Friday, January 11, 2008

Chrysler Trucks
Last updated: 01/08/08
*Lead time estimates factor in normal transportation time of 10-14 days. Please add an additional one to three weeks on vehicles destined for the Western States, Alaska, Hawaii or east and west provinces of Canada.
Model Estimated Lead Time in Weeks* Key Production Information
Chrysler Aspen 7-9
  • No restrictions
Dodge Durango 7-9
  • No restrictions
Dodge Dakota - Club Cab/Quad Cab 6-8
  • No restrictions
Dodge Nitro 7-8
  • Anti-lock 4-Wheel Disc Heavy Duty Brakes (BR6) are on restriction until 03/13/08
Dodge Ram - 1500 (All models) 6-10
  • Orders received requesting two-tone paint will be submitted on a will-try basis - Chrysler announced on 01/07/08 that the final build date for two-tone paint is 02/29/08
Dodge Ram - 2500 and 3500 Regular Cab/Mega Cab/Quad Cab 6
  • No restrictions
Dodge Ram 3500 Heavy Duty Chassis Cab 6
  • The combination of the 5.7 Liter Hemi V8 Engine (EZA) and Delete Pickup Box (XBC) is on restriction until 02/04/08 - Ram 2500 models
  • The combination of Single Rear Wheel Group (AR9) and 6-Speed Automatic Transmission (DG3) is on restriction until 02/04/08 - 3500 HD Chassis ST/SLT 4x4 Regular Cab 143.5 Inch Wheel Base (DC8L63)
Dodge Ram 4500/5500 Chassis Cab TBD
  • Initial production was scheduled to begin on 09/17/07 for models requesting the 192.5 Inch Wheelbase
Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van 8-10
  • The following options are on restriction:
    • Cargo Compartment Floor Mat (CKL) - 01/28/08
    • Full Width Cargo Divider (CWC) - 01/28/08
    • Solid Window Inserts (XGC) - 01/28/08
    • Exterior Vinyl Window Shading (XGL) - 01/28/08
    • Wall Liner-Molded (CMF) - 03/15/08
    • Wall Liner-Carpeted (CMP) - TBD
    • Half Width Cargo Divider (CWG) - TBD
    • Wire Mesh Window Inserts (XGE) - TBD
Dodge Sprinter Van/Cab-Chassis 20-24
  • No restrictions
Jeep Commander 6-8
  • The following exterior paints are on restriction until:
    • Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl (PXR) - 02/04/08

    • Modern Blue Pearl Coat (PBL) - 03/17/08
    • Olive Green Metallic Clear Coat (PFG) - 04/07/08
  • Latitude Group (ACY) doesn't begin production until 02/01/08
Jeep Compass 6
  • The Deluxe Security Alarm (LSD) is on restriction until 02/04/08
Jeep Grand Cherokee 6-8
  • The following exterior paints are on restriction until:
    • Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl (PXR) - 02/04/08

    • Modern Blue Pearl Coat (PBL) - 03/17/08
    • Olive Green Metallic Clear Coat (PFG) - 04/07/08
  • Latitude Group (ACY) doesn't begin production until 02/01/08
Jeep Liberty 7
  • The following options are on restriction:
    • Rain Sensitive Windshield Wipers (JHC) - 03/03/08
    • Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc HD Brakes (BR6) - 03/13/08
  • Power 6-Way Driver Seat (JPS) in combination with the Popular Equipment Group (AJY) is on restriction until 03/17/08
Jeep Patriot 8-10
  • The Deluxe Security alarm (LSD) is on restriction until 02/04/08

Chrysler Cars
Last Updated : 01/08/08
*Lead time estimates factor in normal transportation time of 10-14 days. Please add an additional one to three weeks on vehicles destined for the Western States, Alaska, Hawaii or east and west provinces of Canada.
Model Estimated Lead Time in Weeks* Key Production Information
Chrysler 300 / 300C 8
  • Clearwater Blue Pearl Coat (PBG) paint isn't scheduled to begin production until 02/18/08
Chrysler Pacifica 6-8
  • Final orders for the 2008 model year were due 11/09/07
Chrysler PT Cruiser 6-8
  • The following paints have delayed initial production start dates:
  • - Sunset Crystal Clearcoat (PVJ) - 02/04/08

    - Melbourne Green Pearl Coat (PPL) - 02/04/08

Chrysler Sebring / Dodge Avenger 6
  • The Deluxe Security Alarm (LSD) is on indefinite restriction
Dodge Caliber 6-8
  • The 9 Speaker Premium Sound Group (ATJ) in on indefinite restriction
  • The Deluxe Security Alarm (LSD) is on restriction until 02/04/08
Dodge Grand Caravan / Chrysler Town & Country 6-8
  • 17 Inch x 6.5 Inch Aluminum Wheels (WFX) are on indefinite restriction - St. Louis Assembly Plant
  • Second Row Swiveling Bucket Seats with Boosters (CY4) are on restriction until 01/28/08 - Windsor, Ontario, Assembly Plant
Dodge Charger/Magnum 7-10
  • Clearwater Blue Pearl Coat (PBG) paint isn't scheduled to begin production until 02/18/08

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

"The Hudson Motor Car Company introduces the Model 54 sedan, claimedto be the world's first production closed car, at the 13th NationalAutomobile Show in New York City"
"Carroll Shelby is born in Leesburg, TX"
"J. Walter Christie, a pioneer designer of front-wheel-drive cars,dies in Falls Church, VA at age 77"
The 1956 Chevrolet Corvette is introduced
Racer Thierry Tassin is born in Belgium

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

Construction has stalled on transmission plant

By Ted Evanoff

Chrysler renegotiating after curbing output, analysts say Construction has halted on the $530 million Chrysler-Getrag transmission plant near Tipton, while the partners sort out an undisclosed contract issue related to Chrysler's decision to scale back vehicle output, industry analysts said.

In limbo: Construction on a $530 million Chrysler-Getrag transmission plant near Tipton has stopped while the partners resolve a dispute arising from Chrysler's decision to scale back vehicle production. The plant is to supply fuel-efficient transmissions for Chrysler's Phoenix V-6 engine. - MATT KRYGER / The Star from WTHR Chopper 13
Chrysler and German transmission designer Getrag partnered last year on a major plant at Tipton meant to supply fuel-efficient transmissions to be used with Chrysler's Phoenix V-6, a newly designed gasoline engine scheduled to reach market in 2009.
But the U.S. economy has cooled, and the automaker is eliminating eight work shifts in vehicle assembly plants, including plants originally slated to begin assembly in 2009 of autos equipped with the front-wheel-drive Phoenix-Getrag powertrain.
Auto analysts say the decision to cut car production means the Tipton plant would open in 2009 producing far fewer Getrag transmissions than originally thought. As a result, Chrysler appears to be negotiating to pay the same price for the Getrag transmission at low production volumes as at high volumes.
Chrysler declined to comment about the negotiations.
Despite the construction delay at Tipton, Chrysler spokesman David Elshoff said Thursday that no plans are being made to delay the introduction of the Phoenix-Getrag powertrain or push back the launch of the vehicles for which the new powertrain has been designed.
Elshoff said Chrysler, which earlier allocated $1.7 billion for new engine plants, has continued construction of the Phoenix plants going up in Trenton, Mich., and Saltillo, Mexico.
Work at the Tipton plant was halted Dec. 21 and hasn't resumed, the Kokomo Tribune reported Wednesday.
"At this point, we don't see a disruption in the program schedule," Elshoff said, referring to the transmission reaching market next year. "We have discussions going on this week with Getrag. It's our hope at the conclusion of these talks, we'll be able to resume building in Tipton."
Officials at Getrag Corp. of North America, based in Sterling Heights, Mich., did not return calls seeking comment.
Getrag would manage the Tipton plant. Its 1,400 workers would come chiefly from volunteers at the Chrysler Kokomo transmission complex and laid-off Chrysler workers.
The Getrag transmission, known as a dual wet clutch, appears to the car driver to function like an automatic, while it delivers the superior fuel economy of a manual transmission.

Chrysler closer to small-car deal

Japanese report claims progress with Nissan

Chrysler LLC and Nissan Motor Co. are in final talks about the Japanese company providing the Auburn Hills automaker with a small car, Japanese television network NHK is reporting.

A spokesman for Nissan confirmed today the companies are in talks but would not say whether the two are close to a deal.Chrysler has not confirmed that talks are ongoing. On Monday, Chrysler President Jim Press seemed to downplay the idea, calling it a rumor.

But he did stress the company's goal to form alliances. "We will continue to use the potential of affiliations to broaden our product line."

Chrysler has said foreign alliances are a crucial part of the automaker's plans to be successful and taken several steps to prepare such partnerships, including appointing executives to oversee them.

After being sold off by Daimler AG last year, Chrysler is primarily a U.S. automaker with a small footprint overseas.

Earlier this week, Chrysler said it sold nearly 240,000 vehicles outside of North America last year. In the United States, the company sold about 2.1 million vehicles.

NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, indicated that the talks were about a small car with a 1.8-liter engine.

Chrysler has already entered into an alliance with Chery Automobile Co. for the Chinese automaker to build small cars that will be sold under a Chrysler brand, likely Dodge.

Other media reports have recently said that Chrysler officials were in talks with officials at Gaz, a Russian automaker, and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., an Indian automaker.

Last week, Press said that some ideas brought to Chrysler are given too much emphasis.

Nissan to supply Chrysler with car for South America

OKYO, Jan 11 (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co (7201.T: Quote, Profile, Research), Japan's third-biggest automaker, will supply Chrysler LLC with a fuel-efficient small car for sale in South America, the two companies said in a statement on Friday.

The new car will be based on the Nissan Versa sedan, which has an engine displacement of 1.8 litres, and will be supplied to Chrysler on an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) basis from 2009.

The deal, which had been flagged by media, would help Chrysler bolster its product line-up as rising gasoline prices boost demand for fuel-efficient cars while allowing Nissan to benefit from higher output.

"This kind of tactical partnership allows us to maximize product offerings yet minimize costly investments -- such as new plant infrastructure, tooling and R&D," Chrysler President Tom Lasorda said in a statement.

Nissan and Chrysler, which was acquired this year by Cerberus Capital Management LP [CBS.UL], have been in talks to supply cars, trucks and engines to each other, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.

Both Nissan and Chrysler have similar OEM deals with other carmakers aimed at saving development costs in an increasingly competitive industry.

Over a year ago, Nissan and its French partner Renault SA (RENA.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) broke off talks with General Motors Corp (GM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) over a comprehensive three-way alliance.

While Nissan-Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has said the alliance could still seek a U.S. partner in future, the discussions with Chrysler are on a smaller, product-by-product level, the source said. (Reporting by Noriyuki Hirata and Nathan Layne; Editing by David Holmes/Rory Channing)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

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

1/4 Mile ET: 11.396
1/4 Mile MPH: 120.400
1/8 Mile ET: 7.320
1/8 Mile MPH: 97.290
0-60 Foot ET: 1.657
Temperature F: 70.0
Timeslip Scan:
Car Make: Dodge
Car Model: Magnum
Car Type: SRT8
Car Year: 2006
Driver: Lou Montgomery
E-Mail: Click HERE
Videos: Magnum Videos
Web Site:

Horsepower @ wheels: 565.00
Torque @ wheels: 675.00
Dyno Type: DynoJet
Dyno Graph:

Classifieds: Magnum For Sale
Parts: Magnum Parts

First Production 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8(R) Up for Bid!

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- After a 34 Year Absence,
All- new Dodge Muscle Car Set to Roll Across the Auction Block at 37th
Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction:

* Limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8(R) features a 6.1-liter
HEMI(R) V-8 engine, HEMI Orange paint, carbon-fiber-like hood stripes, a
chrome fuel filler cap and a numbered dash plaque
* More than 4,300 orders placed the first day the all-new Dodge Challenger
SRT8 went on sale
* Proceeds from the auction of No. 1 production Dodge Challenger SRT8 to
benefit notMYkid

Dodge and notMYkid have partnered to auction the first production 2008
Dodge Challenger SRT8(R) at the 37th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car
Auction to be held January 12-20, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"The Dodge Challenger has always been an iconic vehicle and consumers
are showing overwhelming enthusiasm for the modern version -- the all-new
2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8," said Mike Accavitti, Director -- Dodge Brand
and SRT Global Marketing, Chrysler LLC. "Dodge dealers took more than 4,300
orders the first day it went on sale. Clearly consumers are clamoring for
the kind of modern amenities and iconic muscle car heritage the Challenger
SRT8 offers."

The all-new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 features the proven 6.1-liter
HEMI(R) V-8 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, a race-
inspired interior and an exterior design stays true to Challenger heritage
while delivering a host of modern features and technologies and "race
inspired, street legal" SRT DNA.

Developed by Chrysler's in-house performance engineering organization,
the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 was engineered with a focus on the five
pillars of every SRT vehicle: bold exterior design that resonates with the
brand image, a race-inspired interior, world-class ride and handling across
a dynamic range, a standout powertrain and benchmark braking.

Bidders will have the chance to own the car before it is shown to the
public. The 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will make its worldwide debut on
Feb. 6, at the Chicago Auto Show.

Interested bidders are required to register with Barrett-Jackson prior
to bidding. Registration information can be found at

Proceeds from the first production Dodge Challenger will benefit
notMYkid -- an organization dedicated to facilitating improved
understanding about youth behavioral health issues including suicide, drug
abuse, eating disorders and depression.

Dodge and notMYkid have partnered to auction the first production 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8(R) at the 37th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction to be held January 12-20, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Spy Shots: Production 2008 Dodge Challenger caught, too

click above image for more spy shots of the production Dodge Challenger

Seems like one when modern day muscle car gets caught a spy photographer, they all get shot. We've already shown you new spy shots of the 2010 Ford Mustang GT today, and now we bring you two new shots (the first two in the gallery below) of the production Dodge Challenger that's been caught testing out in public. Dodge is saving the production Challenger's debut until February when it will be unveiled at the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, but as we've seen from official teaser shots, don't expect a car much different than the Challenger with which we all fell in love. This test vehicle was reportedly sporting a HEMI V8, so it's probably an SRT8 model, the same kind that will go on sale this year before the rest of the Challenger line-up arrives next year.

[Source: Brenda Priddy & Co.]

Van sales clinch No. 1

Chrysler holds on to N.A. title

Chris Vander Doelen, Windsor Star

Published: Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Chrysler's new fifth-generation minivans helped the company hold on to its title as North America's minivan sales leader in 2007, holding off a charging Honda.

Between the minivan victory -- some analysts had predicted Honda's Odyssey would overtake the Dodge Caravan for the sales title -- and record international sales, Chrysler feels it had a pretty good year in 2007, all things considered.

"We think we had an excellent year, considering what went on in the company," Jim Press, vice-chairman and president of Chrysler LLC, said Monday. The sale of the company, as well as its restructuring, plant closures, layoffs and a new labour contract all caused it considerable turmoil.

But Chrysler ended the year on an upward sales trend in December. It set sales records outside the U.S., even though its U.S. sales were down by three per cent, about equal to the shrinkage of the overall market.

Chrysler, which is now owned by private equity company Cerberus Capital Management, is not required to report its financial results publicly.

A number of recent media reports in the U.S. have used that new opacity to cast doubt on Chrysler's financial viability. Some have claimed Chrysler is relying on cheap fleet sales to shore up its sales figures.

Senior Chrysler executives who took part in a conference call Monday did not refer to those speculative reports but seemed anxious to dispel any pessimism about Chrysler's future.

"We have a great future in front of us," Press said. "We're poised to grow and compete with the world's best." The company's year of restructuring has left it leaner and able to move more more quickly than its larger competitors, he said.

"Our fleet sales were actually down in December," Press said.


International sales in 2007 rose by 15 per cent. Canadian sales went up six per cent. But the dip in the U.S., by far its major market, dragged down global sales by one per cent.

Both Press and Stephen Landry, a former president of Chrysler Canada, singled out Canadian sales as a particular bright spot for the company. Chrysler is now the No. 2 automotive company in Canada by sales, having knocked Ford to third place behind General Motors in 2007.

Chrysler's Dodge and Chrysler minivans, most of which are built in Windsor, sold a total of 176,041 units in North America last year. It was second in the minivan segment worldwide, selling 232,000.

Press, who shocked the industry by agreeing to be hired away from Toyota last year, also had praise for his new employer's product lineup and dealer network, which he called "as strong as I've seen in any place."


Chrysler has put its previous inventory problems behind it, according to Stephen Landry, executive vice-president of North American sales.

The company has 438,000 vehicles in stock, Landry said, about 100,000 units or 19 per cent fewer than a year ago. "So we're in pretty good shape." The company has lost billions in the past due to high inventories and model year overlap.

More news concerning Getrag - construction issues

Construction of the $530 million Getrag-Chrysler project transmission plant in Tipton County has been suspended indefinitely, the Kokomo Tribune is reporting.

Work at the plant, a joint project between Chrysler and the German manufacturer, stopped on Dec. 21. Officials with the Walbridge-Aldinger Construction Co., the general contractors on the project, said it was a holiday break. Earlier this month they indicated work would resume next Monday, the newspaper reports.

“Until the parties can reach an agreement, we’re at a standstill right now,” said Randy Cyman, personnel director for Getrag, handling the Tipton development. “We’re in discussions with Chrysler right now. ... I’m confident the parties will come to the right decisions.”
The Getrag-Chrysler project is a venture that would build dual-clutch transmissions in Tipton, off Ind. 28 and U.S. 31. To date, site work for the plant includes a new road to the plant, a concrete foundation and portions of a frame for the main structure.

The plant is scheduled to be finished in 2009 and employ approximately 1,400 people: 1,170 at the plant and 230 in supporting jobs in Kokomo.

Officials with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. acknowledged the current situation between the two corporations.

“Our team has been in touch with Getrag and Chrysler. We all remain very optimistic that the project will continue as scheduled,” IEDC spokesman Mitch Frazier told the Tribune

Flack to Hack? Ex-Chrysler PR Man Jason Vines Covers NAIAS as Journalist

WIndingRoad.Com | Written By: Evan McCausland

If you’re trying to prove that age-old adage about the grass being greener on the other side, you may want to talk to Jason Vines. After leaving his gig as Chrysler’s top PR man, a position he held for nearly four years, Vines will still appear at the Detroit auto show - but as a working journalist.

According to the Detroit News, Vines has joined forces with AutoBeat Daily to report on the show, and will also provide commentary for Detroit radio news station WWJ. As many journalists would agree, it just isn’t a Detroit show without Jason at the Firehouse, and this year will be no exception - although it will be in a different context.

The News also notes that yet another communications official has flown from the Chrysler coop. Colin McBean, the company’s spokesman in Washington, is leaving the company at the end of the month for a new position with Abbott Laboratories. After the departure of Vines and Mike Aberlich, the former #2 man within Chrysler’s communication ranks, McBean marks the third high-ranking PR official to leave the company.

+ Detroit News: GM, Chrysler Execs Change Gears

Omnicom Group agencies cut staff

By Bill Shea At least two of the Omnicom Group agencies in Detroit that handle advertising work for Chrysler L.L.C. reduced staff Wednesday.

Troy-based BBDO Detroit reportedly cut about 75 employees, and an undetermined number were let go from PhD Detroit, also in Troy.

It’s also believed that Bloomfield Hills-based Organic Detroit, Chrysler’s digital agency and also an Omnicom company, would be cutting staff. Amanda Van Nuys, vice president of corporate marketing at Organic’s San Francisco headquarters, declined comment.

BBDO would not say how many staffers are being laid off in Detroit. The office, after staff reductions, will have 675 employees, said Roy Elvove, director of corporate communications for BBDO North America.

“The reduction primarily impacts administrative services,” he said. “We’re not disclosing the number of people involved.”

Two years ago, the Detroit office had an estimated 1,100 staffers. About 220 were let go in early 2006 when Chrysler engaged in a round of cost-cutting while it was still owned by Daimler.

The latest layoffs are limited to the Detroit office, Elvove said.

“It’s in response to changing industry needs and a desire on our part to improve cost efficiency and effectiveness,” he said.

Layoffs were also expected to happen Wednesday at PhD Detroit, the media buying and planning service for Chrysler that moved the automaker’s national TV buying to its New York office in October.

The office, which is shared with BBDO, has 150 employees, but PhD declined to say how many would be laid off, said Melanie Mitchem, PhD’s New York-based senior vice president and director of communications.

PhD had planned to reduce staff in Detroit because of redundancies between the office here and New York, which also has 150 employees, Mitchem said. That plan was in the works even before the change in Chrysler ownership but was accelerated because of staff reductions at BBDO.

Chrysler has been looking to trim costs since being acquired last year by venture capital firm Cerberus Capital Management L.P., including cutting 11,000 jobs this year. It expects to post a $1.6 billion loss in calendar 2007 and has predicted major improvements this year.

The automaker spent $586 million in measured media in the first nine months of 2007 for the Chrysler and Dodge brands, according to New York-based TNS Media Intelligence. Jeep was another $222 million in that period.

BBDO Detroit is a wholly owned subsidiary of BBDO Worldwide, which has nearly 300 offices in 77 different countries.

Dodge Viper could be sacrificed for new Sebring

click above for more images of the 2008 Dodge Viper

Cerberus has had a chance now to fully inspect Chrysler LLC's offerings, and the private equity firm wants to make fast changes. The equity firm owners recognize that a complete overhaul of the relatively new Sebring with its cheap interior and eye-sore looks needs to happen immediately. Unfortunately, some of the cash necessary to fix the Sebring may come at the expense of the Dodge Viper. Inside Line reports that Cerberus is prepared to make an instantaneous decision regarding the future of the Viper, both because of a cash crunch and because the $85,000 snake may be losing its bite anyway with the passing of a new national energy bill and higher CAFE standards around the corner. It's hard for us to imagine Dodge and parent company Chrysler LLC losing its halo car like this. We're no auto execs, but the Viper does nothing but make money and fans for Chrysler, and since it's new for 2008, another redo isn't required for at least a four-year life-cycle or so. In other words, we don't like the idea, and likely very few of you do either. Thanks for the tip, Gustavo!

[Source: Inside Line]

Gallery: 2008 Dodge Viper SRT-10

A Picture Is Worth More Than 240 MPH - Dodge Charger Stock Car

Wicks reaches 244.9 MPH in Dodge Charger stock car and improves speed-to-market with more efficient design processes.

Russ Wicks reaches 244.9 MPH in Dodge Charger stock car and improves speed-to-market with more efficient design processes

Russ Wicks, who holds world speed records of more than 200 MPH, has set a new stock car world speed record of 244.9 MPH.

Autodesk recently announced that Russ Wicks, who holds world speed records of more than 200 MPH, has set a new stock car world speed record of 244.9 MPH, which has been confirmed by Guinness World Records. Wicks successfully achieved the record on Tuesday, October 9, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Northwestern Utah while driving a 2007 Dodge Charger built to NASCAR specifications. The new record shatters Wicks' previous stock car world speed record of 222 MPH.

Wicks' vehicle was developed with the backing of the Dodge Motorsports Engineering Group and Arrington Engines. Autodesk software was leveraged to make integral performance modifications. Throughout the testing and development phases, Wicks used Autodesk Streamline®-an on-demand collaborative project management solution-to simplify and centralize project-related documents and streamline the design review process.

According to Autodesk, Streamline gives design engineers a single online location for storing, managing and controlling project documents. With an intuitive interface, a design team can work productively with customers and suppliers outside firewalls to get designs approved in less time. Furthermore, the software:

  • Notifies personnel when documents are posted, and tracks overdue reviews or approvals.
  • Automatically publishes and uploads design data when the engineering team makes updates via AutodeskR Vault software, virtually eliminating the overwriting of work in progress.
  • Circumvents sending documents by e-mail, thereby preventing disparate versions, missing attachments and slow servers.
  • Incorporates a lightweight and secure format by exporting and publishing designs in DWFT files or Streamline formats.
  • Automatically integrates AutodeskR Design Review software to allow digital review, measurement, mark-up, and comment on 2-D and 3-D designs while protecting intellectual property.
  • Includes a viewer, so users can view, mark up and measure designs without a license for the corresponding CAD product.
  • Allows users to access rich design data, such as bills of materials, finite element analysis results, and in Wicks' case, previous record-breaking speed performance data.
  • Maintains file-level threaded discussions, so users can keep a record of changes and decisions about documents.
  • Conserves confidentiality by creating private groups.
  • Grants users the ability to reuse a standard project template to set up or start new projects.

"Having a lot of 3-D information in one place for everyone to access" was critical, according to Wicks, who thinks collaboration early in the design phase can "save time, resources, money and frustration." He also appreciates that designers can make notations in real-time, and the team can work around obstacles like clearance issues before they happen. Moreover, he says, "We have Inventor files uploaded to Streamline, and the file size is so much smaller and easier to work with-it's really ideal."

Wicks successfully achieved the record on Tuesday, October 9, at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Northwestern Utah while driving a 2007 Dodge Charger built to NASCAR specifications

Wicks' vehicle was developed with the backing of the Dodge Motorsports Engineering Group and Arrington Engines. Autodesk software was leveraged to make integral performance modifications.

Wicks agrees that with Streamline, "There is a system to making design changes, such as the automatic sending of design update e-mail alerts, which lead to less rework. I also really like the user-friendliness and ability to invite other people into the project. We collaborated with some Dodge employees in Michigan, a Nascar team in South Carolina, an aerodynamicist in Washington and my team in California. And everyone always sees the same thing.

"Visualization in the design phase is important because it allows design engineers to share data, which results in better integration of designer specialties," Wicks continues, "and eliminates the disconnect between engineers in different disciplines." Furthermore, these engineers can also share data as it's being developed, so design reviews are more efficient. "We had less than 30 days from initiation of the project to breaking the record," Wicks admits.

Wicks' requirements documents were based on previous world speed record-breaking trials. He used Autodesk AliasStudio to optically scan the vehicle, thereby generating a 3-D model of the stock car. Then, using built-in data exchange tools, Wicks and his team were able to export these designs into Autodesk Inventor, a 3-D modeling package that allows users to virtually explore their ideas before building them. This enabled Wicks to fully test the effectiveness of outer mold-line surfaces like spoilers and fins before creating any physical prototypes. According to Wicks, these software solutions are "as close as you can get to holding a part in your hand."

While maintaining NASCAR template regulations, some modifications the team made to the stock car to ready it to break the world speed record include:

  • Compensation for the transmission offset (which was last optimized for a different track), taking into account both ride height and attitude of the vehicle.
  • Reconfiguration of undervehicle components for improved aerodynamic performance.
  • Transformation of the suspension to be more symmetrical, enabling the stock car to be lower to the ground, which is better suited for racing on straight tracks.
  • Development of bump stops and the identification of the best location to fit them on the car.

"The Autodesk manufacturing solution was indispensable to the development of this record-breaking vehicle," explains Wicks. "From communication and collaboration, to visualization and engineering, Autodesk provided the best possible tools for the vehicle development process." As a boon to the software, Wicks is already in the midst of designing his next record-breaking vehicle for 2008 with Autodesk Streamline and AliasStudio.

Russ Wicks is the founder and president of the American Challenge, a consortium of professionals focused on breaking world speed records. For more information, visit, or

Valentine's-Day Venom: 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR Set for Raffle

Better than chocolate, flowers, or just about anything else: A 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR is the prize in a Valentine's Day raffle. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
The Viper Club of America is running a raffle for members only. The winning $125 raffle ticket gets some lucky member a Viper SRT10 ACR, which has a $98,110 sticker price. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LL

DETROIT — It's shaping up as the hottest raffle ticket for Valentine's Day 2008. The Viper Club of America is raffling off a 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR in a for-members-only contest.

Tickets cost $125 each or three for $300. The total number of tickets being sold is limited to 2,750. Ticket sales end on January 31, with the winner being picked on February 14.

The Viper Club of America even suggests that there may be some "crazy collector out there willing to shell out $275,000 to buy up all the tickets." The Viper SRT10 ACR has a $98,110 sticker price, including an $850 destination charge.

The Viper SRT10 ACR is the most expensive car in Chrysler's stable and is due out in showrooms in the second quarter of 2008. It churns out 600 horsepower and 560 pound-feet of torque from an 8.4-liter V10.

The car being raffled off gets "every available ACR option," including the Hard Core package, which includes a lap timer and other enhancements for the track.

What this means to you: We're hoping Cupid brings the winner of this contest some extra cash to cover speeding tickets. — Scott Vandekerckhove, Correspondent


2008 January 10 01:37:18 UTC

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 6.4
  • Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 01:37:18 UTC
  • Wednesday, January 09, 2008 at 05:37:18 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 43.883°N, 127.228°W
Depth 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
  • 242 km (151 miles) WNW (285°) from Barview, OR
  • 243 km (151 miles) WNW (291°) from Bandon, OR
  • 246 km (153 miles) W (276°) from Winchester Bay, OR
  • 330 km (205 miles) W (268°) from Eugene, OR
  • 406 km (252 miles) WSW (245°) from Portland, OR
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 7.6 km (4.7 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters Nst= 68, Nph= 68, Dmin=313.3 km, Rmss=1.3 sec, Gp=155°,
M-type=moment magnitude (Mw), Version=7
Event ID us2008maae

SEMA Concept ‘Cuda to be sold at Barrett-Jackson

click above image for more pics of the Concept ‘Cuda

It appears that whoever took the trouble to have Metalcrafters build the one-off Concept ‘Cuda got tired of it pretty quickly. Just a month after the ‘Cuda made its first appearance at the SEMA show, Barrett-Jackson has announced that the car will be offered to the highest bidder come January. The winner will essentially be getting a modified Dodge Charger chassis with custom 2-door carbon fiber bodywork covered in Lamborghini Pearl Orange paint, a functional shaker hood feeding air to a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 and 22-inch Zenetti wheels wrapped with Pirelli P Zero tires. Before potential buyers plunk down hundreds of thousands of dollars for the car, they might want to see if Metalcrafters would build a second, and if so, how much it would cost.

[Source: Barrett-Jackson via Motortrend]

Nissan set to supply Chrysler with small cars

TOKYO (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co , Japan’s third-biggest automaker, is set to supply Chrysler LLC with fuel-efficient small cars, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Thursday.The two companies are in the final stages of negotiations on a deal for Nissan to supply Chrysler with a model with an engine displacement of around 1.8 liters, it said on its website.Nissan and Chrysler, which was acquired this year by Cerberus Capital Management LP , are in talks to supply cars, trucks and engines to each other, a source said last month.Nissan spokeswoman said negotiations with Chrysler are still ongoing and nothing has been decided.Both Nissan and Chrysler have similar original equipment manufacturing (OEM) deals with other carmakers aimed at saving development costs in an increasingly competitive industry.Over a year ago, Nissan and its French partner Renault SA broke off talks with General Motors Corp over a comprehensive three-way alliance.While Nissan-Renault Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn has said the alliance could still seek a U.S. partner in future, the discussions with Chrysler are on a smaller, product-by-product level, the source said.

Chrysler offers new buyouts

Workers at Jefferson North, Illinois plants get bid as carmaker cuts back.

Eric Morath / The Detroit News

Workers at Chrysler LLC's Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit and at a factory in Illinois will be offered buyouts in the coming days, the automaker confirmed Tuesday.

The early-retirement and buyout programs spare the plants from mass layoffs, as the United Auto Workers-represented employees will depart willingly, rather than being forced out through layoffs.

Jefferson North, Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, Toledo North Assembly, along with Sterling Heights Assembly and Brampton Assembly in Ontario, are all slated to lose a shift before the end of March, as Chrysler lowers production in response to falling demand for its products in the United States.

Toledo workers were offered packages last week. The Sterling Heights and Brampton plants are also expected to receive packages, but the timing is still to be determined.

"We are still working closely with the UAW on the rollout and specifics of those packages," said Chrysler spokeswoman Michelle Tinson. "Chrysler, along with the UAW, sees offering these programs as the socially responsible action for those facing layoffs."

Earlier this month, Chrysler said nearly 5,000 workers could be laid off at the five plants. That included 911 workers at Jefferson North and 1,146 workers at Sterling Heights, according to layoff notices filed with the state.

The automaker is likely aiming for at least enough workers to accept buyouts as were targeted for layoffs, but Chrysler is not publicly stating its employment-reduction goal. The reductions are part of Chrysler's November plan to eliminate 8,500 to 10,000 hourly jobs.

Two packages have or will be offered to eligible workers at Jefferson North, Toledo and Belvidere. The packages are the same as those offered to some workers after staffing cuts were announced last February.

The buyouts will purge employees from Chrysler's ranks, while layoffs would mean a continued obligation to the workers, said Richard Block, professor in the Michigan State University School of Labor and Industrial Relations. Laid-off workers receive 90 percent of their pay for 48 weeks.

"The reason why Chrysler is under pressure to (offer buyouts) is the job security agreements with the UAW," he said. Block said he expects many workers to take the offers -- something similar to the third of eligible employees who took buyouts from General Motors Corp. in recent years.

Belvidere Assembly worker Andy DeRose said he intends to snap up a buyout should he be offered one.

"It's not like it used to be, as far as a place to work," he said. "There is so much uncertainly in the auto industry it's incredible -- who knows if (Chrysler)

Buyers want cleaner cars, no sacrifices

Eric Morath / The Detroit News

If actions speak louder than words, some might wonder what all the environmental fuss is about in the auto industry.

While consumers overwhelmingly say they want cleaner, more fuel efficient vehicles, they don't want to pay a premium of up to $10,000 or compromise on performance.

Less than 6 percent of vehicles sold in the United States last year were equipped with alternative powertrains -- mainly gasoline-electric hybrid cars and diesel trucks -- according to an estimate by J.D. Power and Associates, based on sales through November.

Still, automakers and industry experts agree that a green revolution is under way, evidenced last year by growing sales of fuel-sipping models, including subcompact cars and hybrids, as demand for sport utility vehicles plummeted.

At the Detroit auto show next week, automakers will unveil a host of green vehicles and technologies.

Rising gas prices and concerns about global warming and U.S. dependence on foreign oil are driving demand for greener vehicles, said Chrysler LLC Vice Chairman and President Jim Press.

"We are at the dawn of a renaissance for the automobile," he said. "The market has become more thoughtful on these issues. It's no longer a niche, it's a progression."

To overcome buyers' apprehensions about the higher cost of advanced vehicles like hybrids -- the premium can be as low $2,000 with tax breaks -- and uncertainty about new technology, automakers are stepping up their green marketing efforts.

Raising consumer awareness should boost demand, driving up production and bringing prices down. J.D. Power predicts that diesel and hybrid vehicles will account for 13 percent of U.S. vehicle sales by 2012, helped by stronger marketing. Ongoing worries about gas prices and the introduction of more green models to meet higher federal fuel economy mandates should also drive up sales.

For now, though, while a Harris Interactive survey found that 83 percent of car buyers say they are interested in alternative fuel vehicles, the notion that consumers are already running toward green vehicles is overstated, said Sandy Stojkovski, a fuel economy expert and director of vehicle engineering at Van Buren Township-based Ricardo Inc.

Some hybrids and other vehicles already achieve fuel economy at or near the new 35 miles per gallon standard the government set for 2020. "The technology is out there," Stojkovski said. "If consumers really cared about fuel economy, wouldn't consumers flock to them? Currently they are not."

Many customers still fear that driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle will require major sacrifices in terms of performance, she said.

'Education is key'

Selling the first hybrid vehicles was relatively easy, according to Press, a former high-level Toyota Motor Corp. executive.

When Toyota launched the popular Prius hybrid in 2001, buyers were eco-minded techies with deep pockets. Today's buyers want better gas mileage and lower emissions from vehicles that are reliable and safe; and they are much more price-sensitive.

Press compared the greening of vehicles to the growth of safety systems 30 years ago. Safety belts used to be optional; now, no car is sold without them and a host of other safety features.

For consumers to buy in, they have to understand the benefits. So just as automakers advertise "five-star" crash test ratings to promote vehicle safety, fuel-economy, alternative fuel options and other green features will gain more prominence in automotive marketing.

"Education is the key," Press said. "Many consumers don't understand the technology, but what they really want to know is the end results: cost, performance and fuel mileage."

The challenge for automakers is that customers say they want to buy greener vehicles from greener companies, but they don't always make that choice on dealer lots.

There are clearly two categories of buyers, said Larry Dominique, vice president of product planning for Nissan North America Inc.: True environmentalists willing to pay a premium and make an extra effort to contain pollution, and everybody else.

"Most Americans fall into an area we call selective contributors," Dominique said. These are people who tend to choose the ecological option if it doesn't cause them inconvenience.

Marketing targets buyers

Automakers are targeting green-minded consumers in varying ways. Nissan and Chrysler offer a range of environmentally friendly options, including hybrids and diesels.

General Motors Corp.'s Chevrolet brand takes the idea of a broad approach even further. In its "Gas friendly to gas-free" campaign, GM bills Chevy as its environmental brand with fuel efficient cars today and vehicles that will run without gas in the future.

"Many people think of Chevy as a truck company that makes some cars," said Chevy spokesman Terry Rhadigan. "But our brand has made fuel efficiency a pillar. When gas prices go up, Chevy might not be the first thing you think of, but we are going to change that."

Leading that charge is the heavy marketing of the Chevy Volt, a plug-in concept car. In an unusual move, GM created everything from billboards to television commercials about the vehicle, which customers can't even buy yet.

The marketing is intended to portray GM as aggressive on green and to create a "halo" that draws customers to higher mileage models already in GM's lineup. Ford Motor Co. is also using the allure of hybrid technology to attract buyers. When the automaker last year launched its redesigned Mercury Mariner, it heavily promoted the hybrid option, even though the vast majority of Mariners are sold with standard powertrains.

"The hybrid built awareness of the overall brand," said Eric Peterson, brand manager for the Mercury Mariner. "It's a point of differentiation in the marketplace."

When Toyota launched the Prius in the United States earlier this decade, its marketing tactics reflected the vehicle's niche status. Instead of television commercials, Internet viral marketing told the story. Hollywood stars, such as Cameron Diaz, professing their love for the clean machines on late night talk shows, didn't hurt either.

As hybrids move into the mainstream, so is Toyota's marketing. The automaker still does grassroots barnstorming at state fairs and auto shows, but it generally markets hybrids just as it does its other cars and trucks, said spokeswoman Cindy Knight.

"Our task is to show that there is no sacrifice with these vehicles," she said. "They are as reliable and durable as any Toyota product."

Hybrid buyers know facts

Toyota dealers are stocked with videos and marketing materials that explain hybrid technology, but Jim Tuohy, general manager of Serra Toyota in Farmington Hills, said he rarely has to convince a customer to consider a hybrid. "A hybrid buyer arrives as a buyer," he said. "They are the most educated customers on any product."

Those who consider Toyota's three hybrid vehicles are concerned about gas mileage, but many are also looking to make an environmental statement, Tuohy said. Even though gas savings on a hybrid are unlikely to offset the hybrid premium during the course of a three-year lease, many customers still lease the vehicles. Hybrids account for about 10 percent of Serra Toyota's total sales.

Chao-Chi Lee visited Serra Toyota recently because he is looking to replace his Toyota Highlander hybrid, possibly with another hybrid. "Saving on energy cost is the main benefit," he said.

When customers buy an alternative vehicle, they most often look at hybrids or models with diesel engines, which are more fuel-efficient than their gasoline counterparts. But the best selling alternative models are flex-fuel vehicles capable of running on gasoline or E85, a high ethanol-gasoline blend.

Numerous big-volume vehicles, including the Chevy Impala, Ford F-150 and Dodge Grand Caravan, are sold as flex-fuel vehicles. But that capability is rarely the main factor in a sale because E85 is not readily available, with only about 1,000 E85 pumps nationwide.

Running a vehicle on E85 actually results in lower gas mileage, but supporters like it because it mainly comes from a renewable source, corn, and lessens the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

"It makes sense from an environmental standpoint and it's something I can do that is not a huge effort or time consuming," said Derek Lenz of Berkley, who drives a flex-fuel Ford Explorer.

Green vehicles won't truly become mainstream until there are numerous options to meet specific regional needs, said Jon Linkov, managing editor for autos at Consumer Reports magazine.

Ethanol, or E85, will be most popular in the corn-producing states of the Midwest; hybrids will rule in stop-and-go coastal city driving and diesels will appeal to long-distance, freeway travelers.

For that to become a reality, automakers and dealers must turn consumers on to new alternatives.

"It's going to take a lot of opening people's eyes and shaking preconceived notions," Linkov said. "Customers must take a fresh look at everything."

Green machines: Auto show is all about fuel economy

International auto show in Detroit opening next week
Thursday, January 10, 2008

One word sums up the soon-to-open North American International Auto Show in Detroit: green.

Not that cars and trucks are going to sport an emerald hue, but instead environmentally friendly products are at the forefront. As part of a growing movement in the industry to reduce pollution and save gasoline, cars and trucks that run on electricity, hydrogen fuel cells and other sources of energy will be the biggest news at the show, which opens to the public on Jan. 19 and closes Jan. 27.

This follows what has happened at other auto shows of late. The recent Tokyo Motor Show, for instance, featured mostly small, economical subcompacts and alternative-energy vehicles, many of which likely would be considered too small for American consumers.

It remains to be seen how many of the "green" cars at the Detroit show actually will be practical models that could be introduced to U.S. consumers. Some of the "green" vehicles will be production models, but the majority will be concepts that will reveal the direction of the auto industry as it strives to save both fuel and the environment.

Chrysler LLC, for instance, will unveil three new "green" concept products, one each for its Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands. The Jeep Renegade, a small two seater, runs on electricity stored in a lithium ion battery and supplemented by a small diesel engine.

There also is the Chrysler ecoVoyager, a "people mover" vehicle powered by electricity from batteries along with a fuel cell. And Dodge, ever the performance brand, unveils a sporty, sleek wagon concept, the Dodge Zeo, that runs solely on electricity from a lithium ion battery.

Mitsubishi's EvoX concept coupe, expected to preview the next-generation styling of its popular Eclipse sport coupe model, has an aluminum space frame structure and an environmentally friendly turbo diesel power plant.

BMW is keeping mum about some new diesel models that it will unleash at the show. Quantum Technologies and Fistker Coachbuild LLC, known for its BMW 6 Series-based one-of-a-kind luxury models, will unveil what the firm bills as the first in a line of environmentally friendly premium cars. Looking like a cross between a Mazda RX-8 and any of several Jaguar cars, the four-door coupe has "cutting-edge" plug-in hybrid technology, and will go on sale in 2009 with prices under $100,000. About 15,000 will be produced.

But green also is the color of traffic lights when you hit that gas pedal. And despite the noble aims of reducing emissions and our dependence on oil, high-performance cars also will make headlines at this year's show.

In fact, two of the most anticipated products will be the all-new Chevy Corvette ZR1 which puts out an astounding 620 horsepower from its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8, and the 2009 Nissan GT-R, which is a highly revered Japanese supercar that is coming to the United States for the first time.

The Corvette has long been rumored, and even spotted by "spy" photographers in the industry. It can be distinguished easily from other Corvettes by a carbon fiber hood with a raised polycarbonate window that allows onlookers to see the engine, a full-width body color rear spoiler, and dual lower vents.

Top speed is 220 mph, and the car is expected to cost around $100,000 when it is introduced next summer, making it the most expensive Corvette ever.

Powered by a 3.7-liter V-8 that reportedly produces 450 horsepower, the Nissan GT-R has been sold in Japan as the Skyline and is known the world over for its torrid performance and sterling handling. The cost is expected to be around $65,000 to $70,000, and it is expected to be a sellout with extremely low production numbers.

There will be other cars introduced that will buck these two predominant trends at the show. They include Hyundai's production version of the Genesis, the company's first luxury sedan; a new small luxury sport utility from Mercedes Benz; and Kia's long-awaited seven-passenger Borrego sport utility vehicle.

And as for trucks, Ford will reveal the all-new version of what is arguably their most important vehicle, the Ford F-150 pickup, for many years the best-selling vehicle in America.

Construction on $530M Getrag plant on hold

Indianapolis Business Journal - Indianapolis,IN,USA ... dual-clutch transmissions for Chrysler, which was acquired from Daimler-Chrysler in October by the private equity firm Cerberus. When complete in 2009, ...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

IL Insider: Chrysler Moves Up Timetable for Redesign of Sebring/Avenger

EDMUNDS | AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Supplier sources familiar with the product cycle plans at Chrysler tell Inside Line that the automaker is "trying to move investment up" in the effort to improve the Sebring, Avenger and Sebring Convertible even earlier than originally planned.

Look for interiors on those three key vehicles to be redone in time for the 2010 model year or shortly thereafter. "The interiors are too cheap," said one highly placed industry source. "We call it 'the Sebring problem.' That vehicle is dying on the vine and it's only a year old. They got cheap on everybody and said 'the customer doesn't mind hard plastic and ugly grain [in the cabin]."

Sources said Chrysler is moving resources away from other vehicles to fix the Sebring, Avenger and Sebring Convertible, which originally were scheduled for a redesign in 2011 or later.

In the meantime, a major revision, inside and out, is on tap for the big Chrysler 300 sedan in the 2011 model year.

With new owner Cerberus accounting for every penny, there apparently is mounting concern about the future of the Dodge Viper. Sources say Chrysler is prepared to "make an instantaneous decision" to discontinue the Viper, especially if it "no longer can deliver the desired halo effect."

What this means to you: Chrysler continues to rethink its product portfolio on what appears to be a daily basis. — Anita Lienert, Correspondent

The Chrysler Sebring currently comes in convertible (above) and sedan (below) versions but has been a slow seller. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Chrysler Sebring Sedan. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Sources say the interiors of the Sebring and Avenger are "too cheap." Pictured: Chrysler Sebring interior. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
Chrysler Sebring/Dodge Avenger suffer from what one industry source calls "hard plastic and ugly grain" inside. Pictured: Sebring interior detail. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
The Dodge Avenger (2008 model pictured) was originally scheduled for a redesign in 2011 or later, but the timetable for it and the Sebring have moved. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)

Why the high prices? 2001 versus 2006 demand

It seems the demand of retail gasoline is down...but the prices are up. Go figure

Refiner Motor Gasoline Sales Volumes


Sales Type:

Show Data By:

Product Sales Type Area

2001 2006 View

Motor Gasoline
62,013.4 59,977.8