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    Chrysler Files For An IPO



    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    September 24, 2013

    Last night, Chrysler announced they are preparing to do an initial public offering of some of its shares. This comes as a result of Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and the UAW's Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (AKA the VEBA trust) not coming to an agreement concerning the 41.5 percent stake of Chrysler the trust holds.

    Chrysler hasn't announced the amount of shares nor the price in their IPO documents, but it did set a maximum proposed offering price of $100 million. J.P. Morgan is the the investment bank for Chrysler's IPO. The shares will come from the VEBA trust.

    Why is Chrysler doing an IPO? Fiat and the UAW have been arguing over how much those shares are worth and have taken this court for a judge to decide. By doing an IPO, this allows the two parties to possibly see how much those remaining shares are worth.

    This move presents risk for both parties. Fiat and Chrysler have the most to lose in the IPO. The IPO complicates Sergio Marchionne's plan to merge the two companies.

    “Completion of this offering will prevent or delay Fiat from meeting this objective. Fiat has informed us that it is reconsidering the benefits and costs of further expanding its relationship with us and the terms on which Fiat would continue the sharing of technology, vehicle architectures and platforms, distribution networks, production facilities and engineering and management resources,” said Chrysler in its filling.

    If Fiat really wants Chrysler badly, they could boost their offer for the remaining shares. Also, Fiat and Chrysler are on the hook for IPO. The money made from selling the shares would go to VEBA.

    The UAW also has a big risk. If the share prices are much lower than UAW expects, Fiat could go low on their offer.

    “Chrysler’s IPO is being motivated by the need of the UAW health care trust to cash in on the company’s gains over the past several years to shore up their own cash reserves. This goes against Fiat’s desire for a 100-percent ownership stake in Chrysler, and in the end, may only serve as a negotiating tactic,” said Kelley Blue Book analyst Alec Gutierrez in a statement.

    Marchionne says the IPO could come as early as the end of November, but the end of the year is not generally seen as a good time to take a company public.

    If the IPO goes through, this would be the first time Chrysler has been publicly traded since 1998.

    Source: Chrysler, The Detroit News, USA Today

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Press Release is on Page 2


    Chrysler Group LLC Files Registration Statement for Proposed Initial Public Offering

    September 23, 2013, Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it has filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") relating to a proposed initial public offering of common shares. The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the offering have not yet been determined. The common shares to be sold in this offering are proposed to be sold by the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust (the "VEBA Trust"), which has exercised demand registration rights under a shareholders' agreement with Chrysler Group LLC. The VEBA Trust will receive all of the net proceeds from this offering.

    J.P. Morgan Securities LLC will be the lead book-running manager of the offering. This offering will be made only by means of a prospectus. A copy of the preliminary prospectus, when available, may be obtained by contacting J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, New York 11717, or by calling (866) 803-9204.

    A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the SEC but has not yet become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement becomes effective. Copies of the registration statement can be accessed through the SEC's website. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction.

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                          Month Sales
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      Vol %
        Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
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      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
        Compass
      3,164
      6,271
      -50%
      3,164
      6,271
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      8,584
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      4,700
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      10,987
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      11,334
      10,987
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      16,783
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      12,551
      16,783
      -25%
        Grand Cherokee
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      13,975
      24%
      17,301
      13,975
      24%
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      6,167
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      9,365
      6,167
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      4,685
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        300
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      5,665
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      4,708
      5,665
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      11,383
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      138
      11,383
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      21,772
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      13,377
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      5,280
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      1,397
      5,280
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        Avenger
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      9
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      0
      9
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      7,153
      8,782
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      7,153
      8,782
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      5,661
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      3,393
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      53
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      11,586
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      12,636
      11,586
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      10,770
      10,955
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      10,770
      10,955
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      48,302
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      32,564
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      32,564
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      0
      2
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      0
      2
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      1,156
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      38
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      108
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      357
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      1,041
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      600
      1,041
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      240
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      81,395
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      76,358
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      -6%
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      36,064
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      38,045
      36,064
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      69%
      889
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    • By William Maley
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      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      There is one vehicle that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has to get right the first time - the minivan. The company is credited for creating this vehicle segment back in the eighties with the introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Each subsequent version brought forth some new improvement or feature that put it ahead of the pack. But due to the bankruptcy in 2009 and subsequent merger with Fiat, plans for the next-generation Chrysler Town and Country and Dodge Caravan were pushed back. This left the old model struggling against some fresh competition in the form of the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. 
      But last year, Chrysler surprised everyone with a new minivan. Wearing the Pacifica nameplate, the van was unlike anything that had come before. It featured a sleek design, handsome interior, and the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain. The bigger surprise was that Chrysler would be the only brand getting the new van. The Dodge Caravan would continue in its current incarnation for a few years to provide a low-cost option for those shoppers. Has Chrysler pulled a rabbit out its hat or has the unthinkable happened and the Pacifica trails the competition?
      The first thing to take in about the new Pacifica is how good-looking it is. The design comes courtesy of the 700C that debuted quietly a few years back at the Detroit Auto Show. The rounded front end is reminiscent of the recently departed 200 with a narrow grille and headlights, chrome trim along the edges of the grilles, and a sculpted hood. The side profile shows off two character lines; one running from the front fender to the chrome trim for the windows and another running through the door handles and curving into the rear fender. We would only make one slight change to the Pacifica. Our Touring L tester featured 17-inch wheels that looked a bit small for a vehicle this size. We would go for the larger 18-inch wheels that fill in the wheel wells much better.
      Anyone who has been in the last-generation Chrysler Town and Country or Dodge Caravan knows the interior was well past its sell-by date. When pitted against competitors, the two vans came up very short in terms of design, materials, space for cargo and passengers; and infotainment. Step inside the Pacifica and it is clear that Chrysler has done its homework. The design is much more modern with flowing lines and contrasting colors. It also feels more spacious than the outgoing vans thanks to some smart decisions such as the removal of the center console to allow for an open floor between driver and passenger, and the use of a knob for the transmission. Material quality has also seen a noticeable improvement with many surfaces now boasting soft-touch plastics. It wouldn’t be crazy to say the Chrysler Pacifica is ahead of everyone when it comes to the interior.
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      Power for the Pacifica comes from the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission that routes power to the front-wheels only. It might not be the fastest van on the road (that honor falls to the Toyota Sienna), but Pacifica comes very close. Power comes on a smooth and steady rate. You’ll find yourself not wanting more power when merging onto a freeway or trying to make a pass. FCA has seemed to get its act together with the nine-speed automatic transmission. Issues with clunky shifts and gear hunting have been mostly ironed out. The transmission now features smooth and quick upshifts. The only item we would want FCA to work on is the transmission’s hesitation to downshift in certain situations such as making a pass.
      EPA fuel economy for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is rated at 18 City/28 Highway/22 Combined. Our week mostly spent in the city returned 23.2 mpg.
      The primary concern when it comes to a van’s ride and handling characteristics is providing maximum comfort and the Pacifica delivers. The suspension delivers a smooth ride even on some of the rough roads on offer from Metro Detroit area. An added bonus is how well the Pacifica isolates road and wind noise from coming inside. At highway speeds, only a whisper of wind noise makes it inside. But the Pacifica becomes a bit of a surprise when it comes to handling. Despite its large size, FCA’s engineers made the Pacifica feel quite nimble. The steering might not give that impression as it feels somewhat light when turning. But go around a corner and the van feels more like a midsize sedan than a van. 
      It has been a long time coming for a new minivan from FCA and the good news is that they haven’t dropped the ball. The Pacifica may not have ripped up the rulebook when it comes to minivans, but it sure has expanded or rewritten bits of it. From a surprising balance of ride and handling characteristics to the best interior in the class, it is clear that FCA wants to reclaim the crown of the best minivan. But there one thing that we need to address and that is FCA’s poor reliability history. No matter which survey or study look at, more often than not, FCA’s core brands are towards the bottom. What does this mean for the Pacifica? We can’t say for right now, but this could be the one thing that makes or breaks Chrysler’s new van.
      For right now, the Pacifica is at the top of the class.
      Disclaimer: Chrysler Provided the Pacifica, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2017
      Make: Chrysler
      Model: Pacifica
      Trim: Touring L
      Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT V6
      Driveline: Nine-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 287 @ 6,400
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4,000
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/28/22
      Curb Weight: 4,330 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Windsor, Ontario
      Base Price: $34,495
      As Tested Price: $36,880 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Premium Audio Group - $895.00
      8 Passenger Seating - $495.00
    • By William Maley
      It may not be the electric Pacifica we were hearing about last month, but Chrysler does have an electric minivan concept that will be debuting later today at the Consumer Electronics Show. Meet the Portal concept which Chrysler describes as "created by millennials for millennials."
      The Portal does look like something from the set of Blade Runner with an interesting front end, massive wheels, and a set of huge double-sliding doors. The Portal rides on a 118.2 wheelbase, making it slightly smaller than the Pacifica. Inside, the seats are mounted on rails that allow them to move fore and aft, fold flat, or be removed completely. There is also a prominent LCD screen that runs the length of the dashboard, along with a touchscreen mounted in the center. Finally, there are 10 docking stations for various smartphones and tablets.
      A single electric motor provides the motivation for the front wheels. Under the floor lies a 100-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can provide an overall range of more than 250 miles. When plugged into a 350-kW fast charger, the Portal's battery pack can be recharged to have a 150 mile range within 20 minutes. 
      Like most concepts being shown now, the Portal boasts autonomous driving technologies; in this case, Level 3 tech. This means a driver can let the vehicle drive on its own under certain conditions on the highway. Chrysler says the technologies in the Portal can be upgraded to feature such things as facial recognition and voice biometric technologies.
      Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles 
      Press Release is on Page 2
      The Chrysler Portal concept is designed to keep the driver and passengers connected – to each other, to the vehicle and to the surrounding world.
      Starting with today’s widespread use of the Internet and social media for communication and information, the FCA User Experience (UX) team, and an internal UX Tiger team from the Panasonic Automotive Advanced Engineering function, jointly picked a blend of emerging and future technologies to engage the next generation of vehicle users.
      “When our teams began imagining the user experiences inside the Chrysler Portal, we set out to identify a long-time supplier partner who could help push the limits of customization and personalization,” said Scott Thiele, Chief Purchasing Officer for FCA NV and Head of Purchasing and Supplier Quality for FCA – North America. “Working with Panasonic Automotive on this concept vehicle is just one example of how FCA is engaging strategic suppliers early in the development phase to bring to life innovations that can become industry benchmarks.”
      Tapping the Panasonic Cognitive Infotainment (PCI) platform as the foundation of the UX feature set, the Chrysler User Experience team matched future consumer needs (life, finances and new technology) to those new technology solutions now exhibited in the Portal concept.
      “Working together, FCA and Panasonic Automotive are showing a more cognitively enhanced set of technologies that can give drivers and passengers a superior, more accurate, just-in-time in-vehicle experience,” said Tom Gebhardt, President, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America.
      “In fact, we are so delighted by the partnership, Panasonic has created a complimentary technology exhibition to further showcase our joint interests in UX, software, hardware, and cloud services specifically featuring a unique e-commerce retail use case.”
      The battery-powered Chrysler Portal concept electric vehicle was unveiled today at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
      Facial recognition, voice biometrics provide a seamless, personalized experience
      For members of the millennial generation, the target audience for the Chrysler Portal concept, technology is more than a tool – it’s an integral part of their lives.
      The hub of this technology is the mobile phone. The Chrysler Portal concept is engineered to seamlessly detect and connect with passengers’ mobile devices, expanding the social canvas.
      Recognition and user authentication is the next level of personalization and a primary driving factor for the user experience. Facial recognition and voice biometric technologies work together to provide a seamless personalization experience. As a result, all passengers can set up individual and group settings for an enjoyable, customized experience. For example, facial recognition tells the Chrysler Portal who is in the vehicle and how to automatically configure preferred settings, such as music, lighting, vehicle temperature, heated or cooled seats, etc. Internet cloud-based technologies, combined with facial and voice recognition, keep those preferred settings in sync should a passenger move to another seat.
      Accessing technology inside the vehicle is naturally intuitive using a blend of voice controls with familiar touch controls. With an array of microphones inside the Portal concept, voice control is available to all occupants. Advanced speech software can identify who is speaking to accurately determine an action, such as which display screen to access. Embedded interior and connected portable device cameras also facilitate conversations and interactions.
      Want to play music tailored for an individual, such as a child? Simply say, “Play Johnny’s ‘Naptime Favorites’ playlist.” Personalized audio zones enable each passenger to listen to their own content isolated to their seat without the need for headphones. 
      Facial recognition enables the Chrysler Portal concept to track the driver’s directional gaze, as a result, the intensity of the high-mount display screen can automatically dim or increase to help reduce eye strain. If the driver is looking at a specific location on the display and a critical notification occurs, such as an oncoming emergency vehicle, a message pop-up in the area where the driver is looking helps reduce reaction time.
      Turn road trips into social memories
      Social media plays a large role in the lives of many Millennials. In the Chrysler Portal concept, sharing content between passengers is as easy as a swipe to the right. A personal tablet or mobile device becomes a community display screen via a docking station in the Chrysler Portal’s headliner, making it easily viewable by second- and third-row passengers. Media such as music, images and videos from personal devices can be shared with a simple upward swipe to the display screen. The community display is ideal for road trips with family and friends. At a glance, infographics show the progress of the vehicle to the trip destination. 
      The Chrysler Portal concept also takes into consideration each passenger’s media preferences and enables them to contribute to the road trip experience. Using predictive intelligence, passenger preferences can be merged to create an overall community setting that can help the group find destinations and plan the best route, select a restaurant, and play music and videos everyone can enjoy. 
      Once a route is set, it can be added to the community display so all passengers can monitor the trip’s progress. At the lunch break, passengers can use the technology in the Chrysler Portal concept to order from a quick service restaurant via voice or touchscreen without rolling down the window or leaving the vehicle, a real convenience in inclement weather. If someone is not sure what to order, the system’s intelligence can offer suggestions based on the passenger’s personal settings. With ecommerce, there is no need for cash or a credit card as the payment can be securely transacted from the vehicle while in transit.
      Once at the destination, interior and exterior cameras can capture the moment with a selfie, which is then automatically downloaded to everyone’s personal device and can be shared via social media.
      Affordable, upgradeable technology designed to be added as needed
      Keeping the user experience affordable, the Chrysler Portal concept’s in-vehicle technology is designed to be adaptable and upgradeable. Cost-conscious consumers are able to decide what technology they want to add and when they want to integrate it into their vehicle, such as adding technologies to meet the ongoing needs of a new family.  For example, the vehicle’s short-range wireless network enables parents to connect a baby monitor camera to a seat, with the image appearing on the high-mount display.
      Another way consumers could integrate their personal devices is by using the Chrysler Portal Concept Companion App. Once downloaded to a mobile device, the companion app has the ability to customize vehicle lighting, control vehicle and home settings, lock/unlock doors and operate other functions from any location. 
      Advanced driving assistance
      A key element of the Chrysler Portal concept’s user experience is the graphic-rich, high-quality information available to the driver.
      The hub of this information is the high-mount display, located above where a traditional instrument panel would be placed. Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (AMOLED) technology in the display makes the screen brighter and sharper. The technology embedded in the Chrysler Portal collects a wide spectrum of visual, sensor-based and infrastructure data; organizes and configures the information for display; and tailors the presentation to keep the driver’s attention on the highest priority functions.
      The display, which spans nearly the entire length of the instrument panel, is positioned higher intentionally for greater visibility and to aid the driver keeping his/her eyes on the road. Maintaining visibility with the horizon helps reduce the possibility of motion sickness while interacting with the 3-D graphics, especially if Level 3 autonomous driving mode is engaged.
      The length of the screen enables three zones of information. The first section of the screen, located in front of the driver, offers traditional vehicle information, such as speed. The middle section displays a 360-degree situational awareness view, such as surrounding vehicles, GPS information and points of interest, and can be viewed by other vehicle occupants. The third section can be used for media sharing, status updates of passengers, such as their seat temperature, music or videos being played and a view of them.
      During Level 3 autonomous driving, the display communicates the status of the vehicle and the surrounding environment. Should the vehicle come to a stop or perform a quick maneuver, the viewable display makes it clear to all occupants the status of the vehicle.
      The Chrysler Portal concept is constantly using Vehicle-to-X (V2X) communication that enables the vehicle to “talk” with the public infrastructure, Internet, and other vehicles via an array of sensors. For example, if an approaching ambulance is out of sight, V2X systems will notify the vehicle that the ambulance is approaching. Graphics on the high-mount display will communicate the oncoming ambulance by simulating its approach and direction, and the audio system will provide cues that the vehicle is approaching.

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