Friday, June 29, 2007

Survey says most don't know how glove box named

Survey says most don't know how glove box named

A majority of people recently surveyed by the Chrysler Group don’t know what the glove box was named after, adding that even more use the compartment for something other than holding gloves, a new survey said.

Seventy-two percent of people in the new Chrysler Group survey of Americans said they did not know how the compartment, which was introduced in the 1920s for gloves, got its name.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Insight, also found that 84% of the people no longer use the box to hold gloves.

Instead, people surveyed said it has become a catchall for things such as: proof of insurance (94%), vehicle registration (92%), tissues and napkins (71%), maps (63%), sunglasses (47%), vehicle title (44%) and first aid-kits (38%).

Chrysler is pointing to the new survey as an example of why consumers might like the company’s new Chill Zone, a retooled glove box for storing cold beverages.

“With drivers no longer using the glove box to store gloves, we’ve reengineered this compartment to allow drivers to keep their refreshments chilled during hot summer drives,” Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge brand and SRT marketing and communication, said in a statement.

The survey found that 88% of people say they would use a glove box for storing chilled water or juice if the box kept things cool.

The survey was conducted during the end of May and involved 1,000 people across the country, the majority of whom either own or lease a vehicle.

The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.

Spied: Dodge's JC49 crossover loses some disguise

LEFTLANENEWS.COM - - A new encounter with a group of JC49 prototypes has yielded our first look at the small crossover's undisguised tailgate, providing some welcome clues to the vehicle's overall design character.

Dodge appears to have recently shifted the development pace of its JC49 crossover into high gear. Within the last month spies have seen several large convoys of JC49 prototypes running the highways of Southeastern Michigan, and have since spotted them traveling the entire country. KGP Photography's latest run-in with JC49 testers occurred in Colorado, where spies caught a string of three JC49s testing with a and a Hyundai Santa Fe–along for the ride as support/benchmarking vehicles.


Members of Dodge's test team were surprised, and obviously a little angry when spies snapped some photos of them testing in some desolate Colorado prairie land.

After giving our photographer a not-so-friendly one-finger-salute, the group went on with the business of logging some major miles, driving all throughout Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California in the course of a few days.

Tail revealed
Spies watched as the group took a rest stop in the California desert, and dutifully covered the prototypes. Unfortunately for them, the covers were stored within the rear cargo hatch, which meant that the rear camouflage had to be unzipped and moved out of the way, giving us our first look at the JC49's rear-end styling, clean and uncamouflaged.

This new view of the JC49 adds to our impression that this new crossover will have some aggressive styling in the usual Dodge tradition. The body panels have a fairly meaty quality, with a sharply chiseled waistline leading back to bold, angular tail-lights. The rear glass kicks up at the edges as it reaches the D-pillar, accentuating the JC's shoulders and bolstering its stance.

Pricing is expected to start around $20,000, with a volume target of 150,000 yearly. A debut at Detroit's next seems most likely.

June 26, 2007

2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Preview

For the first time, the Jeep Grand Cherokee will have the optional 3.0-liter diesel engine, which Chrysler says can improve fuel economy by as much as 30 percent.

The 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with an all-new, 4.7-liter V8 engine, rated at 305 hp and 330 pound-feet of torque, among its five available engine choices. Others include a 3.0-liter diesel; a 3.7-liter V6; a 5.7-liter heavy V8; and for the high-performance Grand Cherokee SRT8, a 420-hp 6.1-liter V8.

Chrysler says the new 4.7-liter engine will boast a 5 percent improvement in fuel economy and is E85 flex-fuel capable (E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline).

For the first time, Grand Cherokee models will have the optional 3.0-liter diesel, which Chrysler says can improve fuel economy by as much as 30 percent and provide a driving range of approximately 450 miles with towing capability of up to 7,400 pounds.

Interior changes include a new center console, armrests, two-tone instrument panel and bright accents with soft-touch surfaces and updated styling.

“Sirius Backseat TV,” the first-ever in-vehicle streaming video technology, will be launched as an available feature on the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler minivans. The technology will also become available on 2008 Jeep Commanders, the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Chargers and Magnums. Exterior styling for the Grand Cherokee is unchanged for 2008.
(C)Forbes, Shane Kite

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Ettore Bugatti is issued a German patent for the “pursang” trademark
The 1928 Nashes are introduced
G. D. Boerlage of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group dies at age 52
A. K. Brumbaugh, a design engineer with Autocar and White, dies in Palo Alto, CA at age 64
Chevrolet collector Bob Van Etten dies

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

Spy Photos: 2008 Dodge Challenger - From The Side!


JALOPNICK.COM - - The folks over at the ChallengerForums have a bit more to show than just the from-the-back shot we showed yesterday taken by a member of the Priddy pride. That's right -- this one's taken from the side. Seriously how much more hawt is that? Gallery of concept shots of the approved-for-production Challenger.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

A German-built Benz Velo, appearing in a Grand Forks parade to promote cigars, is the first automobile to be driven in North Dakota
Archduke Franz Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia, an action that resulted in the outbreak of World War I, while riding in an Austro-Daimler that was being chauffered by racer Otto Merz, a Mercedes team driver
The first Belgian Grand Prix is staged in Spa-Francorchamps, and won by Antonio Ascari in an Alfa Romeo P2
Alberto Ascari makes his motorcycle racing debut as a prelude to his automobile racing career
The Nash Rambler County Club hardtop coupe is introduced as a mid-year model

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Gustave Baumann, an artist affiliated with Packard 1914-1920, is born in Magdeburg, Germany
Howard C. Marmon is issued a United State patent for his friction braking system with internal brake shoes
A statue of F. H. Royce sculpted by F. Derwent Wood is unveiled in Derby, England, partly to honor the man and partly to bring publicity and potential sales to Rolls-Royce Ltd.
Benjamin Briscoe dies in Dunnellon, FL at age 78
Holden W. Rightmyer of the Standard Products Company since 1951, and the designer of all door locks used by the Chrysler Corporation 1933-1936 while with the American Swiss Company, dies

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

Leaking Jeep leads to suit against auto dealer, maker

6/25/2007 4:58 PM
By David Yates

Jeep Commander
Clay Dugas
Charles and Marcia Guillory bought a 2006 Jeep Commander from Greenville Automotive Partners. They claim the vehicle has an "uncontrollable leak" and are suing the dealer and vehicle's maker for the price of the jeep, plus $50,000 in attorney fees.

The Guillorys filed their deceptive trade practices suit with the Jefferson County District Court on June 22. Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, has been assigned to the case.

The suit names Green Greenville Automotive Partners, DaimlerChrysler Corp., Donalson Automotive Holdings and Allen Samuels Chrysler Jeep Inc. as defendants.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, in December 2006, the Guillorys purchased a 2006 Jeep Commander from Greenville.

"Since that time, plaintiffs have been forced to bring their vehicle in for service on several occasions for an uncontrollable leak, which has caused permanent damages to plaintiffs," the suit said.

"They have also continued to have problems with their transmission and other parts of the vehicle which have been defective. Plaintiffs were forced to incur expenses in order to repair the transmission of the vehicle which purported were not covered under the plaintiffs' warranty on the vehicle," the suit added. "Plaintiffs have suffered permanent damages as a result of the defective product sold to them by defendants."

The suit faults the defendants with product liability, negligence, misrepresentation, breech of express warranties, breach of implied warranty, and violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices - Consumer Protection Act.

"Defendants violated the DTPA by knowingly and falsely representing that their products were fit to be used for the purpose for which they were intended, when in fact, they were defective and dangerous," the suit said. "Their representations were made in uniform promotional materials."

The plaintiffs are suing for the value of the vehicle, expenses paid for the costs of repairs to the transmission of the vehicle, depreciation of the value of the vehicle, pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, additional damages under the DTPA, and attorney fees.

"Plaintiffs have been required to retain the services of counsel to prosecute this action," the suit said. "The sum of $50,000 is a reasonable sum for the prosecution of this action to judgment. In the event of an appeal to the court of appeals, the further sum of $20,000 would be due as reasonable attorneys' fee."

The Guillorys are represented by attorney Clay Dugas of Clay Dugas & Associates.

Rocker system for an internal combustion engine [VCT]

United States Patent 7,228,833
Klotz June 12, 2007

Rocker system for an internal combustion engine


An improved rocker system for actuating valve lift events of an internal combustion engine is provided. The system includes a rocker arm and an actuator link with the actuator link arranged to be in constant driving engagement with the rocker arm and a camshaft. A rocker shaft is positioned in a cylinder head and oriented to have a rotational axis that is substantially perpendicular to a rotational axis of the camshaft and the rocker arm is arranged to be rotated about the rocker shaft and engage a valve to actuate valve lift events of the internal combustion engine.

Inventors: Klotz; James R (Clinton Township, MI)
Assignee: DaimlerChrysler Corporation (Auburn Hills, MI)
Appl. No.: 10/721,623
Filed: November 25, 2003

Current U.S. Class: 123/90.39 ; 123/90.15; 123/90.16
Current International Class: F01L 1/18 (20060101)
Field of Search: 123/90.39,90.15,90.16

Hybrid vehicle with integral generator for auxiliary loads

United States Patent 7,231,994
Buglione , et al. June 19, 2007


A hybrid vehicle includes an internal combustion engine coupled to a combined starter/motor/generator which is, in turn, coupled to a transmission of the vehicle. The starter/motor/generator is coupled to a high voltage battery pack via an inverter and to a deployable power output panel for serving loads external to the vehicle. Whenever external loads are to be powered, a control unit automatically places the vehicle in PARK, or alternatively activates an electrical parking brake system to hold the vehicle stationary.

Inventors: Buglione; Arthur J (Troy, MI), Moore; Thomas S (Oxford, MI), Cilibraise; Gerald (Livonia, MI), Lee; Kathi S (White Lake, MI), Reed, Jr.; Richard G (Royal Oak, MI), Schroeder; Del C (Bloomfield Hills, MI), Malcolm; Robert G (Waterford, MI), Tworkowski; Edmund (Rochester Hills, MI), Hartwig; Kenneth (Ortonville, MI), Eanes, Sr.; Lewis Charles (Waterford, MI), Lucas; Glenn E (Macomb, MI), Davis; Robert L (Rochester Hills, MI), Doolittle, III; William W (Ann Arbor, MI)
Assignee: DaimlerChrysler Corporation (Auburn Hills, MI)
Appl. No.: 10/839,468
Filed: May 5, 2004

Current U.S. Class: 180/65.3 ; 180/65.8
Current International Class: B60K 1/00 (20060101)
Field of Search: 180/65.3,65.8,65.2,65.1,65.6 322/10,1 165/42,48.1 361/836,623 307/10.7

Nickelodeon Secures Multi-Million Advertising, Promotional Partnership with Chrysler that Highlights Its All-New 2008 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan

Posted by admin on 2007/6/26 11:04:08 (100 reads)

- Deal Pairs Chrysler Town & Country SIRIUS Backseat TV(TM) with Jimmy Neutron, and Extends to Multiple Platforms Including Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite Television, Print and Digital
- Chrysler Brand Signs on to Become an Official Sponsor of Nickelodeon's Slime Across America Summer Tour

2008 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan
Nickelodeon Secures Multi-Million Advertising and Promotional Partnership With Chrysler That Highlights Its All-New 2008 Chrysler Town & Country Minivan. (PRNewsFoto/Nickelodeon)

NEW YORK and DETROIT, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, has partnered with the Chrysler brand, in a brand new multi-million advertising and promotional multiplatform deal. The agreement was announced today by Jim Perry, Executive Vice President, 360 Brand Sales for Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group, and Dave Rooney, Director, Chrysler Global Marketing & Communications.

"We are thrilled to welcome Chrysler to Nickelodeon as a first time advertiser," said Perry. "Chrysler is pairing up with one of our hottest TV properties on a variety of Kids and Family platforms, and is joining us on the ride to slime America. This collaboration is a great example of the custom packages that Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family can offer marketers to get messaging out to target audiences in the kids and family space."The partnership is part of the Chrysler brand's efforts to target families with its 2008 Chrysler Town & Country minivan. The deal will highlight the Chrysler Town & Country's SIRIUS Backseat TV(TM) which will, for the first time, broadcast Nickelodeon and Nicktoons Network.

"We are truly excited about this collaboration between Chrysler and a strong entertainment brand geared towards families as well as kids," Rooney said. "The Chrysler Town & Country minivan, featuring the SIRIUS Backseat TV(TM), is for the tech savvy family; so who better at Nickelodeon to partner with than Jimmy Neutron, the genius inventor."

Chrysler has signed on as the exclusive auto sponsor for Nickelodeon's Slime Across America summer tour, which launches in July. The Chrysler sponsorship package, which begins July 7, includes an interactive Chrysler Town & Country display where families can experience the SIRIUS Backseat TV(TM) on- site at each of the 20 tour stops. In addition, Chrysler will provide on-site photo opportunities with a Jimmy Neutron costumed character. Chrysler will also be featured in billboards on any of Nickelodeon's local cable affiliate spots geared around the tour.

"The Slime Across America tour was extremely successful in its first leg earlier this year. With Chrysler on board as a sponsor, it promises to be bigger, better and messier this summer. We couldn't be more pleased to be working with them on this campaign," added Pam Kaufman, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Worldwide Partnerships, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group.

"We were looking for a way to create awareness of the Chrysler Town & Country with families on a grassroots level, and the Slime Across America tour provides us with an amazing opportunity to do so," added Rooney.

The advertising campaign, which begins this Fall on October 1, will be divided between several Nick platforms including Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite television, and digital sites,,, and magazine ads in Nickelodeon consumer publications. Custom spots will be developed featuring Jimmy Neutron interacting with the new features of the Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Jimmy Neutron will also be featured in Chrysler's online advertising campaign on and the previously listed Kids and Family Group digital sites, and his likeness, or a costumed character will make appearances throughout 2007-08 at auto shows, mobile tours, and in-theater ads where Chrysler products are featured.

The deal also features a Chrysler Town & Country and a vehicle specialist on-site at the Nickelodeon Family Suites by Holiday Inn in Orlando, Florida, from November through January 2008. Chrysler's custom spots will air on the hotel's in-house TV network. Nick Hotel branding will be featured on during the promotional window.

Vehicle frame with integrated high pressure fuel tank [Fuel cell]

United States Patent 7,232,156
Rife , et al. June 19, 2007


A frame for a gaseous fueled vehicle is provided. The frame includes a floor pan, a tunnel positioned centrally and longitudinally in the floor pan extending a full length of the frame, and a tank integrated into the tunnel, where the tank is circular in cross-section and has a variable diameter. The tunnel may also integrate two or more tanks.

Inventors: Rife; Isaac E (Oak Park, MI), Edmunds; Timothy (Clinton Township, MI), Anderson; Donald D (Ann Arbor, MI), Konstantakopoulos; George (Birmingham, MI)
Assignee: DaimlerChrysler Corporation (Auburn Hills, MI)
Appl. No.: 11/420,947
Filed: May 30, 2006

Update Trademarks

Serial Number Reg. Number Word Mark Check Status Live/Dead
1 78926508 3255792 GLK 320 TARR LIVE
2 78923356 3255781 GLK 280 TARR LIVE
3 78920569 3255766 GLK 220 TARR LIVE
4 78876528
5 78821963 3255392 S 320 TARR LIVE
6 78776429
7 78918584
8 78938042
9 78607238
10 78701675
11 78918582

Chrysler Group Joins U.S. Climate Action Partnership

WASHINGTON, June 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chrysler Group announced today its membership with the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), endorsing and participating in the non-partisan group's call for economy-wide mandatory reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

USCAP, a partnership of companies and non-government organizations, issued earlier this year a blueprint of principles and recommendations for establishing a multi-sector, market-driven program to swiftly slow, stop and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas emissions. The group has recommended that Congress establish short- and mid-term emission reduction targets; a national program to accelerate technology research, development and deployment; and approaches to encourage action by other countries, including the developing world.

"Now is the time for advancing a national approach to climate change where all of us - individuals, industry and government - take action toward reducing emissions of greenhouse gases," said Tom LaSorda, President and CEO, Chrysler Group. "We are proud to be an active member with USCAP in the development of climate policy that addresses energy use and emissions from all sectors of the U.S. economy, and ultimately drives increased energy efficiency.

"We look forward to working with the USCAP members in formulating a system to control greenhouse gas emissions in a way that not just addresses the supply of energy-efficient products and commodities, but also spurs demand for them."

Consistent with USCAP's principles, Chrysler Group believes that mandatory reductions of heat-trapping emissions can be imposed without economic harm and lead to economic opportunities if done across the economy and with provisions to mitigate costs. Furthermore, the company advocates an approach that leverages the competitive marketplace as the best solution to this challenge.

LaSorda testified before Congress in March that "if we intend to make meaningful progress in reducing petroleum consumption in this country, in addition to vehicle technology improvements, we look to the Federal Government to establish policies that address consumer demand and bend the bias of transportation fuels toward lower carbon alternatives."

Chrysler Group Fuel-efficiency Initiatives

Chrysler Group's advanced propulsion technology umbrella offers a diverse portfolio of fuel-saving technologies - including efficient gasoline engines, hybrids, clean diesels, flexible fuel vehicles (FFV) and biodiesel compatibility - that reduce petroleum consumption and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of a $3 billion investment announced in February to produce more fuel-efficient engines, transmissions and axles, last week the company further detailed its plans to boost fuel economy across its entire vehicle lineup. Chrysler Group fuel-saving initiatives include developing mild-hybrid technology and expanding the company's two-mode hybrid and BLUETEC clean- diesel programs. The company will also introduce new fuel-efficient six- and eight-cylinder gasoline engines with Multi-displacement System (MDS) technology and dual-clutch transmission technology.

In addition to the company's efforts to displace petroleum through advanced technologies, Chrysler group has produced more than 1.5 million FFVs - passenger cars and trucks capable of running on E85 or biodiesel. The company will produce an additional 250,000 FFVs in 2007 and approximately 500,000 in 2008. Chrysler Group stands ready to make half of its annual vehicle production FFVs by 2012.

As the leader in the development of clean diesel technologies, all Chrysler Group diesel vehicles are approved for use with biodiesel - a clean renewable diesel fuel made from vegetable oils. The company is working with industry partners on a national standard for B20 (20 percent biodiesel) that can be used in all diesel engines.

Environmental Commitment

Chrysler Group's environmental commitment pledges to protect the health of local communities, the country's natural resources and the global environment overall by continuously improving the environmental performance of its products and operations.

In order to reduce CO2 emissions at manufacturing facilities, the Chrysler Group strives to use energy as efficiently as possible and utilize low-carbon energy sources wherever possible. The company's manufacturing facilities reduced absolute CO2 emissions by 17.2 percent from 2002 to 2006. Greenhouse gas emissions per vehicle produced decreased by 4.9 percent during that time period. Chrysler Group's North American facilities reduced annual energy usage by more than 18.3 percent from 2002 levels, and in 2006, consumed 14.5 percent less energy per vehicle produced than in 2002.

RLPC-Chrysler readies $20 bln loan for Cerberus buyout

NEW YORK, June 25 (Reuters) - J.P. Morgan is launching this week a $20 billion senior secured bank loan to back Chrysler Holdings' buyout by Cerberus Capital Management [CBS.UL], banking sources told Reuters Loan Pricing Corporation.

The deal is split between bank loans for Chrysler Financial Services and Chrysler Corp.

The loan for Chrysler Financial Services consists of a $2 billion revolver, a $4 billion term loan B and a $2 billion second-lien term loan.

The financing for Chrysler Corp. consists of a $10 billion term loan B and a $2 billion second-lien term loan.ear Stearns, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley are also involved in the financing.

Earlier, published reports said the finance unit would raise $45 billion through high yield debt and asset-backed securities, while the auto operations unit would issue $12 billion in debt.

The deal comes roughly after two weeks of softness in the institutional loan market and likely will provide a test for the credit markets because of the large amount of financing being raised and concerns, in general, about the automotive sector.

DaimlerChrysler (DCXGn.DE: Quote, Profile , Research) said in a conference call last month that Chrysler Holdings may get a "BB" credit rating, which is higher than Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.'s "B" rating profile. DaimlerChrysler has a "BBB" investment grade rating.

DaimlerChrysler last month sold an 80.1 percent equity stake in Chrysler Holding to Cerberus, which will invest $7.4 billion in the automaker and its finance division.

DaimlerChrysler will retain a 19.9 percent stake in the new company.

The Dodge Caliber scored mixed results in the NCAP safety programme tests.

Mixed NCAP results for Dodge Caliber

Mixed NCAP results for Dodge Caliber

The Caliber was awarded one star out of four for pedestrian protection, with most elements of the bonnet and front bumper awarded zero points.

The Caliber dropped a point for adult occupancy protection as front airbags failed to stop the driver and front passenger impacting on the steering wheel and dashboard respcetively. Elements of the dashboard also posed a risk to front passengers´ legs.

The Caliber scores maximum points on side impact and pole tests.

The Dodge dropped a point on child protection as there were insufficient warnings to disable the front airbag if a childseat was placed in the front seat.

Flat demand, rising imports, output helps rebuild gasoline stocks-AP

WASHINGTON – Relatively weak U.S. gasoline deliveries, a proxy for demand, combined with record high domestic production and rising imports to help replenish U.S. gasoline inventories in May though they remain below year-ago levels, API data show.

In its Monthly Statistical Report covering May 2007, API noted that gasoline inventories ended the month nearly 10 million barrels above end-April levels but were still 2.7 percent below year-ago levels after several months of low import levels and record demand.

“Although gasoline demand growth has slowed markedly with recent higher prices, year-to-date it’s still the highest ever,” said Ron Planting, API’s manager of statistical information and analysis.

Overall U.S. oil demand, as expressed by total domestic petroleum deliveries, were flat compared with a year-ago as a 1.4 percent gain in distillate fuel oil demand and a double-digit rise in residual fuel oil deliveries were offset by a large decline in jet fuel deliveries and slightly lower gasoline deliveries.

Gasoline production rose above 9.0 million barrels per day for the first time since December, rising 375,000 barrels per day from April to nearly 9.2 million barrels per day. Total inputs to crude distillation units, an overall measure of refinery activity, rose for a fourth straight month. Many refineries finished up scheduled maintenance and the annual switch to summer-blend fuels and others recovered from unexpected production problems. In May, refinery utilization averaged 89.2 percent, up from 88.1 percent in April and 86.5 percent in March.

Total petroleum imports in May averaged more than 13.6 million barrels per day, up 2.2 percent from April, as gasoline imports, including blending components, alone rose 16.1 percent from April levels to average more than 1.3 million barrels per day, the third highest monthly level ever.

Oil recoups losses, trades higher, after inventory report shows big drop in gasoline stockpiles. More soon.

Fleet queens (25% or more; 50% or more in bold):

Quote »

Chevy Cobalt 39.7%
Ford Focus 26.5%
Kia Rio 27.3%
Kia Spectra 25.7%
Mazda 5 43.8%
Pontiac G5 26.9%
Pontiac Vibe 27.2%
Saturn Ion 29.4%
Chevy Malibu 58.8%
Chrysler Sebring 63.5%
Dodge Avenger 79.4% - just released

Dodge Caliber 45.1%
Ford Fusion 26.8%
Hyundai Sonata 27.6%
Kia Optima 52.8%
Mazda 6 42.7%
Pontiac G6 36.2%
Buick LaCrosse 29.2%
Chevy Impala 53.9%
Chevy Monte Carlo 46.5%
Chrysler 300 44.0%
Dodge Charger 56.2%
Dodge Magnum 60.9%

Ford Five Hundred 43.1%
Ford Taurus (previous generation) 96.5%
Kia Amanti 42.5%
Mercury Montego 30.2%
Mitsubishi Galant 35.4%
Pontiac Grand Prix 77.6%
Ford Crown Vic 91.3%
Mercury Grand Marquis 50.0%

Volvo S40 37.5%
Cadillac Deville 33.7%
Cadillac DTS 27.4%
Lincoln Town Car 58.5%
Audi TT 33.5%
Chrysler Crossfire 70.6%
Ford Mustang 29.0%
GEM E825 36.5%
Ford Ranger 27.8%
Buick Terrazza 28.9%
Chevy Astro 45.5%
Chevy Uplander 70.9%
Chrysler Town and Country 35.2%
Dodge Caravan 54.8%
Ford Freestar 43.2%
Hyundai Entourage 29.9%
Kia Sedona 32.0%
Saturn Relay 34.3%
Chevy Express 58.4%
Dodge Sprinter 33.8%
Ford Econoline 69.2%
Freightliner Sprinter 44.9%
GMC Savana 50.9%
Chevy HHR 30.1%
Chrysler PT Cruiser 61.8%
Ford Escape 28.2%
Jeep Liberty 32.8%
Chrysler Pacifica 49.3%
Ford Edge 32.0%
Ford Freestyle 28.7%
Chevy Trailblazer 35.4%
Chrysler Aspen 31.2% (also high for a new vehicle, but not as surprising)
Dodge Durango 33.0%
Ford Explorer 25.6%
Suzuki XL7 25.6%
Ford Expedition 27.4%
Hummer (H1) 2 passenger hard top 50.0% (one of two sales total)

Notes: No Toyota or Honda model met the 25% standard (although the Toyota Highlander was at 23.6%). The highest Honda was the Accord at 4.9%. The Chrysler group, minus most of Jeep, had insanely high fleet sales. Hyundai/Kia resembled a Detroit 3 maker in terms of fleet as well. No full sized pickup met the standard, and of compact pickups, only the ancient Ranger did.

Cerberus may be buying Chrysler at a good time

The 2008 Dodge Challenger is seen at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea, Mich., where it was being road tested prior to the start of production for the new model year.
Click to view a larger picture

Several new vehicles coming out in fall

CHELSEA, Mich. — With its purchase of Chrysler looming, Cerberus Capital Management LP could be buying control of the struggling automaker at a good time.

And the best reason for the $7 billion acquisition for a controlling stake in the DaimlerChrysler AG unit might wind up being the products — not the bargain price — according to one analyst.

A new version of Chrysler’s stalwart minivan is scheduled to come out this fall, and Jeep sales continue to rise.

But the minivan is the can’t-miss product that should have Cerberus smelling like a rose in a year, said Erich Merkle, vice president of forecasting for auto consulting company IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids.

“If I’m Cerberus, I’m buying Chrysler for dirt . . . right on the cusp of one of the biggest product launches in the decade,” said Merkle, referring to the redesigned 2008 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan. He was attending an event Thursday to showcase Chrysler’s 2008 models at the automaker’s Chelsea Proving Grounds. “That’s the next hit.”

Even with their dual-screen DVD players and Swivel ’n Go seating and storage system, the minivans were easy to overlook amid many sexier 2008 models on display, including the Dodge Magnum, Viper SRT10 and even the Jeep Liberty, with its bolder, boxier frame and exclusive full-length open canvas roof.

But Merkle said the minivans, which represent about 20 percent of Chrysler’s sales, are its “ace in the hole.”

“There may be products where [Chrysler] doesn’t hit the mark. But their core competency is the minivan — that’s one thing they don’t screw up.

“GM and Ford moved away from it — not because the segment is poor but because . . . Honda and Toyota beat ’em,” referring to the Japanese automakers’ Odyssey and Sienna, respectively.

On top of that, Merkle said, Chrysler is gearing up for the next-generation 2009 Dodge Ram. The pickup is the automaker’s second-best-selling product.

“You’ve got a one-two punch coming up for Chrysler.”

Some promising products are also timely for Chrysler, which made $1.8 billion in 2005 but lost $618 million in 2006 and $1.98 billion before interest and taxes in the first quarter of this year.

DaimlerChrysler agreed last month to transfer an 80.1 percent stake in Chrysler to Cerberus, a New York-based private equity firm. Daimler bought Chrysler in 1998 for $36 billion.

As part of the $7.4 billion takeover cost, Cerberus would invest $6.05 billion in Chrysler, and its financing arm would pay DaimlerChrysler $1.35 billion. The two companies expect to close the transaction in the third quarter.

Chrysler brand sales are down 9.8 percent for the first five months of the year, and Dodge is off 1.9 percent for the same period, according to Autodata Corp. Jeep sales are up 12.2 percent.

One of last year’s big hopes, the redesigned Chrysler Sebring, failed to woo buyers of the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and other midsize competitors. Still, Chrysler’s success with the 300 and 300C sedans and Dodge Magnum crossover helped it make money in 2005.

“They run in streaks,” Merkle said.

Frank Klegon, executive vice president for product development, said the company’s future pipeline is strong, with 20 new products and 13 revamped vehicles coming out between 2007 and 2009.

“No one succeeds in our business without innovation, and distinctive products that respond to the customer are a must,” he said.

Aaron Bragman, an analyst with Global Insight in Troy who also attended Thursday’s event, said the jury’s still out on whether Cerberus will find it so rosy.

“New products have to be extremely successful,” he said, adding the new minivans offer refinements but not exactly a revolution.

“The competition is extremely good. . . . It’s such a tough segment that its two domestic competitors have gotten out of it.”

Report: DaimlerChrysler CEO Optimistic

Associated Press 06.25.07, 6:31 AM ET

DaimlerChrysler AG's chief executive said that "the next years will be good" for the newly unbound Daimler AG and indicated that the risk of a takeover has diminished, according to an interview published Monday.

DaimlerChrysler (nyse: DCX - news - people ) agreed last month to sell 80.1 percent of its stake in money-losing U.S. unit Chrysler to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, paving the way for a streamlined Daimler to concentrate on its luxury Mercedes brand and truck business.

"The next years will be good," CEO Dieter Zetsche was quoted as saying in the daily Tagesspiegel.

"We are not thinking of a further product offensive with brand-new vehicles," he added. "We are well placed in the breadth of our very young range of models and are now concentrating on becoming even better with the successors to individual models."

Zetsche also said that Daimler is now more firmly in control of its own future.

"The risk of others exerting influence on the company, in an unwanted way, is now significantly smaller," he said.

"The doubling of the market value already has happened and so (it) is no longer a sausage that would be worth snatching at for financial investors," Zetsche said.

DaimlerChrysler shares were down nearly 1.9 percent at 66.45 euros ($89.32) Monday in an overall lower Frankfurt market.

Report: DaimlerChrysler Expects Good Years

Associated Press 06.25.07, 6:31 AM ET

DaimlerChrysler AG's chief executive said that "the next years will be good" for the newly single Daimler AG and indicated that the risk of it becoming a takeover target have diminished, according to an interview published Monday.

DaimlerChrysler (nyse: DCX - news - people ) agreed last month to sell 80.1 percent of its stake in money-losing U.S. unit Chrysler to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, paving the way for a streamlined Daimler to concentrate on its luxury Mercedes brand and truck business.

"The next years will be good," CEO Dieter Zetsche was quoted as saying in the daily Tagesspiegel.

"We are not thinking of a further product offensive with brand-new vehicles," he added. "We are well placed in the breadth of our very young range of models and are now concentrating on becoming even better with the successors to individual models."

Zetsche also indicated that Daimler is now more firmly in control of its own future.

"The risk of others exerting influence on the company, in an unwanted way, is now significantly smaller," he was quoted as saying, adding that the company "has addressed and solved many issues in the last year - these initiatives generate confidence."

"The doubling of the market value already has happened and so (it) is no longer a sausage that would be worth snatching at for financial investors," Zetsche said, according to the report.

DaimlerChrysler shares were down nearly 1.9 percent at euro66.45 (US$89.32) Monday in an overall lower Frankfurt market.

Iamge of the week: Bamboo Jeep

Philippine Bamboo Jeep Featured at

One of my favorite sources of "bloggables", recently featured a proudly Philippine Made vehicle: The Bamboo Jeep!

Go Pinoy!

Auto/Mate Certified by Chrysler for ARO

Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

Auto/Mate Dealership Systems announced today that its AMPS dealer management system has been certified by Chrysler for ARO. Chrysler dealers using AMPS can now seamlessly connect to Chrysler's ARO parts inventory management system. ARO connects dealer spare parts inventory to a Mopar-controlled automatic daily replenishment order. It's unique to the industry because it's based on individual dealer demand. ARO replenishes parts on an as-needed basis, reducing the capital investment that a dealer makes in stocking excess parts.

Clifton Park, NY June 25, 2007 -- Auto/Mate Dealership Systems, ranked the highest for overall customer satisfaction in the last three NADA surveys, announced today that its AMPS dealer management system has been certified by Chrysler for ARO. Chrysler dealers using AMPS can now seamlessly connect to Chrysler's ARO parts inventory management system. ARO connects dealer spare parts inventory to a Mopar-controlled automatic daily replenishment order. It's unique to the industry because it's based on individual dealer demand. ARO replenishes parts on an as-needed basis, reducing the capital investment that a dealer makes in stocking excess parts.

"ARO is a unique system in that it maximizes the efficiency of dealer capital invested in parts inventory," said Mike Esposito, President and CEO of Auto/Mate. "The time savings and cost advantages it offers are very exciting to our Chrysler dealers."

The time savings and cost advantages it offers are very exciting to our Chrysler dealers.
All Auto/Mate Chrysler dealers will be updated to ARO at no charge.

The certified interface allows Chrysler to query Auto/Mate's AMPS DMS every night. Chrysler monitors each individual dealer's inventory and sales based on what was sold, then ships parts overnight based on what the system tells them is needed the next day.

Dealers can maintain control by reviewing and agreeing upon recommended stocking parameters, and may revise them as necessary. Years of accumulated data from Chrysler dealers was used to develop ARO's accurate forecasting model that takes the guesswork out of stocking parts. The parts replenishment process is completely automated and once installed, the dealers don't have to do a thing.

Chrysler ARO also offers an order guarantee, whereby if parts sit on a dealer's shelf for nine months the OEM will buy them back. However, the system is so advanced that it monitors and compares dealers' inventory needs across the country. If Dealer A in one location needs a part that happens to be aging in Dealer B's inventory, Chrysler will send a shipping label to Dealer B so they can forward the part to Dealer A.

About Auto/Mate

Auto/Mate Dealership Systems was established 25 years ago with a simple goal: to provide an efficient and reasonably priced computer system to increase dealers' profitability. Designed by former auto dealer executives, AMPS (Automotive Management Productivity Suite) by Auto/Mate offers more than 20 fully integrated modules to suit any size dealership and to address every need, including Sales, F&I, Fixed Operations, Accounting, CRM, Fleet Sales and more. Auto/Mate's success has led to a continuous growth rate of more than 30% per year, with its system currently in use by more than 400 dealers. In three combined surveys conducted by NADA, Auto/Mate has ranked the highest in customer satisfaction over any other dealer system.

AMPS by Auto/Mate Dealership Systems is powerful, scalable and has a unique, graphical interface that makes it familiar and easy to use. AMPS is an open system and will run on most computer hardware that a dealer has in place. When compared to other systems on the market, AMPS offers the most value per dollar, allowing dealerships to operate more efficiently and profitably. For more information, please visit

Chrysler lowers June sales goal

Automaker, still trying to mend relationship with dealers, makes it easier for them to get bonuses.

Josee Valcourt / The Detroit News

DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, which has made improving dealer profitability a priority, lowered its June sales targets, making it easier for its dealers to collect bonuses.

The Auburn Hills automaker reduced its "Volume Purchase Allowance" goals by 10 percent this month, according to a recent letter to retailers from Steven Landry, Chrysler's executive vice president for North American sales, global marketing, service and parts.

Once dealers hit their targets, they get bonuses for any additional vehicles they sell. The program has been a source of friction with some dealers, who say it often calls for unrealistic targets, as well as creates an uneven playing field that benefits larger, profitable dealerships and hurts those that are smaller and less profitable.

Chrysler spokesman Markus Mainka confirmed the reduced June's sales target.

"We try to ensure that the target-setting process is reasonable, transparent and also reflects how we think the industry will develop," Mainka said. "And we constantly continue to review the effectiveness of the program and make potential changes as necessary in consultation with the dealer council."

Since late last year, Chrysler has been trying to mend its tattered relationship with dealers after the automaker overestimated the market and crammed overbuilt vehicles onto retailers' lots.

In his "mid-year review" letter, Landry summarized measures taken in the first six months of the year and plans for the remainder of 2007. He wrote that one area in which the automaker has made progress is in setting "realistic retail sales targets."

Under Chrysler's revised targets for June, dealers will earn $500 for each vehicle they sell over their goal. For every vehicle they sell over the original target, they will earn $650.

The change motivates dealers who may have been discouraged because it appeared they weren't going to hit their targets, said Ron Kutz, general manager at Dallas Dodge Chrysler Jeep dealership. "It makes it obtainable," he said.

The lowered June goals also give dealers a shot at reaching their quarterly targets and getting those bonuses, Kutz said.

"It's not just a reduction for June, but it's a reduction for April and May, which therefore means if I missed April, then wow! I have a chance to catch up on the all the money from April. It's a double win for a dealer."

Doug Wilson of Wilson Dodge in Flowood, Miss., said the new targets show the automaker is paying attention to "what's going on in the marketplace and with our sales. This shows that their numbers were unrealistic to begin with and out of touch with the current market conditions."

For the month of June, vehicle sales are expected to reach about 16.2 million units on a seasonally adjusted annual rate, said Erich Merkle, an analyst with IRN Inc. in Grand Rapids. That compares to a 16.3 million annual rate last June.

"We're seeing some weakness in the market in terms of sales," Merkle said. "It's slight, but it's there."

Higher gas prices and interest rates have impacted consumer spending habits. However, Chrysler's lower June targets may have more to do with how its vehicles are being received in the marketplace, Merkle said.

"They're going to have to tread water for a while until they get their new minivans," he said. "That will be their next big hit. A lot of the stuff that they've had just hasn't performed very well outside of the Wrangler four-door."

In the letter, Landry urged dealers to sell more Dodge Caliber and Nitro vehicles, among other newer models.

"We can sell more Caliber," the letter reads. "It is perfect for the U.S. market. Sebring and Avenger are great vehicles, and we need your help to advertise them locally Compass and Nitro need a push from both of us."

This Day in Auto History: 25 JUNE

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

The Salem, MA bicycle shop of Lucius B. Packard is destroyed by fire – in the late 1890’s three prototype Packard automobiles had been built here, but actual production did not occur
The 6,000,000th Chevrolet is produced
Racer Dick Seaman is killed at age 26 when his Mercedes-Benz W154 crashes in heavy rain during the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps – the redesigned Alfa Romeo Type 316 race car makes its debut with driver Nino Farina – Georg Meier makes his Auto Union debut, but retires with mechanical problems
Racer Patrick Tambay is born in Paris, France
A full-sized clay model of the proposed Lincoln Continental Mark II is completed

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

Monday, June 25, 2007

This Day in Auto History: 24 JUNE

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

The Paris-Vienna race begins with 137 entries and 10,000 spectators
Opel records it finest racing moment when the 12-litre car built in 1913 wins a beach race on Fano Island, Denmark at a speed of 128 mph
Frank N. Nutt, a spark plug manufacturer and Chief Engineer of the Haynes Automobile Company 1899-1914, dies in Rochester, MN at age 51
Racer Takao Wada is born in Japan
Racer Hut Stricklin is born in Calera, AL

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

Dodge Viper lands upside down on fire hydrant

A Dodge Viper went out of control in the suburb of Addison, Chicago slamming into a fire hydrant during rush hour.
The red Dodge Viper came to rest upside down on top of the hydrant which resulted in a water gushing experience.

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This Day in Auto History: 23 JUNE

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Ford No. 2, a Model T driven by Bert Scott and Jimmy Smith, arrives at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, WA, winning the “race” that had started in New York City 23 days earlier
The 4-passenger Disbrow Quad Express is announced
Racer Bob Harkey is born
The Ford Motor Company ends operations at its Willow Run factory
Worth McMillion makes his Grand National racing debut driving a Pontiac at South Boston, VA

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

Chrysler plots better Dodge bakkies

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22/06/2007 10:16

Chrysler 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 carmaker's overall sales in 2006.

As the No. 4 US carmaker prepares to launch a revamped pickup truck line to go up against newer, competing offerings from General Motors and Toyota, 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.

US sales for pickup trucks have surprised skeptics by holding relatively steady this year with Chrysler and Ford forced to rely on steep sales incentives.

Sales of pickup trucks, which rely heavily on buyers in industries like construction, have declined 3.5% through May this year. But full-size pickups still account for 13.2% of the overall US 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 V6 engines and axles expected to boost mileage some 12%, introduce more diesel engines and lifting mileage an additional 5 percent by eliminating other sources of friction in the vehicle, including wind drag.

More Mopar Diesels?

Chrysler's looking for new applications for the 3.0 CRD motor.

Chrysler seeks new applications for diesel engines


AutoWeek | Published 06/21/07, 2:39 pm et
CHELSEA, Mich. -- The Chrysler group is looking for new applications for the 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine developed by Mercedes-Benz, its top product development executive says.

Speaking at a press event here, Frank Klegon, executive vice president for product development, did not specify what those new applications might be. Chrysler now uses the diesel only on the 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The automaker also wants to add a four-cylinder diesel to its North American product offerings, Klegon said.

Chrysler already offers four-cylinder diesels in Europe on the Grand Voyager minivan, Dodge Caliber hatchback and several Jeep models. The minivan is powered by a four-cylinder VM Motori diesel made in Italy. Chrysler buys a diesel engine from Volkswagen for the Caliber.

In the past, Chrysler looked to Mercedes first for diesel power. But it might broaden its list of suppliers under the pending ownership of Cerberus Capital Management LP, Klegon said.

He thinks that demand for diesels will account for 10 to 15 percent of North American light vehicles in the next 10 to 15 years and that demand for hybrids will rise to a similar level.