Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to be automaker’s new name

Fiat and Chrysler will become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and its stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange if Fiat’s shareholders approve the proposal.

The proposal, approved by the board of directors, comes eight days after Fiat closed its purchase of the Chrysler shares it didn’t already own. Fiat, which became Chrysler’s controlling shareholder in 2009, acquired the remaining 41.5% of Chrysler shares owned by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust on Jan. 21 for $4.35 billion.

“Today is one of the most important days in my career at Fiat and Chrysler. Five years ago we began to cultivate a vision that went beyond industrial cooperation to include full cultural integration at all levels,” Marchionne said in a statement. “An international governance structure and listings will complete this vision and improve access to global markets bringing obvious financial benefits.”

Under the proposal, Fiat shareholders will receive one share of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in return for each Fiat share they hold.

■ Related: Fiat earnings fall short, but Chrysler’s 2013 profit rose to $1.8 billion

■ Related: Chrysler workers to get profit sharing, performance bonuses for 2013

All of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ shares will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) with an additional listing on the Milan Stock Exchange.

The board also is proposing that the company be incorporated in the United Kingdom for tax purposes. The board said the incorporation location is not expected to affect the taxes the automaker owes in other countries where it does business. The transaction is subject to approval by Fiat’s board of directors and shareholders.

Fiat’s board also wants to establish Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., incorporated in the Netherlands, as the parent company of the two automakers.

Fiat’s board expects to complete the transactions by the end of this year.

“A new chapter of our story begins with the creation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a journey that started over a decade ago,” Fiat Chairman John Elkann said in a statement. “Fiat sought to ensure its place in an increasingly complex marketplace, has brought together two organizations each with a great history in the automotive industry and different but complementary geographic strengths.”

Marchionne has said the location of the new company’s headquarters would have little impact on employment or investment decisions. That’s because the two companies are already managed by a 22-member group executive council whose executives are evenly divided among North America, Europe and Latin America.

Marchionne divides his time among those three continents, often spending more time on an airplane than any one country.

“Talking about a headquarters is almost an anachronistic term,” Marchionne said. “We live in a world where power travels.”

Nevertheless, most people still view the location of a corporate headquarters as a symbol of power that has implications for a company’s community involvement and corporate giving.

As read on: http://www.freep.com/article/20140129/BUSINESS0103/301290078/Fiat-Chrysler-Marchionne-UAW-board-of-directors

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Car Buying Myths and Misconceptions

Our parents and friends give us a lot of great advice about life and (in some cases) about the best way to buy a car. But with all due respect to friends and family, some car buying advice is outdated — or just plain wrong.

After buying more than 100 cars for Edmunds.com over the past 12 years, I’ve had a unique opportunity to watch the rise and fall of car-buying myths. I’ve also spent time on car lots testing much of the car-buying wisdom I see bandied about on the Web and in forums.

Sometimes I cringe when I read these tips because I know that if people follow them, something is likely to backfire. So often, people think they have a silver-bullet solution for getting a super-low price on a car, but they miss the bigger picture of the new car deal.

The flawed advice I read seems to fall into two categories. The first is the mistaken belief in a “gotcha” style of car buying, where the buyer is somehow going to turn the tables on a car salesperson. The second category is made up of car-buying myths and misconceptions. Some of these tips might have worked at one time, but they have outlived their usefulness. Other bits of “wisdom” were never true, but live on as myths that are about as useful as believing in the Tooth Fairy.

Many car-buying myths stem from the same assumption: Car salesmen are trying to screw you, so go ahead and screw them back. If you really believe a salesperson is trying to pull a fast one, walk away. Find a good dealership and a good salesperson who will work with you on a good, straight-up deal. There are good car sellers out there, and they want your business.

Of course, you still need to be informed. Edmunds has tools and features, including up-front, guaranteed pricing through Price Promise and True Market Value (TMV®) that make car shopping easier and more transparent than ever. Also, remember that your needs are very close to the salesperson’s goal. You want a car and salespeople want to sell you one. Find a comfortable middle ground and you’ll both be happy.

Here, then, is a collection of car-buying myths and dusty old tips you should dump:

1. Buy a car on a rainy day. The idea is that due to bad weather, no one will be on the car lot and the dealer will be desperate to move metal. One problem: Many people have heard this advice, which means the dealership is both wet and crowded. We recently ran this past a car salesman while both of us were standing in the rain. “Actually we’re really busy on rainy days,” he said. “Everyone thinks it’s going to be empty.”

Another variation of this myth is to go to a dealership just before it closes. Then, supposedly, the sales staff will agree to a lower price because they want to go home. In actuality, they’ll work well past closing time to finalize the deal. Here are some actual good times to buy a car.

2. Hide the trade-in until you finalize the price of a new car. Then spring it on the salesperson. Do you really think salespeople haven’t heard of this strategy before? And do you really think it will get you a better price? It doesn’t work.

The best tactic is to compartmentalize the deal. Know the price of your trade-in by using TMV to get its actual worth and get as close to that as possible. If you don’t like the offer for your trade-in, pursue other trade-in options.

3. Don’t reveal that you’re leasing until you negotiate the price of the new car. The assumption is that if you tip your hand early, a salesperson will snow you with leasing jargon and inflate the price of the car. One problem with that thinking: These days, lease specials abound, as shown on Edmunds’ Incentives and Rebates pages. The savings on these lease specials are better than you would get by just leasing a car based on a low purchase price.

Another way to get the straight scoop on a lease price is to solicit quotes from competing dealerships, as described in our article, “Quick Guide to Leasing a New Car.”

4. Be prepared to walk out. This is good advice for people who insist on shopping in person at a car lot. But it’s no longer good advice in the Internet age, mainly because we don’t recommend that you ever walk onto a dealership lot cold. Instead, use the Internet department and Price Promise for a hassle-free, low-cost shopping experience.

5. Read every word of the contract. If you follow this advice, you’ll be there all day. Besides, most sales contracts are boilerplate that’s regulated by the state’s motor vehicle registry. It’s not necessary to read all the words in the contract. However, it is absolutely essential to review all the numbers in the contract. For more on this, read “How To Review Your New Car Sales Contract.”

6. Call the sales manager, tell him you’re buying a car in an hour and demand his lowest price. The principle of this “game theory” approach is to pit dealerships against each other. Believe me, they are already well aware of the competition. Furthermore, this confrontational style is harder to pull off than you might think. Maybe it sounds fun to put the salesperson on the spot. But try it and see how far you get. Here’s a nonconfrontational approach to car buying that will get better results.

7. Bring a cashier’s check for exactly the amount you want to pay and say, “Take it or leave it.” We like to imagine how cool and invincible we would feel by doing this. But if you bring a check with a figure you cooked up, you won’t be leaving in a new car. Where did you come up with this price? Did you correctly add fees and taxes for all the options on a specific vehicle? How do you know the dealership wasn’t ready to give you a price lower than the one on your check?

It’s better to solicit Internet quotes, negotiate a good deal on an actual car, get a rundown of all the necessary fees and taxes and then bring a cashier’s check. It’s not a sexy power play, but it works. Better yet? Call or visit your local dealership for an exact quote.

As read on: http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/car-buying-myths-and-misconceptions.html

More People Went to the Detroit Auto Show Than Live in Detroit

Attendance for this year’s Detroit Auto Show was the highest in a decade, with official figures exceeding the actual population of Detroit.

With over 100,000 attendees on the final day of the show, the figure for total ticketed attendance sits at 803,451. That number is significantly beyond the 701,475 population of the city of Detroit, which has been on a downward spiral for Decades.

That number is the best since 2003 when total attendance hit 838,066. At that time, Detroit’s population was 926,903.

The surge in attendance comes as part of a major push by show organizers as the event celebrated its 25th year since it officially changes its name from the Detroit Auto Show to the North American International Auto Show. The show venue, Cobo Hall, is also in the midst of a $300 million renovation project.

“We’ve come a long way in 25 years,” said NAIAS Chairman Bob Shuman. “It was a privilege this week to see some of the members of the 1988 auto show committee, like David Fischer, Ken Meade and Gordon Stewart, who developed the plan that turned our show into one of the top in the world.”

“This was a special show, and everyone knew it,” continued Shuman. “The industry is healthy, the products and technology are spectacular, and confidence is high. It would be difficult to find a more exciting or more important two weeks than what we just experienced in the auto industry here on Detroit’s world stage.”

In addition to the impressive attendance, other NAIAS highlights for 2014 include the attendance of 5,169 journalists from 60 countries and the premieres of 50 vehicles. In total, the economic impact of this year’s show is estimated to be $365 million.

As read on: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/01/people-went-detroit-auto-show-live-detroit.html

The Original Scat Pack Auto Show Debut

Old-school enthusiasts first fell in love with the original and iconic Dodge Scat Pack vehicles at auto shows across the country during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Today, a new generation of car lovers is being initiated to the reborn Dodge Scat Pack at events such as the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Mich., open to the public January 18 – 26.

The Dodge brand display at Detroit’s COBO Center will host a special 2014 Dodge Challenger — a member of the revived “hive,” which also includes a 2014 Dodge Charger and 2014 Dodge Dart, all modified with new Scat Package Performance Upgrade kits that will soon be available for Dodge owners who want to flex a little muscle. The COBO venue is fitting: It was at just such events as the 1968 Detroit Auto Show at COBO that the famed inaugural Dodge Scat Pack vehicles — the Dodge Charger R/T, Dodge Coronet R/T, Dodge Dart GTS and Super Bee — first wowed crowds.

Those original Dodge Scat Pack vehicles traveled the circuit from 1968 to 1971, hitting auto shows not only in Detroit but also other major cities, like Chicago, New York and L.A., as well as many state fairs. Collectors would likely give their right arms for one stunning vehicle that traveled the circuit: a 1968 Coronet R/T convertible, yellow with a blacked-out hood — the original Super Bee car.

“The crowds were so excited,” recalled Andy Agosta, a retired Dodge marketing executive who worked for the brand during the Dodge Scat Pack’s birth. “We displayed Scat Pack vehicles in all the hot colors — HEMI® Orange, Top Banana, Go Mango and Plum Crazy. All the cars had the Bumble Bee stripes. The displays were a big hit and played an important role in the popularity and reputation of the Dodge Scat Pack program.”

Another highlight of early Dodge Scat Pack auto show displays was the presence of the Dodge Safety Sheriff, Joe Higgins, who advised Dodge owners in TV and print ads, “Ya’ll drive careful now, hear?”

“We featured the safety sheriff at the 1969 Chicago Auto Show, with cutouts of his face that fans could wear,” remembered Agosta. “Joe signed so many autographs his hand went numb.”

Dodge spokesmodels also traveled the auto show circuit, answering questions about the Dodge Scat Pack vehicles while garbed in the latest fashions — adorned prominently with the Dodge Scat Pack logo, of course. Marketing materials such as “Run with the Dodge Scat Pack” bumper stickers were produced, rapidly becoming mementos much sought after by clamoring show attendees.

One exceedingly rare marketing knickknack was the Dodge Scat Pack Mini-Tickler, a unique piece of costume jewelry that was produced in numbers of fewer than 1,000 and distributed to Dodge spokesmodels and female members of the Dodge Scat Pack club (“For all the scat kittens who swing with the Scat Packers …” began the oh-so-1960s marketing copy).  An original piece was recently valued at $800.

The modern-day Dodge Scat Pack is getting much the same treatment as its acclaimed predecessors. Dodge spokesmodels, outfitted in retro attire — emblazoned with the Scat Pack logo, and specially reproduced versions of the Mini-Tickler — will be a fixture at auto shows throughout 2014, providing information about the new Dodge Scat Package vehicles and performance upgrade kits on display.

The reincarnated Dodge Scat Pack vehicles and display will be coming soon to an auto show near you — ready to quicken the pulse of fans of the original lineup and to fuel the passion of a new generation of enthusiasts.

For more information on the Dodge Scat Pack, visit http://www.scatpackforums.com.

As read on: http://blog.dodge.com/features/original-scat-pack-auto-show-debut/

10 motorcycle safety tips for new riders – Expert advice for first-time and returning riders

Motorcycles are fun and fuel efficient. That’s not news to anyone who’s ridden one. But neither is the fact that they’re also way more dangerous than a car. The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And nearly half of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes.

The numbers are even scarier for older riders, who are increasingly taking up or returning to motorcycling after many years. Because of slower reflexes, weaker eyesight, more brittle bones, and other disadvantages, riders over 60 years old are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a crash than younger ones.

Still, many enthusiasts enjoy a lifetime of riding without injury. The key to optimizing your odds is to be prepared and avoid risks. Keep in mind that 48 percent of fatalities in 2010 involved speeding, according to the IIHS, and alcohol was a factor in 42 percent. Eliminate those factors and you’ve dramatically reduced your risk.

Below are some more tips to help you stay safe on two wheels. Learn more in our motorcycle hub, buying guide, and in our reliability and owner satisfaction report.

Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. If you’ve been off of motorcycles for awhile, you may be surprised by the performance of today’s bikes. Even models with small-displacement engines are notably faster and more powerful than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

When shopping for a bike, start with one that fits you. When seated, you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without having to be on tiptoes. Handlebars and controls should be within easy reach. Choose a model that’s easy for you to get on and off the center stand; if it feels too heavy, it probably is. A smaller model with a 250- to 300-cc engine can make a great starter or commuter bike. If you plan on doing a lot of highway riding, you might want one with an engine in the 500- to 750-cc range so you can easily keep up with traffic. (Before buying, see our report on motorcycle reliability and owner satisfaction.)

Invest in antilock brakes. Now available on a wide array of models, antilock brakes are a proven lifesaver. IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it. “No matter what kind of rider you are, ABS can brake better than you,” says Bruce Biondo of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Safety Program.

The reason is simple: Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control. That can easily lead to a skid and crash, which can result in serious injury. ABS helps you retain steering control during an emergency stop, and it can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.

This critical feature is now standard on many high-end models and adds only a few hundred dollars to the price of more basic bikes. You may be able to offset some of the cost with an insurance discount. Either way, we think it’s a worthwhile investment in your safety.

Hone your skills. As Honda’s Jon Seidel puts it, “There is nothing we could say or advise more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course in your area. That’s critical, absolutely critical.” An MSF course or similar class can teach you the basics, as well as advanced techniques, such as how to perform evasive emergency maneuvers. The cost ranges from free to about $350. An approved safety course may make you eligible for an insurance discount and, in some states, to skip the road-test and/or the written test part of the licensing process. Some motorcycle manufacturers offer a credit toward the cost of a new motorcycle or training if a rider signs up for an MSF course. The MSF website lists about 2,700 locations for such courses around the United States.

Use your head. Yes, helmets are an emotional topic for some riders. But the facts show the risk. Riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets, according to government studies.

When Texas and Arkansas repealed their helmet laws, they saw a 31- and 21-percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, respectively. “It is absolute insanity to repeal helmet laws,” says Orly Avitzur, M.D., a neurologist and a Consumer Reports medical adviser. “Because helmets do save lives, it is insanity to expose the skull and the brain to potential trauma that could be prevented or at least mitigated.”

A full-face helmet that’s approved by the Department of Transportation is the best choice. (Look for a DOT certification sticker on the helmet.) Modern helmets are strong, light weight, and comfortable, and they cut down on wind noise and fatigue. Keep in mind that helmets deteriorate over time, and may not be safe even if they look fine. The Snell Memorial Foundation, an independent helmet testing and standards-setting organization, recommends replacing a helmet every five years, or sooner if it’s been damaged or has been in a crash. Beyond potential deterioration due to aging and exposure to hair oils and chemicals, Snell points out that there is often a notable improvement over that time in helmet design and materials.

Wear the right gear. Jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster on a bike. Instead, you want gear that will protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, and, yes, lots of road rash if you should slide out. For maximum protection, go for a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear, even in summer. Specially designed jackets with rugged padding and breathable mesh material provide protection as well as ventilation for riding in warm weather. You’ll also want effective eye protection; don’t rely on eyeglasses or a bike’s windscreen. Use a helmet visor or goggles. And keep in mind that car drivers who have hit a motorcycle rider often say they just didn’t see them, so choose gear in bright colors.

Be defensive. A recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car, car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. So, you need to be extra alert, especially in this age of epidemic phone use and texting behind the wheel. Keep an eye out for cars suddenly changing lanes or pulling out from side streets. And don’t tailgate; keeping a safe following distance is critical, both to ensure you have enough stopping distance and so you have time to react to obstacles in the road. An object that a car might easily straddle could be a serious hazard when on a bike.

Avoid bad weather. Slippery conditions reduce your margin for error. Rain not only cuts your visibility but reduces your tires’ grip on the road, which can make cornering tricky. If you need to ride in the rain, remember that the most dangerous time is right after precipitation begins, as the water can cause oil residue to rise to the top. And avoid making sudden maneuvers. Be especially gentle with the brakes, throttle, and steering to avoid sliding. When riding in strong side winds, be proactive in anticipating the potential push from the side by moving to the side of the lane the wind is coming from. This will give you some leeway in the lane, should a gust nudge you.

Watch for road hazards. A motorcycle has less contact with the pavement than a car. Sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can cause a bike to slide unexpectedly, easily resulting in a spill. Bumps and potholes that you might barely notice in a car can pose serious danger when on a bike. If you can’t avoid them, slow down as much as possible before encountering them, with minimal steering input. Railroad tracks and other hazards should be approached as close to a right angle as possible, to reduce the chances of a skid.

Be ready to roll. Before each ride, do a quick walk-around to make sure your lights, horn, and directional signals are working properly. Check the chain, belt, or shaft and the brakes. And inspect the tires for wear and make sure they’re set at the proper pressure. Motorcycle mechanics we’ve spoken with say they routinely see worn-out brakes and improperly inflated tires that greatly increase safety risks. When tires are under-inflated, “handling gets really hard, steering gets hard, and the bike doesn’t want to lean,” says Mike Franklin, owner of Mike’s Garage in Los Angles.

As read on: http://consumerreports.org/cro/2013/04/10-motorcycle-safety-tips-for-new-riders/index.htm

Tips to Help Winterize Your Jeep Brand Vehicle

With the cold weather here to stay for a few months, it’s time to give your Jeep® brand vehicle its winter checkup, especially if you intend to do any off-roading on a snowy trail. A quick checkup now can help keep your vehicle in the best shape possible during an intense winter. Below are some of the tips we suggest you consider when doing your seasonal checkup.

Make Sure You Have All Proper Accessories

Don’t forget how useful a new set of windshield wipers can be, especially during a freak snowstorm. Consider purchasing mud guards and floor mats to help keep regular road grime off your vehicle. Also, if you plan to change your tires, now is the time to do that. Snow tires can help your vehicle hold traction on particularly slippery roads (or trails).

Check Your Brakes

Make sure your brakes and your emergency brake have been properly serviced and are in top condition. With the slick roads that winter brings, it’s no time to be letting a maintenance appointment slide.

Flush the Cooling System

If you’ve had your vehicle for a while, winter prep is a good time to flush the cooling system. This system helps prevent your engine from freezing in the winter. Ensuring that the coolant is good helps prevent overheating, breakdowns, and other damage.

Keep a Full Tank of Gas

Winter is no time to be driving around with a near-empty gas tank. Make sure you’re regularly filling up to help prevent condensation from forming on the walls of the tank and dripping down into your gas.

Carry an Emergency Kit

It’s a good idea to keep a small emergency kit in the back of your vehicle. Include a shovel, ice scraper, blanket, jumper cables, and flashlight, just to name a few things. You’ll appreciate it if you get stuck on or off the trails.

As read on: https://blog.jeep.com/adventures/tips-help-winterize-jeep-brand-vehicle/

Six Tips for New Owners of Jeep Brand Vehicles

Welcome to the adventure. Your Jeep® brand vehicle will change the way you travel and, just maybe, the way you live. We’re glad you joined this passionate group of the Jeep brand enthusiasts, and we’re excited to be with you on your next off-roading excursion. To help you get started, here are a few tips for new owners of Jeep vehicles. Enjoy the ride.

1. Get into the culture of Jeep vehicles. People who drive Jeep vehicles are a unique bunch. They crave adventure and the outdoors. They love a good road trip but prefer to go off-roading. They’re equally interested in showing off a shiny new ride or a muddy one. And they drive through life with curiosity and courage.

2. Meet other Jeep brand enthusiasts. Attend events like Jeep Jamboree USA. It’s the quickest way to understand your vehicle and what it’s capable of. Plus, you’re bound to make friends with other likeminded off-roaders.

3. Know your vehicle. To get to know the ins and outs of your new Jeep brand vehicle, read through the owner’s manual and visit Jeep.com for information on everything from taking the top down to maintenance schedules to staying connected with Jeep mobile apps.

4. Know your elements. Off-roading brings you face-to-face with a variety of terrains and challenges. Fortunately, we have a few tips  for tackling the trails, whether you’re rock crawling or driving in sand. And be sure you Get to Know Your Mud — we know you’re anxious to get dirty.

5. Learn your history. Our heritage Jeep blog posts are a great place to start. Discover the Jeep brand’s strong connection to the military, along with the various Jeep vehicles that have ruled the roads and the trails for more than 70 years.

6. Go Anywhere, Do Anything® You’re now ready for the adventure of a lifetime. It’s up to you to carry on the tradition of adventure.

As read on: https://blog.jeep.com/adventures/six-tips-for-new-owners-of-jeep-brand-vehicles/

Stryker Green Debuts on 2014 SRT Viper at North American International Auto Show

Latest high-impact, hand-painted, show-car quality exterior color is available across Viper model lineup

· New ‘Grand Touring’ package brings standard Nappa leather seats, sophisticated chassis electronics and exclusive paint colors to the Viper’s entry price class

The newest, high-impact exterior paint color for the SRT Viper was shown today for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The Chrysler Group’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand introduced “Stryker Green,” an evolution of the iconic Snakeskin Green exterior color that first appeared in 2008, which features enhanced green and yellow pigments and a “liquid mercury” appearance. The color is the perfect choice for SRT enthusiasts that want to take their SRT Viper to the next level of exclusivity with a vivid and unique color that reflects light to show off the dramatic curves of the Viper.

“We’re continuing to develop and build unique, low-volume, special-edition colors for the Viper that adds to the exclusivity of our American-built flagship supercar,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, SRT Brand and Motorsports. “Every SRT Viper is painted with a process that is very similar to what we use for our show cars. The application of the new Stryker Green exterior paint is a very detailed and intricate process, taking approximately eight hours to complete. The process first starts with a base color coat followed by a green-tinted mid-coat and topped off with a clear finish. Each coat application adds depth and accentuates the curvature of the Viper’s exterior design.”

Also making its debut on the 2014 SRT Viper is the Grand Touring (GT) special package featuring standard Nappa leather seats, five-mode Electronic Stability Control and the two-mode Bilstein® DampTronic Select suspension, both previously only available with the Viper GTS price class. The GT option package will be limited to the new Stryker Green and Venom Black exterior colors.

Stryker Green exterior color will be available starting in February on the Viper GTS price class, and the SRT price class with the new GT package.

The SRT Viper isn’t just the ultimate supercar, it’s also a perfect canvas for high-performance parts and accessories from Mopar.

This Moparized SRT Viper showcases lightweight carbon fiber components with an exposed carbon fiber performance X-Brace, which is almost 50-percent lighter than the production version with the same strength and functional stiffness.

Additionally, a prototype aero package has been fitted to the show car with a Mopar carbon fiber rear wing and extended front corner splitters.

About SRT Viper

The fifth generation of iconic American-built supercar returned in 2013 as the SRT (Street and Racing Technology) brand’s flagship performance machine with more power and performance, superior craftsmanship, new technologies and creature comforts. Power from the all-aluminum, 8.4-liter mid-front V-10 engine delivering 640 horsepower and 600 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque of any naturally aspirated sports-car engine in the world, combines with triple-digit weight reduction to produce the best power-to-weight ratio of any Viper ever. Standard safety features include electronic multistage stability control, traction control and new 4-channel anti-lock brake system (ABS).

The iconic supercar is hand-built at the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit – the Viper’s home since 1995. Both SRT Viper and SRT Viper GTS models offer new interior and exterior designs incorporating premium materials and new exterior surfaces with aerodynamically functional details that are beautifully integrated into the high-tech carbon fiber and aluminum skin. On the inside, designers and engineers strived to rethink all its touch points and upgrade all its material appointments and

technologies. The Viper GTS model adds many premium features including a leather wrapped interior, five mode electronic stability control and a two mode adjustable suspension.

About SRT Brand

The Chrysler Group’s SRT brand uses a successful product development formula featuring five proven hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors; to remain true to its performance roots.

The 2014 SRT lineup features five vehicles that are world-class performance contenders and bring the latest in safety technologies and creature comforts. The Chrysler 300 SRT, Dodge Challenger SRT, Dodge Charger SRT and Jeep® Grand Cherokee SRT join the flagship SRT Viper, which made its highly anticipated return to the high-performance sports car market in 2013.

As read on: http://www.autoblog.com/2014/01/12/srt-viper-stryker-green-grand-touring-package/

2015 Chrysler 200 at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

The Chrysler Sebring is dead, and has been dead at least in name since the arrival of the rebranded Chrysler 200 for the 2010 model year, but now Chrysler has not just killed off the last vestiges of that reviled sedan but buried it deep in a place the company never wants to visit again.

Behold the new 2015 Chrysler 200, a completely new sedan from the wheels to the wipers, built on an Alfa Romeo chassis, sporting fully modern styling inside and out, equipped with state-of-the-art powertrains and arriving in showrooms later this year. This is the second major collaboration between Chrysler and Italian owners Fiat (the first was the 2013 Dodge Dart), and it looks pretty solid.
Exterior

Outside there is no trace of the old Sebring/200 left, and that’s a very good thing. In its place is a clean, modern design that pulls cues from many different existing cars. That roofline is pure Audi A7; the rear quarter panels are very much Ford Taurus; the rear taillight shapes look like the latest Chevrolet Impala. It’s attractive, but certainly not groundbreaking like the Chrysler 300 was when it was introduced. As a family sedan, however, wild and crazy isn’t what sells — safe and conservative is, as evidenced by the half a million Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords sold every year in this country. The new 200 can take its place beside any of the newest family sedans proudly and without excuses.

If you’re looking for more of a sport sedan, the new 200 will be available in an S trim that either blacks out or paints a lot of the chrome on the car, and brings smoked lenses and dark wheels to the party as well. It’s a more sinister look, and on a black or silver 200, will look pretty fetching indeed.
Interior

The latest Chrysler interiors have been outstanding, and the new 200 continues that trend. Sweeping shapes and unique materials have been used inside, and the result is an interior that looks as if it has had considerable thought put into it. Present is Chrysler’s ubiquitous (and excellent) Uconnect 8.4-inch touch-screen high in the dashboard, but just below it is something new for a mainstream midsize family sedan: a rotary knob instead of a gear shift lever. The electronic selector is housed in a floating console that features a large storage area underneath that’s able to accommodate an iPad, with a pass-through hole that allows electronics stored there to be recharged via plugs in the center console. The storage area also features a rubber mat with the embossed skyline of the city of Detroit, an homage to the “Imported from Detroit” shtick that Chrysler is using for its advertising.

The interior uses considerably better materials than the previous 200, and is available in one of three color scheme themes named after locations in the U.S.: New York’s Fifth Avenue, Sausalito (Calif.) and Detroit (Mich.). Opting for the S trim will bring special dash trim and embossed sport seats with more aggressive pattern stitching.
Under the Hood

The new 200 is based off of the same platform as the Dodge Dart and Jeep Cherokee, albeit stretched to fit midsize sedan proportions. As such, it shares some powertrain components with those vehicles as well. The standard engine is the 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine making 184-horsepower, powering the front wheels through a standard nine-speed transmission. The optional motor is the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that Chrysler puts in just about everything, making a significantly higher 295-hp. It too uses the new nine-speed automatic, but also offers optional all-wheel-drive. It’s an advanced all-wheel-drive system too, with the ability to disconnect the rear wheels entirely when they’re not needed for traction, eliminating parasitic loss and boosting fuel economy. The front-drive four-cylinder model reportedly achieves up to 35 mpg highway, thanks to that nine-speed transmission’s many gears.
Safety

The new 200 has a number of improvements over the old model, including a significant upgrade in safety equipment and a few segment-exclusive features. The 200 features optional adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning, both of which can bring the car autonomously to a full stop under certain conditions if it detects that a collision is imminent. An advanced lane departure warning system uses steering wheel feedback to help with corrective action to keep the car in its lane, and a new standard electronic park brake engages automatically when the transmission is not in Park, the driver’s seatbelt is unlatched and the driver’s door opens.
Price

Pricing for the new 200 has been announced as well. Four trim levels will be offered, starting with the 200 LX at $22,695 (all prices include destination). That trim lands you standard features like keyless entry with push-button start, cloth seats, 60/40 split folding rear seats, steering wheel audio controls, LED taillights and 17-inch steel wheels. Moving up to the Limited trim will cost you $24,250 and adds projector beam headlamps, Bluetooth connectivity, six-speaker Uconnect 5.0 system and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Then comes the sporty 200S, starting at $25,490, which includes blue leather trim interior, power driver’s seat, paddle shifters, black accent trim, heated mirrors, a sport suspension, more aggressive transmission gearing and 18-inch wheels. The top model is the 200C starting at $26,990, coming with a full complement of luxury items like Nappa leather interior, 7-inch gauge display, backup camera, remote start, dual zone climate control and more. Major options on the 200S and 200C trims include the 3.6-liter V-6, all-wheel drive, dual-pane panoramic sunroof, 19-inch wheels, high-intensity-discharge headlights and navigation system.

The new 200 looks to be a fully competitive entry into the difficult midsize segment, far more than the outgoing model is. Most interestingly, there has been zero mention of a Dodge Avenger counterpart, making it likely that the 200 is taking over the role of the company’s sole midsize sedan. No convertible has been announced either, but given the popularity of the current convertible (especially with fleet business), it would be surprising if one doesn’t eventually appear. The 2015 Chrysler 200 will appear in showrooms in the spring of 2014.

As read on: http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2014/01/2015-chrysler-200-at-the-2014-detroit-auto-show.html

Sergio: Wrangler and Alfa

“To redesign the Wrangler is the riskiest thing you could do… if you’re talking about stubstantially upgrading the Wrangler… yes.”  So said Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne at today’s “executive briefing,” webcast live from Cobo Hall in Detroit.

There have been debates over the knockdown windshield and removable door. “I don’t know how many people who own Wranglers have ever done that.” Still, Jeep can’t remove those attributes, even though the vehicle must be lightened and the powertrain must be updated. “You can update it, but you can’t change it.”

Full implementation is less than 24 months away. Volume is a problem, especially since the company has committed to not making Wranglers (for North America) outside of Toledo.

As for the Cherokee, Mr. Marchionne said they still needed a larger market share, but that he thought they could achieve it.

“There’s a brand new lineup of products coming out of Alfa Romeo that you will see in 2015.” These will be sold from Alfa Romeo dealerships.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/01/sergio-wrangler-and-alfa