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With upgrades to materials and power, SAIC's MG6 could be a suitable replacement for the Dodge Dart.
 

Sergio's plan to sell rebadged Dart, 200 replacements could work -- if he chooses wisely

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, Feb. 2
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to replace the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 with vehicles built under contract by other automakers faces long odds.
Can you name a captive import (a car built by one automaker, but sold by another) or rebadged car that has been successful? There are very few. The closest that comes to mind is the 1970-78 Mercury Capri. Ford Motor Co. sold more than 500,000 of the Europe-built sport coupes in the United States. The Mercury Capri was a rebadged version of the Ford Capri. More recently, the Pontiac Vibe, a twin of the Toyota Corolla Matrix, sold well in its 2002-10 run.
It has been a while since an automaker has tried to sell rebadged vehicles on a large scale. Hop ...
     Continue reading "Sergio's plan to sell rebadged Dart, 200 replacements could work -- if he chooses wisely" » Feb 2, 2016 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Wait a minute. What? Jeep Wagoneer? Where did that come from?

Posted 6:17 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 27
blogs
A 1983 Jeep Wagoneer, one of many built before Chrysler acquired Jeep in 1987.
So here’s a question for you to ponder: What’s a Jeep Wagoneer?
In the middle of a lengthy yet remarkably detail free conference call on Wednesday about Fiat Chrysler’s plans to “realign” its North American production plan, CEO Sergio Marchionne dropped this little nugget:
“I think it’s important for us to have found a home for the Grand Wagoneer family -- both the Grand Wagoneer and the Wagoneer -- in whatever shape they come, and that we find that space without creating additional production capacity.”
An admi ...
     Continue reading "Wait a minute. What? Jeep Wagoneer? Where did that come from?" » Jan 27, 2016 6:17 pm U.S. ET
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Caddy CT6's lightweight body = big car, small engine

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs
The Cadillac CT6 at the Shanghai auto show in April 2015. (BLOOMBERG)
RAMONA, Calif. -- Of the three engine choices available on the Cadillac CT6 sedan, it was the smallest that seemed to generate the most buzz during a media drive here last week.
The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo kicks out 265 hp, shy of the 272 hp that the same displacement engine produces in the compact Cadillac ATS. But the relative featherweight construction of the CT6 left it with plenty of pull for passing trucks on steep uphills and on undulating mountain roads northeast of San Diego.
The big, aluminum-intensive sedan is also propelled by a 3.6-liter V-6 and the range topper, a 3.0-liter, twin-turb ...
     Continue reading "Caddy CT6's lightweight body = big car, small engine" » Jan 26, 2016 12:30 pm U.S. ET
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Will Volvo's S90L land stateside?

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs
The Volvo S90 made its auto show debut in Detroit this month. (BLOOMBERG)
Volvo's revival of the S90 nameplate, dormant since the late 1990s, brings back the brand's aspirations for a luxury flagship to take on the Germans.
Developed on the company's Scalable Product Architecture shared with the XC90 crossover, the S90 will battle the likes of the BMW 5 series, Mercedes-Benz E class and Lexus GS when it lands in stores later in the year.
But is an even more luxurious model in the cards for North America?
A long-wheelbase version of the S90 has been spotted testing in China, raising the prospect that this version could be shared wi ...
     Continue reading "Will Volvo's S90L land stateside?" » Jan 26, 2016 11:30 am U.S. ET
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GM shifts r&d role to meet new realities

Posted 12:30 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 26
blogs
Jon Lauckner, GM's chief technical officer, outlined Chevrolet's connectivity initiatives in June 2015 in Detroit.
For most of its existence, General Motors r&d has focused on investigating technologies that might be deployed in automobiles decades down the road.
In the 1950s, for instance, GM was already thinking about how to engineer autonomous vehicles. In the mid-1960s, GM engineers built the world’s first fuel-cell powered automobile, the Electrovan.
About a decade ago, GM’s researchers performed pioneering work on hom ...
     Continue reading "GM shifts r&d role to meet new realities" » Jan 26, 2016 12:30 pm U.S. ET
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Eight things to know about the new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid

Posted 1:02 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 22
blogs
The Ioniq's handsome, understated good looks are enhanced by a coupelike silhouette, a squared-off front fascia and a planted, low and wide stance.
SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Co. is pitching its new Ioniq hybrid vehicle as the anti-hybrid hybrid: a green car with gusto and good looks.
And the compact hatchback delivered on that promise during a test drive this week on the northern outskirts of Seoul.
On largely deserted roads just outside the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone dividing South Korea from its communist neighbor to the north, the Ioniq performed well.
The car was at its best in sport mode on winding highways and narrow country lanes, where tank traps and army platoons on patrol provided a disquieting b ...
     Continue reading "Eight things to know about the new Hyundai Ioniq hybrid" » Jan 22, 2016 1:02 pm U.S. ET
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ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama

Posted 3:21 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 21
blogs
President Obama met with Johnson during his tour of the Detroit auto show on Wednesday. (Reuters)
The most commonly asked question I’ve received in the past 24 hours is: “Were you nervous?”
But I can honestly tell you that my 10-minute one-on-one conversation with The President of the United States, while being the pinnacle of my communications career, was remarkably comfortable.
Wednesday afternoon I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explain to President Barack Obama how the company I work for, ZF, will impact the lives of millions. And he listened. I explained how autonomous technology, such as advancements in new camera technology, will change the way we live and drive. ...
     Continue reading "ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama" » Jan 21, 2016 3:21 pm U.S. ET
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ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama

Posted 3:21 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 21
blogs
President Obama met with Johnson during his tour of the Detroit auto show on Wednesday. (Reuters)
The most commonly asked question I’ve received in the past 24 hours is: “Were you nervous?”
But I can honestly tell you that my 10-minute one-on-one conversation with The President of the United States, while being the pinnacle of my communications career, was remarkably comfortable.
Wednesday afternoon I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explain to President Barack Obama how the company I work for, ZF, will impact the lives of millions. And he listened. I explained how autonomous technology, such as advancements in new camera technology, will change the way we live and drive. ...
     Continue reading "ZF executive 'remarkably comfortable' in one-on-one chat with Obama" » Jan 21, 2016 3:21 pm U.S. ET
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Papa Uno hits the block

Posted 2:00 pm U.S. ET, Jan. 20
blogs
During a U.S. visit by Pope Francis in September, Fiat's modest four-door 500L hatchbacks contrasted sharply in papal motorcades amid a lineup of jumbo-size SUVs carrying the pope's security detail and entourage. (REUTERS)
A Fiat 500L made famous by a high-profile user -- I know, it’s a big club, but I want to leave you guessing -- is going on the auction block for charity this month in Philadelphia.
A black Fiat 500L used in September in Philadelphia by Pope Francis during his first visit to the United States will be auctioned off Jan. 29 during the black-tie gala prior to the start of the city’s auto show.
Proceeds from the live and online auction will benefit ministries of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as well as The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania. According to press reports, a second papal 500L ...
     Continue reading "Papa Uno hits the block " » Jan 20, 2016 2:00 pm U.S. ET
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The danger of being a pioneer

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, Jan. 19
blogs
Ford CEO Mark Fields at the Detroit auto show, where the automaker disclosed plans to launch a platform called FordPass that gives users the ability to reserve parking, pay for transportation costs through their vehicle or phone, earn rewards and call a “FordGuide” for free help reaching destinations. (BLOOMBERG)
There’s been an almost nonstop din of pronouncements from automakers on apps, connectivity, electrification, autonomous driving, car-sharing and mobility.
Since the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas two weeks ago and now the Detroit auto show, automakers haven’t had much to say about how they plan to continue improving quality and fuel economy, reducing emissions, making cars safer, etc. You know, sticking to their traditional knitting.
It’s worrisome.
Some companies making the most noise about efforts to transform the car have a poor record of ...
     Continue reading "The danger of being a pioneer" » Jan 19, 2016 11:45 am U.S. ET
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