Aug 112012

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne would have been subject to federal review if he’d taken an income in 2011, notes numerous sources. So he determined it would be best not to do so. Chrysler compensated him no salary or stock options last year, unlike Fiat, which compensated their CEO an undisclosed amount in both.

Fiat owns over half of Chrysler

A report was also filed by Fiat on Tues about the company’s financial info. It is known that Sergio Marchionne got paid by the company, but the report did not say how much he got compensated. Fiat paid $4.5 million in 2010, which was the same year that he got $600,000 in stock and other awards from Chrysler without salary or bonuses. Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler.

Payment for other CEOs

Last year, Ford CEO Mulally received $26.5 million on payment. The year before, he was given 2.85 million shares of Ford stock. The stock is worth $34.5 million currently, according to the Free Press. Seeing these numbers makes Marchionne’s lack of 2012 salary even more surprising.

CEO Dan Akerson of GM got $5.3 million in stock compensation — $2 million was restricted — and earned $1.7 million in total salary.

Because Ford did not accept automotive bailout dollars from the federal government, the automaker’s payment practices did not fall under review by the U.S. Treasury. If Marchionne had been compensated in 2011, his total income and compensation would have been reviewed by treasury officials. Government officials would have paid close attention to the manner of compensation, particularly as it might have related to Chrysler’s 2009 emergency Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Paying back bailout funds

Marchionne explained that Chrysler and Fiat are both going to stay on course now that they have paid all automotive bailout loans from the United States and Canadian government back. The last payment, according to the Free Press, was paid in May of last year.

“We’re going to remain competitive, but I think the industry itself has learned how to be much more cautious,” he said. “We intend to follow that trend, and I don’t think we should be breaking with what I consider to be a … institutionalized trend today in the marketplace.”

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Jul 262012

The Chrysler Group has declared plans for a serious investment in its Jeep production complex in Toledo, Ohio. According to Automotive News, Chrysler will invest $500 million in the Toledo North Complex, where Jeep and other vehicles are made. Growth of facilities and an additional work shift will be the result.

Toledo to expect more workers

Currently, Chrysler’s Toledo North facility, which is part of the larger Toledo Assembly Complex, can only deal with a single shift of employees. Fox Toledo Online explained that the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro will have increased production. In order to do this, 1,105 hourly and salaried jobs had to added-on by Chrysler.

To accommodate the added staff, the Toledo North Assembly Complex will be expanded by almost 300,000 square feet. Improvements to the on-campus body shop quality lab, paint shop and material handling companies will occur before the end of 2012. In 2013, the new manufacturing shift will start.

Just in time for 2013

Chrysler believes that this change to the Toledo North factory will be just in time. The 2013 Jeep Liberty SUV will be out soon after it is done. DaimlerChrysler released the current Liberty in 2008. It was intended to have Jeep Cherokee in it just a little bit. Cherokee production had ended in 2001 after a 17-year cycle.

The brand new Liberty will be Chrysler’s first vehicle to ride on a Fiat platform, notes Automotive News. There will be eight automobiles that get this platform in North America. It is called a CUSW platform.

In 2006, the Dodge Nitro SUV came out. It was intended to be a version of the Liberty that had been altered.

Chrysler’s $1.7 billion retooling effort

After the UAW contract was redone, Chrysler put $1.7 billion into changing its companies. The Toledo expansion will be one of the first projects done with $500 million.

Chrysler sought lower price for Jeep complex

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Jul 232012

A week ago the administration met with the large 3 United States car manufacturers to talk about having all automobiles and light trucks meet a standard of 56.2 mpg requirement by 2025. The strategy would mean increased expenses for cars, but supporters say the difference could be made up by customers at the pump. But some say the program is too ambitious.

Meetings with companies

Ford, Chrysler and GM all met with the administration officials in private meetings to discuss a program. As reported by a document represented at the meeting, the average price of a car would increase $2,100 to fulfill the proposed requirement. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will work together with the Environmental Protection Agency (Environmental Protection Agency) to choose on the rule. September 30 is when it has to be done by.

Already expecting a high standard

It is a compromise that the figure is so low. Already, 35.5 mpg is expected by 2016. Car manufacturers are working on that. Specifications have to range between 47 miles per gallon and 62 mpg between 2017 and 2025. This is what the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department considered acceptable. The new standard would expect a huge improvement. Every intervening year, a 5 percent improvement would be necessary.

The requirements some want

Environmental groups want the higher standard of 62 miles per gallon. Roland Hwang is at the Natural Resources Defense Council. As the transportation program director, he said, “Fifty-six mpg, while not as ambitious as the level we have been advocating, is a doubling in fuel efficiency from today’s average passenger vehicle and would cut drivers’ fuel bills in half.”

Dan Becker is at the Center for Auto Safety as the director of the Safe Climate Campaign. He said, “It is not just the number that matters. It’s the loopholes underneath it. And automakers will look to turn whatever number it is into Swiss cheese.”

A government analysis has shown that to achieve 62 miles per gallon, all vehicles would be required to be gas-electric hybrids.

Bailey Wood believes it will not take place

Baily Wood is a National Automobile Dealers Association spokesman. He believes that it will be impossible to get to the proposed 56.2 miles per gallon figure. “Overly ambitious standards set 14 years in the future risk severe economic harm if consumer wants and needs are not met,” he said.

Statements made by two of the three

GM’s North American president Mark Reuss was optimistic. “When you put those things in for the first time, they may be more expensive. But this is a volume and scale industry. What was very expensive in the past is no longer very expensive.”

Christin Baker, a spokeswoman for Ford, was more cautious. Ford could be willing to support a “national program that is data driven and factors in the impact of this rule-making on jobs, the economy, consumers and safety.” The 56 mpg figure was not mentioned at all by her.

Right now, there has not been a comment made from Chrysler.

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Jun 062012

Walter Chrysler and Chrysler Corporation

The car maker Chrysler history began in the early 1920s, when Walter Chrysler left Willys to overhaul the Maxwell Car Company. 1924 saw the launch of the Chrysler Automobile, a well-received car that included attributes which, at the time, were restricted to far more costly automobiles. Amongst these were an air filter on the carburetor and an oil filter. In 1925, the Maxwell Car Company was reorganized in to the Chrysler Corporation.

Chrysler innovations

In its early years, Chrysler introduced revolutionary new attributes that would later be used by nearly every automobile manufacturer including ridged rims which kept a flat tire from coming off the wheel and rubber engine mounts to lower engine vibration traveling through the rest of the car.

Chrysler History

The Chrysler Corporation went through quite a few alterations over the decades. In 1928, a deal brought about the purchase of the Dodge nameplate from the Dodge Brothers. 1928 also saw the introduction of the Plymouth nameplate which was an integral element of Chrysler’s line-up till 2001 when the nameplate was dropped. In 1987, Chrysler gained a controlling share in Jeep-Eagle and started manufacturing the long-running Jeep line of vehicles. In 1998, Chrysler merged with German auto manufacturer Daimler AG to become DaimlerChrysler AG (see also Mercedes Benz car history). In 2007, Ceberus Capital Management acquired a controlling stake in Chrysler and finished its purchase of the remaining stock in 2009.

The 1960s and early 1970s had been a high point for Chrysler due, in large component, to the NASCAR racing success of the Dodge nameplate. Richard Petty’s blue #43 Roadrunner Superbird car has grow to be one of the most recognized automobiles in the planet and was even represented as the King (Strip Weathers) in the Disney/Pixar animated film “Cars”. The 1969 Dodge Charger was a also highlighted prominently in the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard” from 1979-1985.

By far the most Successful Chrysler Models

Chrysler has had a number of thriving models such as the 300, the Dodge Charger, as well as the Dodge Challenger/Plymouth Barracuda. More lately, Chrysler has surprised the automotive planet with retro-styled automobiles which have been well-received such as the Dodge Prowler plus the new Dodge Challenger. In 2006, the re-introduced the Dodge Charger model as well, although this did not feature the retro-styling of the Prowler or the Challenger. In 1992, Chrysler entered the world of world-class sports automobiles with the Dodge Viper, a V-10 powered sports vehicle created to compete with cars like the Chevrolet Corvette (read GMC history) as well as the Porsche 911 (read Porsche history).

Like its rival, Ford (read Ford history), Chrysler very carefully managed its nameplates according to design. Plymouth was the economy line, Dodge became the mid-grade and performance name, and Chrysler was reserved for their high-end luxury line of vehicles. The purchase of the Jeep nameplate gave them instant recognition in the Sport/Utility vehicle market.

During its eight decade Chrysler history, the corporation has been an innovator and has had a strong influence in the auto manufacturing business all through the globe. It has also observed its troubles as the #3 American auto manufacturer, but has managed to endure and survive through all its trials and tribulations.

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Apr 222012

Suzuki’s consumer satisfaction data from J.D. Power and Associates is no longer forthcoming, which specialists believe is a bad sign for the automaker’s future in the U.S. market. Sales throughout the industry have been up 13 percent in the first quarter, yet Suzuki has dropped by 2 percent over that period. This has led Suzuki to cut its marketing on social networking and television, and to close several U.S. dealerships.

Avoiding marketing

It seems like Suzuki has disappeared. Promoting executive Steve Younan left in January from Suzuki, and a replacement may never come along. The company has not aired a national commercial since 2009 and has decided to pull out of all social networking activity in the last couple of months. The car maker has even skipped both the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows this year. The business is certainly marketing very differently than its competition.

Another sign of trouble for Suzuki came in January, when the car maker stopped receiving consumer satisfaction reports from J.D. Power and Associates. Automakers use the data compiled by J.D. Power to track dealer performance. A memorandum from Suzuki indicated that the automaker will seek a different vendor to provide this data, notes Automotive News. The position has reportedly not been filled yet.

Rating Suzuki dealerships

In 2011, American Suzuki dropped 32 dealership franchises from its roster, approximately 12 percent of its United States total. The number of Suzuki dealers has continued to drop each year since 2005, note several sources.

While American Suzuki will continue to slash programs, Suzuki dealers feel the financial pain.

May be good

Kay, who currently owns Ford, Chevrolet, Buick-GMC, Honda and Nissan Motors car dealerships west of Chicago, blamed Suzuki’s sales troubles on poor consumer awareness.

James Morrell, owner of Advantage Suzuki in Albany, N.Y., and chairman of the Suzuki Dealer Advisory Board, points out that from a large corporate standpoint, reducing the number of U.S. dealerships really had a silver lining.

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Apr 212012

The forthcoming Marvel hero team-up film, “The Avengers,” will even be a treat for car followers. The film teams Iron Man, Green Arrow, the Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow in a fight to save the world. Tony Stark — Iron Man to the planet (Robert Downey, Jr.) — having lost his Audi R8 in his last film, now drives a never-before seen convertible Acura NSX. Burt the vehicle has a secret identity, too.

Observe Acura in Hollywood

On April 11, the premiere of “The Avengers” was a massive hit. Robert Downey Jr. drove in a convertible on the red carpet at the premier. The premiere also shuttled actors back and forth with other Acura models that were made just for the movie. Some Acura TL models were in the film along with the tricked-out Acura MD. The premiere was held at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood.

A partnership

It makes perfect sense that Acura would co-sponsor the premiere.

The Acura was also the official car of last year’s “Captain America” and “Thor” movies. S.H.I.E.L.D. is an acronym for the fictitious Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.

Picture and test drive

The “Acura convertible sports car” picture was released by the car maker last week showing what Torque News believed was going to be the 2015 NSX sports car. Inside Line was able to drive the car used in the movie though, and they found out a few insider secrets about the car.

When the car was initially seen by Inside Line’s John Pearley Huffman in the Mojave Desert in California, he said it was “Gorgeous. Stop and stare, devastatingly, truly gorgeous.” He tested the car at the Honda test track, and Tony Stark’s Acura was delivered in a white semi-trailer.

However, as Huffman and his fellow workers neared the car, they noticed a familiar inside. It was the un-retouched inside trim of a 1991 Acura NSX. The interior of the car is never seen in “The Avengers” film, so no redo was necessary.

The color of the car was painted red to match Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit, and it was a brand new body built to go over a 1991 Acura NSX. The car was built in Oxnard, California at the Trans FX shop.

Another iconic car

The car Tony Stark drives is in great condition still in spite of the belief that typically stunt vehicles are essential for movies to perform all the stunts. Huffman explained that when he saw the car, he realized it was “one of the most extraordinary movie vehicles ever built. It is right up there with the Batmobile.”

“The Avengers” comes out on May 4 for everyone to see.

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Apr 192012

In a rare regionally-targeted recall campaign, General Motors Company is asking the owners of some of its crossover SUVs from numerous divisions to usher in their vehicles and have the windshield wipers looked at. Only those owners who live in the northern states will be affected.

Recall only for those in chilly

The issue stems from a nut that holds the windshield wiper arm in place. The recall affects only those owners in colder areas because cold and ice can potentially can loosen the nut and affect the operation of the wiper arm.

Different parts of the business

There are three different divisions of GM focused on by the recall. The crossover SUVs being recalled consists of 2011 and 2012 GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave vehicles. There are 50,000 automobiles being recalled. Owners can expect notification starting on April 16 if they are in one of the areas being targeted by the recall.

Not all states included

The states integrated in the recall campaign are Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West VA, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In excess of factory specs

The defect has not caused any accidents, as far as GM knows, and the business promises to tighten the arms for free for affected owners. Owners just need to go to an authorized dealership to have it done.

The world’s largest-selling automaker also claims that, if requested by an owner, it will also tighten the windshield wiper arm nuts on impacted automobiles not in the focused on areas, free of charge.

Learn the way to contact

If you need for more information about the recalls, you can call the individual divisions of GMC, such as Buick at 800-521-7300, Chevrolet at 800-222-1020 or GMC at 800-462-8782. You can call the NHTSA instead if you want too. Use campaign #12V151000 whenever you call 888-327-4236, and you will get all the right info.

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Apr 172012

According to former GM head of R&D Larry Burns, self-driving cars are coming. By 2020, fleets will be standard; by 2015, most customer cars will have the benefits as options.

Get distracted while driving

The emissions in urban cities will decrease quite a bit with driverless vehicles because there will be fewer automobiles on the road. People will not get distracted, which will mean fewer crashes on the road. Distracted driving will become obsolete; people will be able to do whatever they want in the car, such as taking care of business and phone calls.

Test drives at Google

Thousands of miles have been put into driverless test automobiles on California roads. The Toyota Prius and Audi TT designs were used in the experiment done by Google. Google has gotten a lot of attention for these models. The cars do a very good job of watching for dangers, looking at stop lights and staying on the road. They appear to be very effective with radar and video cameras.

Only one accident has reportedly occurred when the driverless system was active, and that appears to have been the fault of a separate, human driver. It is notable that control could be assumed by a human driver at any point during the operation of the self-driving system.

Attempt for project in past

In 2007, General Motors entered a driverless Chevrolet Tahoe in a 55-mile race sponsored by the U.S. DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). The race occurred in Victorville, Calif., and the driverless system in the Tahoe (nicknamed “Boss”) used familiar systems, from cameras and radar to global positioning satellites. Boss won the race, reports Automotive News.

Trying the system out

On the self-driving cars, there will be adaptive cruise control, collision avoidance and lane-keeping technology. Although Burns believes the self-driving car will not come out until 2020, he does believe that these attributes will be seen on most customer automobiles by 2015.

Insurance on automobiles

It will be harder to figure out who is at fault in crashes with the new technology. That means an enormous stumbling block for the driverless automobiles will be insurance businesses.

Google’s driverless car information

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Apr 142012

A Ford Focus recall has been announced, for a faulty wiring harness on the windshield wiper motor. The recall includes over 140,000 automobiles, all from the 2012 model year.

Ford out to wipe defect from the Focus

About 140,310 2012 Ford Focus automobiles will be affected by the recall from Ford motor Company, according to Inside Line. Ford an-nounced the recall because of a defect in the windshield wiper motor; Ford informed the National Highway Traffic Security Administration of the recall, according to the New York Times.

The affected units were manufactured between Aug. 1, 2010, and Oct. 18, 2011. All recalled Focuses were made at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich. Ford dealers have been notified that a hold has been placed on delivery of the Focus until the problem is resolved.

Where is the issue?

The chances of a chance are increased when the wiper motor does not work or works erratically. This is the issue with the Ford Focus passenger side windshield wiper. It does this due to faulty wiring that causes different fluids to leak into the harness connecter.

The defect, according to the New York Times, was discovered at the factory, where all United States Ford Focus models are assembled. The recall being limited to automobiles made on or before Oct. 18, 2011 means Ford might have received a bad batch of parts from the manufacturer, though automakers are usually loathes disclosing if they received a bad shipment or from which manufacturer they received them from.

The recall will start by May 21. Ford will contact owners and direct them to take their cars to their local Ford dealership and service center, where the wiper wiring harness will be cleaned, inspected and sealed or swapped out as necessary, free of charge.

Finished investigation into blower motor

In other news, the National Highway Traffic Security Administration has wrapped a probe into faulty blower motor switches in the E-350 and E-450 series of large passenger vans, according to The Detroit News. The agency had received 1,036 complaints of failed switches, two of which resulted in a fire. No injuries were reported.

The NHTSA began an investigation in December of 2009 into the possibility of fire in almost 1.1 million 1997 to 2008 E-350 and E-450 vans. The investigation was upgraded to an engineering analysis in April 2010, often the last step before a recall.

All dealers have received a bulletin to replace the switch and electrical connecter with different switches that will not cause fires, although the NHTSA has not required a recall from Ford.

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Apr 102012

The Dodge Viper has been sorely missed by some performance car lovers. The new one has been carefully secured, but the date of its public debut has eventually showed up. The 2013 SRT Viper has just been introduced at the New York Auto Show.

Snake in the grass

The horsepower in the Dodge Viper was extremely high, making it an extremely powerful American supercar. It was also something everybody liked depending on its looks.

The Chicago Tribune explained that the last Viper generation stopped being produced last year. This is why many fans have been waiting for a new one to come. The New York Auto Show released a brand new one though.

A monster has come in the new model, as it is being manufactured by Street and Racing Technology, Chrysler’s in-house tuning division (SRT), instead of by Dodge.

Natural aspiration

The 2013 SRT Viper’s most significant feature will be the natural aspirated 8.4-liter V-10 motor with 640 horsepower and a top speed of 205 miles per hour, according to Motor Trend. It is a beast of an engine that everyone would love.

Tremec, the company that made the Corvette ZR1 transmission, produced the six-speed short-throw manual transmission, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is very unlikely to get a paddle-operated automatic.

New standards

However, according to AutoBlog, the new Viper does come with traction and stability control also as cruise control, a standard choice for the first time. Three different styles of wheels are available. Buyers can choose between gloss and matte black with five or six spokes. A special lightweight set are available as part of the SRT Track package.

Sabelt is the company that does Ferrari’s leather seats. This is also the company doing the Viper’s leather seats. The automobile will also come with an 8.4-inch touchscreen with the Uconnect Media Center by Chrysler. A Harmon Kardon sound system will also be in the car.

Motor Trend explained that the two trims, the SRT trim and GTS trim are available for the Viper. A coupe will be released first, but you can expect to see a convertible edition soon.

Spending a lot of cash

In the fall, the Viper will go on sale for, as estimated by Motor Trend, around $95,000.

There are only two vehicles that are competition to the Viper. One of them is the ZR1, with about the same power as the Viper at 638 horsepower. It costs about $111,600 though, which is more money. The Nissan Motors GT-R is another competitor. It gets 545 horsepower in a twin-turbo V-6, which means it will not have nearly the same power, but it does have all-wheel-drive and better traction. The cost is closer to the Viper at $96,820.

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