Geely Automotive's chairman Li Shufu made headlines last week by dropping $9 billion for 9.69% stake in Daimler AG, making him the biggest shareholder in Mercedes-Benz's parent company. This follows a trend by Geely in buying automakers (Volvo in 2010, a 51 percent stake in Lotus last year). But a new report from Bloomberg reveals Shufu had his eye on a possible bigger prize.
Last year, Shufu approached Fiat Chrysler Automobiles about "a potential takeover". According to people familiar with the matter, Geely and FCA held informal talks. Nothing would come to fruition however as the two disagreed on how much FCA would be worth after the completion of the current five-year plan - expected to end this year. At the time of Bloomberg's report, FCA had a market cap value of 27 billion euros (about $33 billion).
FCA and Geely declined to comment on Bloomberg's report.
Back in August, Automotive News broke the news that various Chinese automakers were interested in possibly acquiring FCA. In fact, one unnamed automaker submitted a bid, but was rejected by FCA for being to low. At the time, Automotive News didn't mention the automaker in question, but Bloomberg's report possibly puts Geely as the one.
Later that month, Chinese automaker Great Wall said they were interested in purchasing Jeep, although plans for this would fall apart.
More and more automakers are beginning to turn away from diesel due to demand for the fuel dropping and the rising costs of making engines compliant. The latest automaker that could be leaving the diesel fraternity is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
The Financial Times has learned from sources that FCA plans on eliminating diesel engines from their passenger vehicles by 2022. This will be announced during the reveal of FCA's new four-year plan expected to take place on June 1st. FCA will continue to utilize diesel engines in commercial vehicles (including Ram Trucks), though it is unclear for how long.
FCA declined to comment on this report when asked by Reuters.
Source: Financial Times (Subscription Required), Reuters via Automotive News (Subscription Required)
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles pushed out over-the-air update for the UConnect system on Friday and it is causing numerous problems. Jalopnik reports that the update is causing the UConnect system in 2017 and 2018 FCA models to constantly reboot every 45 seconds or so. Owners took to Twitter to vent their frustrations to the UConnectCares account saying how they lost audio, navigation, climate controls, and even the backup camera.
Usually, a prompt would come up when an update is sent out with the ability to choose yes or not. But some owners tell Jalopnik they did not get a prompt, the update automatically installed.
UConnectCares has acknowledged the problem and said there is a fix coming, although when it will come out is up in the air.
It is unclear how many vehicles have this issue. Both Jalopnik and The Verge have reached out to FCA to get an official comment - we'll update you if and when they get it.
In the meantime, there is a temporary solution. The Hooniverse reports that if you input a location into the navigation and mute the audio, the rebooting will stop.
"As per Mister Mailman’s direction, this temporary fix does work well. It’s not perfect because when the system talks, even thought it is muted, it still mutes the driver’s speakers. It also constantly displays directions in the gauge cluster. But both of these are heck of a lot less annoying than constant system reboots," writes Kamil Kaluski on Hooniverse.
Source: Jalopnik, The Verge, Hooniverse
The U.S. Justice Department has offered Fiat Chrysler Automobiles a possible settlement over its emissions-cheating EcoDiesel engine. But it will likely cost FCA a large chunk of cash.
Bloomberg obtained a copy of the settlement offer that was sent to FCA's lawyers. The key detail of the proposed settlement says the settlement “must include very substantial civil penalties” that discourage others future violations and that “adequately reflect the seriousness of the conduct that led to these violations.” The proposed settlement doesn't mention an end of the criminal investigation by the Justice Department.
Spokespeople for FCA did not respond for comment.
Bloomberg also obtained a term sheet sent by FCA to Government lawyers back in December. In the sheet, FCA acknowledged that the final settlement would include "civil penalties, an emissions fix for the diesel vehicles and environmental mitigation efforts." The mitigation efforts could include "projects to promote low- or zero-emissions “mobility projects”."
The saga of FCA's EcoDiesel mess dates back to last January when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused the automaker of having multiple defeat devices installed on the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 - used in the Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Since then, FCA has been working with the EPA and Justice Department on trying to clear this mess up. The automaker has also brought their 2017 and 2018 models equipped with the EcoDiesel into compliance via new software and hopes to do the same for the older models.
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