (640 hp V10, 600 lb-ft of torque, no turbo, manual only) and refinements, the Viper still looks like it’s going to break in the middle. From the firewall forward, it’s a different car, and the whole thing still has the look of a kit car. There are a bunch of pix here from the New York Auto Show.

In a way, by adding stability and traction control plus more creature comforts, Chrysler made it less different from the competition, which, for many Viper fans, means less cool.

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Chrysler “Halftime” Ad One More Time

February 8th, 2012

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood and Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad were in fact crying out against the diseased business of politics that has infested and infected the country. So it’s only natural that those affected (or infected) would respond as they did: that it was really an Obama campaign ad and an attempt to push green car policy. A Wall Street Journal editorial actually argued exactly that.

I used to make ads, and I used to be quite active in politics. I quit both and moved to Mexico. Watching this controversy unfold has made me feel good about my move and bad about how politics, like a locust plague, has made everyone crazy.

In fact, this was a well-thought-out image ad for Chrysler to sell cars. Image ads aim to create a favorable impression of a product or firm in the consumer’s mind without pushing the product directly. They do this by creating associations with positive values, in this case pulling together as a country in difficult times. Here’s part of Eastwood’s voiceover:

We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one. All that matters now is what’s ahead, how do we come from behind, how do we come together, and how do we win. Detroit’s showing us it can be done.… This country can’t be knocked out with one punch.

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