Once a mainstay on American highways, Chrysler is now driving toward an uncertain future. Its partnership with Daimler-Benz has been replaced by one with Fiat, and while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has kept its head above water (thanks to America’s obsession with pickup trucks and the unyielding power of Jeep brand loyalty), the rest of the business raises more than a few questions. What is Fiat’s true future in the U.S. market? Will Alfa Romeo and its Giulia succeed today after a reputation for unreliability sunk them in 1995? And with only a midsize sedan with a questionable future, a full-size stalwart in a shrinking segment, and the 2017 Pacifica in a crossover-crazy era, can Chrysler stay afloat?
The Jeep Wrangler is an insanely popular car. Not only is it one of the most sought-after used cars on CarGurus, but it also retains its initial value better than any other car on the market. Nevertheless, enthusiasts have been hammering Fiat Chrysler (Jeep’s parent company) to produce new and different versions of the Wrangler for years, and the returns on their efforts have been slow but sure. In 2007, Jeep modified the previously 2-door-only Wrangler and introduced the first 4-door Wrangler Unlimited. At the New England International Auto Show this year, we saw the Wrangler Backcountry: an extra-capable off-roading version of a car specifically designed to be extra-capable at off-roading. Until just recently, however, Jeep has failed to acquiesce to its fan base’s greatest demand: a Wrangler Pickup.
Preventive maintenance is the secret to automotive happiness. Failing that, it helps to own a car with low maintenance costs. A new list provided by CarMD provides some excellent guidance into the 10 best cars for repair costs.
It’s part of CarMD’s annual manufacturer and vehicle reliability rankings. It measures the top 10 manufacturers, top 100 vehicles, top 3 vehicles by vehicle category, and common repairs by vehicle make. This year’s Vehicle Health Index™ is based on more than 251,000 repairs recommended for model year 1996 to 2015 vehicles in the United States from Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015.
Cadillac, Lincoln and…. Chrysler?
Asking if Chrysler could ever become America’s third luxury automaker might just be met with hearty laughter; Some people might even say that GM’s Chevrolet produces more luxurious cars than Chrysler. As things stand right now, Chrysler just isn’t in the same league of luxury as its fellow top-of-the-line domestic brands.
That may change, however, now that FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne pulls the strings in Auburn Hills. In a move I hope is a harbinger of things to come, Chrysler will now offer leather and rear DVD entertainment systems as standard on all 2012 Chrysler Town & Country vans.
Our man jgoods wrote a scathing piece on minivans last week. While I’m no fan of the people-movers either, I certainly see their benefit, especially considering that for the past three days I’ve been touring the country as part of a caravan consisting of one Dodge Caravan, one Chrysler Town & Country and my family’s SUV.
The ease of loading passengers and gear into the vans is almost enough for me to secretly wish I had one too, but then an epic blizzard in Wyoming brought me back to reality, and my AWD SUV was suddenly the best family car I’ve ever owned.
So while I won’t own a van, I hold nothing against them. My problem is with hybrids, vehicles I believe aren’t worth the gas that goes in ’em. And it seems I’m far from alone on this…