Cerberus affiliate appears to be winner with $1 billion offer
DETROIT — Troubled automotive framing supplier Tower Automotive Inc. has canceled its planned auction for Monday, June 25, after concluding that it has received no competing bids to acquire the company.
Tower now will ask a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge to approve the previously announced sale agreement with TA Co. LLC, an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP, according to a Tower statement.
In late March, Cerberus revealed plans to buy Tower’s assets for about $1 billion. The private equity fund also is acquiring the Chrysler group for $7.4 billion from DaimlerChrysler AG.
The court is scheduled to hear Tower’s request to confirm its Chapter 11 plan and approve the sale July 11. If successful, the company expects to close the transaction by July 31.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Posted by The 'C' Team at 1:41 PM
By Kevin Krolicki
CHELSEA, Mich., June 21 (Reuters) - Chrysler Group designers are scouring every aspect of the company's Dodge Ram pickup trucks in a bid to boost fuel economy as part of a redesign for 2009, a Chrysler executive said on Thursday.
The Ram trucks remain Chrysler's best-selling vehicles and accounted for about 17 percent of the automaker's overall sales in 2006.
As the No. 4 automaker prepares to launch a revamped pickup truck line to go up against newer, competing offerings from General Motors Corp. (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T: Quote, Profile, Research), improving fuel efficiency is a key part of the design process, according to Chrysler Group Vice President Ralph Gilles.
"We have to do that. It's just common sense," Gilles said. "Whether that means looking at aerodynamics or other vehicle options. It's something we're looking at."
Gilles, who spearheaded the redesign of Chrysler's 300C sedan before drawing the high-stakes assignment of revamping its truck line-up, said improving the interior of the trucks was another priority for Chrysler.
Gilles, who spoke to Reuters on the sidelines of an event to show off Chrysler's 2008 model line, declined to comment further on the design direction for the upcoming Ram trucks, which Chrysler has kept under wraps before a 2009-model-year launch, expected next year.
Pictures of early Ram prototypes on fan sites have suggested that Chrysler designers had taken steps to improve the aerodynamics of the trucks by reducing surface area in the front of the truck.
U.S. sales for pickup trucks have surprised skeptics by holding relatively steady this year with Chrysler Group and Ford Motor Co. (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) forced to rely on steep sales incentives.Sales of pickup trucks, which rely heavily on buyers in industries like construction, have declined 3.5 percent through May this year. But full-size pickups still account for 13.2 percent of the overall U.S. market, flat from a year ago.
The pickup-truck segment has been watched closely in large part because it remains a major stronghold for the Detroit-based automakers, even as they have lost market share in other categories to Toyota and other Asian rivals.
Chrysler said on Thursday that it was taking a series of steps to improve the fuel economy of its truck-heavy vehicle line-up in the face of $3-per-gallon gasoline and pending, tougher federal fuel economy regulations.
Chrysler's plans to roll out new V-6 engines and axles expected to boost mileage some 12 percent, introduce more diesel engines and lifting mileage an additional 5 percent by eliminating other sources of friction in the vehicle, including wind drag.
Posted by The 'C' Team at 12:50 PM
CHELSEA, Mich., June 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --
- Mild-hybrid technology to debut in future Chrysler Group vehicle - Chrysler two-mode hybrid program to expand - 2009 Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee BLUETEC: another 50-state clean diesel from Chrysler Group - Company to explore development of 4-cylinder diesel for North American market, and expansion of 3.0-liter V-6 diesel - New V-6 family of engines to include Multi-displacement System (MDS), resulting in fuel economy gain of 6 to 8 percent - Significantly upgraded 5.7-liter HEMI(R) V-8 - New 4.7-liter V-8 delivers 5-percent fuel economy improvement - Dual-clutch transmission to result in fuel economy improvement of up to 6 percent - Common axle program to improve fuel economy, axle efficiency and costs - Weight reduction, aerodynamic and drivetrain improvements to raise fuel economy 5 percent
Chrysler Group's Powertrain Offensive took a major leap forward today when Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President - Product Development, announced a barrage of new initiatives targeted solely at improving the fuel efficiency of future Chrysler, Jeep(R) and Dodge vehicles.
Among the fuel-efficient initiatives are a commitment to developing mild- hybrid technology and expanding the company's two-mode hybrid program; new six- and eight-cylinder gasoline engines - including cylinder-deactivation in a V-6; dual-clutch transmission technology; a common axle program; weight reduction, aerodynamic and drivetrain initiatives; and another BLUETEC clean- diesel vehicle.
Additionally, the company announced it is exploring the development of a 4-cylinder diesel engine for the North American market, and the expansion of its 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine.
"Chrysler Group is focused directly on improving fuel efficiency across our vehicle lineup," Klegon said. "We have developed and are implementing a series of major initiatives - including a bigger push in hybrid and clean- diesel technology - to meet the nneeds of American consumers.
"Many of these fuel-efficiency initiatives will be incorporated simultaneously into a single vehicle family - our new V-6 with Multi- displacement System (MDS) mated to a dual-clutch transmission, for example - ultimately resulting in double-digit-percentage fuel-economy gains."
Within the next few years, Chrysler will offer a mild-hybrid powertrain in a Chrysler Group vehicle.
Mild-hybrid vehicles provide many of the benefits of hybrid technology, with less of the cost/weight penalty that is incurred by installing a full hybrid drivetrain. Mild hybrids allow the vehicle's engine to be turned off at stops. Regenerative braking stores energy that would normally be lost. Accessories can continue to run on electrical power while the engine is off. An electric motor assist results in significant fuel efficiency gains.
Chrysler Group announced today that its two-mode hybrid program will expand beyond the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and Dodge Durango Hybrid, which debut next year.
Chrysler Group's two-mode hybrid system leapfrogs current technology by addressing inefficiencies that exist in high-speed driving with traditional hybrid technology. The result will be a 25-percent improvement in fuel efficiency overall - and nearly 40 percent in the city - in the Chrysler Aspen Hybrid and Dodge Durango Hybrid.
The new Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango Hybrid vehicles can be powered either by the electric motor or by the 5.7-liter HEMI(R) V-8 engine with MDS - or a combination of the two. When full power is needed, the system automatically adjusts for passing, driving steep grades or hauling a trailer. The result is trend-setting hybrid technology that provides superior fuel economy, performance and load-carrying capability.
Another BLUETEC 50-state clean-diesel vehicle
The 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee will join the 2007 Dodge Ram Heavy Duty as Chrysler Group's 50-state, clean-diesel BLUETEC vehicles.
BLUETEC brings together a host of technologies for diesel passenger vehicles, beginning with completely modern, efficient diesel engines and a focus on "denoxing" to reduce nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gases. The result is clean-diesel technology in vehicles that meet 50-state emissions standards for 2010.
Future diesel considerations
Chrysler Group announced today that it is exploring additional penetration of its 3.0-liter V-6 common-rail diesel (CRD) engine - currently in the 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee - and the possibility of a four-cylinder diesel engine for the North American market.
The company's current diesel lineup includes Dodge Sprinter, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Ram Heavy Duty.
Earlier this year, Chrysler Group announced that an all-new Cummins turbodiesel engine will be available in light-duty pickup trucks after 2009. Along with generous power and low-end torque, the new engine will provide up to 30-percent improvement in fuel efficiency and a 20-percent reduction in CO2 emissions compared to an equivalent gasoline engine.
V-6 engine family with cylinder deactivation
In February, Chrysler Group announced that an all-new family of engines - known as "Phoenix" - will join the Chrysler Group lineup in 2010. Since then, the company has broken ground on new plants in Trenton, Mich., Kenosha, Wis., and Mexico - all of which will produce this family of engines.
The company announced today that this new family of V-6 engines will feature cylinder deactivation (MDS). Specifically, this means the engine will operate efficiently on three cylinders when less power is needed, and in V-6 mode when more power is needed. This optimizes fuel economy when V-6 power is not required - without sacrificing vehicle performance or capability.
The new family of V-6 engines will feature an aluminum die cast block, dual variable valve timing (VVT) and a two-stage oil pump, among other technologies. The end result is an expected across-the-board V-6 fuel efficiency improvement of six to eight percent - in addition to new levels of V-6 power, performance and refinement.
Significantly upgraded 5.7-liter HEMI V-8
For 2009, Chrysler Group will deliver a significantly upgraded version of its renowned 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, resulting in notable gains in fuel efficiency, refinement, power and torque.
New 4.7-liter V-8
The new 4.7-liter V-8 offers up to five percent better fuel economy than the previous 4.7-liter engine.
At the same time, this E85 flex-fuel engine delivers increased performance and improved refinement. These improvements come from the 4.7-liter V-8's two spark plugs per cylinder (the only Chrysler Group engine to do so, other than the 5.7-liter HEMI(R)), increased compression ratio, improved cylinder-head port flow and new combustion system.
In addition to improved fuel economy, the result is a 30-percent increase in horsepower and a 10-percent increase in torque (up to 75 additional horsepower and 35 more lb.-ft. of torque, depending on application) compared with the previous 4.7-liter V-8 engine.
Dual-clutch transmission technology
A new dual-clutch transmission - developed in partnership with Getrag - joins the Chrysler Group lineup in significant volumes in 2010 model-year vehicles.
The new dual-clutch transmission is expected to deliver a fuel economy improvement of up to six percent, based on preliminary testing.
The new transmission is equipped with two independent lay-shaft style gear sets with separate clutches, using manual transmission-based components. During shifts, the next gear is anticipated and pre-selected. Then one clutch is opened while the other is closed, allowing shifting without torque interruption. The result is quicker acceleration and refined shift quality.
Common axle program
New common axle technology will result in fuel-economy and axle-efficiency gains, while providing weight savings, cost reduction, increased refinement and less complexity. New advanced materials increase overall axle strength and reduce package size.
Already featured in the Chrysler 300C SRT8, this axle will soon move to other Chrysler Group vehicles.
Aerodynamic, weight reduction and drivetrain improvementsChrysler Group announced today that a new set of initiatives are in place to improve fuel efficiency across its vehicle lineup by at least five percent. These initiatives include weight reduction, aerodynamic drag improvements, reduced rolling resistance and brake drag, optimized accessory loads, and minimized drivetrain losses.
Posted by The 'C' Team at 10:57 AM
Posted on 06.21.2007 10:00 by Simona Alina
The U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 Chassis Cab is $34,050 and base price for the all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 5500 Chassis Cab is $36,050. Both include a destination charge of $900. Both models will go on sale this fall.
"The all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs are not only competitively priced, but feature numerous class-leading attributes and enter the market as the ultimate chassis cabs for business customers looking for dynamic, capable work-trucks," said Michael Accavitti, Director - Dodge Brand & SRT Marketing and Communications. "Filling a white space opportunity for the brand, these ’big-rig’ trucks not only get the job done, but also offer more power, versatility and capability to the commercial customer looking for a tough, heavyweight work truck."
Both models are powered by a 6.7-liter turbo diesel engine and offer a six-speed automatic or manual transmission with Power Take Off (PTO) capability.
Also both come in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models, four available cab-axle lengths (60, 84, 105 and 120 inches), single-rear-wheel and dual-rear-wheel versions, regular cab and Quad Cab(R) configurations, and three trim lines — ST, SLT and Laramie. All models are "Job-rated," meaning they are designed, engineered, tested and built to meet the rigid standards of commercial truck buyers.
Posted by The 'C' Team at 8:10 AM
2008 Jeep(r) Liberty - All-new From the Ground Up
* All-new 2008 Jeep(r) Liberty remains true to its legendary 4x4 heritage
* Improved on-road ride and handling with new independent front and new five-link rear suspension systems
* All-new Jeep classic exterior styling, functional interior space and upgraded amenities designed to broaden its appeal to consumers
* Industry-exclusive Sky Slider(tm) full-open canvas roof
The Jeep(r) Liberty has remained a leader in the mid-size sport-utility vehicle (SUV) market since its introduction in 2002. The popular mid-size SUV gives off-road enthusiasts and owners their own sense of personal freedom and capability that only defines the Jeep brand.
All-new from the ground up for 2008, the Jeep Liberty remains true to its legendary 4x4 heritage by offering two Jeep Trail Rated(r) four-wheel-drive systems - Command-Trac(r) and the all-new Selec-Trac(r) II. On-road ride and handling have been improved and refined with the new independent front suspension, new five-link rear suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.
The Liberty's exterior has been redesigned, and takes on a more rugged, classic Jeep look that is sure to captivate the attention of current Jeep Liberty owners and broaden its consumer appeal. Inside, cargo and storage space increases and seat comfort improves. Making its world debut is the new Sky Slider(tm) full-open canvas roof, an industry-exclusive; giving the Jeep Liberty that "Only in a Jeep" open-air experience. Remote start, rain-sensing wipers, memory seats and mirrors, and express up/down windows are added to the vehicle's ever-growing list of available features and options. There are two models - Jeep Liberty Sport and Jeep Liberty Limited.
"The all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty stands out from the competition by offering customers classic Jeep design, two four-wheel-drive systems, refined on-road ride and handling, cargo and utility, as well as features that are not typically found on vehicles in the mid-size SUV segment," said George Murphy, Senior Vice President - Global Marketing, Chrysler Group.
The all-new Jeep Liberty is designed to appeal to customers who are looking for Jeep 4x4 capability as well as comfort and convenience. It is targeted to young couples and new families, as well as professional, young single men and women between 30 and 40 years of age, balanced male to female. Jeep Liberty owners will balance day-to-day responsibilities with their passion for adventure as well as the outdoors. They are athletic, and pursue activities that combine their various interests with their active lifestyle. The Jeep Liberty will be available at Jeep dealerships starting in the third quarter of 2007.
The all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty offers a balance of off-road capability and on-road refinement.* All-new independent front suspension, all-new five-link rear suspension, and a power rack-and-pinion steering system contribute to the all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty's blend of on-road ride comfort and nimble, confidence-inspiring handling
* Two four-wheel-drive systems - all-new Selec-Trac II, full-time four-wheel-drive system and Command-Trac, a part-time four-wheel-drive system - both are Jeep Trail Rated
* The 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 engine provides the 2008 Jeep Liberty with competitive peak power and torque while providing smooth, quiet operation and proven durability. It produces 210 hp (157 kW) @ 5,200 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. (319 N*m) of torque @ 4,000 rpm. Fuel economy has been improved and now achieves an estimated *16 city (18 mpg using 2007 EPA standards), and *22 mpg on the highway (23 mpg based on 2007 EPA standards).
* Two transmissions are offered on the Jeep Liberty in the United States: a six-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic transmission
* The 2008 Jeep Liberty was designed and engineered under the Chrysler Development System (CDS), the comprehensive, coordinated and disciplined product creation process that improves quality and speed-to-market while reducing costs and encouraging practical innovation in new products
In its first redesign since its introduction, the all-new 2008 Jeep Liberty embraces its roots by taking on a more rugged, classic Jeep design that is guaranteed to strengthen its draw to current owners and broaden its appeal to a new audience.* Jeep classic exterior styling and functional interior space are designed to broaden its consumer appeal* Industry-exclusive Sky Slider full-open canvas roof brings "Only in a Jeep" open-air experience to mid-size SUV market* Cargo capacity increases and front and rear passengers will notice the improved seat comfort along with added space
Safety and SecurityThe 2008 Jeep Liberty has a full range of active and passive safety systems. Among the vehicle's standard equipment are Electronic Stability Program, Electronic Roll Mitigation, All-speed Traction Control, Brake Assist, advanced anti-lock brakes, rain sensing wipers, Tire Pressure Monitoring, and side-curtain air bags.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty offers the MyGIG Multimedia Infotainment System(tm) a completely integrated audio, navigation, entertainment and hands-free communication system. MyGIG allows customers to use touch screen or voice commands to control features, and includes a 20-gigabyte hard drive where music and photos can be stored. The system also includes a voice-memo recorder feature. MyGIG supports real-time traffic information, available through SIRIUS Satellite Radio, and can provide an alternate drive route based on traffic conditions. All of these functions can be controlled through voice commands and by utilizing a touch screen.
Posted by The 'C' Team at 7:00 AM
The 2007 Chrysler Pacifica has a freshened exterior appearance that includes a new hood, front fenders, headlamps, grille and front fascia.
Chrysler communications people still bristle when I call the Pacifica a “wagon,” as they prefer the term “sports tourer.” Chrysler has backed off on its efforts to convince prospective buyers that the Pacifica is not a tall wagon or a version of their popular minivans.
In actuality it’s neither a van or a wagon but a blend of the two with the interior feel of a sedan and the added capability of all-wheel drive. While station wagons are enjoying a resurgence of sorts, the Pacifica has been lost between the crossover craze, hybrid surge and the new interest in the sporty mid-size and compact wagons that are popping up on dealers lots.
Chrysler hopes that a fresh face, new safety, performance and flexibility features will entice potential buyers to consider this hard to categorize vehicle.
What’s the look?
Well, the 2007 Chrysler Pacifica has a freshened exterior appearance that includes a new hood, front fenders, headlamps, grille and front fascia. The hood features Chrysler’s new “character lines” that streak back from the leading edge of the hood to the base of the windshield all Chrysler brand vehicles will have this feature in 2008. Additionally, the test vehicle came with re-styled 17-inch machine-finished aluminum wheels. Pacifica has new paint options including optional body color-matched exterior-mounted mirrors.
When you open the door to the Pacifica your mind instantly thinks “sedan” and the amount of leg and headroom help reinforce this impression. The new two-tone instrument panel and revised instrument cluster graphics combined with the new door trim panels really freshens things up. I liked the cloth seats with fold down armrests.
This year Chrysler adds a notable new feature; YES Essentials stain resistant, odor resistant, anti-static cloth on the seats. For parents this is a great option and I highly recommend it. Seating provided good support on long trips, but were not firm enough for short around town jaunts. Seating holds six, but if you need cargo space fold the second and third rear seats down for 92.7 cubic feet of storage.
A few gripes about the interior include headrests that block rear visibility, thick “b” pillars that hinder side visibility and the sunroof housing that cuts into headroom for tall drivers. Also, wider opening or doors would help entry and exits.
The 4.0-liter V-6 engine produces 255 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 265 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm, which is 15 more pound-feet of torque at peak power rpm, and as much as 35 pound-feet more torque throughout the power curve than the old 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
The engine felt much smoother and quieter than the old engine. A new six-speed automatic transmission upshifts smoothly and downshifts readily to provide confident passing power. It also featured AutoStick, which I feel is a waste in a wagon or minivan. Fuel economy is 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, which is not exactly thrifty, I would have liked to see higher numbers.
No minivan performer
Minivans and wagons are usually not known for their handing or performance prowess and the Pacifica will not be either. However, the new 4.0-liter V-6 delivers improved acceleration and decent take-offs with plenty of power for passing. The Pacifica does perform better in turns than a Town and Country minivan, but there is noticeable body sway and steering does not provide enough feedback.
Pacifica rides on a four-wheel independent suspension equipped with a five-link rear suspension. The four-wheel, anti-lock brake system bit quickly and kept the nose level without any alarming dive. The 17-inch tires provided decent grip and soaked up most pavement irregularities. The Pacifica does tend to rock over dips and quick rises. In town the ride was very smooth and only the deepest potholes upset this vehicle.
Safety & security
The 2007 Chrysler Pacifica enhances the existing safety features by adding standard all-row side curtain air bags, standard ESP, traction control and brake assist. A ParkSense rear back up system and ParkView rear back up camera also are available. A Tire Pressure Monitoring system is standard equipment on all Pacifica and Pacifica Touring models.
Chrysler Pacifica Interior
Dollars and cents
On the pricing front there’s good news as Pacifica models offer consumers a $2,700 better value than its 2006 predecessor at a lower Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).
"We were able to lower the price on Pacifica models an average of $1,300 while adding an average of $1,400 in standard content across the lineup, and as high as $1,800 on select models, offering consumers an inspired driving experience and best-in-class safety at a price that makes sense,” said David Rooney, director Chrysler brand marketing.
The sensible price of the 2007 test vehicle came to $29,950 including $720 in destination charges. The AWD test vehicle’s only options were an upgraded audio system, ParkSense, Park View systems and a sunroof.
The Pacifica’s competition is strong with the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-7 leading the way with the Nissan Murano, and Ford Freestyle also in the segment.
As for longevity the Pacifica should be in the lineup for a more model years if of course enough of this “people hauler” are sold.
Posted by The 'C' Team at 6:22 AM
The Jeep Trail Hawk SUV took the award for best truck concept.
June 21, 2007
Brands owned by Detroit's automakers swept four awards for best concept cars.
The Chevrolet Volt, Holden Efijy, Jaguar C-XF and Jeep Trail Hawk got the nod Wednesday from a panel of automotive journalists as the top concept cars in their respective categories from the late 2006-07 auto show season.The winner of a fifth award for most significant concept vehicle is to be announced tonight at an awards ceremony at the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn.
The Chevrolet Volt, a new kind of hybrid gasoline-electric vehicle, was named best specialty concept for its innovative technology. The Volt is a strong contender for most significant concept.
The Jeep Trail Hawk SUV took the award for best truck concept. The Holden Efijy, a curvaceous 1950s-style coupe from General Motors Corp.'s Australian unit, won best concept car.
While the concept car and truck awards reward style and looks, Jaguar's C-XF got the nod as the best vehicle that reflects an upcoming production model.
All four of the winners debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this year. The Southeast Automotive Media Organization organizes the award. The two dozen jurors include Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan.
By Free Press staff.
Posted by The 'C' Team at 6:21 AM
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
|Make : DODGE||Model : NEON||Year : 2003|
|Manufacturer : DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORPORATION|
|Service Bulletin Num : 0803006||Date of Bulletin: AUG 25, 2006|
|NHTSA Item Number: 10021239|
|Component: POWER TRAIN:AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION|
POWERTRAIN CONTROL MODULE INITIALIZATION. *KB
|Make : DODGE||Model : NEON||Year : 2003|
|Manufacturer : DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORPORATION|
|Service Bulletin Num : 1802902||Date of Bulletin: OCT 07, 2002|
|NHTSA Item Number: 10000313|
|Component: ENGINE AND ENGINE COOLING:ENGINE|
ENGINE NO START (ENGINE WILL START IMMEDIATELY AFTER CYCLING THE IGNITION KEY), MALFUNCTION INDICATOR LAMP (MIL) ILLUMINATION WITH DIAGNOSTIC TROUBLE CODE (DTC) P0016, P0335, P0339, P0340, P0462, P0498, P0499, P0522, P0622, P1604, P1681, P1686. *TT
Posted by The 'C' Team at 2:25 PM