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Discussion Starter #241
Is Dodge Building a Hybrid Durango?

Reports show that Dodge could be building its eTorque system into the Durango.

Dec 26, 2019

It looks like Dodge is planning to add a hybrid variant of the current-generation Dodge Durango to its portfolio. According to a report on Mopar Insiders from the recent United Automobile Workers agreement with Fiat-Chrysler, the Durango could get Fiat-Chrysler’s eTorque mild hybrid system as early as next year. It’s not clear if Dodge will go with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 for hybrid models, but both currently exist under the hood of Ram pickups.

Comparing the two V8-variants of the current Ram pickup, we see that the Hemi V8-powered variants get a 2-mpg city boost with the mild-hybrid system and an extra mpg on the highway, too. Considering the current V6-powered Durango nets 19 mpg in the city, any boost to that number is a welcomed addition. Hemi-powered Dodge Durangos get 14 mpg in the city, with 17 mpg combined: that’s thirsty.

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Discussion Starter #242 (Edited)
The Best Of 2021 RAM
What Does The 2021 RAM Line-up Look Like So Far?

by Joe Appleton Updated on December 28, 2019. In New Cars






Even though 2020 is already shaping up to be a big year for RAM, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2021. It looks like the 2021 RAM line-up is going to feature a few pleasant surprises. That’s a good thing, because FCA is heavily reliant on RAM’s truck sales to help keep business ticking over. Together with Jeep, RAM is arguably the most important part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ North American business. That’s no mean feat for such a young brand.


RAM was first established in 2010, when Chrysler decided to create the Dodge RAM division, which specialized in creating vehicles for “real truck customers.” These trucks were designed and engineered for heavy-duty driving, maximum durability, and hard work, as opposed to other trucks on the market that were created as fashion accessories for the image-conscious casual truck driver.

Fortunately, the newly established RAM brand quickly captured the attention of the American public. Over the years, the brand has moved from strength to strength, becoming one of the most important FCA sub-brands. By 2018, the FCA family posted record sales figures, with an increase of 9% in the USA alone, with a total yearly sales volume of 2,235,204 units sold. That year, the bulk of those sales belonged to Jeep and RAM, with RAM accounting for 597,368 of vehicles sold, trailing behind the Jeep brand, which sold 973,227.

The majority of RAM’s sales that year were trucks, with 536,980 trucks sold, and the remainder being the brand’s Pro Master work vans. Burly trucks are very much the company’s bread and butter—which is fortunate considering that the brand only operates with any authority in North America, with very little presence in other markets. In terms of global sales, only 13.5% of the brands sales are in Canada, 4.7% in Mexico, and a miniscule 0.3% in Saudi Arabia, which leaves the rest to the USA. It’s a good thing that American customers are big fans of hard-working trucks.
Despite the brand’s relative success, there’s always room for improvement. The 2020 model year is looking promising, with the HD 2500 and HD 3500 expected to get significant updates—with both models expected to be huge sales success stories and likely to be some of the best trucks that 2020 has to offer. There’s also an update of the 1500 on the cards too. If all goes to plan, the brand could very well sell more than 600,000 vehicles in the US for the first time in history. But that’s 2020. We’re looking even further ahead to see what the 2021 RAM line-up is shaping up like.


Here are the models that we’re most looking forward to seeing, have heard rumors about, or fully expect to see in the 2021 range. Some of these are official announcements, some based on rumors from so-called insider sources, and some are based on educated guesses. Let’s take a look.

What To Expect From The 2021 RAM Line-Up
2021 RAM Dakota



RAM is expected to introduce a mid-size truck back into their stable for 2021 with an all-new Dakota model. For years, RAM has been the only truck manufacturer that hasn’t had a presence in the mid-size truck arena, but all that is set to change. Ever since the Dakota was discontinued in 2011, the mid-size truck market has really taken off, but RAM has been left behind.


Despite the success of the brands HD series, RAM has seemed reluctant to branch out from their core vehicle line-up. While Jeep has taken a few adventurous risks, with large SUVs, and a wider selection of model variations, RAM hasn’t really taken any real gambles. And even the re-introduction of the Dakota is hardly a gamble, it’s a safe bet. The market for mid-size trucks is booming, and a mid-size with a RAM badge isn’t going to be a hard sell.


Going up against the likes of the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Jeep Gladiator, the RAM Dakota has a lot in the way of competition, but with careful design and well-thought-out practicality, along with impressive performance specs, then the Dakota could easily become a front runner in the segment.


2021 RAM Dakota Spy Shot




The new Dakota is expected to be built using the same body-on-frame platform and architecture as the above mentioned Jeep Gladiator but with massive differences. The overall Jeep and RAM differences far outweigh their similarities. And it’s those differences that RAM will have to work to emphasize if they’re going to make a big impression on the marketplace.


Underneath the hood, we’re expecting a few engine options, including the Pentastar 3.6 liter, a diesel V6, and a turbocharged four-cylinder. There’s also talk of a hybrid option, which would make a lot of sense. There will be more than engine variations though; a single-cab and quad-cab option is expected, with short and long bed variants too. Currently, the Jeep Gladiator is only available as a four-door, with a short bed. If the RAM wants to carve out a name for itself in the market, these variations are exactly what would be required.


It also helps the RAM Dakota move away from the Jeep Gladiator, becoming a solid model in its own right. To make that differentiation even clearer, RAM will probably opt for independent front suspension, unlike the Jeep’s live front end.


Whatever the differences, the price also has to be right. To be competitive, the new 2021 RAM Dakota would have to be priced much lower than the Jeep’s $35,000 starting price. Similarly, it would also have to sell itself as a viable alternative to the RAM Classic in terms of specification. So, a base price of around $25,000 would be a good starting point, putting it below the RAM Classic and the more expensive Jeep Gladiator, but with more options and variations available.


For those curious to see what the new Dakota could look like, the folks at automobilemag.com have a few tasty looking renderings for you to look at.

2021 RAM 1500 Rebel TRX

2021 RAM Rebel TRX Concept Side




The 2021 RAM 1500 Rebel TRX has already been spotted out testing, but these pre-production vehicles aren’t at all what we should be expecting from the full production model. These prototype models are based on the Laramie Black edition, but these prototypes are just used for component testing, so that RAM can fully test their TRX technology in a body that doesn’t give too much away. That doesn’t mean that these prototype aren’t worth looking at though—they have a lot to say and give us some nice indications of what to expect from the 2021 RAM 1500 Rebel TRX.


The first thing about these spy shot prototypes is that they’re wearing Michigan license plates. Other insider sources have also states that the Sterling Heights plant in Michigan is gearing up for the Rebel TRX’s pre-production, ready for it to be released as a 2021 model. So, it definitely is coming soon, make no mistake about that.


2021 RAM Rebel TRX Prototype Rear



Eagle-eyed RAM enthusiasts haven’t wasted any time pouring over these spy videos and spy shots, and they’ve made some excellent discoveries that they’ve confirmed with alleged insiders. So far, we know that the new Rebel TRX is going to have a massive hood scoop rather than the usual performance hood, to funnel cold air into the 6.3 liter supercharged V8 Hellcat engine. The engine is said to be able to produce the full 707 horses, rather than the previous 2016 concept’s 575 horsepower.


2021 RAM Rebel TRX Prototype Side



Like most spy shots, the best pictures are of the rear end. Luckily, this has revealed a few interesting features. For example, the rear axle appears to be a full-floating Dana 60, which should improve the overall capabilities of the Rebel TRX, and help control the power delivered from that powerful Hellcat engine. The front axle is likely the same. The exhaust outlets are also interesting, with the TRX sporting a true dual exhaust system, with visible mufflers or resonators.



2021 RAM Rebel TRX Concept Front



The shots also reveal that the rear wheels are 8-lug units rather than 6-lug, like you’d find on a regular 1500. The spy shot front wheels have the standard 6-lug arrangement, but these will probably morph into 8-lug for the production model. Other notable features include brawny control arms, hidden remote reservoir shocks, rumored to be King Off-Road racing units.


2021 RAM Rebel TRX Concept Rear



Lastly, the prototypes all have a wider track than standard 1500s, and they sit much higher too. In terms of tires, they’ve got 35 inch tall tires on them. The TRX concept was actually fitted with 37s, but it looks like the production model will wear 35s, which is a far more reasonable option.


For now, we can only ogle at spy shot pictures and videos, or look back at the amazing TRX concept. However, as the weeks fall off of the calendar, we can expect to see more of these pre-production prototypes and test mules out on the streets, and there will be no shortage of high-quality spy shots to keep you interested until RAM pulls the covers off of the final production model.


Ram Rebel TRX Concept Running Footage



As for an estimated price for one of these? Somewhere between $60,000 and $70,000 seems like a decent guesstimate. Way more than the usual Rebel, that’s for sure.

2021 RAM ProMaster City



Despite only accounting for a tiny slither of RAM’s overall sales, the ProMaster series of vans have always been an appealing choice for workers and tradesman. Unfortunately though, the ProMaster’s haven’t been given the same kind of attention that RAM’s big trucks receive. Luckily, 2021 is going to bring a much needed update to the ProMaster City van. And about time too.
At the moment, not a lot is known about the updated Ram ProMaster City. It’s likely to be powered by the same 2.5 liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine that you’d find in the Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee, Chrysler 200, and existing ProMaster City. In terms of performance, that would give the ProMaster City a maximum power output of 178 horsepower, and 174 lb-ft of peak torque, capable of propelling the van from 0 to 60 mph in 9.8 seconds. Nothing new is expected there.

Since the ProMaster City got a facelift in 2019 that improved the front grille, we’re expecting 2021 to bring something a little more significant to the table in terms of a bodywork upgrade. A new ProMaster could benefit from straighter lines and smoother curves, improving the overall aesthetics and aerodynamics, but also increasing potential cargo space. New headlights are also on the cards.

2021 ProMaster City Plans


It’s not all about looks though. The new ProMaster City is expected to feature improved driving aids such as traction control, and other driver comforts such as more efficient air conditioning too. But the most important addition to the 2021 RAM ProMaster City is the fact that it’s definitely getting Level 2 autonomous capabilities.
Level 2 autonomous driving basically means that the vehicle can do a lot of the fundamental aspects of driving without you having to put too much effort in. For example, basic steering, braking, and accelerating can be controlled by the car—but a driver will still have to be in control, since the system may not be able to pick up on all changes to the road conditions. It will certainly make driving easier, and RAM, or rather the whole FCA line up, is expected to have a high degree of autonomy introduced over the next few years.

2021 Ram Model Plans

As you can see on the screen grab above, the 2021 will have Level 2 autonomy. The same graph also informs us that an all-new ProMaster City will due in 2021, possibly as a 2022 model. Finally, the last thing that we can see that’s worth noting is the fact that RAM has no intention of replacing or even significantly updating the larger ProMaster work van. It will be getting 100% connectivity, but that’s it. No real updates of any kind are to be expected in the near future. We imagine that the ProMaster will be retired and replaced by an entirely new model instead. When? Who knows?
For now, we know that a slightly more advanced ProMaster City is on the way for 2021, and will probably retail for around $25,000, depending on the trim level. Traditionally, the trim levels are Base Wagon, Tradesman Cargo Van, Tradesman SLT Cargo Van, and SLT Wagon.

No doubt there will be other models that RAM hopes to introduce for 2021, but at the moment these are the only models that we are confident will have some kind of an update or introduction for the 2021 model year. A lot can happen between now and then, and there are plenty of trade shows and expos where secretive concept models can make their first appearances. So we will have to wait and see.

 

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Discussion Starter #243
2021 Chrysler Pacifica To Boast All-Wheel Drive, Updated Design?


Full-LED headlights are expected to be standard across the range.

12/30/2019



Rumors of an all-wheel-drive Chrysler Pacifica have been swirling around the Internet for quite some time, but the 2020MY introduced earlier this year only brought changes to the trim levels and a new Red S Edition. If you want the minivan with an all-paw system, it looks like you’ll have to wait for the 2021MY as a report published by Mopar Insiders says the family hauler will finally send its power to both axles.
It is believed the AWD system will be largely inherited from the Jeep Renegade and Compass plug-in hybrids introduced back in March at the Geneva Motor Show with an electric motor powering the rear axle. The SUVs equipped with the eAWD system and a 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine have a pure electric mode offering 31 miles (50 kilometers) of zero-emissions driving and up to 240 horsepower in the case of the Renegade PHEV.

Getting back to the 2021 Pacifica, Mopar Insiders has it on good authority the model year change will also bring some styling changes as the minivan will get a new look for the front and rear fascias. A more prominent and bolder grille is on the agenda, as are styling tweaks at the front influenced by the third-generation Chrysler Town & Country as well as the current 300.


Interestingly, smaller full-LED headlights will be standard across the range, while the taillights are going to be updated as well with a new LED signature reminiscent of Dodge models and might stretch over the entire rear end of the vehicle.

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Discussion Starter #244
2021 Chrysler Pacifica Adds All-Wheel Drive, More Luxurious Pinnacle Trim




By Kyle Patrick Feb 06, 2020




















Chrysler remains committed to the minivan segment, taking the opportunity to show off the refreshed 2021 Pacifica at the Chicago Auto Show today.



Minivans may have lost their luster in this millennium thanks to the rise of crossovers, but they remain the best choice for moving a family and their things. Chrysler invented the segment, so it’s encouraging to see the team from Auburn Hills reveal its latest evolution of the breed in Chicago.

The new 2021 Pacifica adds numerous feathers to the minivan’s cap, including more luxury, more standard and available safety features, and available all-wheel drive.
All-Wheel Drive Joins the Lineup


The big news for Pacifica in 2021 is the addition of all-wheel drive. It’s a high-demand feature in the automotive world, though the Toyota Sienna is the only option to offer it in this segment right now. AWD will be available on all 2021 Pacifica trims when it hits dealerships later this year: however, it will only pair with the 3.6-liter V6 engine, not the hybrid.

Chrysler last offered all-paw traction on its minivans in 2004. The new system is much more advanced, capable of sending 100 percent of the engine torque to the rear wheels if needed. On the flip side, it can also completely disconnect drive to the rear axle too, improving efficiency. AWD will engage when the system senses extra traction is needed, but can also send power to all four wheels when the driver uses the wipers, during overtakes, or if there’s sudden steering or throttle inputs.


The addition of AWD hasn’t impacted Chrysler’s Stow ‘n Go seat system, which remains unique in its class by allowing the second and third rows to fold flat into the floor.

More Safety Features, Improved Tech


Chrysler has chosen the 2021 Pacifica as the first vehicle to carry its updated Uconnect 5 system. The latest infotainment offers processing speeds five times faster than the previous model alongside higher-resolution images on the 10.1-inch screen. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Alexa integration are all standard, wirelessly to boot. With Alexa, Pacifica drivers can remote start their car and unlock the doors. Two phones can now connect simultaneously via Bluetooth, and the system allows for up to five user profiles (plus one for valets).


Another useful addition for those with little ones is the new FamCam. Using high-def cameras dotted throughout the interior, front-seat occupants can check on those in the other rows via the touchscreen, even zooming in on rear-facing child seats.



Depending on trim the Pacifica can come with up to 12 USB ports, including Type C variants for faster charging.

Of course, this being a minivan, safety will be a primary concern for many buyers. Chrysler is touting over 100 available safety features, 97 of which are standard on all trims. Standard safety features include automated pedestrian emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control (right down to full stops), lane departure warning and keep assist, auto wipers and lights, LED headlights and a third-row lock out. Optional features include a 360-degree camera and park assist.

New Looks, Pinnacle Trim Piles on the Luxury


Chrysler has pitched the Pacifica as a more posh minivan, and the 2021 model leans into that with a new Pinnacle top trim. It gets an exclusive caramel Nappa leather interior, with larger front center console and standard second-row captain’s chairs. That larger center console offers 13.65 liters of storage (12.1 of which is covered), making it a prime spot for purses or laptops. Meanwhile the second row gains a pair of lumbar support pillows, trimmed in the same leather as the interior. Why don’t all minivans come with standard pillows?

All 2021 Pacificas get a refreshed exterior. The biggest changes come with its new face: with the Chrysler 200 dead and buried, the Pacifica’s nose no longer shares a look with that sedan. The swoopy headlight/grille combo is out, with simpler, rectangular lighting units framing a larger, more traditional grille.


Chrysler calls it “utility-vehicle-inspired”, but in person, we initially found it something of a step back. It’s a safer look than before, though the more we look at it, the more we see hints of the classic mid-’90s Town & Country—which we consider a good thing. The changes out include a full-width taillight, something we’re also fans of as it spreads across the automotive world. It’s three-dimensional, adding interest to the back end without getting fussy.



A new Fathom Blue color certainly adds to the posh feel: deep aquamarine tones pop under light, yet it’s nearly black otherwise. Wheel sizes range from 17 to 20 inches, with six designs available.

For those minivan buyers who simply can’t wait for an AWD Pacifica—or maybe prefer the current model’s looks—Chrysler will briefly offer it on the 2020 model. Dealer orders for the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica AWD Launch Edition begin early second quarter 2020, with deliveries arriving at the end of it. While we were at a pre-show event, Chrysler higher-ups told us the 2020 would be offered for only 90 days. The Voyager will continue on as the value proposition with the current styling.

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica will heat dealerships in the fall. Orders will open in the third quarter.

 

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Discussion Starter #245
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Will Be New for the First Time in a Decade
Daniel Pund
April 8, 2020, 1:00 PM EDT


Photo credit: Illustration by Radovan Varicak - Car and Driver

Photo credit: Illustration by Radovan Varicak - Car and Driver
From Car and Driver
  • Jeep is preparing for the next-generation Grand Cherokee that's set to arrive sometime this year.
  • It will use a version of the Alfa Romeo Giorgio platform found underneath the Giulia and Stelvio.
  • Expect four-cylinder, V-6, V-8, and hybrid powertrains, and possibly another Hellcat-powered Trackhawk model.
This story originally appeared in the May 2020 issue of Car and Driver, which was produced in February and early March. The information was gathered before the auto industry began feeling major effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As many automakers are now delaying or pausing development programs, the debut and on-sale dates reported here may change.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn't really need to be replaced. This luxury-SUV stalwart is as handsome and pleasant a vehicle to drive as anything in FCA's lineup. But this generation came out in 2010; that's an eternity in the modern SUV world. The current version is so old that its Mercedes-Benz-based underpinnings date back to the DaimlerChrysler days. Still, Jeep managed to sell more than 242,000 of them in the U.S. in 2019. That's not just the best year of the WG2 generation's nine-year run, it's the best annual sales for the nameplate since 2000.
But change must come to all things, even the good ones. And so, late this year, Jeep will launch an entirely new Grand Cherokee. It likely won't make it into buyers' hands until early next year. What those new owners will get is a Jeep based on a version of the Alfa Romeo Giorgio platform found under the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV. The Grand Cherokee will be significantly longer than the trim little Stelvio, though. Not only will the Jeep's wheelbase surpass the Alfa's 110.9 inches, we expect it to be longer than the current Grand Cherokee's 114.7 inches. So it's a good bet that the new ute will be roomier than the outgoing model.

It will launch as a two-row SUV like all previous Grand Cherokees; sometime down the line, Jeep will offer it with a third row as well. A three-row Wagoneer is also planned, but that vehicle will be much larger and use body-on-frame construction, so there shouldn't be much overlap between them.
We anticipate a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, likely with hybridization, to become the Jeep's base engine. Surely we'll also see a Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 with eTorque assist in the engine bay. Later, the brand will introduce a plug-in hybrid, too. Might the Grand Cherokee also get the diesel offered in the Wrangler and Ram 1500? Quite possibly. Could it also host a Hemi, maybe even a Hellcat like the Trackhawk does? We don't see FCA walking away from its Hellcat-everything strategy anytime soon.

Like the current model, the new Grand Cherokee will be offered as rear-, all-, and four-wheel-drive versions, and because this is Jeep we're talking about, a Trailhawk off-road-capable edition is certain to be in the mix. Since the vehicle will still have "Grand" in its name, the interior details should be a step above those of your average Jeep. And because such things are considered progress, digital screens will replace the analog gauges and a rotary knob will take the place of a conventional shifter.

The outgoing Grand Cherokee owes its enduring appeal to the substantive engineering beneath the leather and behind the screens. Here's hoping that substance carries through in this wholesale redesign of a market favorite on a different architecture.

 

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Discussion Starter #246
10 Upcoming Fiat Chrysler Models That Are Worth Waiting For

These upcoming Fiat Chrysler models look impressive, and we think they'll be worth waiting for if you're looking for a new car.

05/25/2020



In 2018 FCA revealed five-year plans for some of its brands; these plans include new models to gain a more significant presence on the market as well as the electrification of its brands. Nowadays, no one wants to be left behind when it comes to electrification, and FCA is no exemption to that, this represents a high monetary investment that could be risky for the group, because of that, as Sergio Marchione (former FCA CEO) said on Twitter a few years ago, they will strategically invest on their more profitable brands (Jeep, RAM, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo). They will also focus on SUVs and Crossovers.


The PSA-FCA merger might have changed some of the plans FCA had; however, the following models are confirmed for the next few years. If you're on the market for a new car, but nothing really catches your eyes, wait for these upcoming FCA models - it might be worth it.


These are 10 FCA models that might be worth waiting for.



10 New Generation Jeep Cherokee - 2021



This fifth generation of the Jeep Cherokee came out in 2014, and it had a mid-life facelift in 2018. Although this category of SUV is very competitive, the Cherokee found its good share of the market. Jeep is working on a new generation that will come out in 2022, according to the Jeep product plan, this new Cherokee will come with a plug-in hybrid option, as well as a fully electric one. It will also be available with autonomy self-driving technology.






9 New Generation Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2021





The fourth generation of the Cherokee has been around since 2011, and although it has a great design, it's starting to feel outdated. The new Grand Cherokee will come as a 3 row and as a 2 row, probably something similar to what Hyundai does with the Santa Fe XL and the Santa Fe. It has already been seen around in some spy shots, so its release date might be closer than we think. Plug-in hybrid technology will be available as well as L3 autonomy tech. However, no fully electric powertrain is planned for the Grand Cherokee.






8 New Generation Jeep Renegade - 2022



The new Renegade will come as a plug-in hybrid as well as fully electric. The Renegade came out in 2015 and received a facelift in 2019, although the new generation is planned for 2022, we think it might take a little longer since models usually last eight years approximately (with a facelift on year 4), and it's not like the Renegade is not doing good with sales. We also think the next Renegade will become a little bigger to differentiate from the upcoming smaller Jeep model.

7 A-Segment Jeep Crossover - 2022



Jeep is planning a smaller SUV for the A segment (for example, the B-segment (what the Renegade is) has a longitude of 13.95 ft, while an A-segment car has around 12.79 ft).This new baby Jeep will come as a plug-in hybrid but no fully electric, and it will not have any self-driving tech. The nameplate for this vehicle has not been disclosed yet.






6 Jeep Grand Wagoneer - 2022


The return of the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer has been very anticipated. The Grand Wagoneer will be a full-size truck like the Yukon XL while the Wagoneer would be like the Yukon (slightly shorter). Full-size trucks have seen an increase in sales, and with the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade selling like hotcakes, Jeep obviously wants a stake in that market. And the iconic Wagoneer nameplate is perfect for that.This model will be sold as a plug-in hybrid, and it will have self-driving technology, a fully electric version will not be available. There's no news about if it will have side wood panels or not, but we hope they do.

5 RAM Dakota - 2022


Moving to the RAM brand, FCA is planning a mid-size truck, and although not confirmed, we believe it will be named ‘’Dakota’’. This truck will compete with the new Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, and Toyota Tacoma and it will be smaller in size than the RAM 1500 and, of course, it will have a smaller price tag. The Dakota will share components with the Jeep Gladiator.



4 Alfa Romeo 8c - 2022



This new model would become Alfa Romeo's flagship sports car, and it will have all the latest technology available in the FCA group. It's speculated that it will be offered as a plug-in hybrid with more than 700hp. This beast will have a limited production of 1,000 examples.

3 Alfa Romeo GTV - 2022



The GTV will be basically a Giulia Coupe, and it might be sold in the US since the Giulia is. It will compete directly with the Mercedes-Benz C Class Coupe, the Audi A5, and the BMW 4 series. It will come with a variety of engines, the same ones offered in the Giulia. With the Quadrofoglio trim level being the most powerful and expensive one to compete with the S5, the M4, and the C Class AMG.



2 Maserati Alfieri - 2022



The Alfieri will stay true to the 2014 concept car (shown on the picture) and that's a good thing, this coupe looks stunning. The concept had a 4.7 liter v8 with 460hp borrowed from Ferrari. The production for the Alfieri is planned to start in 2020. An electric version of this car is also planned for 2021.

1 D-Segment Maserati Crossover - 2022



You can expect this new model to be very similar to the Levante (shown in the picture) but slightly smaller and, of course, more modern. It will compete with the Porsche Macan, Audi SQ5, BMW X3M, and other performance SUVs. With a price tag starting around 50,000 dollars. This model will be available sometime in 2022.

 

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Discussion Starter #247
FCA axes Dodge Journey and Grand Caravan for 2021

July 2, 2020


FCA confirmed this week that Dodge will end production of both the Grand Caravan and the Journey after the 2020 model year, leaving the brand without a front-wheel drive crossover for the first time since 2008, and without a minivan for the first time in nearly four decades.

"The year was 1983. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States of America. Lech Walesa was the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The Internet was created, and the first mobile phones were introduced to the public. U.S. astronauts completed the first space shuttle spacewalk; Michael Jackson performed the 'moonwalk.' The Baltimore Orioles won the World Series ... and Chrysler hit a home run with the introduction of the first minivan," FCA (then Chrysler LLC) said when it celebrated the minivan's 25th anniversary in 2008.

Since that anniversary, the Dodge variant of FCA's minivan has changed very little. It has received interior and powertrain improvements, including the introduction of the 3.6-liter "Pentastar" V6 in 2011, but its fundamental architecture has remained constant. The lack of attention it received came to light in 2019, when the outdated powertrain disqualified it from new-car sales eligibility in California.

The prior 25 years notwithstanding, the story of the Dodge Journey is somewhat similar. Introduced in 2008 as a 2009 model, it was praised as one of Chrysler's better, more modern offerings when it hit dealerships. Like the Grand Caravan, it later benefited from an interior overhaul and the introduction of the 3.6-liter V6, but its bones remained unchanged for the duration. This lack of attention showed, as the Journey slipped from borderline-competitive to also-ran.

The discontinuation of the Grand Caravan and Journey eliminates 40% of the Dodge lineup. The two models represent more than 38% of the brand's sales volume so far in 2020. For 2021, only the Charger, Challenger and Durango will remain. Minivan buyers will still have options at Chrysler, which offers several variants of the Pacifica, including the new Voyager, which is a stripped-down model aimed at budget-conscious buyers who would previously have been drawn to the bare-bones Dodge.

With this latest round of downsizing, Dodge will join Ram, Chrysler, Fiat and Alfa Romeo in the ranks of FCA brands offering four or fewer models; only Jeep will offer more.

 

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Discussion Starter #248
New Ram TRX pickup will take on Ford Raptor — and it's coming soon

July 10, 2020


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is about to go hunting for Raptors.

The company is pushing its Ram truck brand into high-performance territory, possibly powered by a Hellcat engine in the 2021 model year, in an effort go after the Ford F-150 Raptor.

Get ready for the Ram TRX.

FCA teased its Ram fans with a video clip on Twitter and its other social media sites recently. You don't see the truck, but you hear the roar of an engine and see a huge cloud of dust in some desert landscape as the letters, "TRX," appear.

"It's not a mirage," reads the posting, which also says "Ram TRX ... late summer 2020."

The planning for what's expected to be called the Ram 1500 Rebel TRX hasn't been a secret, exactly, but Ram enthusiasts who dream of off-roading power will be thrilled to know the truck is on its way soon.

Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting for Pennsylvania-based AutoForecast Solutions, said the extreme competition between Ford, Ram, Chevrolet and GMC in the full-size pickup market means everyone is looking for ways to broaden their market. And Ram has a key advantage over Ford trucks in the horsepower department.

"As buyers are moving away from sports and muscle cars, they are shifting toward utilities and pickups. The Ram TRX will appeal to this group and take on the Ford Raptor. While the Raptor produces 450 (horsepower) from its turbo V6, FCA offers a range of high performance V8s up to the supercharged Hemi, which would easily out-power the Ford," Fiorani said. Two years ago at FCA's Capital Markets Day event in Italy, Mike Manley, who was then the head of Ram but has since been elevated to CEO, specifically targeted the Raptor and its then-average transaction price of $71,000 when he said the TRX concept would be brought to market.

The concept was introduced at the 2016 State Fair of Texas, with some boasting from Manley at the time, although the promised horsepower is likely to be higher now.

“With 575 supercharged horsepower and a suspension system built to withstand an all-day hammering, the Rebel TRX concept can devour the roughest terrain at more than 100 mph and never look back,” he said then.

Ford spokesman Mike Levine highlighted his company's track record when the company was asked for comment on FCA's plan to target the Raptor:

"As America’s truck leader for the past 43 years, we’re focused on meeting the needs of our customers regardless of what challengers say or do."

FCA is already making preparations for TRX production near its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, also known as SHAP, where FCA builds the popular Ram 1500 pickup.

Paperwork filed for an industrial facilities tax exemption says the company is building a metering and sequencing parts facility in the Sterling Enterprise Park on the north side of 17 Mile Road, a short drive from SHAP, in order to accommodate new trims coming in the next model year, specifically mentioning the TRX.

The building, a $14.6 million investment, is near completion. The company says a supplier will operate the facility, with 150-175 new jobs on three shifts to mirror the schedule at SHAP.

Valerie Knol, FCA manager of state and local government relations, told Sterling Heights City Council members this week that the facility the company already uses for this purpose in Mount Clemens will remain open. But the new facility, which will accept 40 deliveries per day from suppliers and about nine round trips per hour from the facility to and from SHAP, down Van Dyke Avenue and up Mound Road, is needed because of a space crunch.

FCA spokesman Kevin Frazier explained that bulk parts metering is "a process where parts are shipped from suppliers in large quantities and repackaged into smaller quantities, and then delivered to the assembly plant, sequenced in the exact order that the vehicles are built." Those parts can include dashboard wiring harnesses, rear drive shafts, steering wheels and shocks.

 

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Discussion Starter #249
Jeep Grand Cherokee's current generation is returning for 2021 after all

July 24, 2020


Jeep is busily putting the final touches on the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee, but the SUV isn't ready yet, so the current-generation model will allegedly return for one final model year. Although it won't receive major changes, a recent report claims the company is planning several minor tweaks to keep its biggest SUV looking fresh.

Introduced at the 2009 edition of the New York Auto Show, the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee is the oldest model in the Jeep line-up by a significant margin. Even Ralph Gilles, the head of design for Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), recently admitted that "it's getting on." Enthusiast website Mopar Insiders learned from anonymous dealers that the SUV will return for 2021 and gain a package named 80th Anniversary Edition that will commemorate the original Jeep's 80th birthday. It will be based on the mid-range Limited trim level.

We don't know what the 80th Anniversary Edition package will consist of, or whether it will also be available on other Jeep models. Mopar Insiders added the Limited and Limited X will also gain an option package named Sun & Sound that will add a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and a 506-watt Alpine stereo with nine speakers.

Other small changes are in the pipeline, like a new 18-inch wheel design for the entry-level Laredo model. The rest of the range will carry on largely unchanged, including the 707-horsepower Trackhawk. It will be the proverbial calm before the storm; the 2021 Grand Cherokee's production run will be cut short to make space for the fifth-generation model that will arrive in showrooms as a 2022 model. It will wear a new design, its engine roster will be overhauled, and, significantly, it will reportedly shift to Alfa Romeo's Giorgio platform.

Jeep still lists the 2020 Grand Cherokee on its consumer website. It's expected to announce details about the 2021 model in the coming weeks, and it confirmed the next-generation SUV will make its debut by the end of 2020. We know the line-up will include a direct replacement for the current five-seater model, and a three-row variant with seating for up to seven passengers. Looking ahead, Jeep will resurrect the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplates on a pair of body-on-frame SUVs built using components borrowed from the Ram 1500.

 

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Discussion Starter #250
Dead: Jeep Cherokee Overland

07/30/2020

The Jeep Cherokee, like basically every vehicle Fiat Chrysler builds, comes in roughly four million different trims, the most expensive of which is now dead.

The 2020 Jeep Cherokee Overland will be discontinued after this year, Jeep confirmed to CarsDirect.com, and which means that your trim options have now been whittled down to the Latitude, Latitude Plus, Upland, Altitude, Latitude Lux, Limited, North Edition, Trailhawk, High Altitude, and Trailhawk Elite editions of the Jeep Cherokee, all of which you can get 4x4 but for six you can also get front-wheel drive.


A few of those are technically also “limited editions,” but they all look the same on Jeep’s website, and until recently Overland was an option on the configurator too until it was quietly disappeared. Now, only the Grand Cherokee will continue to have an Overland version. And it’s the Grand Cherokee that CarsDirect.com blames for the loss of the Cherokee Overland, since if you’re willing to pay around $40,000 for the Cherokee Overland you’re probably also possibly interested in stepping up to the Grand Cherokee, with the Overland version of that starting at $46,940.

What did you get with Cherokee Overland? Nineteen-inch wheels, some probably nice leather, a 8.4-inch screen. And some special badges! But that’s pretty much it, and all of these trims and special editions are starting to give me a headache.

And really has led me to further contemplate FCA’s broader strategy of doing fewer new generations of vehicles, and instead sticking with one generation for a decade or so and piling on the trims and special editions. This generation Jeep Cherokee, for instance, debuted in 2013, while the current Jeep Grand Cherokee debuted in 2010, and the current Dodge Charger that year as well. The modern Fiat 500 has had only a facelift since it debuted in 2007. The current-gen Chrysler 300 came out in 2011, but that was basically the same as the first-gen, which debuted all the way in 2004. (Fun fact: The first Jalopnik post was a Chrysler 300 review.) And while Ram pickup entered a fifth-generation in 2019, the fourth-generation had been with us for over a decade.

And I’m sure new generations are in the works or planned for the other cars but the strategy on all of it is pretty clear, a bet that, actually, consumers don’t really care all that much about new generations, and can be convinced to part with their money if the update is more incremental, or its a new special edition. Because while FCA spent the 2010s largely not introducing new generations of its cars, its sales increased eight of those ten years, and have more than doubled since 2010, the kind of numbers that are hard to argue with.

 

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Discussion Starter #251
Far Out! Jeep® Brand Debuts Gladiator Overlander “Farout” Concept

    • Jeep® Farout: A fully capable overlander concept that leverages the new Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel’s best-in-class fuel range to reach even more remote places
    • Jeep Farout concept builds on popularity of the Jeep Wayout concept from last year’s Moab Easter Jeep Safari lineup
    • Jeep Gladiator’s class-leading 4x4 payload allows for a full roof-top tent, and EcoDiesel’s fuel range lets customers go even further on a single tank
    • Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel achieves 28 mpg highway and goes on sale in the third quarter of 2020; open for customer orders now


August 12, 2020 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Jeep® brand has introduced its new Gladiator Farout concept, a true overlanding vehicle that leverages the Jeep Gladiator’s class-leading 4x4 payload and fuel-efficient, long-range-capable 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine.

The Jeep Gladiator Farout concept was originally intended to debut at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari in April 2020. It builds on the popularity of the Jeep Wayout concept from the 2019 Moab Easter Jeep Safari event.

“Although we didn’t get to celebrate in Moab this year with our latest round of concept vehicles, we’re pleased to introduce the Jeep Farout concept today as a vehicle that blends Gladiator EcoDiesel’s fuel efficiency with an area of features fans of overlanding will love,” said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA North America. “Building on the popularity of last year’s Gladiator Wayout concept, and as overlanding continues to grow in popularity, this year’s Farout concept is another opportunity to gather feedback from our passionate customer base.”

The Jeep Farout concept features the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, which joins the Gladiator lineup for the 2021 model year and is rated at 260 horsepower and 442 lb.-ft. of torque with engine stop-start (ESS) technology standard. The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine is available on Gladiator Sport, Overland and Rubicon models and generates 28 mpg highway.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator EcoDiesel goes on sale in the third quarter of 2020. Customer orders are open now.

Jeep Farout concept
This go-anywhere, do-anything Jeep concept takes off-road exploration to the next level. An encore to last year’s Jeep Wayout concept, the Jeep Farout concept benefits from Gladiator’s class-leading 4x4 payload and the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine’s long-range fuel efficiency to go even further off the beaten path.

The main feature of this fully functional concept is a neatly contained, customized deployable roof-top tent. The spacious 16-foot-long by 7.5-foot-tall recreational residence opens and retracts in a matter of seconds. Once unpacked, it comfortably sleeps up to four.

Long gone is the cold, monochromatic look and feel of a traditional overlanding vehicle. The Farout’s warm, inviting wood-lined interior features soft ambient lighting, a fully functional refrigerator and stove, plus hanging storage racks, built-in seats and table space. Inside the Farout’s customized cab, outdoorsy fashion and style are celebrated with dark smoke blue leather, orange stitching and plaid flannel seat inserts.

Farout’s exterior features a new “Earl” body color with chartreuse accents on the hood, rear tailgate tow hooks, springs, badging and shocks. Its rugged stature is emphasized with a Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit, 17-inch matte charcoal rims, 37-inch mud-terrain tires, a modified Gladiator Rubicon steel bumper equipped with a 12,000-lb. Warn winch, custom front and rear rock rails and FOX™ performance shocks to easily overcome obstacles. Its integrated roof-rack system allows for hauling additional gear topside.
 

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Discussion Starter #252
Here’s What We Know About The Next-Generation Grand Cherokee

08/13/2020



Although the ongoing pandemic has delayed many planned debuts, Jeep is still planning to take the wraps off of their next-generation two-row Grand Cherokee toward the middle of next year, after first unveiling the unnamed three-row variant in the first quarter of 2021. Here’s everything we know about the next-generation Grand Cherokee (WL).


Exterior


As seen on the rendering above, which was based on leaked photos, the Grand Cherokee will be adopting a squared-up exterior design. The hood will be longer and flatter and the front end will be far more upright and square. The roofline is also flatter, while sloping down toward the rear not unlike some Range Rover products. Just like the all-new Wagoneer, the Grand Cherokee’s side window shape takes some retro cues with a sharp angle where the rear quarter window meets the D pillar. At the rear, expect a similar design to the Grand Commander found in other countries with slimmer LED tail lamps and horizontal styling elements.



We expect the length of the Grand Cherokee to grow by about 5 inches, mostly in the wheelbase. This will increase the second row passenger space as well as improve the maximum cargo capacity.


Because of the new platform, the new Grand Cherokee will reflect more traditional RWD proportions, lending a sleeker, more muscular appearance to the Jeep.


We believe the rendering above to be extremely accurate in regard to the exterior design.


Interior


Inside, the Grand Cherokee benefits from an all-new design. As has long been the case for the Jeep brand, Grand Cherokee will remain one of the Jeep brand’s leaders in technology and luxury, surpassed only by the new Grand Wagoneer.


Because of the fantastic reporting at Mopar Insiders, we have a good idea of what design and features to expect on the interior. The dashboard of the new Grand Cherokee is far more horizontal with a center screen appearing to flow upward into the dash. Speaking of screens, 8.4″ and 10.1″ variants of the Uconnect 5 system will be on board which features multiple user profiles, wireless CarPlay, and other new features. The instrument cluster will also be available as a fully digital display, similar to the system seen in some Audi products. A head-up display will be optional on the higher trim levels while additional safety technology such as a 360-degree camera, pedestrian detections and semi-autonomous driving capability (likely late availability) will also find their way into the Grand Cherokee.

Other features such as heated and ventilated front and rear seats will be offered, plus new switchgear for the window and lock controls, memory seat controls, Selec-Terrain switch, and HVAC controls. A rotary shift dial will replace the more traditional looking shifter in the current WK2.


Powertrains


The all-new Grand Cherokee will be based on the Giorgio Global architecture. This is a variant of the architecture used for the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, but updated with support for electrification and obviously reconfigured to fit the new Grand Cherokee’s build points.


At launch, we are told that the WL will have two available engine options, neither of which are completely new: the ubiquitous 3.6L Pentastar V6 and 5.7L Hemi V8. Both of these engines will feature eTorque mild hybrid technology to increase fuel efficiency and improve the start-stop system response.

 

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Discussion Starter #253


Jeep Teases Upcoming Wagoneer With New Logo

Aug 14, 2020


The new Wagoneer is “coming soon” is all Jeep would say on its media site as it released a new teaser image today. The image is of the Wagoneer logo in gold lettering and the American flag as the suffix. This is as good a sign as any that the Jeep Wagoneer official reveal is almost at hand.



The second image is from the cabin. It showcases the stylish interior we can expect from the upscale SUV. What makes us think it will be upscale? Well, for starters, the button itself seems to have been given some serious thought about the designers. Then there is the housing which is draped in leather. Just beyond the button, we can see hints of wood on the dash and two protruding aluminum knobs from, what we think is the next-generation infotainment system with UConnect.


Although Jeep hasn’t yet confirmed but it’s no secret that the Wagoneer will arrive in two distinct versions, the Wagoneer and the extended wheelbase Grand Wagoneer. The Wagoneer twins will likely rival the GMC Yukon twins with the Grand Wagoneer going after the Denali. And in typical Jeep fashion, both will have serious off-road credentials. Jeep will build the Wagoneer on the RAM 1500 body-on-frame platform and will probably come with both V6 and V8 engine options. We cannot rule the option of a diesel powertrain out either. Rumor has it that we will likely see Hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as well. The Wagoneers will probably go into production next year which means they will only arrive in the North American market as 2022 models.


 

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Discussion Starter #254
Next-generation FCA small cars to use platform from Peugeot-Citroën

08/30/2020


Could this mean that the next-gen Jeep Renegade will be based on the Peugeot 2008?

Back in July this year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA announced the name of their future corporation. The two companies are still negotiating the details of the Stellantis merger and the final documents should be signed in the first quarter of next year. Apparently, the first actual fruits of the partnership could come sooner than expected.


A new report states that the Italian-American company will switch to a PSA-sourced platform for its future small car developments. The so-called Common Modular Platform (CMP) of the French manufacturer already underpins a number of small cars in Europe, including the Peugeot 208, DS3 Crossback, and Opel Corsa. The architecture can underpin both conventional combustion-powered cars and all-electric models.


According to Automotive News’ report, FCA sent a letter to its suppliers in late July asking them to immediately stop any kind of research, development, and tooling work on future subcompact cars, known in Europe as B-segment models. The letter followed a similar notification from March this year when FCA told its suppliers to temporarily cancel R&D work on upcoming small cars from Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Lancia, and Jeep brands.


There's no doubt FCA’s decision to move to the CMF platform could help the automaker generate high economies of scale. But we can’t help but ask one very specific question - does that mean the next-generation Jeep Renegade would also move to PSA underpinnings? Obviously, it’s too early to say with certainty but such a move would align perfectly with Jeep’s intentions to electrify its entire lineup in the next few years.

PSA-FCA merger happening:



It’s also important to note that last year FCA announced its plans to eventually abandon the minicar market in Europe and focus on the subcompact and compact car segments. This decision may look surprising at a glance given Fiat’s number 1 position in Europe’s A car segment, but the manufacturer believes the profits are larger in the B- and C-segments.



Source: Automotive News
 

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Discussion Starter #255
Is Chrysler Planning A New Mystery Model?

10/24/2020


Will it be a sports car? Or maybe an SUV?


Automakers file for trademark patents all the time to ensure other companies don't steal names that they intend to use. Recently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (now Stellantis after a merger with Groupe PSA) filed a patent for the name Hornet as well as Wagoneer Client Services. The former could end up as a new model, while the latter seems more like a luxury experience for the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
These trademark filings can often result in a real production model, or they can often be a preventative measure that never sees the light of day. Earlier this month, Stellantis filed for another patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and we have no idea what it might be. The patent covers the name Atlantic for land vehicles, namely, passenger automobiles.



The application, which was filed on October 12, 2020, covers the goods and services category, meaning this name could see use on a future model. The name Atlantic doesn't have much history with any of the FCA brands, although there was a concept car called the Chrysler Atlantic back in 1995 (pictured above). Chrysler never built a production version, as the idea of a massive two-door personal luxury car was too crazy even for the '90s.
Although it wore a Chrysler badge, the Atlantic Concept was styled to look like the Bugatti Atlantic. The car was designed by Bob Hubbach, who also played a role in designing the original Dodge Viper. It even featured a straight-eight engine with 360 horsepower and a manual transmission.

 

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Discussion Starter #256
Dodge Charger And Challenger Not Going Anywhere Yet
10/24/2020 by Aaron Brzozowski

Not only that, but new variants are in the pipeline.

While most cars start to look old and decrepit after too many years on the market, the Dodge Charger and Challenger have aged like fine wine. Both continue to sell in surprising numbers, and even after all these years, they still manage to feel fresh, with the occasional all-new variant coming and breathing new life into the model lines.

It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that the Dodge Charger and Challenger will soldier on, as-is, at least until 2023. Better than that, several brand new variants will be joining the fray in the coming years, although it's entirely unknown what those variants will look like.

2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Front View Driving
Dodge


2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Rear View Driving




The news doesn't come from Fiat Chrysler, or from a well-placed anonymous source. Instead, it comes from a press release put out by Canadian union Unifor, which represents most of FCA's Canadian manufacturing workforce. The Charger, Challenger, and their Chrysler-badged cousin, the 300, are all built at FCA's Brampton Assembly in Ontario.

Speaking of, Chrysler 300 production has been extended, as well, meaning it will continue production until the current-generation Charger and Challenger ride off into the sunset in 2023. The 300 is even older than its kinfolk, having been introduced in pretty much its current form all the way back in 2005, and its extended life cycle comes as more of a surprise considering its comparatively humble sales. But we'll take it.

 

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Discussion Starter #257
FCA Once Again Trademarks Cuda Name

With the Charger and Challenger getting older, and rumours of electrification in the air, the Cuda name may well be reborn

10/24/2020


For the third time in the last 10 years, the FCA Group (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) has registered the Cuda name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

What does this mean? Let’s try to guess.

First of all, let's remember that protecting trademarks on nameplates is a common practice. When a name is registered, it is patented for a certain number of years; eventually a manufacturer must re-apply for a trademark to hold on to its rights. In the case of the Cuda name, FCA made a first application in 2010, and repeated the gesture in 2017. This is thus the third patent application in 10 years.

The application, filed on October 12, was spotted on the MuscleCarsAndTrucks website.

This does not mean that a Cuda model is imminent. However, it could well indicate that the automaker has a model in the works to which the name is destined, or that it has vague long-term plans for the name and simply wants to keep the rights to the name.

Another important nuance. The application for the Cuda name is different from the one made on June 23, 2015, which was for the name Barracuda. That patent was abandoned by FCA, but the automaker might well come back with a new application to protect the name. Barracuda was of course once the name of a legendary Plymouth model, while "Cuda" was actually used to designate a version of it.

Is Dodge really planning something? According to MuscleCarsAndTrucks, the name Cuda could actually be used for the first electric-powered Dodge. The company has confirmed nothing at this time, but other recent Dodge patents point to a hybrid powertrain coming down the road.

The current Charger and Challenger are both aging and changes will very likely occur over the next two to three years. Electrification is in the air. There’s also FCA’s fusion with Peugeot to consider.

It’s all speculative fun and games for the moment, but when we see company firm making a sustained effort to preserve its rights such a mythical name, our duty is to keep an eye out.





 

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Discussion Starter #258
Fiat Chrysler’s Design Lead on the Future of Cars and Why the Industry Gets a ‘D’ for Diversity

October 25, 2020



Viju Mathew
Sun, October 25, 2020, 11:00 AM EDT



As head of design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ralph Gilles must be able to multitask like a supercomputer. How else could the 50-year-old executive oversee 10 brands as diverse as Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep, Maserati and Ram? It certainly gives the designer a unique—and uniquely comprehensive—view of the global automotive market, which he shared with Robb Report from his home outside Detroit. (The conversation has been edited.)
With FCA in such a variety of markets, how do you approach a new project?
I’m more of an anthropologist, trying to understand culture and trends in society. When traveling, I’ll walk for miles in the morning, just observing how people use cars. I’m fascinated by China right now, and Europe and America are changing. The tech side is converging, but vehicles of choice are diverging.
And how do you see vehicle use differing across those regions?

China aggressively employs speeding cameras, so no one goes fast. Because of that, they have a lot of time to enjoy technology and will spend more money on it than Americans, at least currently. Also, you’re not allowed to tow anything in China, whereas in the US it’s opposite—everyone loves their toys. And Europe is banning gasoline-powered cars in many city centers, so we’re having to develop plug-in hybrids like we’ve done for our Jeep Renegade and Compass, which probably wouldn’t have happened in this time frame for cars that size.
Is electrification on the horizon for FCA’s SRT (Street and Racing Technology) division?
Oh, absolutely. The key is that, when we go there, we’re going to go there with purpose. We aren’t just slapping an electric power train in our car. It’s going to support the brand’s ethos.
Being Black, was it challenging to find acceptance on your career path?
Never. I would say I was very fortunate. Of course, outside the company I ran into issues all the time, but inside the walls of FCA I never felt held back. But there are micro-aggressions that can happen every day, and people don’t realize it. For example, I get told all the time that I’m articulate—which you would think I should be happy about, but that can actually come off as very offensive to a Black person.
What steps are being taken by FCA to improve diversity?
Today, we’re recruiting more people of color than we ever have. We’re going to historically Black colleges and, at the onboarding level, are finally seeing a very diverse mix of young talent. Our goal is that the company reflects society.
When it comes to equal representation, what grade would you give the car industry overall?
I would give it a D. We have a long way to go. Dealers are starting to get more diverse, but you have to understand that people of color haven’t had the means to buy dealerships in the past and are just now coming into buying power. But nobody wants a handout. They want tolerance, open-mindedness and opportunity. But no handouts.
How can the pipeline of talent within underrepresented communities be widened?
We have to get our boots on the ground. I have every one of my designers go to their high school and tell their story. It’s hugely effective when you can say, “Look, I was you once.” There are so many careers within automotive. We need to market the jobs themselves, not just the cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #259
Electrified Ram pickup on the way, FCA CEO says

October 28, 2020


Byron Hurd
Wed, October 28, 2020, 2:20 PM EDT





Ram will build an electrified pickup, FCA CEO Mike Manley confirmed during the company's third-quarter earnings call Wednesday. Manley provided no details, but confirmed that electrification is on the way for its truck brand. This also means that it's not clear whether this truck will be a full electric, or if it will be a conventional or plug-in hybrid. It's still significant, though, since this is the first time we've heard a clear message from FCA leadership that electrification will be a priority for Ram.
“I do see that there will be an electrified Ram pickup in the marketplace, and I would ask you just to stay tuned for a little while, and we’ll tell you exactly when that will be," Manley said, according to the Detroit Free Press.

With concrete plans starting to emerge from both Ford and General Motors, FCA is now looking like the odd one out. Company representatives have been tough to nail down on the question of electrification. Without ruling it out entirely, Manley and other shot-callers have been somewhat dismissive of the notion in previous announcements and interviews.

"The reason we haven't spoken much about electric pickup trucks is not because we view that market as non-existent. We've always had a slightly different view of timing and adoption rates, particularly in North America in terms of full electrification. We are very committed to our electrification strategy — most of which we have revealed," Manley, said in August.

Of course, what had been revealed at the time did not include a pickup. That hasn't exactly conclusive, either, as FCA's future product roadmap has been nebulous (to put it charitably) for essentially the past decade. The announcement of a merger with PSA resulted in yet another strategic reboot, and we've yet to see exactly how Stellantis will integrate existing PSA electrification plans with FCA's fast-and-loose approach to EVs.

Given the fact that PSA is not a player in the full-size pickup game, it stands to reason that Ram's development would likely come from this side of the pond. Whether FCA/Stellantis will keep the development in house or tap one of America's electric startups as a potential partner or supplier remains to be seen. Either route has potential, with a number of electric truck start-ups in the U.S., and extensive EV and hybrid experience within FCA and the soon-to-be-integrated PSA group. In fact, the plug-in hybrid powertrain from the Wrangler 4xe shows some potential for being shared with something like the Ram 1500. For now, though, we'll just have to wait and see.

 
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