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

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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Will E15 Fuel Harm Your Engine?

Questions about E15

The politics of corn run deep in this country, as the highly subsidized crop is used for both food and fuel.

Ethanol, the corn-derived alcohol that is sold at gas stations around the country in E10, E15 or E85 fuel, is often cheaper than straight gasoline. Flex-fuel vehicles can run on the E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline) fuel, while the EPA has approved E10 and E15 fuels for all 2001 and newer vehicles.

That’s where the controversy begins, as some accuse the EPA of approving E15 before testing on its compatibility with modern fuel systems was complete. Most automakers don’t recommend its use, even going so far as to say using E15 will void the vehicle’s warranty.

Is E15 safe to use, or will it cause serious damage?

Depends on who you ask.

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The Eternal Road Trip Debate: Go Fast or Save Money?

Road trip

It's all smiles to start!

It begins with loud music, fully stocked coffee cups and snack bags, and the excitement of leaving town and heading to a favorite destination for a few days of fun and relaxation.

Ahh… the road trip.

Soon enough, though, the miles pile on, the music gets turned down, the empty coffee cups mean full bladders and empty snack bags litter the car. The final destination doesn’t seem any nearer than when the trip started, and the urge to get there faster translates to a few nudges up in speed on the cruise control.

But what does speeding up from 70 mph to 80 mph mean for fuel consumption? Is getting there a little earlier worth the extra cost of fuel?

In all truth, at least from my perspective, yes.

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Can the Chevrolet Volt Bring EVs into the Mainstream?

2011 Chevrolet Volt

Chevrolet Volt

Sometimes the universe chooses crazy ways to tell us things.

Whether in life, love, or work, sometimes things happen that are just too much to write off as coincidence and can only be described as the work of fate.

In addition to pulling the strings of how and when people meet or opening the door to new potential career paths, it seems the universe has taken an interest in the furtherance of electric cars.

Allow me to explain.

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Cars of Super Bowl Stars—Can They Help Predict a Winner?

Maserati Quattroporte

Who rolls in a Maserati Quattroporte?

Most guys who enter the National Football League begin playing in their early 20s. Along with achieving their ultimate athletic goal, they get rewarded with millions of dollars.

Throw that much money at a bunch of 20-something guys and what happens? They buy cars. Fast cars, flashy cars, customized cars, expensive cars and, sometimes, questionable cars.

As the 49ers-Ravens Super Bowl approaches, let’s take a look at two players from each team and predict a victor, based on cars alone!

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Cars Coming Soon: The $845,000 Porsche 918 Spyder

Along with prices for the new Cayman, Panamera and Cayenne, none of which start over $100,000, Porsche has finally released pricing of its new supercar, the 918 Spyder.

As given away in the headline, the 795-hp hybrid hypercar will carry a price in the U.S. of $845,000. But that’s not even the whole story.

In proper Porsche fashion, the options list carries ridiculously priced packages that cost more than an optioned-out Cayman. I mean, really, what’s a Porsche supercar without an $84,000 options package?

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Why the New Dodge Dart Isn’t Selling… Yet

2013 Dodge Dart

Dodge executives seem to like their levers.

Imagine a small room where the man who heads Dodge sits. He’s surrounded by buttons, knobs and levers. He knows he can pull certain levers and sales will increase on recently introduced cars. It’s quite an amazing setup, and when a car like the new Dodge Dart hits the market, but fails to sell in numbers he had hoped, all he has to do is pull some levers and everything will be okay.

The question is, why weren’t the right levers pulled in the first place?

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No More Made-In-Japan Toyota Vehicles in the United States?

Toyota Corolla Furia concept

Toyota Furia concept

“Made in Japan” is a stamp of honor worn by many Toyota vehicles in the United States. For decades, vehicles built in the Land of the Rising Sun were synonymous with quality and known for exceptional build quality. That’s still true today, but a future is in sight when all Toyota cars sold here in the U.S. will have also been built in North America.

What would that mean for the definition of a “domestic car”? Would Toyota’s reputation for quality remain as strong?

This is nowhere near a done deal, but considering the vast majority of Toyotas sold here are already built here, it’s a possibility that should be taken seriously.

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Enter the Mazda Romeo

Would a Mazda/Alfa Romeo tie-up look like this?

Keeping to our continuing theme of small RWD sports cars, it’s with excitement that I read about a partnership between Mazda and Alfa Romeo to co-develop the next-generation MX-5 Miata.

We first heard about a potential tie-up between the Italians the Japanese back in May, and now it’s official and a deal has been signed that’ll also bring a new roadster to Alfa Romeo.

Is it safe to assume the new Alfa will be sold in the United States?

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When Is Tire Siping a Good Idea?

2012 Subaru Legacy

My parents recently leased a new 2012 Subaru Legacy. They wanted a vehicle to replace their 2000 Honda CR-V, which served them well through many harsh Pacific Northwest winters.

This being their first winter with the car, they were interested to see how it did once the snow started piling up. Well, this week, they got their wish. With temps well below freezing and hard-packed snow covering many city streets, my mom approached the first incline of the season. She made it up the slope, stopped at the intersection and immediately slid to the curb. Like hot butter on a cold plate.

The AWD system of the Subaru wasn’t the issue here… it was obviously the tires. Which raised the question: Shouldn’t AWD cars sold in markets that get snow come equipped with proper tires?

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