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  1. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Melfi plant is beginning to process of retooling to build a plug-in hybrid Jeep Renegade by 2020. The investment totaling 200 million Euros (about $229 million) will include modernizing the plant and training employees. FCA is planning to get pre-production models rolling off the line next year. Melfi is home to the Renegade and Fiat 500X production. FCA says the Renegade will become the third electrified vehicle in their lineup, following the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV and Ram 1500 eTorque mild hybrid. This is part of an effort to launch "12 electric propulsion systems (BEV, PHEV, full-hybrid and mild-hybrid)", adding that 30 different models would be equipped with one or more of these systems. No mechanical details were given on the plug-in hybrid system destined for the Renegade. Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Melfi Plant prepares for production of new Jeep Renegade Plug-in Hybrid The FCA Melfi Plant in Italy is beginning preparations to produce the Jeep Renegade Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) scheduled for market launch in early 2020. The Renegade PHEV will be produced alongside the Renegade and 500X full combustion engine products that are currently produced at the Melfi vehicle assembly plant. The pre-production units of the new Jeep Renegade PHEV are scheduled in 2019. The investment for the new engine launch equates to more than €200M and also includes a strong commitment by FCA for training all workers on the application of this new technology. The Plant facilities involved in the production will also be modernized accordingly. "With over 742,000 Renegades produced to date in Italy, the Melfi plant and the Renegade are the ideal location and the perfect product to launch the PHEV, further strengthening the offer of this highly successful Jeep", said Pietro Gorlier, Chief Operating Officer EMEA region. During the FCA Capital Markets Day on June 1, when the 2018-2022 business plan was presented to the financial community, it was stated that one of the most important change factors addressed in the strategic plan is electrification. Investments during the plan period result in a portfolio of technical solutions that will enable FCA to comply with the regulatory requirements in each sales region. At the same time, the technology will also be applied to enhance the specific strengths of each brand. The Renegade PHEV is the next step in FCA's roll-out of Electrification, following the launches of the PHEV Pacifica Minivan and the mild-hybrid e-Torque technology launched on the Ram 1500 truck earlier this year. By 2022, FCA will offer a total of 12 electric propulsion systems (BEV, PHEV, full-hybrid and mild-hybrid) in global architectures. Thirty different models will be equipped with one or more of these systems. London, 8 October 2018
  2. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is considering replacing the Pentastar V6 with a brand new straight-six engine. A source tells Allpar the new engine will be based on their new four-cylinder Global Medium Engine (GME) - what is found under the hood of the Jeep Wrangler and Alfa Romeo Giulia. This will allow FCA to build the engine alongside the four-cylinder variant. Not many technical details are known about the engine aside from it being pegged around 2.9L to avoid taxes in certain European countries. We might expect larger displacements for trucks and SUVs. Production could take place at FCA's Dundee and Trenton, Michigan plants. It is expected that Ferrari will use a variant of this engine for Maserati vehicles. No timeframe as to when this new engine could debut. Allpar also mentions in their report that FCA was considering adding some sort of boost to the Pentastar, but ran into issues with the size and power constraints. Source: Allpar
  3. Earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission over the Mahindra Roxor - a side-by-side off-road utility. FCA alleges that the certain design elements of the Roxor infringe on the " intellectual property rights of FCA's Jeep design," and is wanting to stop the sale of the model in the U.S. Mahindra is fighting back. Reuters reports that the company has filed a public interest statement with the U.S. ITC and started proceedings in a Michigan court for an injunction into FCA's complaint. We are asking the court to block Fiat from participating in the ITC [International Trade Commission] claim -- an injunction -- because of the fact that they agreed in 2009 to never bring such claims if we use a grille that they approved. The Roxor uses that grille," Mahindra said in a statement. (Emphasis mine). "We are also arguing that Fiat is using the ITC case to harm our ROXOR business by creating negative publicity, damaging our reputation and our stature in the marketplace.” FCA in its complaint said that Roxor imports will hurt them as the model are underselling the Jeep Wrangler. A lot of this comes down to the Roxor being manufactured in India, and then shipping the model as a knock-down kit to their Detroit-area assembly plant for final assembly. Mahindra disputes this, saying the Roxor doesn't compete with the Wrangler as it's a side-by-side off-road utility. " We also demonstrated that the ROXOR is a vehicle that was always intended only as an off-road vehicle, does not compete with Fiat vehicles, is manufactured and assembled in the first OEM plant to be built in Michigan, USA, in the last 25 years, was the result of more than three years of research and development, and categorically rejected the notion that the ROXOR was an imported low quality “knock-off” kit car," the company said. Source: Reuters via Automotive News (Subscription Required), Mahindra Mumbai, August 29, 2018 – “A complaint was filed by FCA US, LLC (“Fiat”) with the United States International Trade Commission (“ITC”) against Mahindra which we believe is without merit. In response, we have taken a number of actions both within the ITC and in Federal District Court that we would like to share with you. Mahindra filed a Public Interest Statement with the ITC on August 22, 2018. This Statement expresses our position on this matter and explains how it is in the public interest for the ITC to rule against Fiat and in favor of Mahindra. Our goals on the public interest statement were two-fold. One was to state our position on the merits and the other was to correct inaccuracies regarding Mahindra as a company and the ROXOR as a product. We set the record straight on the history of Mahindra, including its U.S. operations. We also demonstrated that the ROXOR is a vehicle that was always intended only as an off-road vehicle, does not compete with Fiat vehicles, is manufactured and assembled in the first OEM plant to be built in Michigan, USA, in the last 25 years, was the result of more than three years of research and development, and categorically rejected the notion that the ROXOR was an imported low quality “knock-off” kit car. On August 23, 2018, Mahindra filed a complaint in Federal Court in Michigan on the issue of the applicability and enforcement of our 2009 agreement with Fiat. We are asking the court to block Fiat from participating in the ITC claim – an injunction – because of the fact that they agreed in 2009 to never bring such claims if we use a grille that they approved. The ROXOR uses that grille. We are also arguing that Fiat is using the ITC case to harm our ROXOR business by creating negative publicity, damaging our reputation and our stature in the marketplace.”
  4. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' new CEO Mike Manley has a lot on his plate. He has address multiple challenges in the U.S. that were left by the passing of Sergio Marchionne last month - moving forward with the five year plan, figuring out the future of Chrysler and Dodge; and getting new vehicles out the door. But that doesn't compare to the challenges in Europe. The Wall Street Journal reports that Manley has a number of issues that need be addressed. The biggest one is improving the overall profitability in the region. Last year, FCA had an operating profit of $5.96 billion in the U.S. In Europe, only $840 million. A key reason for this is that three-quarters of FCA's European sales are made up of Fiat models that have razor-thin profit margins. Each Fiat sold makes an operating profit of €250 ($288), compared to the average of €2,850 ($3,274) for every Jeep and Ram model sold. Alfa Romeo was seen as a possible way to help boost profits, but sales have fallen very short of targets in a market where the likes of the Audi, BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz dominate. “FCA would need a merger to improve the profitability in Europe,” said Martino De Ambroggi, an analyst with Equita told the journal. Marchionne tried his best to court FCA to other automakers such as GM, but to no avail. Earlier this year, FCA said the search for a possible partner was taken off the table and that it could survive on its own. There is also the question as to whether FCA has too many workers in Europe. The region makes up about 36 percent of FCA's workforce, but only a tenth of its profit. A key example is FCA's Mirafiori plant which employs 13,000 people, but is on track to build 50,000 vehicles this year. In 1997, the plant produced 463,000 vehicles. Source: Wall Street Journal (Subscription Required)
  5. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is none too pleased with the Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd as they're planning to sell an off-road vehicle that looks very much like the original Willys Jeep. Bloomberg obtained a complaint filed by FCA to the U.S. International Trade Commission on August 1st. The document claims that Mahindra's Roxor infringes key characteristics of Jeep's signature design - namely the “boxy body shape with flat-appearing vertical sides and rear body ending at about the same height as the hood.” “They are a nearly identical copy of the iconic Jeep design. In fact, the accused product was ‘modeled after the original Willys Jeep." The Roxor is a small, two-seat off-road vehicle. There is a lot of resemblance to original Jeep design and there is a reason for that. Beginning in 1947, Mahindra got a license to build the Willys CJ3 for the Asian market. They would do so until 2010. At this point, Mahindra introduced an updated model known as the Thar that meets India's road going passenger vehicle standards and looks like a 1990's Wrangler. Now the Roxor isn't being sold as road-legal vehicle. Instead, Mahindra is selling this as a side-by-side off-road utility. That means its not road legal. Which brings us to the next key part of FCA's complaint. The company is arguing that Roxor imports "threaten it with substantial injury as they are underselling Jeeps." This is due to Mahindra manufacturing the parts and creating a knock-down kit, which is then shipped to a plant in the Detroit area for final assembly. We're not sure about this partly due to the arena the Roxor competes in, but also the price. The model begins at just under $15,500. Comparable models from Polaris and Honda begin at under $10,000. While Mahindra has had some success in the U.S. with tractors, they haven't had the same when it comes to automobiles. Previously, the company was planning to offer a diesel pickup through a distributor. But plans were scrapped and Mahindra would find itself in a lengthy court battle. The Roxor is the next attempt at possible entry for Mahindra to enter the automotive market. They have spent almost a quarter-billion dollars for a new assembly plant where they currently employ around 300 people. Last November, the company announced a $600 investment and plans to employ as many as 670 workers by 2020. Source: Bloomberg
  6. Sergio Marchionne, the former head of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles who is credited for saving Chrysler and Fiat has passed away today at age 66 due to complications from shoulder surgery. “Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone,” said FCA Chairman John Elkann in a statement this morning. Marchionne came into the spotlight back in 2004 when he was named CEO of Fiat. He was Fiat's fifth CEO in less than two years and had a big task ahead of him. The Italian automaker was struggling as it had lost more than 6 billion Euros (about $7 billion) the year before. Marchionne was somehow able to pull Fiat from the brink by closing various plants, laying off thousand of workers, getting a $2 billion payment from General Motors to settle past contractual obligation, and expanding the company's car lineup. It worked as Fiat would become profitable a year later. In 2009, Marchionne led Fiat to acquire a 20 percent stake into beleaguered Chrysler following the 2008 financial crisis. Only a few years later, Fiat would buy up the rest of Chrysler and become Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. He would oversee the reinvention of Alfa Romeo, expand Jeep into other markets, and spin off Ferrari into its own separate company. Other parts of FCA haven't quite worked out, most notably Chrysler and Dodge which has seen both of their lineups shrink. Marchionne was not like your normal CEO. He was known for wearing black pullover sweaters and jeans which made him stand out at various events. Marchionne was also known for being direct and speaking his mind (for better or worse). Next April, Marchionne was planning to step down as CEO and announce his replacement. But health complications over the weekend caused FCA to decide his successor. That person would be Mike Manley, head of Jeep and Ram Trucks. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  7. *UPDATE* Automotive News Europe is reporting that Jeep and Ram Trucks head Mike Manley will become Marchionne's successor as FCA CEO. We'll have more in an upcoming news story. The era of Sergio Marchionne leading Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ferrari is seemingly coming to abrupt end. Last night, both Bloomberg and Reuters reported that Marchionne would not return as CEO of the two companies due to complications from surgery. Earlier this month, FCA said Marchionne would be going on medical leave for shoulder surgery. Sources tell Reuters that since the operation, the CEO has been experiencing “massive” and serious complications. The boards of FCA and Ferrari are meeting today to decide possible successors. According to one source, the new CEO of Ferrari is expected to be Louis Carey Camilleri - currently a board member and former chairman of Philip Morris International. At FCA, there are three people up for consideration - CFO Richard Palmer, Europe chief Alfredo Altavilla, and head of the Jeep and Ram Mike Manley. Spokespeople for both FCA and Ferrari declined to comment. In addition to his roles at Ferrari and FCA, Marchionne is the Chairman of CNH Industrial, an agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer. According to sources, the board is expected to meet today to discuss a succession plan. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Reuters
  8. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced their latest five-year plan at an investor meeting in Italy. This is important as it will be the final plan presented by CEO Sergio Marchionne who will retire next year. Aside from news about Sergio actually wearing a tie (I'm being completely serious here -WM), there were some interesting bits to come out. We're going to breaking down what is in store for each brand along with intriguing information that was presented. Jeep: Four new models are expected to launch by 2022. They include the Wrangler pickup, Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer, a smaller model to sit underneath the Renegade, and a three-row crossover to sit next to the Grand Cherokee. By 2021, Jeep is planning to have an electrification option on each nameplate by 2021, along with Level 3 autonomous capability - basically a car can drive itself in limited situations, but requires a driver to jump in at a moment's notice. Diesels will be gradually dropped from the various models, but no timetable was provided. A new 'hawk will be joining the Jeep family. Deserthawk will be models setup for "high-speed sand running". Think Ford Raptor as an SUV. This will launch in the first quarter of 2020. Production capacity will increase to keep up with the demand for SUV and crossovers around the world. Jeep will also introduce Jeep Wave. It's part 'loyalty program' and connected car services, and part subscription service. The loyalty part grants owners of the Hawk models and Wranglers 'Jeep Coins' when purchasing. The coins can be used to borrow other FCA products. Additional coins will be available for purchase. A pilot program will begin in 2019. A more traditional subscription service will launch in 2019. Subscribers pay a monthly fee for access to a fleet of FCA vehicles. Three tiers - Good, Better, and Best - determines vehicle selection, insurance, and concierge services. Jeep will also launch a in-car payment pilot program in 2019 as part of Wave. Ram Trucks: A new Ram Heavy-Duty will be arriving in 2019. By 2022, Ram will have three new/redesigned models: A midsize pickup, redesigned ProMaster City, and the high-performance Ram 1500 TRX. The TRX will compete against the Ford F-150 Raptor. Both the Ram 1500 and redesigned ProMaster City will come with Level 2 autonomous capability in 2021. Maserati: The Alfieri, which was first shown in 2014 as a concept will finally launch it as the replacement for the GranTurismo by 2022. The platform has been designed in such a way that allows for three different powertrains - including a plug-in hybrid and fully-electric version. Maserati claims a 0-100 kph time of two seconds for the electric version. The Alfieri EV will serve as the flagship for Maserati's new Blue lineup. This is the designation for any Maserati model equipped with a fully-electric powertrain comprised of three motors, new battery tech, and all-wheel drive with torque vectoring. The Levante, Ghibli, and Quattroporte will also have Blue models. Redesigns of the Ghibli, Levante, and Quattroporte will arrive by 2022. All of them will have a plug-in hybrid option. A new, smaller crossover will sit alongside the Levante. It is expected to possibly use the platform that underpins the Stelvio. Maserati is hoping to sell 100,000 vehicles by 2022, double the current sales volume. Alfa Romeo: Remember those rumors about the Giulia Coupe? It is real and will be named GTV. Alfa is promising more than 600 horsepower thanks to electric boost, all-wheel drive with torque vectoring, and 50:50 weight distribution. 8C will also be making a comeback as a mid-engine coupe. With a twin-turbo gas engine and electric drive system for the front axle, the combined output will be 700 horsepower. It will also feature a carbon fiber monocoque chassis. Alfa looks to getting out of the subcompact game as there is no product listed for 2022. They'll be sticking in the compact realm with a new Giuletta. Two new crossovers will be joining the lineup. One will sit underneath the Stelvio and the other will sit above. We know a little bit more about the larger model as it will be the first model to debut a new mild-hybrid system. It will be underpinned by a stretched version of the Giulia's platform. Also in the cards are long-wheelbase variants for the Giulia and Stelvio (most likely for China) and plug-in hybrid models. Other Details: Fiat got a brief mention during the meeting. There will be a new 500e and a wagon variant known as Giardiniera. Both models will get a new electric powertrain built for small vehicles. The 500L and 500X will come with hybrid powertrains. No time frames were revealed. "Chrysler is going to continue to be a relevant brand in the United States," said Marchionne when asked about the brand. No mention of Dodge during the conference. FCA will be working a number of partners on developing autonomous vehicles. This includes an expanded partnership with Waymo, along with new partnerships with Aptiv and BMW. Diesel will be phased out from all passenger cars in Europe by 2021. Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  9. Tomorrow will be Fiat Chrysler Automobile's final five year plan being presented under current CEO Sergio Marchionne. We reported on what is expected to be talked about yesterday in the rumor pile. Today, we have gotten a clear picture of what will be presented in the plan. Automotive News found the schedule for the five-year presentation on a company website before being taken down. The schedule features sections for Jeep, Ram, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Autonomous Driving and Connectivity, and CO2 reduction. Not listed on the schedule were Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat. This unsurprisingly sent a number of people into a tizzy as they see this as a possible hint that these brands are going bye-bye. An FCA spokeswoman said Chrysler and Dodge will be talked about in other presentations "as appropriate." We're not sure this inspires confidence. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  10. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Sergio Marchionne will be making one final move before his retirement - ending production of mass-market vehicles in Italy. Sources tell Bloomberg that on June 1st, Marchionne will unveil a plan that will see the end of production for the Alfa Romeo MiTo and Fiat Punto to make way for more upscale models. Fiat's historic plant in Turin will be retooled to build a new smaller Maserati SUV alongside the Levante. Another plant nearby Naples will be home to a small Jeep SUV after production of the Fiat Panda moves to Poland. It should be noted that the plan isn't finalized and details could change. FCA declined to comment when reached by Bloomberg. Part of the reason for the change comes down to Marchionne's belief that there is no future in building affordable cars in high-wage European countries. The report also mentions that FCA will be cutting Fiat's lineup to just the 500 and Panda in the future Source: Bloomberg
  11. 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
  12. 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. Source: Bloomberg
  13. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is trying to put the past behind them with the 3.0L EcoDiesel emission mess. The company has restarted production of the engine for the 2017 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee, and is in the process of getting a fix out there for older models. Now, talks about a possible settlement for owners of the 3.0L EcoDiesel are making some significant progress. At a hearing yesterday in San Fransisco, court settlement master Ken Feinberg said that proposed settlement documents have been passed between lawyers for FCA and owners of the 3.0 EcoDiesel. The proposal was also discussed at a meeting where the lawyers for both groups were joined by the Justice Department, California Air Resources Board, and supplier Bosch. “We’re looking for different substantive ways to secure an early comprehensive settlement,” Feinberg said. “Everybody in good faith is certainly trying to figure out how we might achieve a comprehensive settlement.” An agreement on a settlement could happen before tests of the proposed fix are finished in March. Source: Reuters Pic Credit: William Maley for Cheers & Gears
  14. Fiat Chrysler Automobile has quietly ended production of right-hand drive models from Chrysler and Dodge. According to South Africa's Wheels24, the announcement comes as FCA drops Chrysler and Dodge from their South Africa lineup. "FCA will say a fond farewell to two of the mainstay car brands, with the Chrysler and Dodge vehicle ranges no longer being available locally. This unfortunate situation has arisen from our principals in the USA no longer building Chrysler or Dodge vehicles in Right Hand Drive configuration," the company told Wheels24. According to Allpar, FCA built RHD variants of 300 and Charger in Brampton, Ontario, and Pacifica and Grand Caravan in Windsor, Ontario. It is unclear if this move will affect other markets where FCA sells RHD models such as Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia. When reached for comment by Australia's CarAdvice, FCA Australia's manager of public relations Alessia Terranova said, “I am not at liberty to comment on South Africa’s decision. What I can tell you is that Australia will continue to sell the right-hand drive Chrysler 300 as an ongoing product in our lineup. In relation to Dodge, at this stage, this brand is represented as a parts and service operation only.” We'll keep you posted on this story. Source: Wheels24, Allpar, CarAdvice
  15. If there is one thing the Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has been consistent on aside from changing his mind on a number of things is his dislike on electric vehicles. Speaking to reporters this week at the New York Stock Exchange, Marchionne said there isn't a viable economic model for electric cars. "We still don't have a viable economic model for delivering an electric car. As much as I like Elon Musk, and he's a good friend and actually he's done a phenomenal job of marketing Telsa, I remain unconvinced of a ... economic viability of the model that he's pitching," said Marchionne. Marchionne believes the costs for batteries and the various technologies need to come down to make them viable. Otherwise, automakers should focus on developing hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. "So how do we find a convergence of technology bringing prices of components down and allows us to price accordingly — or we need to navigate through this process in a combined way between combustion and electrification to yield at least a minimum of economic returns that allows for our continuity? The last thing you want is me to be successful selling cars for 24 months and then go bust. That's not a good story. Especially in a place like this which rewards economic success. Let's not sit here and design our own future in the tank. Let's try and do it properly. We will do all the right things. We are investing without making a lot of noise on electrification. We will combine it with combustion to yield the right level of CO2. But we're not betting the bank on going fully electric in the next decade. It won't happen," said Marchionne. Source: The Street
  16. After nearly a year-long hiatus, 2017 Ram 1500s with the EcoDiesel option are beginning to show up on dealer lots. According to Automotive News, some dealers started seeing EcoDiesel models arriving towards the end of last month. Other dealers are still waiting for the EcoDiesel models to show up. Back in January, the EPA accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of violating emission regulations by failing to disclose eight different software programs used in the EcoDiesel. The agency alleged the software allowed Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesels to produce excess pollution. Then in May, the Justice Department filed a civil suit against FCA over the software. FCA has been working with the EPA and California Air Resources Board to try and settle this dispute. The company sent new emissions control software that would be used in the 2017 models to the EPA in May. If approved, FCA would install this software on 2014 to 2016 models. In late July, the EPA gave FCA the ok to begin selling Ram 1500s and Grand Cherokee EcoDiesels with the new software. It should be noted that FCA began building Ram 1500s with the EcoDiesel back in early July in anticipation of getting the ok. Though it is unclear why FCA waited over two months before shipping them out to dealers. But this good news may be short lived. A spokeswoman for the EPA told Automotive News that the 2018 models have yet to be certified. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  17. Ever since the rumor of a Chinese automaker possibly buying Fiat Chrysler Automobiles came to light last week, the various Chinese brands have been saying 'not us'. It seemed no one was interested in taking FCA to the dance, or wanted to admit it out loud. That changed today as Great Wall Motor revealed to Automotive News that it was interested in buying FCA, well part of it. Great Wall President Wang Fengying wrote in an email to Automotive News that the company is intending to buy Jeep and is "connecting with FCA" to possibly begin negotiations. Xu Hui, a spokesman for Great Wall said in a follow-up email that the company "has indirectly expressed interest in Jeep but has not yet made a formal offer or met with FCA's board." A statement from FCA says that it has not been contacted by Great Wall about Jeep or any other business matter. It doesn't come as a big surprise that Great Wall is only interested Jeep. The brand is seen by many as being the crown jewel of FCA due to its reputation of being a go-anywhere SUV. Analysts believe the brand on its own is worth more than FCA as a whole. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas estimated last week that Jeep has a value of $33.5 billion vs. the $32 billion for FCA. If Great Wall was to purchase Jeep, what would they do with it? "Our strategic goal is to become the world's largest SUV maker. Acquiring Jeep, a global SUV brand, would enable us to achieve our goal sooner and better" than Great Wall could do with its own brands, said Hui. Great Wall has an r&d center in Los Angeles and has just set up another one in Detroit this year to learn more about the U.S. market. The big question is will FCA be willing to part with Jeep or require Great Wall to buy most of FCA. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  18. Ever since the rumor of a major Chinese automaker possibly buying Fiat Chrysler Automobiles broke earlier this week, a number of them are coming out and saying it's not us. Geely was the first to come out on Wednesday and we have learned about two others. Yesterday, a spokesperson for Dongfeng told Reuters the company has no plans to buy FCA. Then today, Guangzhou Automobile told Reuters the same thing. "Currently, we don't have plans to acquire Fiat Chrysler," said Wu Yunchong, spokeswoman for Guangzhou Automobile. That now leaves Great Wall and other Chinese automakers that we don't know about. Source: Reuters, 2
  19. Monday saw a major bombshell report come out stating that multiple Chinese automakers were considering buying Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. In fact, a well-known automaker put out a bid earlier this month, which was subsequently turned down. Today, one of the Chinese automakers rumored to buy FCA said they did place an offer on the table. According to Reuters, Geely Automobile’s executive director Gui Shengyue rebutted claims that his company was the one to place the bid. "We don't have such plan at the moment," said Shengyue. He would go on to say that "a foreign acquisition would be complicated," but did not elaborate. Sources tell the news service some of the complications would deal with the current political climate in the U.S. and regulations. Geely and FCA held initial talks late last year according to a source, without going into detail what the talks dealt with. The source goes on to say that Geely is no longer interested in FCA, noting that the company had purchased a significant stake into Malaysian automaker Proton a few months ago. That possibly leaves three automakers that we know of in the running - Dongfeng, Great Wall, and Guangzhou. Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters
  20. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' CEO Sergio Marchionne made a surprise announcement during the company's second-quarter earnings calls last week. The company is planning to have more than half of its lineup to have electrified powertrains by 2022. Leading the charge will be Maserati which will offer some sort of electrified powertrain (hybrid and electric-only). What caused Marchionne, a person who hasn't been a fan of electric vehicles for quite a while, to change his tune? A lot of it has to do the various emission scandals on diesel vehicles. "What has really made the issue absolutely mandatory now is the fate of diesel … especially in Europe. Some type of electrification on gas engines is inevitable," said Marchionne. Also, the announcement of some European countries announcing bans of gas and diesel vehicles in the coming years caused a change of heart for FCA. “We [FCA] have been reluctant to embrace that avenue until we saw clearer the path forward," said Marchionne. There are issues for FCA's electrified future as the variable production costs for various components (batteries, electric motors, etc) will not come down quickly. To shoulder these costs, Maserati will take the lead on this initiative. "When it completes the development of its next two models, it will effectively switch all of its portfolio to electrification," said Marchionne. "It's an integral part of the development of all of the group." Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Autocar
  21. As the Dodge Viper drives off into the sunset, its home since 1995 will be shut down. NBC Detroit affiliate WDIV reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' will be closing down the Conner Avenue Assembly in Detroit at the end of August. At the moment, more than 80 people work at the plant. In a notice filed with the state of Michigan in June, FCA said it would be offering positions at other locations to those affected. Formally a plant for Champion spark plugs, FCA took it over in 1995 to produce the Viper. Connor would also be home to the Plymouth Prowler from 1997 to 2002. Source: WDIV Detroit, Automotive News (Subscription Required)
  22. It seems the EPA has had its eye on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and their EcoDiesel V6 for quite a while. Jalopnik and Reuters obtained emails from the EPA via the Freedom of Information Act that revealed the government agency had suspicions about possible cheating at FCA back in November 2015 - almost two months after the EPA announced Volkswagen's cheating with its diesel engines. In an email sent on January 7, 2016 to Vaughn Burns, FCA North America’s head of vehicle emissions, certification, and compliance, director of the EPA's Transportation and Air Quality compliance division Bryon Bunker expressed concerns about FCA's slow response to explaining why their EcoDiesel engine was producing excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. “I am very concerned about the unacceptably slow pace of the efforts to understand the high NOx emissions we have observed from several [redacted] vehicles with the [redacted],” said Bunker in his email. Bunker also noted at meeting with FCA back on November 25, 2015 that at one of the auxiliary emission control devices used possibly violated EPA regulations. A few days later, FCA’s head of vehicle safety and regulatory compliance, Mike Dahl sent an email to Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s office of transportation and air quality saying that he wanted to discuss the issues brought up by the EPA. Dahl noted that the company was hard at work investigating the issue. There is also this tidbit from Dahl's email. The emails between the EPA and FCA go back and forth throughout 2016 talking about the possible violations and additional testing. Jalopnik notes that the EPA was planning to make an announcement in December, but it is unclear whether it was to deal with the violation. Source: Jalopnik, Reuters
  23. Last month, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that it had submitted certification paperwork for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. The 2017 models come with new software that should hopefully get the approval of the EPA and be installed on older models. But at a court hearing yesterday, the brakes were put on FCA's hopes of a quick approval. Leigh Rende, a Justice Department lawyer, said at a hearing in San Francisco federal court hearing "there is uncertainty" about whether the fix will be approved by the EPA. "It could be weeks or months away. This is really a technical decision," said Rende. FCA's lawyer Robert Giuffra told the court the company is optimistic that regulators will approve the proposed fix for the 2017 models, which in turn would be installed on 2014 to 2016 EcoDiesel models. As we reported last month, the Justice Department sued FCA for using “defeat device” on 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel models built between 2014 to 2016. Source: Reuters
  24. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles finds itself in hot water once again. Today, the U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against the company in Federal Court for using a “defeat device” on 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models equipped with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 from the 2014 to 2016 model years. This follows news from last week that FCA applied for certification the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 EcoDiesel as they feature new emission software. "The complaint alleges that FCA equipped nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) sold in the United States with at least eight software-based features that were not disclosed in FCA’s applications for certificates of conformity and that affect the vehicles’ emission control systems. The undisclosed software features lessen the effectiveness of the vehicles’ emissions control systems during certain normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emission standards in the laboratory and during standard EPA testing, but during certain normal on-road driving emit oxides of nitrogen (NOx) that are much higher than the EPA-compliant level," the Justice Department wrote in a statement today. As we reported last Thursday, the U.S. Justice Department was preparing a suit against FCA if an agreement couldn't be reached with the EPA. The two parties have been in discussions since the EPA first alleged the cheating back in January. "FCA US is currently reviewing the complaint, but is disappointed that the DOJ-ENRD has chosen to file this lawsuit. The Company intends to defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the Company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests," FCA said in a statement. Source: Detroit Free Press, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, U.S. Justice Department Press Release is on Page 2 United States Files Complaint Against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations The Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), today filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan, against FCA US LLC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., V.M. Motori S.p.A., and V.M. North America, Inc. (collectively referred to as FCA). The complaint alleges that nearly 104,000 light duty diesel vehicles containing 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engines are equipped with software functions that were not disclosed to regulators during the certification application process, and that the vehicles contain defeat devices. The complaint alleges that the undisclosed software functions cause the vehicles’ emission control systems to perform differently, and less effectively, during certain normal driving conditions than on federal emission tests, resulting in increased emissions of harmful air pollutants. The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to obtain a certificate of conformity before introducing a vehicle into commerce, by demonstrating to EPA that the vehicle will meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution. Manufacturers must disclose in their certification applications all auxiliary emission control devices (e.g. computer software that affects the performance of emission controls based upon operating parameters of the vehicle), justify the presence of any such devices, and explain why those that reduce the effectiveness of emission controls are not “defeat devices.” Motor vehicles equipped with defeat devices cannot be certified. The complaint alleges that FCA equipped nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) sold in the United States with at least eight software-based features that were not disclosed in FCA’s applications for certificates of conformity and that affect the vehicles’ emission control systems. The undisclosed software features lessen the effectiveness of the vehicles’ emissions control systems during certain normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emission standards in the laboratory and during standard EPA testing, but during certain normal on-road driving emit oxides of nitrogen (NOx) that are much higher than the EPA-compliant level. The complaint alleges that each of these vehicles differs materially from the specifications provided to EPA in the certification applications, and thus the cars are uncertified, in violation of the Clean Air Act. These allegations are consistent with those set forth in notice of violation (“NOV”) that EPA issued to FCA US LLC and FCA NV on Jan. 12, 2017. Following the issuance of the NOV, EPA continued its investigation into the operation of the undisclosed software-based features. Based upon this investigation, the complaint alleges that one or more of these undisclosed software features, alone or in combination with the others, renders inoperative, bypasses and/or defeats the vehicles’ emission control systems, which were installed to make the vehicles comply with Clean Air Act emission standards. In short, the complaint now alleges that the vehicles contain defeat devices. NOx pollution contributes to the formation of harmful smog and soot, exposure to which is linked to a number of respiratory- and cardiovascular-related health effects as well as premature death. Children, older adults, people who are active outdoors (including outdoor workers), and people with heart or lung disease are particularly at risk for health effects related to smog or soot exposure. Nitrogen dioxide formed by NOx emissions can aggravate respiratory diseases, particularly asthma, and may also contribute to asthma development in children. The civil complaint filed today seeks injunctive relief and the assessment of civil penalties. The United States also filed a notice that it will request to transfer its case and fully participate in the pretrial proceedings now initiated in the related multi-district litigation in the Northern District of California. EPA and the California Air Resources Board are continuing in their discussions with FCA to bring the subject vehicles into compliance with the Clean Air Act and California law. The nature and timing of any resolution of this issue are uncertain. Response: Filing by DOJ-ENRD May 23, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US today issued the following statement in response to a civil lawsuit filed against the company by the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ-ENRD”): FCA US has been working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for many months, including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the Company’s emissions control technology in model-year (MY) 2014-2016 Jeep® Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. FCA US is currently reviewing the complaint, but is disappointed that the DOJ-ENRD has chosen to file this lawsuit. The Company intends to defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the Company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests. As FCA US announced last week, it has developed updated emissions software calibrations that it believes address the concerns of EPA and CARB, and has now formally filed for diesel vehicle emissions certification with the regulators for its 2017 model year (MY) Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. Subject to the permission of EPA and CARB, FCA US intends to install the same modified emissions software in 2014-2016 MY Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. FCA US believes this will address the agencies’ concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles. FCA expects that the installation of these updated software calibrations will improve the 2014-2016 MY vehicles’ emissions performance and does not anticipate any impact on performance or fuel efficiency. Notwithstanding this lawsuit, the Company remains committed to working cooperatively with EPA and CARB to resolve the agencies’ concerns quickly and amicably.
  25. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is hoping to get back in the good graces of the EPA after it was alleged the company violated diesel emission standards by failing to disclose eight different software programs used on the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. On Friday, FCA announced that it had submitted a diesel emissions certification application for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500. These models feature new emissions control software that should hopefully get them approved. FCA says if the 2017 models get the green light, it will update 2014-2016 models with the updated software. "The filing is the result of many months of close collaboration between FCA US and EPA and CARB, including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the Company’s emissions control technology. With the permission of EPA and CARB, FCA US intends to install the same modified emissions software in 2014-2016 MY Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. FCA US believes this will address the agencies’ concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles," the company said in a statement. "FCA US also believes that these actions should help facilitate a prompt resolution to ongoing discussions with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and other governmental agencies." FCA better hope so as there is the possibility of a lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department over the alleged emission violations. Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Press Release is on Page 2 FCA US Files for Diesel Vehicle Certification May 19, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US announced today it has formally filed an application for diesel vehicle emissions certification with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for its 2017 model-year (MY) Jeep® Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. These vehicles feature updated emissions software calibrations. The filing is the result of many months of close collaboration between FCA US and EPA and CARB, including extensive testing of the vehicles, to clarify issues related to the Company’s emissions control technology. With the permission of EPA and CARB, FCA US intends to install the same modified emissions software in 2014-2016 MY Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles. FCA US believes this will address the agencies’ concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles. FCA US also believes that these actions should help facilitate a prompt resolution to ongoing discussions with the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and other governmental agencies. FCA US expects that following EPA and CARB approval, owners of the 2014-2016 MY vehicles will be able to receive the software updates at their dealerships. FCA expects that the installation of these updated software calibrations will improve the 2014-2016 MY vehicles’ emissions performance and does not anticipate any impact on performance or fuel efficiency.

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