Chrysler – Automobile Magazine http://www.automobilemag.com No Boring Cars! | Reviews, Auto Shows, Lifestyle Sat, 24 Sep 2016 21:04:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.4 Chrysler Launches New “Dad Brand” Pacifica Commercials http://www.automobilemag.com/news/chrysler-launches-new-dad-brand-pacifica-commercials/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/chrysler-launches-new-dad-brand-pacifica-commercials/#respond Tue, 21 Jun 2016 19:19:52 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=958057 Back in April, Chrysler launched the “Dad Brand” ad campaign for the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan, featuring actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan, his wife, and their five kids. Over Father’s Day weekend, the automaker released the other spots in the campaign. The commercials parallel what makes a good father and a good vehicle, and...

The post Chrysler Launches New “Dad Brand” Pacifica Commercials appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Back in April, Chrysler launched the “Dad Brand” ad campaign for the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan, featuring actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan, his wife, and their five kids. Over Father’s Day weekend, the automaker released the other spots in the campaign.

The commercials parallel what makes a good father and a good vehicle, and how the new Pacifica is the perfect vehicle for fathers. Each spot highlights different features of the new minivan, from park assist, the touchless sliding rear door, and even rear-seat infotainment. While the ad campaigns do a good job of showing off key features of the new minivan, they fail to mention that the Pacifica is available as a hybrid, which is a first in the segment.

Chrysler will run the unique #DadBrand video content across all its social media platforms in addition to the five commercials that have already launched. All five ads feature a comedic, tongue-in-cheek edge, playing on Gaffigan’s strengths not only as a comedian, but also as a father looking to improve is “Dad Brand.”

Check out all five #DadBrand 2017 Chrysler Pacifica ads below.

The post Chrysler Launches New “Dad Brand” Pacifica Commercials appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/chrysler-launches-new-dad-brand-pacifica-commercials/feed/ 0 Chrysler Launches New “Dad Brand” Pacifica Commercials - Automobile Back in April, Chrysler launched the “Dad Brand” ad campaign for the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan, featuring actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan, his wife, and their five kids. Over Father’s Day weekend, the automaker released the other spots in the campaign. The commercials parallel what make Pacifica
Ontario Invests $66 Million To Upgrade Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Plant http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ontario-invests-66-million-upgrade-chrysler-pacifica-hybrid-plant-2/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ontario-invests-66-million-upgrade-chrysler-pacifica-hybrid-plant-2/#respond Wed, 15 Jun 2016 23:00:40 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=956269 FCA Canada confirms production of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan in Windsor today with C$85.8 million (roughly $66 million U.S.) in funding from the Ontario government. The funding for the first plug-in hybrid electric minivan was to be announced today at a special 20th anniversary event at the University of Windsor/FCA Research and Development Center...

The post Ontario Invests $66 Million To Upgrade Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Plant appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
FCA Canada confirms production of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan in Windsor today with C$85.8 million (roughly $66 million U.S.) in funding from the Ontario government.

The funding for the first plug-in hybrid electric minivan was to be announced today at a special 20th anniversary event at the University of Windsor/FCA Research and Development Center by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Some of the money will be used for research at FCA’s R&D center in Windsor, called the Automotive Research and Development Centre.

FCA will add 1,200 jobs to the existing 4,000 at the Windsor Assembly Plant and upgrade the plant to make the hybrid.

“It’s no surprise that Fiat Chrysler chose Ontario for the production of its first-ever minivans using plug-in hybrid technology,” said Wynne. “Ontario is a global leader in the auto sector, with competitive business costs, a highly skilled workforce and a commitment to sustainable innovation. And through our Climate Change Action Plan, we are supporting the transition to electric and hybrid vehicles. We will continue to work with the auto industry, including our partners in Detroit, to support and encourage investment, employment and innovation in the industry.”

Reid Bigland, President of FCA Canada, said the automaker has invested more than $2 billion in Canada in the past 18 months.

FCA also has a deal to provide Google with 100 Pacifica hybrids to advance work on autonomous vehicles and Ontario is the first Canadian province to allow on-road testing of automated vehicles.

The minivan is the automaker’s first plug-in vehicle as it plays catch up with the rest of the industry.

The post Ontario Invests $66 Million To Upgrade Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Plant appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/ontario-invests-66-million-upgrade-chrysler-pacifica-hybrid-plant-2/feed/ 0 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid exterior badge 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid exterior badge 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear badge1 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear badge1 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front three quarter 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front three quarter 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear three quarters 04 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear three quarters 04 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gas cap 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gas cap 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front interior 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front interior
Report: FCA, Uber in Talks to Form Partnership http://www.automobilemag.com/news/report-fca-uber-in-talks-to-form-partnership/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/report-fca-uber-in-talks-to-form-partnership/#respond Wed, 08 Jun 2016 17:47:04 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=953446 After striking a technology deal with Google last month, Fiat Chrysler is reportedly in talks to form a similar partnership with Uber. A tie-up between FCA and Uber could be announced by the end of this year, an anonymous source told Automotive News. For now, talks are in the early stages. In an unprecedented move,...

The post Report: FCA, Uber in Talks to Form Partnership appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
After striking a technology deal with Google last month, Fiat Chrysler is reportedly in talks to form a similar partnership with Uber.

A tie-up between FCA and Uber could be announced by the end of this year, an anonymous source told Automotive News. For now, talks are in the early stages.

In an unprecedented move, FCA and Google agreed to work together on self-driving cars last month. The automaker has offered up 100 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans uniquely built to accommodate Google’s self-driving technology. Google will equip these vehicles with sensors, cameras, radar, and other technologies. Meanwhile, Uber is also working hard on autonomous vehicles, having recently tested its technology on a Ford Fusion Hybrid.

Another anonymous source told Automotive News that Uber is talking to many different automakers. That’s no surprise, considering Toyota and Uber recently agreed to collaborate on ride sharing.

Cash-strapped FCA could benefit greatly from partners like Uber. The ride-hailing company offers up a large fleet of cars from which to gather data and help improve self-driving systems. FCA Chairman John Elkann has made it a point to work with large technology companies instead of trying to compete with them at their own game. FCA was reportedly in talks with Amazon on self-driving vehicles for the retailer’s delivery services, but the parties haven’t yet reached a final agreement.

 

The post Report: FCA, Uber in Talks to Form Partnership appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/report-fca-uber-in-talks-to-form-partnership/feed/ 0
Google Self-Driving Car Project to Open Facility Near Detroit http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-self-driving-car-project-open-facility-near-detroit/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-self-driving-car-project-open-facility-near-detroit/#respond Fri, 27 May 2016 13:00:48 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=948222 The ties between Silicon Valley and Detroit continue to strengthen. Google has officially announced it will open a new self-driving technology development center in Novi, Mich., a suburb outside of Detroit. “For the past few years, members of our team have been working from the Greater Detroit area. Now it’s time to lay down roots,”...

The post Google Self-Driving Car Project to Open Facility Near Detroit appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
The ties between Silicon Valley and Detroit continue to strengthen. Google has officially announced it will open a new self-driving technology development center in Novi, Mich., a suburb outside of Detroit.

“For the past few years, members of our team have been working from the Greater Detroit area. Now it’s time to lay down roots,” the tech company announced on its Google+ page. “Many of our current partners are based here, so having a local facility will help us collaborate more easily.”

Google says it will begin moving into the 53,000 square-foot facility this year. Once the company is all moved in, it will immediately begin work on the self-driving Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans as part of its partnership with Fiat Chrysler. According to the deal inked earlier this month, Chrysler will develop and build 100 minivans to accommodate the self-driving tech from Google. The companies hope to have the minivans ready by the end of the year.

Despite the deal with FCA, Google has pointed out that it’s open to working with other automakers. Ford, for example, is allegedly close to finalizing a partnership with Google. Both companies are investing heavily in autonomous vehicles and recently joined a coalition (along with Volvo, Uber, and Lyft) to help author and expedite federal regulations for the new technology.

In addition to FCA, Google has a number of other partners located in and around Detroit. Livonia-based Roush Enterprises, for example, was chosen to build Google’s self-driving car prototypes that are now testing on public roads in Austin, Texas and near the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front three quarter 03 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front three quarter 02 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear end 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gas cap google autonomous car prototype Google Autonomous Lexus RX450h1 Google self driving car prototype rear three quarters Google Car Prototype homepage

 

The post Google Self-Driving Car Project to Open Facility Near Detroit appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-self-driving-car-project-open-facility-near-detroit/feed/ 0 Google Car Prototype homepage Google Car Prototype homepage Google Car Prototype homepage Google Car Prototype homepage Google Car Prototype homepage Google Car Prototype homepage Google Car Prototype homepage Google Car Prototype homepage
Report: FCA Drops Plans to Build Pacifica-Based Crossover http://www.automobilemag.com/news/report-fca-drops-plans-build-pacifica-based-crossover/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/report-fca-drops-plans-build-pacifica-based-crossover/#respond Wed, 18 May 2016 18:35:10 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=942852 Fiat Chrysler has scuttled plans to build a crossover based on the Chrysler Pacifica platform, reports the Windsor Star. The vehicle was rumored to go into production at FCA’s plant in Windsor, Ontario. Citing a report from AutoForecast Solutions, the Windsor Star also claims the automaker will continue production of the Dodge Grand Caravan until...

The post Report: FCA Drops Plans to Build Pacifica-Based Crossover appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Fiat Chrysler has scuttled plans to build a crossover based on the Chrysler Pacifica platform, reports the Windsor Star. The vehicle was rumored to go into production at FCA’s plant in Windsor, Ontario.

Citing a report from AutoForecast Solutions, the Windsor Star also claims the automaker will continue production of the Dodge Grand Caravan until July 2019. Previously, we heard that production on the minivan had only been confirmed through the 2017 model year. FCA has declined our request for comment.

Marchionne had recently expressed interest in a Pacifica-based crossover. At the Detroit auto show in January, Marchionne reportedly said, “There’s been a lot of discussion, but I don’t have anything to announce” about the crossover. Although we never knew of any official plans for the vehicle, it doesn’t surprise us that FCA was considering it. The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica boasts such a flexible platform that it could potentially accommodate a front-wheel-drive successor to the 300 sedan.

Lately, FCA has been making big changes to its production lineup. It has delayed a number of new models, including the long-awaited Alfa Romeo Giulia. At the same time, the automaker is looking to find a partner that can build its Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart sedans. That way, FCA can focus on building higher-margin vehicles like trucks, crossovers, and large cars.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus front three quarter 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited side profile 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus rear end in motion 02 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Touring L Plus rear three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited rear three quarter 04 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited rear three quarter 03 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited rear end in motion 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front end in motion 02 Chrysler Pacifica Hellcat rendering front three quarter 1 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front three quarter 021 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited side profile 021 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front three quarter 03 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters

The post Report: FCA Drops Plans to Build Pacifica-Based Crossover appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/report-fca-drops-plans-build-pacifica-based-crossover/feed/ 0 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid and Pacifica Limited rear front three quarters
Next Chrysler 300 May Use Front-Wheel-Drive Pacifica Architecture, Says Report http://www.automobilemag.com/news/hear-next-chrysler-300-may-use-pacifica-architecture/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/hear-next-chrysler-300-may-use-pacifica-architecture/#respond Wed, 11 May 2016 18:55:25 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=939852 Sales for Chrysler were down 19 percent during the first four months of the year, but fortunately, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is making some big changes to the brand. One of those changes may include a successor to the Chrysler 300 that uses the Pacifica minivan’s architecture. Speaking at FCA’s plant in Windsor, Ontario, CEO Sergio...

The post Next Chrysler 300 May Use Front-Wheel-Drive Pacifica Architecture, Says Report appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Sales for Chrysler were down 19 percent during the first four months of the year, but fortunately, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is making some big changes to the brand. One of those changes may include a successor to the Chrysler 300 that uses the Pacifica minivan’s architecture.

Speaking at FCA’s plant in Windsor, Ontario, CEO Sergio Marchionne told Reuters that the next Chrysler 300 sedan could share its underpinnings with the Pacifica. He also said the Windsor plant is “capable” of making a front- and all-wheel-drive Chrysler 300 in the future, although he clarified that FCA hasn’t yet committed to such a version of the sedan. The current rear-wheel-drive 300 is produced in Brampton, Ontario.

AUTOMOBILE Detroit bureau chief Todd Lassa predicted this development back in 2014, when Sergio announced his big five-year plan.

Marchionne also announced that FCA will officially stop producing the Chrysler 200 by the end of this year or early 2017. FCA still wants to secure a partner that can take over production of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart, allowing the automaker to focus on big-ticket items like trucks, crossovers, and large cars.

One of FCA’s high-margin vehicles is the Ram pickup truck, its best-selling vehicle in North America. The next-gen Ram will go on sale by January 2018, Marchionne also revealed. Recently, we heard FCA is also mulling a midsize Ram pickup to expand the brand’s reach in the truck market.

2017 Chrysler 300S with Sport Appearance package rear three quarter 2016 Chrysler 300S Alloy Edition front three quarter 03 2016 Chrysler 300S Alloy Edition front three quarter 02 2015 Chrysler 300S with city 2016 Chrysler 300C front three quarter in motion 02 2015 Chrysler 300S front side view on street 2015 Chrysler 300S front side view at night 2015 Chrysler 300S front side view parked 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited rear three quarter 021 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front three quarter 03 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 02 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01

The post Next Chrysler 300 May Use Front-Wheel-Drive Pacifica Architecture, Says Report appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/hear-next-chrysler-300-may-use-pacifica-architecture/feed/ 0 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01 2017 Chrysler Pacifica side profile 01
Google Autonomy Technology is Easier than New Alfa Romeos http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-autonomy-technology-easier-new-alfa-romeos/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-autonomy-technology-easier-new-alfa-romeos/#respond Wed, 11 May 2016 18:00:47 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=939564 Did you know that scientists at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an invisible film, called Second Skin, made of Food and Drug Administration-approved chemicals that you can rub on to your face to remove wrinkles? Neither did I. Fact is, I didn’t know there was much scientific research of this sort...

The post Google Autonomy Technology is Easier than New Alfa Romeos appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Did you know that scientists at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an invisible film, called Second Skin, made of Food and Drug Administration-approved chemicals that you can rub on to your face to remove wrinkles? Neither did I. Fact is, I didn’t know there was much scientific research of this sort going on lately. I figured most scientists are working on a cure for cancer or Alzheimer’s, and there was no time or money for such frivolities as making a fountain of youth available at your local Walgreens.

Similarly, if you’ve been reading the enthusiast magazines, waiting for the first automaker to announce a 50 mpg (highway) gas V-8, and you haven’t purchased a new car in, oh, four or five years, you might be vague on the inevitability of autonomy. Suddenly, in the last couple of months, autonomy has gone from an argument over “who’s going to pay for the first accident” to an inevitability. Everybody’s talking about it, and companies like Uber can’t wait to use it to solve their employee/contractor problems. Sure, the liability issue remains as big a question as usual, even though Volvo says it is liable in the case of any collision its vehicles cause while operating autonomously. [Hint: The answer to whether your car chooses from hitting another head-on, or that bicyclist on the right is neither. One distinct advantage of the connected car/autonomy technology is that it will see potential dangers before you can.]

Sergio Marchionne with NYSE

Now comes Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, who is in the middle of trying to meet the promises of his company’s second five-year plan. He has signed a deal with autonomous car-leader Google to provide 100 Chrysler Pacificas for the Silicon Valley tech company’s self-driving vehicle program.

“It isn’t pie in the sky,” Marchionne said at a press conference in Windsor, Ontario, last week. “People are talking about 20 years. I think we will have it in five years.”

He seems relieved that it’s easier than reviving the Alfa Romeo brand with a fleet of new rear-wheel-drive models. It’s not exactly the alliance deal he has sought with General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen AG, and Toyota Motor, but it could inject new life into the part of the company that’s not Jeep.

Google has been testing its technology, using specially outfitted Lexus RX models, since the late 2000s. But the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid deal is different, according to FCA.

“This is the first time Google has worked with an automaker to integrate their self-driving systems into a vehicle. In the past, they modified their vehicles to add their sensors and computers,” Fiat Chrysler says. “FCA will be responsible for the design and engineering of the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan to hold Google’s self-driving technology. And Google will be responsible for installing the vehicle’s sensors, computers, and software.”

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front three quarter in motion 06

Google and Fiat Chrysler will set up engineering teams in Michigan (where ice and snow is a potential impediment in a way it’s not in California, Arizona, Washington, and Texas, where Google has tested so far) “to accelerate the design, testing, and manufacturing” of the minivans.

The deal represents a big shift in Google’s philosophy. Though it has tested with conventional Lexus SUVs, its introduction two years ago of the Googlemobile bubble car, sans steering wheel and pedal controls, indicated that the Silicon Valley goliath was concentrating its efforts on low-speed electric driverless city cars. The Fiat 500’s platform would seem better suited for this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the next announcement to come from the Google-Fiat Chrysler deal, especially with General Motors and Lyft promising a driverless taxicab service in a “major city” within a year. Unless GM, which also promises SuperCruise semi-automation in the Cadillac CTS by next year has figured out the ice and snow problem, I’d bet on San Francisco before New York City for the Lyft Johnny Cab.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front end 02 2017 Chrysler Pacifica center stack navigation screen 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear end 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side

I’d bet the Google-driven Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids will have an advanced level of the kind of semi-automation Cadillac has vaguely promised, and that Volvo will test in 100 XC90s in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2017. Once you get your family minivan on to a limited-access road or highway, click on the Google autonomy feature, and the Pacifica will do all the driving, including changing lanes, until you need to exit for fast food or gas. You’ll be able to cover vast swaths of I-80 or I-75 this way on your family vacation.

The Pacifica will serve as a useful platform for Google’s technology, because Reuters recently became the latest to report that the minivan will likely share a transverse-engine, front- or all-wheel-drive platform with the Chrysler 300 replacement and a Buick Enclave-like crossover-sport/utility vehicle. [I first speculated on this two years ago, when Marchionne told us at the Five-Year Plan press conference that Alfa Romeo would share its new rear-wheel-drive platform with Dodge, but not with Chrysler.] Presumably, you won’t miss the 300’s RWD dynamics if the Chrysler sedan is driving itself, anyway.

 

 

 

The post Google Autonomy Technology is Easier than New Alfa Romeos appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-autonomy-technology-easier-new-alfa-romeos/feed/ 0 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side Sergio Marchionne with NYSE 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited front three quarter in motion 06 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid side
Fiat Chrysler, Google Confirm Self-Driving Car Partnership http://www.automobilemag.com/news/fiat-chrysler-google-confirm-self-driving-car-partnership/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/fiat-chrysler-google-confirm-self-driving-car-partnership/#respond Tue, 03 May 2016 20:49:32 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=935949 Although it was already all but confirmed, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Google today announced they will partner on self-driving cars. Google will equip 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans with its prototype autonomous technology, which will be join the company’s existing fleet of self-driving test cars. Our colleagues at MOTOR TREND reported on Friday that FCA...

The post Fiat Chrysler, Google Confirm Self-Driving Car Partnership appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
Although it was already all but confirmed, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Google today announced they will partner on self-driving cars. Google will equip 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans with its prototype autonomous technology, which will be join the company’s existing fleet of self-driving test cars.

Our colleagues at MOTOR TREND reported on Friday that FCA and Google were close to establishing a tech partnership.

The announcement marks the first time that Google has partnered directly with an automaker to integrate its technology into a regular production car. Chrysler will provide about 100 Pacifica minivans that have been “uniquely built” to accommodate the suite of sensors and computers needed for Google’s self-driving technology. Google and FCA wil “co-locate” a portion of their engineering teams in southeast Michigan to develop the self-driving Pacifica Hybrids.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid front end 03 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid gas cap 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid rear end 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels

The companies will split engineering duties based on their talents, which likely means Google will handle the software side while Chrysler will lead modification of the vehicles.

“Working with Google provides an opportunity for FCA to partner with one of the world’s leading technology companies to accelerate the pace of innovation in the automotive industry,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement.

Google will test the modified 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids at its track in California before unleashing them on public roads. The tech giant’s self-driving cars are already accumulating miles on streets in California, Texas, Washington, and Arizona.

The post Fiat Chrysler, Google Confirm Self-Driving Car Partnership appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/fiat-chrysler-google-confirm-self-driving-car-partnership/feed/ 0 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels
On the Record: FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne Speaks Out http://www.automobilemag.com/news/record-fca-chief-sergio-marchionne-speaks/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/record-fca-chief-sergio-marchionne-speaks/#respond Mon, 02 May 2016 12:00:45 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=934779 TURIN, Italy — The only request is that no photography be taken, and when Sergio Marchionne steps into the room, it is clear why. Despite a quick shower and fresh clothes, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles still looks dog tired after another transatlantic flight. Before sitting down, he empties his pockets and produces four...

The post On the Record: FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne Speaks Out appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
TURIN, Italy — The only request is that no photography be taken, and when Sergio Marchionne steps into the room, it is clear why. Despite a quick shower and fresh clothes, the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles still looks dog tired after another transatlantic flight. Before sitting down, he empties his pockets and produces four trademark utensils: two smartphones, a fresh packet of Muratti Privat filter cigarettes, and a lighter.

FCA’s 64-year-old captain gets straight to the heart of the matter in his melodious bear-wants-honey drawl: “This industry is at a crossroads. I don’t think any of us has an idea as to what the right answer is. To me, the biggest issue is the impact technology has on what we are doing. Like the formation of a driverless environment, which is a mandatory future option and not even expensive. Products will go through a cycle of becoming either technologically obsolete or technologically relevant. The car already recognizes who you are; it’s one of the main interfaces between the world you are in and the world beyond. All this stuff is here to stay. It is going to be available at the speed of light, so we must act like a flash.”

Everyone is drinking mineral water except the boss, who brought his own pale-yellow tea-and-lemonade mix in two small transparent bottles. No alcohol, no main course, no dessert. Marchionne has lost weight lately, and he looks physically fit even on a day like today when the spectacle lenses sparkle brighter than the eyes behind them.

Is the end near for the classic combustion engine? “Although the relevance of combustion will decrease, it will still be an important driver of mobility. Electrification may be the next big thing, but I’m amazed by the impact of Tesla’s new Model 3,” Marchionne says. “With 300,000 orders in hand [around 400,000 at last count], their stock is up — again. It reminds me of the internet bubble. But where is the business model that will work in the long term? People should realize that there is nothing another company cannot replicate.”

Except that the Tesla was the first carmaker to go fully electric with up-market products, and they made this concept stick. In fact they created an icon, just like Apple did with its iconic iPhone. Is this not an approach FCA could mimic? “Welcome to the world of icons!” quips Marchionne. “I don’t make iPhones. I make cars. Why don’t I make the iPhone of cars? Because if it looks and smells like Tesla, I don’t know how to make that economic model work. There is nothing Tesla does that we cannot also do. We build cars, sell them, and are still able to pay the bills. But I’m not even sure you can recover all of your costs — let alone generate a profit — through electrification. The answer is bound to be somewhere else, and the question is whether we are doing enough to try explore that somewhere else.”

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne 31

Disarmingly open-minded and aggressively forward-thinking, Marchionne manages to retain some old-school habits in his personal life. Like listening to records played on a high-tech turntable, preferably opera or classical music. Or reading books, about 250 pages per long-haul flight; heavy stuff like philosophical and scientific writings. A couple of floors down in his personal office in the vast Lingotto complex, which serves as FCA’s headquarters, the walls are lined choc-a-bloc with listening and reading material. Up here in the light but barren makeshift dining room, you don’t need more than the fingers of one hand to count trinkets like flowers or paintings.

Although talking and eating don’t mix, Marchionne wastes no time hammering his message home. “Contrary to what some of my colleagues believe, we are not in the mobility business. We don’t move people around. There was a time when everyone started buying rental car companies because we thought that was an easy sales channel. For similar reasons, we were in the finance business. But at the end of the day, we are only building the tools that allow people to be mobile. I don’t want to buy into the distribution machine like GM did by paying $500 million for a 10-percent stake in Lyft.”

During our two-hour session, Sergio’s phones remain silent. But there is no doubt that digitalization and Big Data play an increasingly important role in the business life of the quick strategic thinker. Apple, Uber, and Google are names that automatically come to mind in this context. Even though he does not want to turn FCA into a mobility service provider, that’s exactly the approach Apple, Google, and Uber have chosen to chase the consumer attention and money.

Marchionne keeps emphasizing that “we have no skills to provide such services. But there are partners out there who would love to share their skills. Now this could be a business model that works. To find out, we have to let them in.” He pauses for breath, sends one text message, lights a cigarette and pours one more glass of ambrosia. “Google can buy every automaker out of petty cash. And Apple, they made a net profit of $24 billion in one quarter. This is nonsense. What are we defending? What?”

By the time the waiter takes the first set of plates away, Marchionne is beginning to enjoy our little conversation, shifting up one gear with every new topic. “My approach is to be completely open to technology. I think the next paradigm of this business is a paradigm that involves the cooperation for technology with the disruptors. Google is one. Apple is another, even Uber. It’s all about access to the complete information on what people do in the car. That’s when the consumer has time on hand and the business case blossoms. The key is to find a way in which we can coexist with the disruptors and bring our set of skills to the table. Speed is essential here. We must establish a link ASAP, must talk to the big players, the newcomers, and the underdogs, everybody. The goal is job sharing on a high level. We build the cars, they build the technology that goes into them. Ideally, I can take this technology and use it across my other brands.”

Google Fiat 500 lead image

As we wait for the main course, the discussion drifts into the vague undergrowth of ifs, whens, and buts. After all, what the industry is facing is the clash of two worlds. Old vs. new, slow vs. flexible, old-fashioned structures hampered by high fixed costs vs. slim and highly flexible start-ups, single-digit profit margins vs. 50 or 75 percent margins. In a win-win proposal, FCA would integrate the Apple ecosystem into a set of modified vehicles. At the same time, they would make room for Google and its map services, connectivity know-how and software power. On a scale from good to bad, Apple has been described by analysts as Snow White while Uber has more of a Darth Vader touch. Google is somewhere in the middle, plenty of potential tied to numerous possible pitfalls. Does Marchionne see the charm of a scenario in which Apple would, for instance, connect with Jeep, Alfa Romeo, Google, and Dodge with Uber? “That would be a really nice network,” is the answer, accompanied by a broad grin. “It’s brand relevance with a strong technology link.”

Is this man an ingenious maverick or a notorious tightrope walker? A gambler in a game with revolving players, facedown cards, and no limit? Why, one must ask, are most of his competitors working on proprietary mobility concepts that encourage intra-industry integration while generating and protecting their customers’ data? One could perhaps see Fiat Chrysler come to individual agreements with the likes of Apple but surely only as a junior partner, a production puppet on a string, the Foxconn of car manufacturers. Marchionne ponders this, nods, and says: “I have got to be able to find an economic model that allows me to survive the event. My successor has to inherit at least the propensity to absorb, to let these things come in, even nurture them in our environment, then strike a deal. Because they ain’t going away.”

The Marchionne regency will end in 2018 at the latest. But who is the designated next king of FCA castle? What are the qualities he or she must bring to the throne? Should that person be a car guy or a side-entrant like Marchionne was when he joined 12 years ago? Which additional skills are required to prepare the group for new challenges like electromobility and digitalization?

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne 2

“My successor is in the house,” answers the current ruler. “There is a list of people but no favorite. None of them is a traditional car guy. They would never tell you trivial things nor would they tell you dogmas. They are totally open and have the ability to move and shift. If they recognize a mistake or that things have changed, they address that issue and fix it. We set a bunch of targets for 2018, and they are fundamentally the only ones who are essential in consolidating our position as a reputable car company. Because that is what we now are.”

FCA thus has less than three years to secure 9 billion euro in operating profit per annum and to accumulate more than 5 billion euro in cash. This would be a remarkable achievement for what once was a moribund enterprise that was hemorrhaging millions of euro a day back in 2004. The question is: Can Marchionne, his present allies, and his successor go this alone? Is the chairman’s pet subject, consolidation with another big player, a precondition for survival, accepting plant closures and job cuts as unavoidable collateral damage? If so, where are the suitable brides?

General Motor CEO Mary Barra said no, the Chinese partner needs more time to grow, Toyota is overwhelmingly powerful, Mazda is too small. Presumably the suitable candidate should be strong in Asia but can be weak in North America. Ten months ago, that candidate was Volkswagen. Although VW’s board of directors — above all the labor leader Bernd Osterloh — was not yet fully convinced, a deal was in the process of being put together. But then Dieselgate rocked Wolfsburg.

Marchionne would neither confirm nor comment on it, but a merger with FCA could bring to VW instant credibility in North America by fixing almost all their issues with the support of a company that understands the U.S. market. Further upside potential includes Fiat’s cost-efficient (“The marque is now profitable in 28 European markets.”) small car infrastructure in Europe (“We know how to do cheap.”), the appeal of the flourishing Jeep brand in a world that has gone SUV crazy, and the attraction of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, which would be a splendid fit to any automaker’s premium product portfolio. The man in the black pullover sweater is listening to all this, poker-faced, and unusually tight-lipped. His sparse remarks are either off the record or non-committal, but there is little doubt that according to the boss’s mindset FCA would one of the best things that could happen to VW.

Then there’s the matter of Ferrari. On the stock exchange, Ferrari is now worth about 10 billion euro compared to Fiat Chrysler at about 17 billion euro. Ferrari netted 265 million euro last year, but despite repeated management changes, it remains a sports-car manufacturer and not a luxury goods brand. Selling caps and T-shirts may in fact be counter-productive in the business environment of the very wealthy to whose Ferrari brand values don’t stretch much beyond V-8 or V-12-engined driving machines. Marchionne claims not be worried about this and directs the conversation to Formula 1 where “watch this space; we shall very soon be within striking distance to the leaders.”

What about the Ferrari road cars? When are we going to see the Dino V-6 and LaFerrarina, a less extreme version of LaFerrari? “We normally don’t talk about these things. But let me ask you: Where should that Dino be positioned? How much should it cost? How would it relate to the next 488? What is the right balance between too many and not enough units? We haven’t found answers to these questions yet. And by the way, the only future product connected to LaFerrari is the Spider. Which is no secret since potential customers have already been approached.”

Not surprisingly, Sergio’s dream garage contains exclusively FCA products. Here are his top five: LaFerrari, Enzo, Alfa 4C coupe, Giulia QV, and any Dodge powered by that awesome 707-hp Hellcat engine. In real life, the CEO drives (or is driven in) the baddest available Ram. Bullet-proof, with an armed body guard in the passenger seat, sandwiched between two chase cars, each manned with a couple of security pros.

When he feels like playing, Fiat’s top gun goes to the company’s Balocco test track where his favorite Ferraris are stored in a garage. “I have a 599 Aperta and a 599 GTO, but I also like the California T because it is so manageable. The 488 and the F12 are true animals. Thanks to their racing DNA, they are Ferraris at their best. The moment you start the engine, you know you can never get out again. The way the 488 takes a turn — Jesus! And as soon as electrification is ready, we’ll have a bunch of even better performing Ferraris.”

It turns out that two hours are not long enough to discuss a wider range of topics. Like the future of Lancia, which has no future unless the Ypsilon is replaced for the Italian market. The very late arrival of not enough plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Why Chrysler and Dodge are slowly moving out of the car business without adding fresh crossovers. The overdue fusion of all rear-wheel drive platforms into a scalable global architecture. The last-minute withdrawal of the proposed near full-size Alfa Alfetta. The consequences of spending a growing chunk of the juicy profits made from conventional vehicles on costly new high-tech low-volume urban runabouts. The decision on whether the next Giulietta should be front- or rear-wheel drive. The still uncertain funding for the Maserati Alfieri, which needs to be a serious Porsche 911 fighter, not a downsized GranTurismo.

Coffee for everyone and one more smoke followed by a few closing remarks. “This is an extremely complex business,” acknowledges “the kid who borrowed $8 billion from Obama and paid it all back. I know that e-mobility is a must in our fight against emissions. But there is no model that we have analyzed or reconstituted that says electrification is a solid basis on which you can build cars with even a marginal return on investment and a guarantee of survival. I certainly don’t know one. Autonomous driving? We’ll see plenty of new vehicles embedding incredibly high levels of technology, which give you a choice between to drive and not to drive. But the car will not take over unless you ask it to. And there is more. Like how to get a handle on the highly critical infrastructure, how to jump the safety-related and legal hurdles, how to stop people perceiving carmakers as national champions, like airlines. Instead, it’s the big picture that counts. To be in it, I’m prepared to strike a deal with the devil.”

The post On the Record: FCA Chief Sergio Marchionne Speaks Out appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/record-fca-chief-sergio-marchionne-speaks/feed/ 0 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne 31 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels Google Fiat 500 lead image 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne 2
Google, Fiat Chrysler Reportedly Close to Technical Partnership http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-fiat-chrysler-reportedly-close-technical-partnership/ http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-fiat-chrysler-reportedly-close-technical-partnership/#respond Fri, 29 Apr 2016 14:43:48 +0000 http://www.automobilemag.com/?p=933990 It’s not surprising to hear reports that Alphabet’s Google, which wants automaker partners for its self-driving technology, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which wants partners to defray the cost of developing technology, are closing in on a partnership deal. The news was first reported on Autoextremist.com and has been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal that...

The post Google, Fiat Chrysler Reportedly Close to Technical Partnership appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
It’s not surprising to hear reports that Alphabet’s Google, which wants automaker partners for its self-driving technology, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which wants partners to defray the cost of developing technology, are closing in on a partnership deal.

The news was first reported on Autoextremist.com and has been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal that the two companies have been in discussions since January and are closing in on a deal.

While neither company is commenting officially, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne seemed to hint at it earlier this week on an earnings call with investors when he said he was open to partnerships with non-automotive companies and could not afford to be selective or exclusive in the arrangements he makes with other companies.

Maybe he was talking about Google when he said, “Dialogue continues with people who are interested in exploring their relevance in the automotive world and we will continue to help them try and find a way out.” Time will tell, he said of determining “whether some of these arrangements are commercially relevant to FCA. But hopefully we’ll have something to say within 2016 on that matter publicly. I can’t say anything up to now. I mean, it’s just whatever is going on is confidential in nature.”

Even before the Google self-driving car project became a division of Alphabet and brought in auto veteran John Krafcik, executives were open about the fact they wanted automakers as partners to supply vehicles while Google would provide the latest in self-driving vehicle technology. The Google cars that have been on the road for years of testing have all been vehicles built by others that replaced the driver with Google tech. Pod-like Google cars now on the road are made in Livonia, Mich. by Roush.

Marchionne has said the auto industry needs to further amalgamate to bring down the cost of technology especially in the areas of autonomous driving and connectivity between vehicles, their surroundings, and the devices of their drivers. And FCA is seen as lagging behind in some of these areas.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited side profile

Earlier this year at the Geneva auto show, Marchionne showed he favors the Google model of leaving the manufacturing of vehicles to those already doing it. Asked about the prospect of Apple building a self-driving car, he said, “The advice that I’ve given them is if they do have any urges to build a car is to lay down and wait until the feeling passes.”

But Marchionne is open to supplying vehicles for Google to test software and hardware alike. The early test subject could be the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan, one of the newest vehicles in the FCA showroom and the vehicle chosen to launch the automaker’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid capabilities.

The post Google, Fiat Chrysler Reportedly Close to Technical Partnership appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

]]>
http://www.automobilemag.com/news/google-fiat-chrysler-reportedly-close-technical-partnership/feed/ 0 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid wheels 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Limited side profile