By William Maley
FCA US Reports 2018 April Sales
Jeep® brand reports record April sales, up 20 percent Jeep Wrangler reports highest month of sales ever, up 58 percent Ram brand notches highest April retail sales ever, up 3 percent May 1, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported sales of 184,149 vehicles, a 5 percent increase compared with sales in April 2017 of 176,176 vehicles.
Overall sales were pushed by the Jeep® brand which reported record sales for April. Retail sales came in at 143,995 vehicles, down only 1 percent despite April having two fewer selling days and one less weekend compared with April 2017. Fleet accounted for 22 percent of total sales.
The Jeep brand total sales rose in April to 82,641 vehicles, eclipsing the record of 82,537 vehicles in April 2016. The Jeep Wrangler once again led the portfolio as the nameplate posted a new monthly sales record of 29,776 vehicles. April was also the second consecutive month of record sales for the Wrangler. Jeep Compass sales more than tripled to 11,521 vehicles.
Ram Truck Brand
Ram Truck brand sales declined 9 percent to 43,074 vehicles compared with the previous year. However, the brand reported its best April of retail sales ever with 36,560 vehicles sold, outpacing the last record of 35,558 set in April 2017.
Chrysler brand total sales fell 18 percent in April to 14,189 vehicles compared with the same month a year ago. The Chrysler Pacifica minivan posted a 5 percent retail sales increase to 7,864 vehicles.
Dodge brand total sales rose 4 percent to 40,994 with the Dodge Journey setting a new April record as sales climbed 39 percent to 11,638 vehicles.
Sales of Fiat vehicles declined 45 percent to 1,404 vehicles.
Alfa Romeo Brand
Alfa Romeo brand sales of 1,847 vehicles were up significantly compared with the same month a year ago. Giulia led the brand with 1,123 vehicle sales followed by Stelvio at 702 vehicles.
By William Maley
Ferrari was hoping to keep their Geneva debut under wraps, but a leak yesterday spoiled those plans. Today, Ferrari has revealed 488 Pista, their latest track day special.
The Pista (Italian for track) is described by the prancing horse as a model that benefits from the knowledge that was learned in the FIA's World Endurance Championship (this includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans). Most of this knowledge is applied in the aerodynamics of the 488 Pista. This includes reshaped front diffusers, an F1-inspired S-Duct, and a larger rear spoiler. This allows the 488 Pista to produce 20 percent more downforce than the 488 GTB.
Ferrari has also updated their Side-Slip Angle Control system that enhances driving pleasure. The system is comprised of an electronic differential, F1-Trac stability control, magnetorheological suspension, and Ferrari's Dynamic Enhancer system the varies the pressure of brake calipers.
In its lightest guise, Ferrari claims the 488 Pista is about 200 pounds lighter than the standard 488. This includes a number of "optional lightweight features" (which the company is keeping quiet as to what those features are), along with stripping out the interior and increasing the amount of carbon fiber.
Power for the Pista is a reworked version of the 3.9L twin-turbo V8 engine. Output is rated at 720 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque, making this the most powerful V8 engine Ferrari has used in a street-legal car. Performance figures are impressive,
0-62 mph in 2.8 seconds 0-124 mph in 7.6 seconds Top speed of 211 mph No word on a release timeframe or price.
Press Release is on Page 2
Introducing the new Ferrari 488 Pista
Geneva unveiling for exhilarating, high-performance new Special Series Maranello, 21 February 2018 – The Ferrari 488 Pista, which will be unveiled at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, is the successor to Ferrari’s V8-engined special series – the 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia and 458 Speciale – which have received critical acclaim for their performance and undiluted handling.
The Ferrari 488 Pista marks a significant step forward from the previous special series in terms of both sporty dynamics and for the level of technological carry-over from racing. The name is, in fact, a direct homage to Ferrari’s unparalleled heritage in motor sports.
The car’s development evolved directly from the company’s involvement in the FIA World Endurance Championship – in which it has won five Manufacturers’ titles in the GTE class in the six years since the series’ inception – and its 25 years’ experience in running the Ferrari Challenge one-make series.
The Ferrari 488 Pista’s extensive weight saving solutions, along with engine, vehicle dynamics and aerodynamic developments, all derive from Ferrari’s racing cars: the 488 GTE and the 488 Challenge. The result is a car with an uncompromising mission: to offer impeccable track-like performance on and off the road, even when in the hands of non-professional drivers.
LIGHTER AND MORE POWERFUL
The new model weighs an impressive 90 kg less (1280 kg dry) than the 488 GTB. This fact, combined with the largest ever increase in engine power for a special series car (+50 cv), sets a new benchmark for Ferrari’s V8 sports cars. Its engine is the most powerful V8 in Ferrari history and is an extreme evolution of the turbo unit that won the overall International Engine of the Year award titles in both 2016 and 2017.
It punches out 720 cv with the highest specific output of in its class (185 cv/l) and is now lighter too, thanks to solutions adopted from the 488 Challenge. As a result it has a top speed of 340 km/h and sprints from 0-100 km/h in 2.85” and 0 -200 km/h in 7.6”.
The engine sound is unique and unmistakably Ferrari, as such a special car warrants. Both the sound quality and the intensity are higher than the 488 GTB in all gears and at all engine speeds in proportion with the progressive increase in power.
The Ferrari 488 Pista makes full use of Ferrari’s motor-sports experience for maximum aerodynamic performance even on the road. Among the racing solutions adopted is the front F1-inspired S-Duct and the design of the front diffusers which feature a ramp angle that was optimised for the 488 GTE to create strong suction for increased downforce. Additionally, the rear blown spoiler is higher and longer and the shape has been optimised. The final result of all these interventions is an impressive 20% increase in downforce compared to the 488 GTB.
EXHILARATING DRIVING PLEASURE
The vehicle dynamics were designed to enhance driving pleasure and make the car’s full potential available to all drivers, professional or otherwise. The objective was to make the car’s performance on the limit easier to reach and control.
This was achieved by synergies between the development of the mechanical set-up and the electronic dynamic controls integrated into version 6 of the Side-Slip Angle Control system. SSC 6.0 incorporates all the following systems: E-Diff3, F1-Trac, the magnetorheological suspension (SCM) and, for the first time ever, the Ferrari Dynamic Enhancer. The FDE features a world-first: it uses Ferrari software to adjust the brake pressure at the callipers.
A POWERFUL, EFFICIENT DESIGN
The design of the Ferrari 488 Pista is focussed on functional aerodynamic concepts while the cockpit is pared back in keeping with its very sporty vocation. Ferrari Design used innovative elements, such as the aerodynamic S-Duct at the front, as an opportunity to visually shorten the car’s nose, creating an original floating wing effect.
The racing livery colour scheme is an integral part of the design of the car and the way it dives into the S-Duct underscores the berlinetta’s compact yet imposing forms. Contrasting edging on the aerodynamic elements on the bumpers and flanks add structure to the design.
The concept of the front is echoed in the dolphin-tail rear spoiler which appears suspended to provide an impression lightness and efficiency, while the rear volumes add a sense of power to the tail.
Ferrari 488 Pista
Short technical specifications
Type V8 – 90° twin turbo
Overall displacement 3902 cm3
Max. power output * 530 kW (720 cv) at 8000 rpm
Max. torque * 770 Nm at 3000 rpm in 7th gear
DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHTS
Length 4605 mm
Width 1975 mm
Height 1206 mm
Dry weight ** 1280 kg
0-100 km/h 2.85 s
0 -200 km/h 7.6 s
Max. Speed > 340 km/h
FUEL CONSUMPTION AND C02 EMISSIONS
* With 98 octane petrol
**With optional lightweight features
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By William Maley
A moment of silence for the 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder that powered the Fiat 500 since its launch 2012 as it will not be appearing in the 2018 model. Instead, Fiat has slipped in the turbocharged variant of the 1.4 into all 500s (aside from the Abarth). This boosts power from 101 horsepower and 97 pound-feet of torque to 135 and 150 respectively. A five-speed manual and six-speed automatic are the transmission choices. Other mechanical changes include upgraded brakes and a sportier suspension tune.
Pop and Lounge models become slightly aggressive outside with a new body kit, 16-inch wheels, fog lights, and 'Turbo' badge on the rear. The other key change is a backup camera being added to all 500s.
No word on pricing, but Fiat will open the order books this month with deliveries taking place in the second quarter.
Press Release is on Page 2
FIAT Brand Introduces All-turbo 500 Lineup for 2018
All 2018 Fiat 500 models now come standard with 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and 33 percent more horsepower than last year’s model 2018 Fiat 500 Pop and Lounge offer standard performance braking system and suspension, ParkView rear backup camera, sport spoiler and additional exterior upgrades High-performance, track-ready 2018 Fiat 500 Abarth models deliver up to 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque Customers who purchase or lease a Fiat 500 Abarth also receive – for no additional charge – a one-day high-performance driving session at the legendary Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving Dealers can order 2018 Fiat 500 vehicles this month, with cars arriving at FIAT studios in the second quarter 2018 FIAT product lineup also includes the fully electric 500e, functional 500L, all-wheel-drive small crossover 500X and the 124 Spider roadster February 8, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Fiat 500 lineup goes all-turbo for 2018, with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine and a sportier appearance now standard on all models.
“With an all-turbo lineup, the iconic Fiat 500 now offers an even more dynamic driving experience and more standard horsepower than any of its competitors,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. “In fact, the entire FIAT brand lineup now comes standard with turbocharged power, adding to our roster of fun-to-drive, Italian-designed vehicles.”
The 2018 Fiat 500 lineup is available in three models: Pop, Lounge and the high-performance Abarth. Pop and Lounge models now come standard with the 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine, which features a single turbocharger, twin intercoolers and a sport-tuned exhaust, and delivers 135 horsepower and 150 lb.-ft. of torque – 34 more standard horsepower than last year’s model. The MultiAir Turbo engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission as standard and is available with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Pop and Lounge models are also updated with standard 16-inch aluminum wheels, performance braking system, sport suspension and ParkView rear backup camera. Exterior updates include body-color front and rear fascias, side-sill ground effects, a sport spoiler, fog lamps and “Turbo” badging on the liftgate.
On the Fiat 500 Abarth models, the track-tested 1.4-liter MultiAir Turbo engine delivers up to 160 horsepower and 183 lb.-ft. of torque; while Abarth-tuned hardware offers a world-class ride and track-ready durability.
Other unique Abarth features include a performance suspension; three-mode electronic stability control with an innovative torque transfer control (TTC) system that maximizes throttle performance during on-throttle cornering; 16-inch Hyper Black aluminum wheels; and Pirelli tires with red brake calipers. An Abarth-designed concentric “double-tip” dual-exhaust system delivers a high-performance look with menacing Abarth-tuned sound.
Inside, distinctive Abarth-styled front performance seats feature a one-piece design with large side bolsters, a racing-harness pass through, accent stitching around the perimeter and integrated side-thorax air bags. Below the instrument panel, Abarth-designed aluminum pedal covers feature Nero (black) rubber trim for a decidedly racing look.
Should the driver choose to switch to Sport mode in a Fiat 500 Abarth, the turbo-boost gauge, mounted left of the instrument cluster, illuminates “Sport” and an up-shift light integrated in the cluster alerts the driver when engine speed is approaching the redline, giving the immediate feedback needed on the track or during high-performance driving.
Customers who purchase or lease a Fiat 500 Abarth also receive – for no additional charge – a one-day high-performance driving session at the legendary Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.
The 500 lineup also features three new colors for 2018 (late availability) – Brillante Red, Mezzanotte Blue Pearl and Vesuvio Black Pearl – for a total of 11 exterior paint color choices. Any 2018 Fiat 500 model is also available as a Cabrio, delivering open-air freedom across the 500 lineup. 2018 Fiat 500 vehicles are available to order this month, with cars arriving at FIAT studios in the second quarter of this year.
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By William Maley
For the past few years, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne holds a conference with journalists and analysts at the Detroit Auto Show, taking various questions. According to Motor Trend, Marchionne revealed that more crossovers are on the way for Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and Ferrari.
Alfa's Three-Row Crossover: Sergio Marchionne confirmed that Alfa Romeo is working on a larger SUV to sit above the Stelvio. He says this model is very important for the brand. As we reported towards the end of December, the model would use a stretched version of the Stelvio's platform and possibly feature a mild-hybrid powertrain.
Chrysler's Pacifica-based crossover: It seems the platform that underpins the Pacifica will be used for a long-promised crossover. The model was in the previous five-year plan for FCA, but was pushed back. The model will be in the next five-year plan (expected to be shown sometime later this year) and could go into production within the next 18 months.
Ferrari SUV: Progress on Ferrari's upcoming SUV is moving quite quickly as Marchionne said it would be ready by the end of 2019 or early 2020. At the moment, the Italian automaker has mock-up bodies of the SUV, but nothing driveable.
“I have seen the car when I was in Europe. It’s not finished. It’s going to be Ferrari. It will drive like a Ferrari or I’ll be taken to the shed. But it looks good,” said Marchionne.
Other bits from Marchionne:
When asked about a performance electric vehicle, Marchionne said, “Ferrari has looked at this forever, and if there is an electric supercar to be built, Ferrari will do it,” FCA hasn't "found an economic way to get this done” when asked if there was the chance of a midsize Ram pickup. Wrangler Pickup is expected to debut towards the end of 2019 Marchionne is planning to retire as FCA CEO next year The most pressing question asked during the session? Where does he buy his sweaters? Answer: Online. Source: Motor Trend
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By William Maley
Maserati has made the decision to extend plant shutdowns over the holiday season in an effort to cut down on inventory. Sources at the FIOM and FIM unions tell Automotive News Europe the plants affected include,
Grugliasco - home to the Ghibli and Quattroporte. The plant was shut down on December 15th and will not reopen until January 15th. Modena - home to Granturismo and Grancabrio. Plant was shut down on the 15th of December and will not restart production until January 15th Production of the Levante at Mirafiori will stop from today to January 15th A key reason for the production stoppage comes down to due to declining sales in China. Recently, the country introduced new rules on the relationship between dealers and automakers. One of those rules is automakers cannot impose stock on dealers. In October, Maserati moved 750 Levantes in China, down 67 percent from the same time last year.
Maserati isn't doing so well in other markets. Despite sales being up 40 percent in the first nine months, mostly due to the Levante, sales in the EU dropped 4 percent in October and November. The U.S. was worse with a 15 percent drop.
Maserati and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles declined to comment when asked about the production shutdowns.
Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)
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