Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dodge Journey base price: $19,985

Ryan Beene
Automotive News

The Dodge Journey falls between the Caliber and the Grand Caravan in the Dodge lineu


DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC today said its 2009 Dodge Journey crossover will have a base price of $19,985, including $625 shipping.

The Journey falls between the Caliber and the Grand Caravan in the Dodge lineup, Chrysler said.

The base front-wheel-drive Journey SE is powered by a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 173 hp and 166 pounds-feet of torque. The SXT and R/T Journey models come with a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 235 hp and 232 pounds-feet of torque, teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission with Auto Stick shifting. An all-wheel-drive system and performance suspension are options on the SXT and R/T models.

The Journey is expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2008.

New era beckons as hated Chrysler incentive dies

DETROIT — In January, Chrysler LLC and its dealers will bid farewell to the wicked witch.

The witch, in this case, is a controversial monthly sales incentive known as the volume performance allowance.

In 2008, Chrysler will usher in a new incentive regime to help dealers move the metal. The company will give dealers $200 for each car they buy from the factory and an additional $200 when they sell it to a customer.

The old program paid dealers a bonus based on volume. The new program pays dealers per vehicle sold, regardless of volume.

"The intent is to put the money in the hands of the dealership so they can do some planning," said Freda Bane, Chrysler dealer relations manager. "They can use it for advertising, for floorplanning or whatever."

Bane credited Chrysler's dealer council with persuading the company to come up with an acceptable alternative to the old program. When Chrysler announced the change at a dealer meeting in Las Vegas in October, dealers delivered a standing ovation.

Hayden Elder, chairman of the Dodge National Dealer Council, said eliminating the volume performance allowance and finding an acceptable replacement most dealers could be happy with were among the biggest achievements of the year in improving factory-dealer relations.

Under the outgoing program, Chrysler paid a per-car bonus of as much as $700 to dealers for reaching a sales target set by the factory. Most of the dealers who liked the program were those hitting the number.

Opponents, who included some prominent dealers, didn't like the old program because they felt it pitted Chrysler dealers against one another and set up a de facto two-tier price system. Some of those foes were hitting their targets but just felt the system was wrong.

Prominent dealers, including Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, the nation's largest dealership group, spoke passionately against the incentive. "The day VPA was announced, I was against it," Jackson told Automotive News in August. "I think it's a corrosive program — the longer it's in place, the more cancerous the effect it has on a retail program. The sooner it ends, the better."

Chrysler sales executives and dealer council representatives have said that working to make all dealers profitable is their top priority in 2008.

Chrysler, Nissan: How about sharing?

Exchanging vehicles, technology could build powerful team

NASHVILLE — Chrysler and Nissan are talking, and it's easy to see why. Just consider the prospects for a product-, platform- and technology-sharing bonanza.

Chrysler needs small cars, and Nissan craves more truck market share. Each could help the other big-time if the two companies decide to cooperate.

What's more, each has ways to supply the other with crucial fuel-saving technology.

ENLARGE
Chrysler is a big player in big trucks with its Dodge Ram.

Terrible record

Chrysler and Nissan seem like natural partners, a potentially awesome twosome — except that Chrysler has a terrible track record when it comes to working with other automakers. Its tie-up with Daimler-Benz ended in failure this year, and two separate alliances with Mitsubishi never came close to realizing their potential.

Nissan, on the other hand, is pretty good at it.

The two companies are discussing ideas for working together and could reveal plans as early as mid-January, according to an industry source familiar with the talks.

"Every manufacturer has strengths and weaknesses," said the source. "This allows you to get into new segments at a much lower cost than you could by doing it on your own."

So far, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli and Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn haven't met up. But the motivations for both sides are obvious: one-ton pickups, commercial vans, heavy-duty vehicle components for Nissan; small, fuel-efficient cars for Chrysler. Alternative-fuel technology for both.

Still, Chrysler's history of cooperation is dismal.

"Chrysler has been in bed with about everybody, and it has not had any healthy offspring," says Christoph Stuermer, an analyst at Global Insight in Frankfurt.

ENLARGE
Nissan is a master of small cars, including the Versa.

A golden model

By contrast, the partnership of Renault and Nissan has worked like a charm. While still separate companies, the two share vehicle architecture and supply chains, and pick and choose from each other's technology.

All of those were equity tie-ups, though, and that's not what Chrysler and Nissan have in mind, sources say.

The two companies could fill big gaps in each other's lineups.

-- From Chrysler, Nissan could solve its hybrid needs quickly and cheaply. Chrysler is one third of the trio that developed both rear- and front-wheel-drive Two Mode hybrid transmissions, along with General Motors and BMW. GM, which produces the transmissions, has been anxious to sell the technology to other automakers and could do so through Chrysler.

In around 2010, Cummins Inc. is scheduled to deliver to Chrysler two all-new diesel engines, a V-6 and a V-8. The V-6 likely will power Chrysler's light-duty pickups and SUVs, while the V-8 goes into the heavy-duty Ram pickup. These engines could power Nissan's light trucks. And there's a bonus: Like the Two Mode transmissions, the price likely will be attractive because they will be built in the dollar zone.

From Nissan, Chrysler would benefit enormously from Renault's European diesel passenger car engines. Nissan also is developing proprietary hybrid drives, as well as electric cars that Ghosn says will show up in America by 2012.

-- Nissan is struggling to gain acceptance of its Titan full-sized pickup. Now in its second generation, the truck will end 2007 selling about 65,000 units — far short of its original annual target and way below the 350,000 Rams that Dodge will sell this year.

Nissan has not ventured into the big-hauling, one-ton territory owned by GM, Ford and Chrysler. Nissan has studied the workhorse truck segment but has slow-walked the idea as the U.S. economy softened. An entry in the segment could cost Nissan $1 billion.

-- Ghosn wants to put Nissan in the global commercial van market — something its U.S. dealers have urged the company to pursue. Chrysler has long been a player in that segment, says Saul Rosen, owner of Rosen Nissan in Milwaukee and incoming chairman of Nissan's national dealer advisory board.

-- Nissan has failed to crack the U.S. minivan market in a big way. Chrysler has dominated that segment for a quarter century.

-- Nissan's U.S. car sales are closing in on Chrysler's, due partly to success of small Nissan cars such as the Versa and Sentra. Nissan is pursuing even smaller entries. Globally, Nissan and Renault have had success selling an inexpensive small car called the Logan, which may be sold in Mexico. This year, Nissan and Renault signed a deal with Mahindra & Mahindra of India to develop an even cheaper car.

Chrysler already has a deal with China's Chery Automobile Co. to produce small cars for world markets, including the United States. A car for U.S. dealerships is due in 2009. But a link with Nissan could provide another source of small cars.

Dave Cole, director for the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich., says an alliance with Renault-Nissan shouldn't affect Chrysler's relationship with Chery.

"No matter who is in the game, there's a potential role for Chery."

But Cole says Chrysler also needs "a very significant global player."

"They have to develop a relationship with a strategic partner that will keep them in the game," he says. "There are players that want to play badly and that need them, one of which is Renault-Nissan."

Chrysler moves to spiff up sagging sedans

Sales of the Chrysler Sebring have been a huge disappointment.

DETROIT — Chrysler LLC has begun an emergency overhaul of its new mid-sized sedans, the much-criticized Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Avenger.

Sales of the two cars, which share a platform, have been hugely disappointing. A team being assembled for the crash program, called Project D, will concentrate on redesigning the interiors, according to a supplier executive familiar with the program.

The team will include some senior managers and directors who took recent buyouts and are returning as contract employees, the source said.

Critics have blasted the sedans for the cheap plastic look and feel of their interiors.

The Sebring debuted in the fall of 2006, and the Avenger was launched in January. Both have struggled to find retail buyers.

Meanwhile, CEO Bob Nardelli is adding firepower to Chrysler's purchasing department in an effort to reduce costs.

Nardelli, former chairman of Home Depot, has brought the retailer's former purchasing boss, John Campi, to Chrysler as an adviser.

Simon Boag, Chrysler's purchasing chief, said he is working closely with Campi. Before going to Home Depot, Campi worked at DuPont and General Electric and is regarded as an expert in cost control and global supply chain management.

Nardelli is caught in a cash crunch as he labors to fix Chrysler. Cerberus Capital Management LP, which owns 80.1 percent of Chrysler, has a cushion of about $10 billion in cash. Nardelli is in a race against time to improve Chrysler's products while bringing costs down and increasing profit margins.

Cerberus borrowed the $10 billion from five major banks to fund Chrysler's cash needs during its turnaround. Collateral for the loan is all of Chrysler's assets, including trademarks, factories, real estate, receivables and inventory.

Those banks planned to syndicate those loans with other lenders. But the plans have been postponed twice because of lack of investor interest. Analysts say that won't hurt Chrysler operations directly but could make it more difficult for Cerberus to raise additional funds for Chrysler in the future.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid Video

2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid Video

For more information on the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid, read a preview.

http://www.jdpower.com/autos/articles/2009-Dodge-Durango-Hybrid-Video

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

12.20.1895
The world’s first gasoline-powered bus service connecting Siegen, Netphen, and Deuz, Germany is discontinued after nine months, having transported approximately 10,600 paying customers
12.20.1922
New York City’s last horsedrawn fire apparatus makes its final run
12.20.1945
World War II tire rationing ends in the United States
12.20.1957
The first 1958 Ford Thunderbird, the first car completely designed by the styling team headed by George W. Walker and the first of the submarque to have four seats, is produced
12.20.1975
John Lee Pratt, a 56-year employee of General Motors and the first in the company to hold the title of Executive Vice President, dies in Fredericksburg, VA at age 96

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

Hennessey adds 78 horsepower to the 2008 Viper SRT10

hennessey adds 78 horsepower to the 2008 viper srt10
Chevrolet will unveil at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show the Corvette ZR1. So, the Viper was left behind considering power. So Hennessey Performance Engineering (HPE) announced that it is introducing the company’s first high-performance upgrade system for the new 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10. Known as the Venom 650R, the engine modifications increase by 78 horsepower giving the Viper the ability to accelerate from 0 to 150 mph 1.5 seconds quicker (15.5 sec. versus 17.0 sec.) than the already factory-fast 2008 Viper that offers a stout 600 horsepower.

The Venom 650R package consists of custom fabricated long tube stainless-steel exhaust headers with 1 7/8-inch primary tubes flowing into 5-to-1 merge collectors. From there, the spent exhaust gases flow through aftermarket catalytic converters before traveling through a full 3-inch stainless-steel exhaust system fit with high-flow stainless-steel mufflers.

Other performance upgrades include: K&N high-flow air filter element, 2-piece light-weight cross-drilled brake rotors (saving 8 lbs per corner), professional installation, dyno testing, Hennessey Venom Power floor mats and exclusive Hennessey Venom 650R exterior badges. Each Venom 650R has a serial numbered plaque located in the cockpit and under the hood. Rounding out the package, the Venom 650R will carry a full 3 year / 36,000 mile Hennessey warranty that will cover the modifications performed to the vehicle.

HPE plans to build 200 units for the 2008 model year. Many of these cars will be available through an exclusive Hennessey dealer network comprised of high-performance minded Dodge dealers.

The Hennessey Venom 650R upgrade package gives 2008 Viper owners the option to fend off any Corvette Blue Devil ZR-1s that they might encounter in the coming New Year.


2008 Hennessey Venom 650R Specifications:

Available for all 2008 Viper SRT10 models including Coupe, Convertible and ACR.

  • Power:
    • 678 bhp @ 6,200 rpm
    • 645 lb-ft torque @ 5,200 rpm
  • Performance:
    • 0 - 60 mph: 3.3 sec.
    • 0 - 150 mph: 15.5 sec. (stock 2008 Viper = 17.0 sec.)
    • 1/4 mile (street): 11.3 @ 131 mph (factory Michelin PS2 tires)
    • 1/4 mile (track): 10.7 @ 132 mph (BFG 345/18 drag radial tires)
    • Top Speed: 211 mph (estimated for the hardtop coupe)
  • Includes:
    • 1 7/8 inch Stainless Steel Long Tube Headers
    • Full 3 inch Stainless Steel Exhaust System
    • High Flow Catalytic Converters
    • K&N Airfilter Element
    • Light-weight 2-piece Cross-drilled Brake Rotor Upgrade (front & rear)
    • Powered by Hennessey Valve Cover Badges
    • Exterior Hennessey & Venom 650R Badges
    • Hennessey Windshield Banner
    • Hennessey Venom Power Floor Mats
    • Serial Numbered Dash Plaque & Engine Compartment Plaque
    • Limited Production - Only 200 units will be offered for sale for the 2008 Viper model year.
    • Limited Warranty - 3 years / 36,000 miles
    • Lifetime Headers & Exhaust Warranty for Original Owner
    • Available from Hennessey / Dodge dealers or installed at the Hennessey Performance factory located at Lonestar Motorsports Park in Sealy, Texas.
    • Professional installation at HPE includes all necessary gaskets and fluids plus before and after chassis dyno testing plus up to 100 miles of road testing.
    • Mail Order kit also available.

Source: Internal

CAFE Standards to Improve 300C Aerodynamics

It looks like congress is going to raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 35 mpg. In response auto makers are trying to come up with ways to attain it. At Edmunds.com it's reported that.

At Chrysler, insiders say the company is studying how best to redesign the big Chrysler 300 sedan, with one proposal said to involve a move away from the current upright, boxy silhouette to a sleeker, more aerodynamic profile in order to enhance fuel economy.

I think that changing the shape of the 300C for "aerodynamic" reasons of fuel economy is at the most,shall I say dubious. I mean unless one is traveling at high speeds, are the aerodymamics involved that subtle ? A better way to improve fuel economy would be for people to not floor the gas petal.

Things to come?

2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8 Stroker 1/4 mile Drag Racing timeslip specs 0-60

1/4 Mile ET: 11.525
1/4 Mile MPH: 118.740
1/8 Mile ET: 7.407
1/8 Mile MPH: 94.740
0-60 Foot ET: 1.695
Temperature F: 77.0
Timeslip Scan: Dodge Magnum Timeslip Scan
Car Make: Dodge
Car Model: Magnum
Car Type: SRT8 Stroker
Car Year: 2006
Driver: Lou
E-Mail: Click HERE
Videos: Click HERE for a Video
Web Site:

Click on picture for a larger version
2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8 Stroker

Hard times on way at Johnson Controls

By PAUL HUTCHINGS Staff Reporter

A source close to Johnson Controls Inc. says layoffs may be imminent for the Orangeville automotive parts manufacturer, and employees have posted on an Internet blog that they've been told the plant may close in July, 2009.

The news comes in the wake of the Daimler-Chrysler assembly plant in Brampton, Johnson's only customer, laying off an entire shift.

Gerry Fedchun, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturing Association, says the company has no choice but to go along with whatever the Brampton assembly plant does because the type of parts Johnson builds are usually ordered on very short notice prior to actually being used.

He pointed out that this is the worst time in more than two decades for the automotive industry, and companies like Johnson Controls really have no choice but to hunt for new business or face failure.

"The (strong Canadian) dollar and the slowness of the US economy are the main factors here," he said.

"I saw the projections for sales in 2008 in the U.S. and they're down from 2007. What that means is you can make enough vehicles in two shifts to supply the demand where before you had to run three shifts. This is really a supply and demand change at this point."

Mr. Fedchun said it's not only the high dollar, but high commodity prices and the fact it is difficult for suppliers to borrow from banks. There are also high energy costs, with oil prices highest they've ever been. "It's pretty grim out there right now."

Johnson Controls now employs 400 people.

09 Dodge Viper SRT10 HO versus 09 Chevy Vette ZR1

Corvette moves into new era of high performance
Supercar to come with $100,000 price tag
photo

2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

The fastest, most powerful and most expensive Chevrolet Corvette ever will roar to life at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month.

Boasting a 620-plus horsepower V8 and a price expected around $100,000, the 2009 Corvette ZR1 is the result of General Motors Corp. chairman Rick Wagoner's challenge to build the ultimate Corvette.

The ZR1 aims to match the performance of supercars like the 612-horsepower $273,845 Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano F1 coupe, which accelerates to 62 m.p.h. in 3.7 seconds.

"Our goal with the ZR1 is to show that an American supercar can deliver performance that beats exotics that cost two, three or four times as much," Chevrolet general manager Ed Peper said.

Chevrolet hasn't announced the exact price for the 2009 ZR1, but the supercar was born when Wagoner asked the Corvette team to show him what it could accomplish with a $100,000 Corvette.

Within GM, the secret project was referred to as the Blue Devil, a reference to the mascot for athletic teams at Wagoner's alma mater, Duke University. The super-Vette features a supercharged 6.2-liter version of GM's legendary small-block V8 engine, extensive use of lightweight carbon-fiber body panels and a host of other performance upgrades.

Chevrolet hasn't revealed performance figures yet, but the ZR1 will have a top speed in excess of 200 m.p.h. and will be able to race from zero to 60 m.p.h. in first gear.

"The Corvette is really a brand unto itself," said Michelle Krebs, editor of AutoObserver.com. "The ZR1 is a logical extension of that."

The hand-built engines will come from GM's performance-build center in Wixom. The Corvette plant in Bowling Green, Ky., will build the car.

The ZR1 will be recognizable on the street thanks to a clear panel in the hood that provides a view of the engine, a unique, clear-coated carbon-fiber roof and other changes that include massive disc brakes with a unique shade of blue used only on the ZR1.

It took years to develop the clearcoat for the carbon-fiber because sunlight degrades the material over time. The coating, which only the ZR1 has, uses a special additive to prevent that. The additive alone costs $60,000 a gallon, while the mixture of clearcoat and additive applied to the roof costs $2,200 a gallon.



Chrysler may lay off 200 workers



UAW salaried staffers targeted
BY TIM HIGGINS |

Chrysler LLC, facing a slowing U.S. auto market, plans to indefinitely lay off 200 or more salaried union members Friday, the Free Press has learned from internal UAW memos and people familiar with the situation.

The Auburn Hills automaker, which is expected to lose about $1.6 billion this year, has already announced plans to eliminate as many as 25,000 jobs and presumably these cuts would be part of that total.Last summer 7,100 workers were granted buyout packages to leave the company voluntarily and another round of buyout packages were offered to white-collar workers to leave the company in two waves -- first at the end of November followed by another round at the end of this month. The effort is believed to be aimed at reducing the white collar workforce by 1,000.

An automaker is traditionally allowed to lay off union members because of volume-related issues and the union workers continue to receive a percentage of their pay while not working.

Chrysler workers likely affected by the layoffs told the Free Press that they had been offered buyout packages by Chrysler but that the offers had been rescinded.

Salaried union designers were warned of the layoffs in memorandums sent by UAW Local 412 leaders and obtained by the Free Press.

Nervous workers have begun referring to the end of the week as Black Friday.

"The company's initial plan is for the layoffs to occur before the holidays," UAW Local 412 Unit 1 Chairman Rich Harter warned his members in a recent letter. "International is attempting to delay any cuts until after the new year and continue discussions in an attempt to stop them altogether."

He said one estimate was that the layoffs could affect more than 250 people. Another person familiar with the plan pegged the number around 200.

Michael Norscia, chairman of Local 412's Unit 80, delivered a similar warning to his members via an e-mail obtained by the Free Press.

"I have just been informed by Chrysler Labor Relations Mike Ellison that our Unit 80 will be effected by a volume-related layoff," Norscia said. "He did not give me any headcount numbers but will give them to us as soon as possible."

A Chrysler spokesman declined comment.

Chrysler's plan left UAW leaders unhappy and they apparently argued to the company that contract designers should be cut instead.

"It was established we currently have a sufficient number of direct designers sitting idle or with light workloads that would allow us to immediately shift the work assignments of contract employees performing the exact work assignments to direct employees, or hire them per the intent of the 'Salary Bargaining Unit New Hire Plan' letter," Harter told members. "We identified a conservative 52 such contract employees. Regardless of these facts, Labor Relations and Management made it very clear they are going to pursue their previous agenda of eliminating union designer numbers within Chrysler."

Local 412 leaders argued that the national labor agreement, which was recently ratified, protects workers from such layoffs in this case, but Chrysler officials disagreed, citing an unpublished side-letter to the 2003 contract, according to a letter from UAW Local 412 leadership to UAW International leaders detailing the situation. The letter was obtained by the Free Press.

"The company is moving very quickly on many different fronts without any regard to the new contractual agreements," the Local 412 letter warned.

Sources...sources..."The Dodge Hornet a.k.a. VW Polo"

RUMOR DEPT - "Lo and behold, Dodge is nearing the finalization of its plans to build the Dodge Hornet. According to industry sources including Edmunds, the Hornet will be based on the VW Polo, a subcompact car built by Volkswagen and popular in the European market. This deal is amazing as Volkswagen and Mercedes [Chrysler LLC,- Dodge Division] compete fiercely, especially in Europe. VW has a plant in Mexico that likely will produce the Hornet as the company has excess capacity and the cost advantage that no American manufacturing plant can offer. For its part, VW gets to sell rebadged versions of the Dodge Caravan minivan.

If based on the Polo, the Hornet is expected to use the Polos 1.6L engine and be paired with a VW transmission. Beyond that, look for the vehicle to be closer in appearance to the Scion xA design, sport a five door hatchback design, and seat five passengers. Currently, the xA sells for just over $13,000, so expect the Dodge to compete at or below the Scion price..." Mikey


2008 Hennessey Venom 650R - Car News



With minimal effort, Hennessey keeps the Viper ahead in the ‘Mine’s Bigger’ race.





Photo Gallery






BY JARED GALL, PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICH CHENET AND THE MANUFACTURERS December 2007

Consider that, in the 16 years since the launch of the Dodge Viper and the already numerous face-offs between it and the king of American performance icons, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Viper has always held the upper hand in the horsepower battle. With the upcoming 2009 Corvette ZR1 promising more than the 2008 Viper’s 600 horsepower, John Hennessey is here to reassure the Viper community that they can maintain the advantage they have grown so accustomed to.

For $11,500 (including installation), Hennessey Performance Engineering in Sealy, Texas, will upgrade any 2008 Viper, coupe or roadster, to Venom 650R spec. The name is slightly misleading because the final horsepower count is in fact 678, but who would want Venom 678R plastered on the car’s flanks?

When you start with 8.4 liters and 600 horsepower, an increase of 78 demands only a K&N air filter and a tweaked exhaust featuring custom headers, aftermarket catalytic converters, and high-flow mufflers. That’s it. The only other performance upgrade is two-piece brake rotors, which save eight pounds per corner. Otherwise, the price of entry nets buyers a laundry list of “look at me!” features: “Powered by Hennessey” valve-cover badges, Hennessey and Venom 650R exterior badges, a Hennessey windshield banner, “Hennessey Venom Power” floor mats, and serial-numbered plaques on the dash and in the engine bay.

Dream bike: Tomahawk (8200cc) - 10 Built and Sold

MORE LIKE A
TRAIN ENGINE ON TWO WHEELS


8200cc

They call it a bike!!!!!!!!!!




ENGINE
1. 500 bhp (372 kW) @ 5600 rpm (60.4 bhp/liter); 525 lb.-ft. (712 Nm) @ 4200 rpm
2. 10-cylinder 90-degree V-type, liquid-cooled, 505 cubic inches (8277 cc)
3. 356-T6 aluminum alloy block with cast-iron liners, aluminum alloy cylinder heads
4. Bore x Stroke: 4.03 inches x 3.96 inches (102.4 x 100.6)
5. Two pushrod-actuated overhead valves per cylinder with roller-type hydraulic lifters
6. Sequential, multi-port electronic fuel injection with individual runners
7. Compression Ratio: 9.6:1
8. Max Engine Speed: 6000 rpm
9. Fuel Requirement: Unleaded premium, 93 octane (R+M/2)
10. Oil System: Dry Sump; takes 8 quarts Mobil1 10W30 Synthetic
11. Cooling System: Twin aluminum radiators mounted atop engine intake manifolds, force-fed from front-mounted, belt-driven turbine fan.
12. Takes 11 quarts of antifreeze.Exhaust System: Equal-length tubular stainless steel headers with dual collectors and central rear outlets


SUSPENSION:

Front:Outboard, single-sided parallel upper and lower control arms made from polished billet aluminum. Mounted via ball joint to aluminum steering uprights and hubs. Five degrees caster. Single, fully adjustable centrally located coil-over damper ( 2.25-inch coil with adjustable spring perch); pullrod and rocker-actuated mono linkage. Center-lock racing-style hubs.
Rear:Hand-fabricated box-section steel inboard swing arms, incorporating "hydral-link" lockable recirculating hydraulic circuit parking stand. Single fully adjustable centrally located Koni coil-over damper (2.25-inch coil with adjustable spring perch); pushrod and rocker-actuated mono linkage. Center-lock racing-style hubs

PERFORMANCE:
The Tomahawk is a Viper V-10 based motorcycle, a 500 horsepower engine with four wheels beneath it. The Dodge Tomahawk can reach 60 miles an hour in about 2.5 seconds, and has a theoretical top speed of nearly 400 mph. Each pair of wheels is eparated by a few inches and each wheel has an independent suspension. Bernhard said four wheels were necessary to handle the power from the engine.

The Tomahawk remains on display at auto shows - though well out of reach of the general public, elevated on a special display. Chrysler will be selling the original Tomahawk concept and nine replicas through Neiman Marcus, for up to $555,000 each. The motorcycles cannot be licensed, so they cannot be legally driven on public roads. A Chrysler spokesman told Reuters they were meant as rolling sculptures.

EPA Denies Calif. Greenhouse Gas Waiver





Associated Press
By KEN THOMAS and ERICA WERNER \ WASHINGTON

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday slapped down California's bid for first-in-the-nation greenhouse gas limits on cars, trucks and SUVs, refusing the state a waiver that would have allowed those restrictions to take effect.

"The Bush administration is moving forward with a clear national solution - not a confusing patchwork of state rules," EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson told reporters on a conference call. "I believe this is a better approach than if individual states were to act alone."

The long-awaited decision amounted to a serious setback for California and at least 16 other states seeking the new car regulations to achieve their anti-global warming goals.

The tailpipe standards California adopted in 2004 would have forced automakers to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in new cars and light trucks by 2016, with the cutbacks beginning in the 2009 model year.

Under the Clean Air Act, the state needed a federal waiver to implement the rules.

"It is disappointing that the federal government is standing in our way and ignoring the will of tens of millions of people across the nation," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "California sued to compel the agency to act on our waiver, and now we will sue to overturn today's decision and allow Californians to protect our environment."

Twelve other states - Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington - have adopted the California emissions standards, and the governors of Arizona, Colorado, Florida and Utah have said they also plan to adopt them. The rules were also under consideration in Iowa.

With Wednesday's denial, those other states are also prevented from moving forward.

In explaining his decision, Johnson cited energy legislation approved by Congress and signed into law Wednesday by President Bush. The law requires automakers to achieve an industrywide average fuel efficiency for cars, SUVs and small trucks of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

Johnson said Congress' approach would be better than a "partial state-by-state approach." He said California's law would have yielded a 33.8 mpg standard, but California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols said Johnson's math was "just wrong."

She said the California regulations would have resulted in a 36.8 miles per gallon average and would have taken effect sooner than the federal standards.

"EPA is now trying to hide behind the passage of (fuel economy) legislation," Nichols said. "This is really unconscionable."

Environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers also denounced the decision. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who chairs the Senate's environment committee, said she'd question Johnson at a hearing. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the government oversight and reform committee in the House, vowed to investigate, alleging the decision was dictated by politics - something Johnson denied.

"This federal agency blunder is bad policy and worse law," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. "We will take the EPA to court if necessary and once again demonstrate that no one is above the law. If the EPA won't obey the law or take the lead, at least it should get out of the way so states can protect our environment."

Automakers applauded the outcome.

General Motors Corp. (nyse: GM - news - people ) said in a statement that "by removing the disproportionate burden of complying with a patchwork of state-specific regulations that would divert our resources, automakers can concentrate on developing and implementing the advanced technologies in ways that will meet America's driving needs."

Wednesday's decision was further confirmation of the Bush administration's adamant opposition to mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions, even after a string of court decisions affirming the right of states and the federal government to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

It was the first time the EPA had fully denied California a Clean Air Act waiver since Congress gave California the right to obtain such waivers in 1967.

The auto regulations were to have been a major part of California's first-in-the-nation global warming law which aims to reduce greenhouse gases economy-wide by 25 percent - to 1990 levels - by 2020. The auto emission reductions would have accounted for about 17 percent of the state's proposed reductions.

Nichols said California expects to win on appeal and does not plan to shift its strategy to meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Despite the Bush administration's opposition to mandatory greenhouse gas limits, some congressional Democrats hope to craft a federal law. Earlier this month Boxer's committee passed a bill with mandatory caps on greenhouse gases although there are no immediate plans for the full Senate or the House to act.

California had been waiting for Wednesday's decision for two years. EPA put it off while a Supreme Court case was pending on whether the agency could regulate greenhouse gases. In April, the Supreme Court said it could.

In the wake of that ruling, President Bush directed federal agencies to craft regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. Johnson said Wednesday he would review the newly signed energy bill to see what additional steps might need to be taken.

Associated Press writer Samantha Young in Sacramento contributed to this report.

Four Chrysler LLC Manufacturing Facilities in Kokomo, Ind., and The Chrysler Foundation Donate $25,000 to Fight Hunger

- Donation will support Kokomo Rescue Mission's Red Ribbon Christmas Outreach
- Chrysler has donated more than $40,000 to the Kokomo Rescue Mission since 2004

KOKOMO, Ind., Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Families in the Kokomo, Ind.,
area will soon receive boxes of Christmas gifts and food just in time for
the holidays thanks to a $25,000 donation to the Kokomo Rescue Mission. The
donation was coordinated by The Chrysler Foundation and four Chrysler LLC
manufacturing facilities: Kokomo Transmission, Kokomo Casting and Indiana
Transmission Plants I and II.

Today's donation will be used to support the mission's Red Ribbon
Christmas Outreach Program with boxes of Christmas gifts and food to needy
families during the holiday season. Kokomo Rescue Mission responds to the
problems of poverty and homelessness in North Central Indiana. Its services
include shelters for men, women and children, food, clothing, and holiday
outreach programs.

"The employees at our Kokomo facilities are shining examples of
Chrysler's 'good neighbor, good citizen' values," said Brian Harlow,
Chrysler General Manager - Transmission, Machining, Casting and Axle. "We
appreciate the commitment of The Chrysler Foundation and the four plants to
fight hunger, especially during the holidays."

Since 2004, The Chrysler Foundation and the four Indiana-based plants
have donated $40,750 to the organization, including this year's gift.

"Thanks to organizations such as Chrysler, needy families throughout
the Kokomo area will experience the joy of the holiday season," said Van C.
Taylor, Executive Director of Kokomo Rescue Mission. "Last year, we
delivered Red Ribbon Christmas boxes to more than 800 families, and we hope
to continue helping all who come to us in need."

Kokomo Transmission Plant (local UAW 685 and 1302) manufactures
transmissions for front- and rear-wheel-drive Chrysler Group vehicles,
including the Chrysler Town & Country, Chrysler Sebring, Chrysler 300,
Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Caravan, Dodge Dakota, Dodge Durango, Dodge Charger,
Dodge Nitro, Dodge Ram, Jeep(R) Liberty and Jeep Wrangler. It employs
3,168.

Kokomo Casting Plant (local UAW 1166 and 1302) produces 35 different
aluminum parts for automotive components, as well as nine transmission and
transaxle cases. The plant has 922 employees.

Indiana Transmission Plant I (local UAW 685) produces 45 RFE RWD
transmissions for Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango, Dodge Dakota, Dodge
Ram and Jeep Liberty (diesel applications). It employs 1,557.

Indiana Transmission II (local UAW 685 and 1302) manufactures
five-speed RWD automatic transmission for Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, Jeep
Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Dodge Nitro and Dodge Charger. The plant
has 695 employees.

Kokomo Rescue Mission

Founded in 1953, Kokomo Rescue Mission (KRM) is a non-denominational
Christian social service agency, providing long term solutions for the
underlying causes of homelessness, hunger and poverty. KRM's programs also
include emergency help with clothing and food, resulting in families
receiving 67,601 pieces of clothing and 104,763 meals last year. The Red
Ribbon Christmas Outreach will assist more than 800 families this year with
boxes of gifts and food. Kokomo Rescue Mission is a member of the
Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, an association of over 300 missions
across the U.S. and Canada.

By Mikey

DODGE MAGNUM CHANGING DODGE’S BRAND IMAGE

One of the code names of automobiles as well as light to complicated duty trucks which is marketed by the German nonetheless American-based company DaimlerChrysler AG is the Dodge. The Dodge was purchased by Daimler-Benz along with alternative Chrysler subsidiaries in 1998, and is right away the partial of the DaimlerChrysler association. As per final year, the Dodge code has turn popularly well known for the prolongation of its trucks which takes up around seventy-eight per cent of its sales.

The Dodge Magnum, as the name, has formerly been used upon utterly a number of assorted Dodge automobiles. The code brand code brand brand brand new Magnum is the first car underneath the Dodge name to make use of the code brand code brand brand brand new Chrysler LX platform that it shares with the Chrysler 300 as well as the Dodge Charger. As per final 2004, the Dodge Magnum was regenerated as the hire car. It has been done accessible with 3 engine options. The SE has the 190 hp, 2. 7 liter LH V6. The SXT owns the 270 hp, 3. 5 liter
V6. As well as lastly, the RT facilities the code brand code brand brand brand new 5. 7 liter Hemi V8. As per final year, it has additionally been done accessible with an all wheel drive upon the SXT as well as RT models. One of the things which the new Dodge Magnum as well as the Dodge code has to be unapproachable of would be its being enclosed upon the Car as well as Driver’s Ten Best list for 2005.

This code brand code brand brand brand new car has simply won the market’s heart compared to its prototype, the Dodge Intrepid. One of the skeleton which Dodge has for the Dodge Magnum is for this car to go upon sale as a police various so as to contest opposite the Ford Crown Victoria. These skeleton for the car would be usually done accessible to law enforcement, puncture agencies, as well as additionally supervision agencies. It will have the SXT’s V6 for the engine as well as the Hemi as its option. It will additionally take with it police-specific options similar to a steering-column mounted shifter, deactivated interior rear windows as well as thatch, as well as additionally bulletproof potion which would be mounted in between the initial as well as second rows of seats as well as the cargo area.

The Dodge Magnum’s confidant figure could redefine the American wagon for the code brand code brand brand brand new era. It carries with it an aggressive signature grill, the broad-shouldered upon all sides, and the cut-down hothouse. It has an impassioned entrance liftgate at its back which includes the apportionment, to illustrate augmenting entrance to any
cargo. The interior, duration, can take in 5 passengers with easy joy. The pushing upon all sides is deliberate to be excellent, autocratic, as well as gentle. As per its instrumentation, it is utterly clear as well as decorated cleverly.

It additionally offers the horde of modernized occupant-protection features that includes multi-stage front airbags as well as accessible side curtain airbags for the front as well as back seats.

Dodge Magnum as well as Dodge parts can be purchased in the joy of customers’ homes. Dozens of sites suggest excellent deals upon Dodge Magnum tools as well as Dodge tools. One of the best sites to have it from is Auto Tools Deal.

Although the code brand code brand brand brand new Dodge Magnum is not as atmospheric as midsize SUVs and has the extent upon the load space due to the figure, these are quite strike by the good 3. 5 liter, V6 engines as well as the Hemi V8s. Additionally, it has the still, stoical float which drivers adore and it additionally is surprisingly flexible for the category. Options for this
vehicle embody the energy moonroof, exhilarated seats, front- and rear-seat side fate airbags, energy seats with tanned hide, and power-adjustable pedals.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Coming Soon to a Dodge Dealer Near You [Mexico]

chery-a1.jpg


By Frank Williams
December 18, 2007 - 467 View

The union between Chrysler and Chery is about to bear fruit. China Car Times reports a rebranded Chery A1 will go on sale in Mexico "very soon" under the Dodge banner. This is the same model they're looking at bringing to the U.S. once they meet safety and emissions standards, with a target date of 2009. Wall Street Journal drove an A1 in China last August and came away impressed: "the A1 performed admirably… the ride was surprisingly smooth and quiet.. At 100 miles an hour, there was only a slight vibration in the steering column." They noticed a few quality problems but decided "for such an inexpensive car [around $7K in China], it is hard to complain." There's no word yet on how inexpensive it'll be after it makes the trip across the Pacific.

China Car Times »

Hey, Hey Mama Look at this Led Zeppelin Special Edition Jeep

2007 Jeep Patriot Led Zepplin is sold-out concert prize

2007 jeep patriot led zepplin limited edition front right

I consider myself a somewhat jaded observer of -- and participant in -- the rampantly capitalistic social ways of the world. But even the idea of a Led Zeppelin Special Edition Jeep Patriot* reeked of opportunism and tackiness to me. And I was all for the Spice Girls reuniting!

As an anathema to what I said earlier, I grew up a huge Led Zeppelin fan. As most Zep fans know, they played their first live gig in over fifteen years last night at the 02 arena in London to a packed audience. More than packed, there were 20 million ticket requests for 18,000 seats. Talk about supply and demand.

At first, I could not understand why Jeep in the United Kingdom was releasing this model. Then I heard the kicker. The purchasers of these six 2.0 CRD Sport (a diesel in Euro speak, folks) also got two tickets to the sold-out Zeppelin show. I imagine these ordinarily slow sellers suddenly were going for amounts vastly over sticker. I mean, one man paid $197,000 for tickets to this allegedly one-time only Led Zeppelin show. And that didn’t include a faux-jeep with worse plastic moulds than you find at a Chinese toy factory.

According to an interview in Carpages.com with Ian Calderwood, the designer of the band graphics on the side of the vehicle, “The Jeep was chosen for its American ruggedness. The graphics complement the bold character of the car whilst maintaining its prestige and I feel it reflects the personality of the band excellently.” In addition to the stickers and the tickets, you also get leather seats, air conditioning, and a premium stereo. But here is the big finale, as they say. The cost: £34,860. In current dollars that comes to $71,069 exactly as of end of trading on 12/11/07. And as I said earlier, that is before any markups.

Word is the concert in London was a huge success commercially and artistically for Led Zeppelin. As for the Jeep Compass Led Zeppelin Special Edition, both the band and Jeep can do better. Much better.

*At least make it a Special Edition tie dye VW microbus with huge speakers to blast When the Levee Breaks!


Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

12.18.1898
Theodor Parsons Hall, develop of the Hall flying automobile, is born in Wallingford, CT
12.18.1919
Racer Henri Fournier dies in Paris, France at age 48
12.18.1941
Racer Wayne Baker is born
12.18.1955
Racer Ted Musgrave is born in Franklin, WI
12.18.1991
Racer George Abecassis dies in Ibstone, Buckinghamshire, England at age 78

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick

Monday, December 17, 2007

http://www.dodge.com/en/2008/challenger/gallery/

Nardelli downsizes Chrysler PR

The Vines style: Jason Vines stands in for a former boss, the mustachioed Dieter Zetsche, during a 2005 lighting check for photographers.
Photo credit: JOE WILSSENS

DETROIT — The resignation of Jason Vines, Chrysler LLC's outspoken public affairs and communications chief, means the automaker will take a quieter, more tight-lipped approach to telling its story.

After Vines' resignation last week, Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli downgraded public relations by putting it under the authority of Nancy Rae, senior vice president of human resources.

Vines' position as vice president of communications has been eliminated.

Since Vines joined Chrysler in 2003, he reported directly to three CEOs: Dieter Zetsche, Tom LaSorda and Nardelli.

Under the new structure, the four communications department heads who reported to Vines will report instead to Rae. None will be a vice president, and none will run communications.

The four are:

1. Rick Deneau, director of product communications

2. Lori McTavish, director of global market communications

3. David Barnas, senior manager of corporate and internal communications

4. Shawn Morgan, manager of North American sales and marketing.

In an unrelated development, Mike Aberlich, Chrysler director of corporate and internal communications, said he will retire this month.

PR downgrade
Chrysler LLC communications changes its PR department.
-- Jason Vines resigns as vice president of communications.
-- Vines' position is eliminated.
-- The communications department no longer will report directly to Chrysler's CEO.
-- Nancy Rae, senior vice president of human resources, takes charge of communications.
-- 4 communications department heads will now report to Rae.

Outside agency

Nardelli has brought in Robert Marston and Associates Inc., a New York public relations firm, to help with corporate communications. Nardelli worked with the agency when he was chairman of Home Depot Inc.

Vines declined to comment on reports that he clashed with Nardelli over the approach to communications.

Vines, a former stand-up comedian, probably was the industry's most visible, aggressive and flamboyant public relations official.

If he felt a journalist had wronged Chrysler, Vines would call the journalist. He also aired his views on thefirehouse.biz, the Chrysler media blog he created.

Ken Levy, who preceded Vines as vice president of public relations, said he is concerned about Chrysler's direction under the ownership of private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management.

Levy, now a communications consultant, praised Rae as an excellent human resources executive. But he pointed out that human resources is concerned with internal communication to employees, not external communication.

Seat at the table

In a high-profile consumer products company such as Chrysler, PR needs to have a seat at the table in top-level deliberations, he said.

"They're not traded publicly, but they are public in that they need to interact with the public, and they need to promote their vehicles in a similar way other products are promoted to the media," Levy said.

"The media interest is very intense. You need to be interacting with the media because that's your way of connecting your message with your customers."

Vines' resignation takes effect today, Dec. 17, but he agreed to remain through the month to assist in the transition.

Said Vines in a prepared statement: "This was a tough decision, considering the many talented, longtime friends I have throughout the company. I will continue to root for them."

Said Nardelli: "Jason has served Chrysler well, and we are very grateful for his many contributions over the years."

Stint at Ford

Vines, a native of Pella, Iowa, began his career at Chrysler in 1983 as an economics researcher in the labor relations department. He left Chrysler in 1998 to become vice president of communications for Nissan North America.

In 1998, then Ford Motor Co. CEO Jacques Nasser hired Vines as vice president of communications.

Vines, who was at the helm of PR during the Ford Explorer rollover crisis, left Ford after Nasser was fired. He returned to Chrysler in 2003 to work for then CEO Zetsche.

Chrysler will cut fleet sales

DETROIT -- Chrysler LLC plans to reduce fleet sales in 2008, CEO Bob Nardelli said. At a media event here last week, he said 20 percent of annual sales would be a good target.

According to Automotive News estimates, about 30 percent of Chrysler's unit volume went to fleets in the first nine months of this year, when the company sold a total of 1,578,823 units in the United States.

Nardelli hemmed in by Cerberus credit crunch

DETROIT — CEO Bob Nardelli and his management team are working on a short financial leash as they struggle to turn around ailing Chrysler LLC.

They're limited to the roughly $10 billion in cash they have on hand. The company can't borrow any more.

That $10 billion figure comes from a financial presentation Chrysler and its owner, Cerberus Capital Management LP, made to investors Nov. 7.

One indicator of Chrysler's tight spot: Cerberus' five major banks have failed twice to find investors to take $4 billion of loans off their books, even though the banks heavily discounted the loans.

The banks, which underwrote $10 billion in loans to Chrysler last summer, have been unable to syndicate all that debt to investors. The banks are JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Bear Stearns and Goldman Sachs Group.

The failure to sell the loans has no direct effect on Chrysler operations, analysts say. But they say it shows a lack of confidence in Chrysler and Cerberus.

Nardelli told workers that Chrysler will lose $1.6 billion this year and announced a round of production cutbacks. He also has slashed four vehicles from the future lineup and laid off an additional 10,000 workers. This suggests he is running the company on a tight leash.

In its November presentation to lenders, Chrysler said it is performing ahead of its June 2007 earnings projections. Cerberus financed its purchase of Chrysler Automotive with two loans -- a $10 billion first-lien loan and a $2 billion delayed second-lien term loan. The loans are backed by Chrysler’s plants and property, accounts receivable, inventory and intellectual property.

The deal is similar to the one that CEO Alan Mulally engineered last year to finance Ford Motor Co.'s recovery.

Cutting Chrysler
-- On Nov. 1, Chrysler announced cutbacks for the first quarter of 2008, taking out shifts at 5 plants and reducing the hourly work force by 8,500 to 10,000.
-- Chrysler will eliminate 4 models by the end of 2008: the Dodge Magnum and the Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible, Pacifica and Crossfire.
-- On Feb. 14, Chrysler announced it would cut capacity by 400,000 units, close a plant, trim shifts from others and lay off 13,000 workers, including 11,000 factory workers.

Not 'short of money'

Cerberus, which has $26 billion in assets under management, has been hit been by problems with other investments, including its 51 percent ownership of GMAC Financial Services. GMAC's residential mortgage subsidiary, ResCap, has lost $3.4 billion so far this year because of its large subprime loan portfolio.

Cerberus spokesman Peter Duda said Chrysler is not affected by the banks' failure to sell the loans. "Chrysler has received their money," he said. "The banks are holding

debt. It's not like Chrysler is short of money because of this situation."

Analysts attribute the banks' failure to two factors: the global credit crisis and a lack of confidence in Chrysler as a good investment. Auto analyst John Casesa of Casesa Shapiro Group said Cerberus' other problems don't hurt Chrysler -- at least for now.

"The performance of one business, good or bad, does not have much impact on the amount of capital that goes into other businesses," he said. "Of course, over time if you have a lot of bad investments, you won't be able to raise capital for other businesses."

The inability of the banks to unload the loans "doesn't reflect well on Cerberus," said an analyst who spoke on condition on anonymity. "Chrysler has a long, checkered financial history."

The same analyst estimates that Nardelli and his team have only three or four years to fix Chrysler.

Chrysler's $10 billion cash hoard compares with the $26.4 billion General Motors had at the end of the third quarter, excluding funds set aside for its Voluntary Employee Benefits Association for Chrysler retirees' health care. Ford ended the third quarter with $35.6 billion in cash, before setting aside VEBA funding.

On target

Nardelli says Chrysler's turnaround is on target. Last week, he said Chrysler will maintain capital expenditures at current levels for 2008. That would be about $3.7 billion, according to an estimate based on Chrysler's 2006 expenditures. He said Chrysler has been "aggressively conservative" in cutting production to get it in line with market share.

Since Cerberus took over in August, Nardelli has ratcheted up the layoffs and production cutbacks.

On Nov. 1, Chrysler announced more cutbacks effective in the first quarter of 2008, taking out shifts at five plants and reducing the hourly work force by a further 8,500 to

10,000. According to CSM Worldwide, Chrysler will cut production in the first quarter by 15 percent.

Those cuts are in addition to those announced last Feb. 14. That day Chrysler, then part of DaimlerChrysler AG, said it would cut annual capacity by 400,000 units, close a plant, trim shifts from others and lay off 13,000 workers, including 11,000 factory workers. According to the Harbour Report, Chrysler's North American capacity was 2,794,131 units in 2006.

Nardelli knows Chrysler has to keep close to its plan: "This is an industry that can burn cash very quickly."

Chrysler LLC Patent Update


PAT. NO.
Title
1 7,306,286 Full-Text Hold-open assembly for a recliner seat locking mechanism
2 7,304,239 Full-Text Wire routing device for a vehicle
3 7,303,505 Full-Text Method for controlling rate of change of ratio in a continuously variable transmission
4 7,302,930 Full-Text Air induction system and assembly method for an intake manifold with a single shaft and sensor for activating air control valves

Ghosn says Nissan may stop Titan production Chrysler LLC alliance claimed

Nissan officials have denied that the company has made such a decision, but in an interview in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine, the OEM’s chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, states that production of the company’s full-sized pick-up truck may be axed.

Nissan officials have denied that the company has made such a decision, but in an interview in the latest issue of Newsweek magazine, the OEM’s chief executive, Carlos Ghosn, states that production of the company’s full-sized pick-up truck may be axed.

“The name of the game is going to be more fuel-efficient cars,” Ghosn states. “And when you make your product plans for the future, you can’t say, ‘I’ve always had a pick-up truck, so I’ll just keep improving it.’ If you can’t make it profitably, you have to get out,” he adds.

The Titan, launched in 2003 and facelifted earlier this year, is scheduled to be replaced in 2010. Nissan builds this rival for the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ford F-150, Dodge Ram and Toyota Tundra at its Canton, Mississippi plant. Although sales have held up relatively well this year despite the continued rises in the price of gasoline, the Titan has a 5.6-litre V8 as standard, while rivals offer six-cylinder base model variants.

The company’s own data shows Titan sales totalled 60,961 for the year to the end of November 2007, down 8.8% from 66,617 year-on-year. In the same period of 2007, the company imported 72,159 units of the Murano SUV, its best-selling light truck and a model that has been in its last year of production with the replacement recently unveiled.

In possibly related news, the 15 December edition of Japan’s Nikkei newspaper claimed that Nissan and Chrysler LLC are currently in talks to set up a vehicle cross-selling agreement. The story was also carried by The Financial Times in its weekend edition. The London-based broadsheet stated that the alliance would benefit Chrysler in Russia while both partners could gain from plant-utilisation efficiencies in North America.

Under the terms of the alleged agreement, each of the two constructors would sell the other’s vehicles under its own brand, the Nikkei reported without naming sources. The cross-selling agreement could also be a prelude to a broader partnership between the two groups, which would involve the sharing of production sites, the paper continued.

With the Michigan-based OEM set to release a new generation Ram full-sized pick-up in 2008, sources have speculated that Ghosn’s statement may be a precursor to Dodge building the next Titan for supply to Nissan North America.

Under an existing deal, Chrysler LLC is set to manufacture a version of its Chrysler Town & Country/Dodge Grand Caravan minivans for Volkswagen of America from 2008. The company already builds a rebadged Dodge Dakota mid-sized pick-up for Mitsubishi, while Nissan is to supply Suzuki with a rival model, based on its Frontier pick-up, which is also US-built, from next year.

By Glenn Brooks
17 December, 2007
Source: Automotive World

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

12.17.1909
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway holds its grand opening, complete with the ceremonial laying of the last “golden” brick by Indiana Governor Thomas R. Marshall
12.17.1925
“The New Stutz Vertical Eight, with Safety Body”, the first Stutz designed during the Frederic E. Moskovics era, is unveiled to dealers
12.17.1945
William F. Milward, designer of the Charron-Laycock automobile, dies at age 66
12.17.1956
Great Britain begins emergency gasoline rationing because of the Suez Canal crisis in Egypt
12.17.1973
A Buick Apollo with a reworked 1960’s V-6 engine is driven by Chief Engineer Phillip C. Bowser from Flint, MI to the General Motors’ building in Detroit, MI where President Edward N. Cole drives it to the former Kaiser-Jeep Corporation plant in Toledo, OH - the end result was Buick’s return to the V-6 engine and one of the more successful reactions to the OPEC crisis

Source: Automobile History Day By Day, by Douglas A. Wick