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Cadillac's CT6 plug-in hybrid. Access to GM's hybrid technologies would perhaps solve Fiat Chrysler's largest product development problem. (GM)
 

The (technology) pluses and minuses of a GM-FCA deal

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, June 30
Technology -- or the expensive lack of it -- is, I believe, at the heart of all this merger talk coming from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
Except for the battery-powered Fiat 500e, available in just two states, and the stop-start system offered in certain versions of the Ram 1500 pickup, FCA’s electrification efforts are years behind most competitors’.
The company has no hybrid cars on the road today.
And, looking further out, FCA has no viable fuel cell program. Hyundai is already leasing a fuel cell vehicle in California.
FCA is facing an engineering bill in the billions of dollars to catch up to where many of its com ...
     Continue reading "The (technology) pluses and minuses of a GM-FCA deal" » Jun 30, 2015 11:15 am U.S. ET
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Why Toyota can set the car-tech agenda

Posted 1:28 pm U.S. ET, June 29
Alix Partners, the turnaround firm, last week assessed the ability of automakers to pay for the cool but expensive technology about to flood into vehicles.
You know, stuff like autonomous driving, connectivity, rearview video screens, lightweight materials and electrified powertrains.
One chart was particularly noteworthy. It ranked automakers by their EBITDA margins and market caps -- in other words, how much they make and how much they’re worth.
Perhaps to no one’s surprise, Toyota was by far the best-positioned. Predictable as that may be, it’s a ...
     Continue reading "Why Toyota can set the car-tech agenda" » Jun 29, 2015 1:28 pm U.S. ET
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Removing the fear when passing a big rig

Posted 11:45 am U.S. ET, June 23
blogs

Overtaking a large truck on a two-lane road is easily one of the most harrowing maneuvers drivers face, especially if they are accustomed to roads where passing isn't allowed.
Samsung has created a system that could take the guesswork out of passing large trucks that one cannot see around.
The company's prototype Safety Truck features a large screen on the rear door that is connected wirelessly to a camera at the front, essentially allowing the drivers behind the truck to see through it. Think of it as a 21st century update to that bubble on the rear window that some light buses feature that allows one to ...
     Continue reading "Removing the fear when passing a big rig" » Jun 23, 2015 11:45 am U.S. ET
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'Multiphysics': Engineering's new frontier

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, June 23
blogs

Okay, so now it is rocket science.
I spent two days recently with the engineers and software developers who write and use the simulation programs that virtually all automakers use in product development.
The creation process that was once fairly simple -- design blueprints to prototypes to testing to validation to production -- now is often extremely complex, involving engineers from several disciplines who must think in areas outside of their training.
Today’s engineers -- and especially future automotive engineers -- better be good at what is known deep inside ...
     Continue reading "'Multiphysics': Engineering's new frontier " » Jun 23, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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The dark side of electronics

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, June 16
blogs
A rebuilt engine control module introduced several new problems when the 1988 Fiero's engine was fired up. (RICHARD TRUETT)
There’s no doubt that advanced electronics have transformed every aspect of today’s cars. They are cleaner, faster, more efficient, safer, more connected and more capable than ever.
Well, here’s the downside: As cars and light trucks get older, they could be more difficult and expensive to repair -- especially as high-quality electronic replacement parts become difficult to obtain.
This makes sense in light of other types of older consumer goods that heavily rely on electronics. Try getting a computer or television from the 1990s fixed anywhere easily. Chances are, the technology is long ...
     Continue reading "The dark side of electronics" » Jun 16, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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Lifting the curtain on the Jeep Grand Wagoneer

Posted 11:30 am U.S. ET, June 9
blogs
The smart money says the new Grand Wagoneer will sport a modern take on the '70s-style Jeep Cherokee. Several recent Jeep concept vehicles, such as the 2015 Chief, pictured, have featured the old-school Cherokee design.
Fiat Chrysler is inviting thousands of its dealers and their top managers to Las Vegas in August for a very special peep show.
For dealers, it promises to be special because the star of the show won’t be a “who” but a “what”: the resurrected Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
According to dealers on the invite list, Jeep’s three-row luxury SUV will make its behind-the-scenes debut during FCA’s dealer announcement meeting on August 25.
But when it debuts, the Grand Wagoneer will follow in the tracks of the now successful Chrysler 200 sedan. ...
     Continue reading "Lifting the curtain on the Jeep Grand Wagoneer" » Jun 9, 2015 11:30 am U.S. ET
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The steep road ahead for Alfa in U.S.

Posted 11:15 am U.S. ET, June 2
blogs
Alfa's product plans through 2018 show the lineup growing to include six additional vehicles, including two utility vehicles. The 4C Spider, pictured, was introduced in Detroit in January. (BLOOMBERG)
A 44-year-old Alfa Romeo Montreal sports coupe that sold new for $6,000 brought $176,000 at a classic car auction in Arizona. Some older Alfas are commanding auction prices more than 10 times higher than just five years ago.
There is no doubt that Alfa Romeo fans -- the Alfisti -- are passionate. But there is enough doubt that there are enough of them to bring the brand back to life after a 20-year absence in the U.S.
Looking at Alfa Romeo’s history in the United States, you’d probably conclude the brand’s chances are slim of reaching Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ annual target of 150 ...
     Continue reading "The steep road ahead for Alfa in U.S." » Jun 2, 2015 11:15 am U.S. ET
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VW preps gesture controls for Golf

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, June 2
blogs

Touch screens are soooo 20th century.
The updated Volkswagen Golf, due in 2016, will add gesture controls to its "Star Trek"-style touch screens, AutoExpress reports.
VW presented the new in-car technology in the Golf R Touch concept last week at CES Asia in Shanghai. It previews the production version of interior tech that the face-lifted Golf will receive when it goes on sale in late 2016.
The driver and passengers will be able to use new gesture motions to change the climate control settings in the car, raise or lower the volume of the sound ...
     Continue reading "VW preps gesture controls for Golf" » Jun 2, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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Saab turbo engines to power Chinese Jeep Wrangler clone

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, June 2
blogs
(NEWSPRESS)
As Korean automaker Ssangyong considers a Jeep Wrangler rival as a launching point for gaining a foothold in the U.S., Chinese automaker BAIC already has a Wrangler competitor in its lineup, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks pretty close in design to the real thing.
The Beijing Auto BJ40, as it is called, is saddled with a 2.4-liter gasoline engine making just 143 hp and 160 foot pounds of torque.
But according to CarNewsChina.com, the 4x4 will soon receive a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that its parent company, BAIC, received from GM's fire sale of Saab parts bin items in 2009, along with the Saab 9- ...
     Continue reading "Saab turbo engines to power Chinese Jeep Wrangler clone" » Jun 2, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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With sports cars, hit reset (often) for success

Posted 11:00 am U.S. ET, May 26
blogs
Mazda's 2016 MX-5
The newly redesigned Mustang is barely a year old, and Ford is already unfurling a series of updates and upgrades for the 2016 model year.
Some of the motivation for these quick changes is, of course, aimed at blunting an expected strong challenge from the revamped (read: leaner, meaner) 2016 Chevrolet Camaro due this fall.
But there’s more to it than that.
Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler know something about nurturing sports and muscle cars for long-term success that many other automakers don’t, or won’t, practice.
< ...
     Continue reading "With sports cars, hit reset (often) for success" » May 26, 2015 11:00 am U.S. ET
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More »    
Product news
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Audi adds diesel to its best-selling A4
12:01 am U.S. ET, July 6
Audi will offer a diesel engine in its best-selling sedan, the A4, for the first time when the redesigned car arrives in U.S. showrooms next year. ...
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XT5 flaunts side crease, wider grille
Cadillac's new XT5, the replacement for the SRX midsize crossover, keeps the SRX shape bu ...
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Toyota claims top range for hydrogen-powered Mirai
Toyota Motor Corp. ...
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Scion packs automatic braking into iA
Scion's new iA sedan packs impressive collision avoidance tech for a little sedan that sta ...
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Jeep will keep Cherokee's 'spot on' shape, styling
The popular Jeep Cherokee departed from the brand's traditional boxy styling, and Jeep str ...
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Nissan drops Pathfinder hybrid
Nissan has quietly discontinued the hybrid version of Pathfinder crossover as U.S. ...
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Camo-free Cadillac XT5 crossover spied in Manhattan
Cadillac's new XT5 -- the replacement for the SRX midsize crossover -- will get a bolder f ...
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Audi's next-gen A4 bigger, lighter, more fuel efficient
The next-generation Audi A4 is slightly larger with a bigger, retooled interior, and will ...
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Leaf to get a big boost in driving range
Nissan, fighting falling sales of its Leaf electric vehicle, plans a midcycle update as ea ...
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Lotus Evora to resume U.S. sales
A scaled-down Lotus is preparing to leave the pits after sitting out the 2015 model year. ...
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GLE Coupe's goal: Style, not off-road use
Mercedes-Benz is targeting the GLE Coupe at style conscious buyers, not off-roaders. The C ...
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Chasing Jetta, Chevy equips Cruze with a new turbodiesel
Chevrolet isn't just sticking with a diesel offering on the next-generation Cruze - it's t ...
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Chevy pulls ahead timetable for Bolt EV
General Motors has accelerated development of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle as the a ...
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Alfa's high-power reboot
To revive Alfa Romeo, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, plans a perform ...
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GM tweaks Colorado, Canyon turbodiesel for cold weather
Because diesel engines can get cranky in cold weather, General Motors engineers have redes ...
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