Fiat Chrysler has just revealed new images of the SRT Tomahawk Vision Gran Turismo, a single-seat hybrid that you’ll only be able to drive in the virtual world — it was developed for the Gran Turismo 6 video game.
FCA wrote that more updates, including the official unveiling, are coming soon.
John Elkann, chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and part of the founding family, told Reuters that CEO Sergio Marchionne did indeed send an email to General Motors and others about “a possible tie-up.” The story was originally broken by the New York Times on Saturday, and was essentially dismissed by Sergio Marchionne.
Mr. Marchionne, possibly at the behest of Mr. Elkann, has been seeking to reduce FCA’s high capital expenditures by looking for merger or acquisition partners. As he said in an unusual speech during the last quarter’s investor’s report, the industry spends many billions of dollars developing essentially similar components, including engines and transmissions.
The former Chrysler already uses ZF transmission designs, along with its own legacy automatics for trucks and a Mercedes automatic for Wranglers. GM and Ford are collaborating on a ten-speed automatic, Ford uses Toyota hybrid technology, and FCA is sharing a car design with Mazda, among other current deals. A tie-up would not necessarily mean a merger, though it appears that was the primary goal of Mr. Marchionne’s e-mails.
Mr. Marchionne may have been acting as an agent for Mr. Elkann and may not have been entirely enthusiastic about merging with General Motors, based on the fact that he used e-mail, rather than personal meetings, to broach the idea and to gauge interest.
The Dodge Durango and “essentially the same, but restyled” Chrysler Aspen hybrids hit the roads using a clever design, created to minimize the cost of spreading hybrid powertrains throughout the entire product line. Instead of creating a system for each car separately, which would be more efficient, they shoved the working parts into the transmission case — two motors, gas-engine gears, and CVT for the motors — which could in theory be shared with other compatible vehicles (Rams, Dakotas, and Grand Cherokees, in this case). While it produced fuel-economy gains, it never went anywhere at Chrysler or GM.
Today, Chrysler is facing greater fuel-economy challenges than most automakers, with a large-vehicle heavy image and sales mix. The CEO, Sergio Marchionne, has already said that the next minivans will be the first new Chrysler hybrids, and has hinted that the planned AWD models will either give up Stow ’n’ Go or use electric motors for the rear wheels and gasoline power for the fronts.
One wonders if Chrysler could use lessons from the past. Hybridizing the entire nine-speed lineup would produce immediate gains that would propel the company into the green, so to speak, for CAFE requirements, instead of forcing it to buy credits from other automakers — if customers bought the vehicles, and if they were cost effective, two rather large “ifs.” Chrysler is not known for its fuel efficiency (even when it beats all comers), and image is everything — if those who care about gas mileage automatically turn away, it will be hard to sell hybrids. That said, turning back to 2008, if it can be done, could slash development expenses, at the cost of some efficiency.
The company is moving forward, slowly, with first-generation stop-start technology to give way to second-generation belt-starter-alternator stop-start systems soon. Hybrids are coming in a year. We have yet to find out how quickly, and how far, they will spread through the lineup — and whether customers will be willing to buy them in an era of low gasoline prices. See our story on the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen hybrids.
The Takata airbag inflator recall will affect over five million vehicles, according to the company. Many are likely no longer on the road, since the model years affected range from 2004 to 2011, and natural attrition (including crashes) naturally take some vehicles out of the pool, but it will still be a substantial expense for Fiat Chrysler and for Takata.
The announcement came with a bolded note, “FCA US is unaware of any related injuries or accidents involving the newly affected vehicles. All affected customers will be advised when they may schedule service.”
The inflators are not the ones which have caused injuries in other automakers’ vehicles, and the recall replacements will likely not take place for some time as the NHTSA is prioritizing repairs. The first vehicles to be recalled will likely be the oldest cars, with the worst inflators, stationed in areas of high humidity. The last will likely be those in arid climates which are not closely linked to any issues.
FCA US noted that a single incident has taken place involving one of their vehicles, involving a 2006 Dodge Charger. In the past, the media department wrote that they had not been given access to the vehicle to see if the inflator was at fault.
Certain Takata airbag inflators can send debris into the vehicle, injuring or killing the occupants. Affected vehicles are:
2004-2008 Dodge Durango
2005-2010 Chrysler 300 series, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Magnum
Dodge Ram / Sterling chassis cabs: 2008-10 4500 and 5500, and 2008-09 Sterling 4500 and 5500
2005-2011 Dodge Dakotas and 2006-11 Mitsubishi Raiders
Around 4,066,732 are in the U.S., 374,508 in Canada, and the rest throughout the world. This action expands a prior recall, adding around 1.4 million vehicles and model years 2008-11. Inflators replaced earlier will need to be re-serviced.
Prefix is best known for painting all of the body panels for the 2013 and newer Viper, but the Auburn Hills company made big news when they introduced their drop-top version of the Viper when Dodge opted not to build one.
The Prefix Medusa gives 2013-2015 Viper owners the chance to enjoy the open air feel, but the package is extensive and, with a price of $35,000, the Medusa package is expensive. For Viper owners who want some of the open air feel without a full droptop conversion, Prefix has launched their new targa top package for the Mopar supercar.
The targa top is like a T-top design, but with no bar running down through the opening, so the Prefix Viper targa package allows owners to remove the center section of the roof while preserving the back glass and the full profile of the Viper coupe. This conversion is far less extensive than the Medusa package and significantly less expensive.
While the roadster conversion costs $35,000, the Prefix targa package will run Viper owners just $10,000. For this price, Prefix will cut away the area of the Viper roof directly above the seats, and fabricate a carbon fiber roof panel that easily locks into place. When you want to enjoy the open air, you take the top off and stow it in the trunk.
Prefix is taking orders now for 2013, 2014 or 2015 SRT or Dodge Vipers.
According to two dealerships, a single-day ordering window has opened for Hellcat Challengers. The rules are that the car must have already been ordered by a real customer, have the six-speed manual transmission, and not painted in SubLime. The window appears to have opened for all dealerships. The allocation is good for today only, according to sources.
Kelley Blue Book predicted that Jeep sales will hit another record in May, propelling Fiat Chrysler to a 62nd consecutive month of sales gains.
Buyers are still choosing compact and mid-size crossovers and SUVs, a perfect market for Jeep. Kelley’s KBB.com forecasted that sales in those segments will grow by 6%, while sales of compact and mid-size cars and full-size pickups will drop.
In KBB.com’s crystal ball, Fiat Chrysler is the only major automaker to come through with higher sales in May. They see industry sales falling by 1%, mostly because this month has one fewer selling days than May 2014 (based on the distribution of Sundays).
Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book, wrote, “The all-new Renegade would have helped push Fiat Chrysler’s total even higher, if not for the halt on its deliveries due to a software issue. Nonetheless, the Cherokee experienced similar troubles at its launch in late 2013 and is now Jeep’s top seller.”
While they don’t break out their forecast by manufacturer, J.D. Power/LMC Automotive saw a similar 0.9% dip based on sales through the middle of the month.
Though total sales volume is seen as coming up short compared to last year, the daily sales rate is predicted to be about 3% higher than in May 2014. J.D. Power says the seasonally adjusted annualized rate (SAAR) will hit 17.3 million sales, which would be the highest reading since August of last year. Last May, the SAAR was 16.73 million, and in April of this year it was 16.5 million.
May sales figures are scheduled to be released next Tuesday morning, June 2.
According to Automotive News, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram will cap their powertrain warranties at 60,000 miles for the 2016 model year, cutting back from the current five years or 100,000 miles.
The change applies only to vehicles equipped with gasoline engines; diesels, Fiats, and Alfa Romeos are not included. Nor is the current three-year or 36,000 miles bumper-to-bumper warranty changed.
Larry Vellequette’s article in Automotive News cited a statement from FCA:
“Following changes already made by competitors, FCA US is adjusting powertrain warranty coverage for 2016 model year vehicles to be more consistent with industry practices. For 2016 [model year], Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram Truck vehicles with gasoline engines will be covered by a 5-year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.”
General Motors already cut its 2016 model year Chevrolet and GMC warranties in March, citing lack of consumer interest, though the upscale Buick and Cadillac have a six-year or 70,000-mile powertrain warranty. Over in Dearborn, Ford has a five-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty and Lincoln has a six-year or 70,000-mile warranty. These are all in addition to standard “limited bumper to bumper” warrantees.
Total production of the Pentastar V6 engine family passed the 5 million mark earlier this month, according to the company.
First installed in the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Pentastar V6 is now standard or optional in 14 different vehicles, covering all Chrysler brands. Even the Dodge Charger Pursuit car is available with the Pentastar V6, and, according to the Michigan State Police, it can power the full-size Dodge squad to a top speed of 141 miles per hour.
The Pentastar was named one of Ward’s Top Ten Engines from 2011 to 2013.
So far in 2015, 47% of Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles sold worldwide have been equipped with the Pentastar. The 3.6-liter is the most popular, accounting for the majority of installations.
There are three different Pentastar V6s: the 3.6, produced at the Trenton Engine Complex (Michigan), Saltillo South Engine Plant (Mexico), and Mack Avenue Engine Plant (Michigan), has the widest range of applications. The 3.2 for the Jeep Cherokee comes from the Trenton and Mack Plants; the 3.0 installed in Jeep Grand Cherokees, Jeep Wranglers, and Chrysler 300s sold in China come from the Trenton plant.
A new FCA diesel engine is debuting on the Italian version of the Jeep Cherokee, but it could well make its way to North America.
The Cherokee is still made in the United States, but it now has the option of a new 2.2 liter diesel engine noted earlier by Allpar. The company said the new engine produced 200 horsepower at 3,500 rpm, with 440 Nm of torque (324 lb-ft), putting it above the 2.4 liter gasoline engine in horsepower and above the V6 gasoline engine in torque — ideal for towing — according to the official announcement.
Dubbed “MultiJet II,” like the existing 2-liter diesel from Fiat Powertrain, the 2.2 produces far better horsepower than the 2.0 — 200 vs 140. Torque is also higher. (A limited-power version is rated at 185 horsepower). Fuel usage with the nine-speed and stop-start system with Active Drive I (AWD) on the European combined cycle is 5.7 liters per 100 km, or 41 mpg; by American standards, this likely would be somewhere in the mid-30s.
Still to come from FCA is a new “L424” four-cylinder diesel from VM, at 2.4 liters, which is predicted to have lower horsepower and higher torque than the 2.2. The VM engine is predicted to peak at 197 horsepower, close to the Alfa, but push out 368 lb-ft of torque at a mere 1600 rpm; the L424 was reportedly designed to meet US ULEV standards. Thanks, Alfa Romeo 159.
A few weeks back we brought you videos of a Pennsylvania-based 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat making its first trip to the drag strip, garnering no less than three 10-second runs. That Challenger was back in action this past weekend, and the results are even more impressive – turning out figures that could be a record for a Hellcat Challenger with so few modifications.
If you missed our first piece a few weeks back, this 2015 Hellcat Challenger is owned by Ricci Cavallaro. Ricci is not a professional racer, but he is an experienced sportsman with decades of experience under his belt. When he got his 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, he quickly bought a proper set of drag tires which helped him turn out very impressive times on his first time at the track. Ricci’s black Challenger made all three passes down the track in the 10.90 range, which is very good for a stock car with nothing more than a sticky set of tires.
Since that first time to the track, Mr. Cavallaro invested in a stronger driveshaft after seeing the carnage caused by other Hellcat Challengers with the same sticky Nitto tires and the stock driveshaft.
On his first run of the day, the Hellcat Challenger ran a stunning 10.76 at 130.21 miles per hour.
When he went out for his second run of the day, Mr. Cavallaro’s wicked Mopar muscle car tripped the timer at 10.724 seconds with a trap speed of 129.5. On that second run, the Hellcat Challenger – a car accused by some of being unable to use all of that power – pulled a 60 foot time of 1.5848 seconds. For those unsure, pulling a sub 1.6 second 60 foot time is difficult for a street car on street legal tires.
Those first runs were solid, but Ricci Cavallaro and his Hellcat Challenger saved the best for last. He pulled a 60 foot time of just 1.5782 seconds to cover the first span of the track, and when the times came up on the big board, he had turned a stunning 10.7129 at 129.53 miles per hour.
That is a 10.71 second quarter mile run for a Dodge Challenger with nothing but a stronger driveshaft and sticky street tires. Mr. Cavallaro could likely have run these same numbers with the stock driveshaft, but he didn’t want to risk tearing up the car.
This isn’t an official quarter mile record for the Hellcat Challenger, but I have not seen a car with this little work done get down the quarter mile that quickly. There are rumors about cars that ran in the 10.60s, but there has been no proof that I have seen (or that Ricci has seen) of a Hellcat Challenger with only street legal drag radial tires and a tougher driveshaft running a 10.71.
The video below shows the possible record run with commentary provided by one of Cavallaro’s children. You cannot read the numbers on the board, but if you listen, you can clearly hear the announced spell out the 10.71 run.
Until another video surfaces showing a similar car turning better numbers, it looks like Ricci Cavallaro is the quickest stock engine Hellcat Challenger driver in the country.
If you know of a faster Hellcat, feel free to send me a link via our contact form and I will happily check it out.
An image showing what is supposed to be a 2016 Chrysler 300 SRT Hellcat has been floating around the Internet, but there is almost no chance of seeing a Hellcat Hemi option for the 2016 Chrysler 300 sedan.
For the 2016 model year, at least, there appears to be absolutely no chance of seeing anything aside from a Challenger and Charger with a Hellcat Hemi, mainly due to supply constraints.
Though some images show what is assumed by some to be an upcoming Chrysler 300 SRT Hellcat, there is, in North America at least, not even a 392 option.
Chrysler reps have stated that there is no intention to offer an SRT 300 in the US, though they sell an SRT 392 Chrysler 300 in some foreign markets where high performance sedans sell well (see video). However, the company has always said that there were no plans to offer the Hellcat Hemi on a broad scale in non-North American markets, so these SRT 300s headed overseas are packing 392s.
Then there is the issue of demand. Dodge has stopped taking orders for the 2015 Hellcat Challenger and 2015 Hellcat Charger, with no estimate as to when they will begin taking orders again, while they cut through the 9,000 orders already sent in. Until they catch up — not expected for months — there is no chance of them adding another model to the list of vehicles that feature the 707 horsepower engine. The company is most likely to reopen the order banks for the Charger and Challenger with the Hellcat Hemi before adding new models with that engine.
Company comments suggest there is no Hellcat 300 coming, ever, but word on the street indicates that one other vehicle will get the 707hp Hellcat Hemi — though it’s not likely to happen until the 2017 model year at best.
The good news is that recent rumors from the quiet hallways of the Auburn Hills headquarters is that there may be a 392 version of the Chrysler 300 coming to North America again, even if it’s not SRT-branded. Thanks to “Fury413” for the video tip.
The current ad for the Volkswagen Passat TDI takes a sneaky shot at the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger. In the 45-second spot, three young boys march into a convenience store and, as Waylon Jennings sings “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” they proceed to wreak havoc.
Outside, the mother, totally oblivious to the mayhem the boys are creating, fills her sedan. Even though the badging has been removed, the car is obviously a Chrysler 300.
As the mother begins to look concerned and calls for the boys, a black Passat drives by, containing another mother and her perfectly behaved offspring. As she passes a Dodge Charger, the announcer, touting the Passat diesel’s range, says “Stop less; go more.”
While neither Volkswagen nor its ad agency will confirm the poke, it’s likely the ad is a bit of payback for 2013 and 2014 Dodge Charger ads, “Poster,” “I Wish” and “Just Kidding,” that made fun of the Passat. This might also be another skirmish in the long-running feud between Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and VW CEO Martin Winterkorn.
Today is Memorial Day and while for many, this day means a day of car shows, barbecues and a day off of work, it is important to remember the real purpose of Memorial Day Hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have lost their lives while fighting to preserve our freedom and the freedom of others.
So while you are enjoying your day off at the car cruise or barbecue, take a moment to give thanks to those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. To all of those soldiers who have lost their lives and the countless other who are still fighting to protect our freedom, thank you from everyone at Allpar.
For a brief Memorial Day tribute, here is a trio of Dodge Charger Hellcat models – one in TorRed, one in Bright White and one in Jazz Blue – doing an absolutely epic burnout. Due to how the cars are positioned, we can’t see the blue car and after the first few seconds, we cannot see any of the cars. However, we get to watch the white and red Hellcat Chargers roar out of the smoke followed by the roar of the Jazz Blue Mopar muscle sedan.
While the Jeep trademark for automobiles, cup warmers, handbags, and such is owned by the American arm of Fiat Chrysler — the logically but tortuously named FCA US LLC — an older trademark for Jeep remains in use.
Hearst Holdings, Inc., descendent of the famed Hearst newspapers, holds the Jeep trademark, as it applies to comics. They claimed that the first use was on March 26, 1936, in their application of January 18, 2007, and it appears nobody objected: the application was approved on October 28, 2008.
Ken Massey wrote that the Jeep name was first applied to the largely Bantam-designed Willys-Overland light recon trucks around 1941, when test driver Irving Haussman demonstrated the agility of the small vehicle by driving up the Capitol steps.
World War II Third Armored Division veteran Jack Keenan wrote that early Willys-Overlands were not called Jeeps. “We called ’em ‘Peeps’.” (He provided the illustration above, drawn and annotated during World War II.) Steven J. Zaloga, in his book Jeeps 1941-45, wrote that the term “jeep” had been used by Army mechanics to describe any new vehicle. In 1936, the comic strip Popeye, which ran in Hearst newspapers, brought out the character “Eugene the Jeep,” who could travel anywhere.
While the Superbird and the Daytona 500 are linked in many Mopar fans’ minds, it wasn’t the No. 43 car that won: it was the No. 40 Superbird driven by Pete Hamilton. Petty’s No. 43 car was retired after seven laps with engine trouble.
Petty bounced back and went on to win 18 races in the 1970 season, 5 of those wins were in the 1970 Superbird (Petty won in Raleigh driving a ’69 Plymouth). Pete Hamilton added another three wins to the Superbird’s total, making it the dominant car on the NASCAR circuit that year.
Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, Charlie Glotzbach and Bobby Isaac added 18 Dodge victories to the Mopar total of 38 wins out of 48 races in the 1970 season.
The four-day 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed runs from June 25th to the 28th on the grounds of Goodwood House, a 400-year-old country manor located about 63 miles southwest of London in West Sussex, not far from the English Channel.
Note: After this article appeared, FCA’s Greg Kwiatkowski corrected us about the number of races Petty won in the 1970 Superbird: it was five, not 17. Greg notes that Petty won the other 12 races in his short-track Plymouth.
Furthermore, Greg told Allpar that vintage photos prove that the current #40 Superbird is really Petty’s actual #43 Superbird. The real No. 40 car has disappeared.