Archive for the ‘fca’ Tag

FCA Drive for Design Contest Ends April 27th!

The FCA Drive for Design contest was first launched in 2013. At that time, only Detroit-area students were able to enter. Now, open on a national level, more than 25 students have won the contest. This week, we catch up with two past winners, Alex Fischer and Josh Blundo.

In 2014, students were asked to design a vehicle that satisfied the needs of young consumers while remaining eco-friendly. Alex Fischer submitted the winning sketch. The contest gave Alex the confidence he needed to pursue a career in automotive design. In 2017, Alex joined FCA as a design intern in the Dodge//SRT design studio and has since graduated from the College for Creative Studies (CCS).

The following year, in 2015, students were asked to submit a sketch of their vision of the Dodge brand. Josh Blundo took the top prize that year. Josh also joined FCA as a design intern in the Dodge//SRT design studio and is studying at CCS today.

The main goal of the Drive for Design contest is to increase awareness and educate students and parents about the good-paying opportunities available in this field. Many of today’s designers had no idea that automotive design could be a career option and the FCA design team wants to change that.

Think you have what it takes to be a car designer? You have one week left to submit your sketch! The FCA Product Design Team is challenging high school students grades 10-12 to sketch the ultimate status vehicle using any FCA brand.

To learn more about the FCA US Drive for Design Contest and how to enter, visit: http://bit.ly/DriveForDesign

Advertisements

Ram 1500 Uconnect Screen Hits a Home Run ‘Double’

Just as home base is baseball’s ultimate winning destination, the unique Home button on the 2019 Ram 1500’s Uconnect touchscreen is the opening play to a road map full of helpful digital destinations.

Weather forecasts, directions, favorite tunes, driving comfort – the Uconnect Home button lets you program all your favorite apps for quick and easy access when you need them. What makes the Home button unique is a ‘double play option offering the chance to view two different apps simultaneously on the 12-inch display with new split-screen capability.

Brad Gieske, FCA Experience design manager, takes the Uconnect Home button for a spin to show how easily and quickly you can hit a home run with every trip you take in your all-new Ram 1500.

Next week, Gieske puts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, two newly integrated Uconnect systems, through their paces. Don’t miss it!

Detroit auto show to raise awareness of auto industry careers

What if you’re not necessarily looking for a new car but maybe you’d like a new job?

The North American International Auto Show is rolling out a way to showcase strategies for building a career in the auto industry.

On Jan. 20-21, the Detroit auto show at Cobo Center will host a new concept called the Future Automotive Career Exposition at the AutoMobili-D section of the show, an exhibit featuring technologies related to self-driving cars. The group includes automakers, suppliers and startups.

Sure, we’re talking about job openings in the highly cyclical auto industry, even though we’re increasingly captivated by the race to build highly technical self-driving cars and trucks.

Yet experts say we’re likely to see all sorts of creative approaches for filling many jobs in 2018.

Driving around town during the holidays, I actually spotted a billboard advertising jobs in auto factories. Really? I had to do a double take.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles put up billboards in the Detroit area to fill skilled trades, hourly UAW jobs at its plants, including specific opportunities at the Sterling Heights Assembly where FCA is launching the all-new Ram 1500. The new 2019 model truck will launch this quarter. The starting hourly salary for a skilled trades employee is about $34, according to an FCA spokesperson.

The automaker began using the billboards in late November, along with job fairs, in-plant postings, referrals, social media and radio ads to fill jobs. The two billboards that went up were at I-75 north, just south of 9 Mile Road, and on Van Dyke, south of 14 Mile Road, according to FCA.

Fiat Chrysler has no plans to recruit at the Detroit auto show.

We shouldn’t be surprised to spot employers doing all they can to hire the right fit for the job in 2018 when we’re looking at ultra-low unemployment levels. The U.S. jobless rate was 4.1% in December — and the expectation is that the rate will drop further into 2018.

“This unemployment rate is going south,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

It’s possible, Zandi said, that the jobless rate will fall into the mid-3% range this year. He’s predicting an extraordinarily tight labor market, similar to times back in the 1950s.

Zandi said large multinational companies could have a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring and make it difficult for some small businesses to hold onto workers.

Manufacturing should have a good year in 2018, he said, given a strong global economy and a declining dollar that will boost U.S. trade.

To be sure, U.S. auto industry production is expected to pull back. Cox Automotive, for example, is forecasting that 16.7 million new cars and light trucks will be sold in North America in 2018. If so, we could be looking at nearly a 3% drop this year from the 17.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2017.

After seven years of growth, the industry had its first down year in 2017 after hitting a record 17.55 million cars and trucks sold in 2016.

This year, it’s likely that automakers could need to adjust production with shifts in consumer demand and deal with anticipated lower sales volumes.

“Auto manufacturing jobs will be fluid in the next few years,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Autotrader.

At the same time, though, auto manufacturers and suppliers often express some difficulty in trying to fill engineering, software and technically skilled jobs.

“Software engineers remain in high demand, particularly those with experience in driver-assist technologies,” said Charlie Chesborough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, which includes the Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader sites.

“Detroit’s major automakers are competing with Silicon Valley for these type of workers, as well as other manufacturing sectors.”

Fiat Chrysler, for example, noted that skilled trades positions are harder to fill because of the unique qualifications. Skills needed include electrical, mechanical, tool maker, die maker, pipefitter, machine repair and energy center operator. See FCA job openings at http://www.fcagroupcareers.com. Candidates can search for positions by state at manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The career-related event at the Detroit auto show takes place only during the first two days that the show is open to the public. The career event is a partnership with Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and NAIAS.

“The event isn’t designed to be a typical job fair,” said Dave Murray, communications director at the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development.

Instead, the goal is to raise awareness about the types of jobs that exist. A series of panels and presentations will feature employers, educators and others who can talk about the skills in demand, opportunities for training, and where these evolving industries are headed, Murray said.

Michigan employers looking to fill high-skill jobs in many industries also are listed at http://www.mitalent.org. The site includes information about career fairs and hiring events.

Many companies that have a presence at AutoMobili-D have jobs listed on their web sites. Many jobs listed will be outside Michigan.

Murray said participants with jobs listed at their sites include ABC Group, Ainstein, BlackBerry, Carnegie Mellon University, Delphi Automotive, DropCar, General Motors, P3 North America, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), and Wind River.

Interview rooms also will be available at AutoMobili-D, if companies wish to meet face-to-face with potential applicants.

Lori Pessina, director of talent acquisition for P3 North America in Southfield, part of the P3 Group, said the international management consulting and engineering solutions company is looking for “out-of-the-box thinkers with an entrepreneurial mindset.”

She said the company has never tried attracting talent at an auto show and it is still getting information from coordinators of the event.

The job openings, she said, are primarily highly skilled, technical positions such as electrification engineer, infotainment engineer, software developer and functional safety engineer.

“There is a low supply and high demand for these types of candidates,” Pessina said. “The candidates with this skill set entering the workforce are often plucked by large, big-brand companies before they even graduate, so the competition is fierce.”

She said P3 North America is projecting another year of growth, including expanding into electrification and anticipating growth in fields such as autonomous data and analytics testing. The U.S. operation is based in Southfield with six other locations in the United States, including 160 employees in Michigan. The company was founded in Germany in 1996 and P3 North America was started in 2008.

The company helps its customers overcome disruptive changes in mobility technologies throughout the connected and autonomous vehicle ecosystem. Access to AutoMobili-D — which includes the panel discussions about careers in automotive and mobility, and access to the companies — is included with an auto show ticket. Some of the participating companies are arranging interviews with applicants, and those people would have access without needing a ticket, Murray said.

Insiders on the 2019 Ram pickups

Automotive News has published a surprisingly detailed piece on the 2019 Ram 1500 launch. The industry weekly claimed that the “DT” series pickups, essentially to FCA US profits, are right on schedule for production at the end of January 2018. These will be the first pickups ever to be made in the Sterling Heights Assembly plant, which has made midsized cars for years. The conversion from car to truck assembly will take months.

mule-tailgate

According to writer Larry Vellequette, to speed the launch, some engineers have been given full power of decision, rather than having to bump nearly everything up to higher-level managers. Other launches continue to use the more cumbersome, Daimler-like approach. Still, the first prototypes built at Sterling Heights will be made in early January 2018, three months after the original schedule, which could mean delays if any problems are found.

According to Mr. Vellequette’s sources, the Ram will continue to use steel for most of its body panels, and will keep essentially the same look, with smaller headlights integrated into the grille and horizontal fog lights built into the bumper. The interior is to have a new center console for more storage space.

Both Allpar and Automotive News believe this will be the Ram to finally have direct-injection V6 engines and belt-start generators for higher-performance stop-start systems. A turbocharged V6 is possible, as well.

The empowered-engineer approach should improve relations with suppliers, as Automotive News noted, because suppliers can get answers or needed changes much more quickly. When this approach was used in 1990s, it also slashed costs and in some cases increased quality. See more on the 2019 Ram 1500.

Over the weekend, the 2018 Jeep Compass was revealed, as a photo shoot in Brazil was captured by local media.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/2016/09/an-inside-the-2019-ram-33744

FCA’s Ram Commercial Operation Pulling Its Weight

OAKBROOK, IL – In only five years, Ram Commercial truck and van operations have grown from virtual obscurity to a 15% share of the commercial-vehicle market.

But hold the plaudits, insists Dave Sowers, head of Ram Commercial vehicles for FCA US.

“We aren’t satisfied with 15% and need to grow further,” Sowers says in an interview before updating the Midwest Automotive Media Assn. about how Ram Commercial has done in the past and what it expects to achieve in the future.

Ram Commercial sells fullsize cab chassis trucks derived from Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 pickups, along with fullsize Pro Master vans and a midsize Pro Master City commercial van derived from Fiat vehicles in Europe. The trucks and vans are customized or upfitted to buyer specs for holding tools and materials for tradesmen such as carpenters or plumbers, or serve as delivery vehicles by carrying items such as lumber or flowers.

Trucks offer gasoline or diesel engines; the big Pro Master van gas or diesel; the small Pro Master City, gas only. There’s a choice of rear- or all-wheel-drive for the trucks but front-wheel-drive only for the vans.

“There’s no plans to add all-wheel drive to either the Pro Master or Pro Master City, because with FWD the drivetrain doesn’t prevent us from offering a lower cargo floor for easier entry and exit for our customers,” Sowers says. “Besides, we don’t see the demand for AWD and the added cost.”

Sowers says about 70% of the cab-chassis trucks and about 15% of the big Pro Master vans are sold with diesel power.

“Diesels are popular in the bigger vehicles because they deliver long driving range as well as increased towing capacity – up to 31,000 lbs. (13,950 kg) – while the gas engine is popular in the small Pro Master City van because it delivers very good mileage, up to 29 mpg (8.1 L/100 km) highway,” he says.

Tax Credits, Fuel Prices Drive Sales

Sowers says 250,000 Class 2 vans and 90,000 Class 1 vans were sold industry-wide last year. He won’t talk about Ram numbers for 2016 but says he expects sales to increase this year thanks to an anticipated strong second half, especially the fourth quarter.

“The government approved special tax credits for small businesses last year, but the approval didn’t take effect until December. This year, as the end of the year approaches, small businesses will have the time to realize if they are going to make a profit for the full year…they can start spending in October, November and December to take advantage of the tax breaks,” he says.”

“Also contributing to a strong sales outlook are lower gas prices, rising housing starts and businesses having no trouble getting credit – all factors that influence confidence and an increased willingness (by commercial customers) to spend money on new product.”

Sowers also notes a large number of CVs now in use are 11 years or older and soon will need replacement, which should spur pent-up demand.

It also helps that Ram Commercial now has 1,000 dealers, up from 900 a year ago and only 400 in 2012, the year Ram Commercial became a stand-alone brand from Ram truck.

Ram Commercial is offering incentives on many vehicles, Sowers admits. “But we aren’t buying the market. It’s mostly offering discounts when customers buy upfitting packages.”

The executive says he’s satisfied with Ram Commercial’s current range of vehicles and the sales they generate. “We cover the bulk of products customers want now, though maybe more is needed in big, over 10,000-lb. (4,540-kg) vehicles.”

It’s been extensively reported several automakers are going to offer new midsize trucks in the near future or are planning to add them, such as a return of the Ranger at Ford, a Santa Cruz from Hyundai and a small Mercedes pickup that would join the Toyota Tacoma, Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon in the small-truck segment.

Asked about plans for retailing a smaller Ram pickup that could be joined by a small commercial-pickup companion and perhaps a commercial-van derivative, Sowers replies:

“We’ve looked at a small pickup for some time and are watching that market. But we have no firm plans to announce. If we did a small truck it would only be as a commercial truck, and we wouldn’t look at launching a new smaller van, since we already have the ProMaster City.”

Asked about the chances Ram Commercial will offer a battery-electric vehicle in addition to its diesel and gas-powered offerings, Sowers notes: “Fiat has one in Europe, an Iveco electric van that we looked at for (the U.S.), but interest in electrics rises when gas prices rise and with gas below $2.50 a gallon an electric van isn’t high on our (priority) list here.”

Read more at: http://wardsauto.com/industry/fca-s-ram-commercial-operation-pulling-its-weight

Crossovers replacing sedans: Back to the past

Sergio Marchionne’s comment that the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 would be allowed to “run their course” and then be replaced by cars from a “potential partner” caused a range of emotional reactions.

This is not the first time for such thoughts. In the late 1980s, GM, Ford, and Chrysler all lost money on each compact car. Chrysler changed that with the Neon and Cirrus/Stratus, which made hefty profits even while GM and Ford kept losing money. This time, though, insiders claim the company does not have the facilities nor the experienced engineers to make it happen; and even Ford now wants a partner for its sedans.

The earliest mass-produced cars included sedans, but many were the equivalent, in size and shape, of today’s crossovers — the area where Sergio Marchionne wants FCA to focus, at least in North America. Long, low, and sleek appeared as “the look to have” a few years after World War II, for 20-30 years; then the hatchback came into style.

Chrysler sparked a resurgence in the large sedan market in the early 1990s, then helped to rejuvenate midsize and small cars. The moribund large sedan market revived, and sedans in general gained a new lease on life.

Still, the popularity of the low sedan is recent and may be at an end. Ordinary sedans have been getting taller, with the 300 just two inches from the Nissan Juke and six from the Compass and 500L. The 1946 Plymouth was taller than any of them — and the Jeep Cherokee: 68 inches.

So why do many of us, including me, prefer sedans? Is it because they are lower to the ground and handle better? I don’t think so, given how most people drive, and the competent handling of most new crossovers (not to mention the popularity of BMW and Porsche’s crossovers).

Even gas mileage is not really penalized much now, with their larger frontal area countered by aerodynamic design, valve timing, and wide-range transmissions. They also have more space for the large batteries and other gear needed for light and full hybrid systems.

I have had numerous sedans in my life, no SUVs, and just two minivans; my only crossover was a PT Cruiser GT. Still, I can see the attraction of the crossover, especially now that everyone has minivans, SUVs, pickups, and crossovers, which makes visibility rather hard from a low-slung car.

I think the sedan will become more and more specialized over time. Two-door cars (including sedans) used to be extremely common, but they rapidly declined from the 1970s on, and now FCA US only makes the Dodge Challenger, Dodge Viper, Jeep Wrangler, Rams, and Fiat 500 in that form; and even in pickups and Wranglers, the two-door form is less and less popular.

I don’t think this presages the death of Chrysler or Dodge. The 200 and Dart (and Fiat 500) need high incentives to sell. Is replacing them worth delaying rear wheel drive cars for Dodge or large cars and crossovers for Chrysler and Dodge? Mr. Marchionne has a finite number of engineers at hand, and only so many factories. Paying off $5 billion in debt will earn the company more cash than building a new plant.

(I am very, very disappointed that Mr. Marchionne’s pledge that Chrysler would “lead” the engineering of future compact and midsize and large cars has been completely ignored and reneged upon.)

Limited resources, limited time, and a class of car that appears to be disappearing, selling only with large incentives … I can’t say I’d have been able to do anything different.

Or… it’s another trial balloon or an attempt to mis-lead competitors. We are talking about Sergio Marchionne, after all; and his announcements tend not to be set in stone.

Update: When buyers choose sedans, they almost invariably choose imports. Of the top ten 2015 best sellers in the US, there were no American sedans — Camry, Corolla, Accord, Civic and Altima accompanied two imported crossovers (CR-V and RAV4) and the three American pickups. The best selling cars (Camry and Corolla) combined barely outsold Ford’s pickups. In Europe, Fiat’s Panda has grown to challenge its best-seller, the 500; while the 500X, in its first year, nearly matched the declining Punto (both were beaten by the 500L). Fiat’s sales in Europe, 500 aside, are heavily biased in favor of crossovers, vans, and utilities. The same is not true for everyone — over half of Ford’s sales are the Fiesta and Focus.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2016/02/crossovers-replacing-sedans-back-to-the-past-31159

2017 Chrysler Town & Country Spy Shots

The current Chrysler Town & Country has been with us since the 2008 model year but a successor, the nameplate’s sixth generation, is in the works and has been spotted again, this time with the least camouflage gear we’ve seen yet. The new minivan is due on the market next year, as a 2017 model, and will make its debut at next month’s 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

2017 town and country

Not much is known about the new Town & Country except its aforementioned arrival date, plus rumors it will offer a plug-in hybrid option. Though it’s not common for multiple powertrains to be offered in the minivan segment, it’s likely a non-hybrid option will be available as well, either a four-cylinder or V-6. The transmission is expected to be a nine-speed auto and buyers should be able to choose from front- or all-wheel-drive configurations.

As for styling, Chrysler’s 700C concept from 2012 hints at what’s to come. The new Town & Country looks to be a bit wider and more planted than the model it replaces. We can also see the new front end which has a similar design to the Chrysler 200.

Inside, look for a number of tech goodies including the popular Uconnect interface with an 8.4-inch screen in the dash. It appears that Chrysler may even add a digital screen in the instrument cluster.

This time around, the Town & Country won’t spawn a Dodge Grand Caravan twin. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] has confirmed that the Grand Caravan will be phased out as part of Dodge’s transformation into a performance brand. However, the Detroit Free Press reports that the existing Dodge Grand Caravan will continue to be sold for some years still.

Key rivals for the new Town & Country will remain the Honda Odyssey, Kia Sedona, Nissan Quest and Toyota Sienna. You can see that FCA engineers are using some of these rivals for benchmarking.

Stay tuned for the debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, which gets underway January 13. In the meantime, see what else will be appearing at the via our dedicated hub.

Read more at: http://www.motorauthority.com/news/1017648_2017-chrysler-town-country-spy-shots?fbfanpage#image=100538875

CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY | VERSATILITY FOR A LIFE OF ADVENTURE

The freedom to travel is about more than where you go. It’s about how you get there. When you arrive at your destination, do it in the vehicle that’s built for taking care of business or going on an adventure. The 2016 Chrysler Town & Country is as versatile as it is stylish, and capable of carrying the weight for almost everything from do-it-yourself projects to game-day tailgates. The 3.6L Pentastar® V6 engine delivers 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque with fuel economy ratings of 17 city/25 highway mpg1, making it efficient and powerful wherever your travels take you and whatever — or whoever — you’re bringing along for the ride.

SAFETY FEATURES PUT YOU IN CHARGE

We know keeping track of your kids’ busy schedule of school and practices requires enough thinking without also have to worry about safety. That’s why the 2016 Chrysler Town & Country was designed with the family in mind, with standard safety and security features including the ParkView™ Rear Back-Up Camera2 and Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags3. For additional peace of mind, the available technologically advanced SafetyTec™ Package bundles an array of features, including Blind Spot Monitoring4, Rear Cross Path Detection2, Rain-Sensitive Windshield Wipers, ParkSense® Rear Park Assist2 and the Tire Pressure Monitoring Display, helping to keep your most precious cargo safe and secure when you have the family on the go.

GET YOUR DIY PROJECTS GOING

For all your do-it-yourself projects, you need a vehicle that can do it all. The 2016 Chrysler Town & Country is more than a minivan. It’s your DIY partner. When you’re hauling tools, construction materials or landscaping gear, the Stow ‘n Go® Seating and Storage System, which includes second- and third-row seats that fold into in-floor storage bins, will buy you extra room for cargo. And when your hands are full, keyless entry and power sliding doors and liftgate will lend convenience to your projects. With this many standard premium features, consider the 2016 Chrysler Town & Country your most important tool.

ADD SOPHISTICATION TO A NIGHT ON THE TOWN

When it’s time to drop the kids at the babysitter and enjoy a night for just the two of you, the 2016 Chrysler Town & Country has the keys to your evening. Dinner, a show, or a drive under the stars — announce your arrival with a distinctive modern exterior that features a dramatic front fascia and hood line, and turn heads with a classically styled rear fascia and rear spoiler, which all combine for an elegant appearance. Even in the cool night air, the available heated steering wheel and 1st and 2nd row seats will make your date night comfortable, and will ensure you’re as eye-catching as your vehicle.

MAKE RUNNING ERRANDS A PLEASURE

Life’s little chores have a way of adding up, but that doesn’t mean they have to weigh you down. Trips to the grocery store, to pick up dry cleaning or to pick up a take-out dinner should be a time you and your family both enjoy. With available Blu-ray™ and DVD Entertainment System, two available second- and third-row 9-inch VGA high-resolution DVD screens that flip down from the overhead console, two USB ports, HDMI connectivity and game-console inputs, the kids will be entertained. And their available wireless headphones will make sure they’re entertained on their own, allowing you to focus on the things you love; things like standard leather-trimmed seating and a Uconnect® System that integrates your phone, entertainment and music into a beautifully seamless experience. Set your navigation to your destination, turn on your favorite playlist, and turn running errands into the happiest part of your day.

THE WEEKEND BELONGS TO YOU… OR YOUR TEAM

Get ready for the weekend in a vehicle built for both fans and athletes. For those who take their fandom seriously, the 2016 Chrysler Town & Country ensures you’ll arrive at the big game with all the necessary gear — grills, tables, coolers and all your fellow fans — thanks to the legendary Stow ’n Go® Seating and Storage System that includes fold-in-the-floor second- and third-row seats along with a third-row tailgate feature. If your interest in sports is more about getting outdoors and getting involved, available SiriusXM® Travel Link5 brings national weather forecasts, fuel prices for local gas stations and local ski conditions right to your vehicle. Load up your skis, check the conditions and head for the slopes.

Read more at: http://blog.chrysler.com/vehicles/chrysler-town-country-versatility-for-a-life-of-adventure/

Jeep: When will it hit another million?

Early in the morning of January 5, 2015, Allpar spread the word that worldwide Jeep sales had reached one million in 2014.

This year, the question isn’t whether Jeep will pull off a repeat: it’s whether Jeep can hit a million sales in November, or how far past a million Jeep will get in 2015.

FCA’s hottest brand in the U.S. (and fastest-growing brand in other markets) continues to make a splash around the world. The new Renegade, now being produced in a new plant in Pernambuco, was just named “Car of the Year” in Brazil, where it’s already the best-selling SUV.

Pontus-Haggstrom-WebPaul W. Smith of Detroit radio station WJR interviewed Pontus Häggstrӧm, CEO of FCA Japan, on the opening day of the Tokyo Motor Show (listen to the interview here*). Jeep is the top-selling U.S. vehicle brand in Japan, and Häggstrӧm said the Wrangler is the top-selling Jeep model. The Cherokee was voted one of the top ten cars last year, becoming the first American vehicle to make the list. The Swedish executive said he hopes the Renegade, just introduced to Japan, will be another top ten winner.

During the presentation of the most recent five-year plan, Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley noted that worldwide Jeep sales hit 85,000 in April 2014, an all-time record for monthly volume. Just over a year later, in May 2015, sales in North America hit 90,825. Add another 7,558 for Europe and the four markets saw 98,383 Jeep sales, 16% more than the entire world just a year earlier.

Through the end of October, Jeep has delivered 791,376 new vehicles in North America. It’s the top-selling SUV brand in the U.S., with a 13% share of the crossover/SUV market that includes 25 brands.

Last month, Jeep sold 12,775 more utilities in the U.S. than second-place Ford; for the first ten months of the year, Jeep is beating Ford by 81,248 sales.

Number one is a great position to be in; number one in the fastest-growing market segment is even better. In October, the segment grew more than four percentage points to 38% of total sales, second only to passenger cars with a 41% share.

Sales are also up 12% in Canada, though they are off by 10% in Mexico.

October Jeep sales in North America were up 30% compared to October 2014, and year-to-date deliveries have grown 22%.

In the past couple of years, Jeep has gotten about 17% of its total annual sales in the last two months of the year. Using that as a guide, Jeep may come tantalizingly close to a million sales in North America alone — about 950,000 sales between the three countries.

Adding in the latest European Union numbers (September), Jeep hits the million mark with room to spare. Factor in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, and Jeep could get close to 1.2 million sales this year.

Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2015/11/jeep-on-the-way-to-another-million-30530

Apple Is Getting Very Serious About The Whole Car Thing

A couple of years ago, Apple announced its intention to dominate dashboardsvia the CarPlay infotainment system. To most observers, CarPlay seemed like an interesting move but not much of a stretch for Apple. After all, plenty of drivers already used their iPhones for music and navigation, so why not bake those features directly into cars?

Back in February, however, rumors began circulating that Apple had bigger plans for the auto world — plans that involved building its own autonomous cars. Soon afterward, we heard reports of a secret research lab and claims that Apple was poaching experienced battery designers. The company’s goals were becoming clearer: Apple was gunning for next-gen manufacturers of electric, self-driving cars like Tesla.

The only thing in this narrative that’s remained a bit unclear has been how serious Apple is about its car project. Is it iPhone serious, or is it AppleTV serious?

Based on recent news, it’s iPhone serious.

That news involved Apple’s hiring of Doug Betts, formerly the head of global quality at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. As you can see from Betts’ resume, he’s spent nearly 30 years in the auto industry, and he’s always been focused on improving the efficiency of the manufacturing process and the quality of products.

What will Betts be doing at Apple? His profile simply says that he’s in “Operations”, which could mean anything. But it would be a little strange for Apple to hire such a dedicated auto industry guy with extensive production credentials and not use him to produce automobiles. If, for example, Apple wanted to tighten up production of smartphones or watches, surely there are people better than Betts for such jobs.

So, to recap, for those who had lingering doubts, Apple is getting very serious about producing cars.

Read more at:http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1099268_apple-is-getting-very-serious-about-the-whole-car-thing?fbfanpage