Friday, May 30, 2008

Chrysler LLC Has Immediate Openings to Hire Temporary and Part-Time Employees at Two Wisconsin Locations

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 30, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ ----Temporary positions are approximately 40 hours per week with limited duration employment up to 119 days. Part-time positions are weekly on-call employment.

Successful candidates at the Milwaukee Parts Distribution Center will be picking, packing and loading automotive parts and accessories onto trucks for dealership delivery while successful candidates at the Kenosha Engine Plant will assemble automotive engines.

Hourly wages begin at $14.12 per hour. Positions may be on first or second shift. Interested candidates should apply at:

Chrysler is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.


Challenger SRT8 and Test Caliber SRT4

Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge open massive UK dealership

Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge open massive UK dealership
Frosts dealer group will operate from new Hove site

Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge have opened one of their largest showrooms in the UK.

Frosts, which was one of the first dealer groups to launch the Chrysler and Jeep brands in the UK back in the 1990s, has moved to the new location in Hove from Shoreham-by-Sea.

The new dealership in Hove, Sussex
The new dealership in Hove, Sussex

The group said the move to a larger site was necessary to meet demand in the region.

The new dealership can display up to nine cars inside the showroom, with additional space for up to 30 used vehicles outside.

A new aftersales facility on the site is due to be completed by the end of the summer.

Chrysler hybrids may grow


Chrysler said it is exploring adding hybrid versions of existing vehicles, like the 2009 Dodge Journey

Automaker eyes expansion of offerings


Chrysler LLC, which is launching its first hybrid vehicles this year, is already looking at the possibility of expanding its offerings into other vehicles, an executive for the automaker said Thursday."Where our competitors are putting hybrid engines are where we feel that there is an opportunity for us to capitalize," said Mike Accavitti, Dodge Brand director. "Our guys are looking at it. We have to focus our resources, though, on the things we have going on right now. Stay tuned."

Asked if the recently launched Dodge Journey SUV could see a hybrid engine in the future, he indicated that they're looking at that option and noted that they've also heard interest in a hybrid version of the Dodge Avenger midsize sedan.

Chrysler's entrance into the hybrid market is expected to occur this summer with the 2009 Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango Hemi Hybrid SUVs.

The automaker has said it expects its new 5.7-liter Hemi hybrid to get a 25% overall fuel economy improvement.

Chrysler also has said it plans to sell the redesigned Dodge Ram with an optional hybrid beginning in 2010.

"As we see a market need for hybrid or a market desire for hybrid Hemis, we look at possible other applications," Accavitti said.

This Day in Auto History:

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly

The Erie & Sturgis gasoline carriage designed and built by James Philip Erie & Samuel D. Sturgis is given its first test drive in Los Angeles, CA
Reo makes its racing debut as Daniel Wurges wins two of three races driving the Reo Bird at the Empire City track in Yonkers, NY
William C. Durant and Louis Chevrolet announce plans to build a new automobile, the Chevrolet
Tommy Milton wins the Indianapolis 500 in the Frontenac Special
Co-drivers Lora “L. L. “ Corum and Joe Boyer win the Indianapolis 500 in a Duesenberg, the marque’s first victory of this race

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

Alfa Romeo CEO confirms talks with Chrysler

By Yoann Besnard on 30 May 2008 | Commentaires

070919_f_demeo_800 Firstly, rumour had mentioned that Fiat entered into talks with Chrysler over the possibility to produce Alfa Romeo models in the US. Then, Chrysler denied the allegations. In a third round, Luca de Meo confirms Fiat is discussing with the American carmaker about varied cooperations.

In an interview with the German newspaper WirtschaftsWoche, the CEO of the Italian marque has confirmed that there was talks between the two companies. De Meo also announced a potential production in Mexico.

Along with Alfa Romeo, Fiat is expected to build other models there such as the Fiat 500. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced that the hot 500 will be sold on the American market by 2010. The carmaker has great hope with the small retro-car in the US which will spearhead a revival of the small Italian cars in the US. In addition to the 500, Fiat plans to launch two new small cars currently in development.

Dodge Ram to Get Diesel and Hybrid Powertrains in 2010; SRT Variant Not Likely - Car News

Diesel and hybrid versions of the new Dodge Ram will be available a year after the launch of the all-new full-size pickup, confirms Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge brand and SRT marketing.
A Cummins diesel comes first in the light-duty truck, followed shortly afterwards by a Ram with the two-mode hybrid system from the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen. The Ram gets the new powertrains in 2010 for the 2011 model year.

The new Ram does lend itself to a performance version, but the time is not right, Accavitti says. The old Ram SRT10 in the past was iconic and well-loved by its small, enthusiast demographic. But higher gasoline prices today make it a cruel environment for performance pickups which have a small market at the best of times, Accavitti says, even though SRT buyers love their vehicles and usually won’t let fuel costs stand in the way of enjoying their chosen ride. “Under the right circumstances I could see it,” Accavitti says, “I’m just not sure if [today] is the right environment for that.”

The other question is whether a Ram SRT would continue again be fitted with the 8.4-liter V-10, or take a calmer route with the larger 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 or a turbocharged or supercharged 5.7-liter Hemi. Accavitto only says the automaker does not have a supplier working on a supercharger for the Ram at this time.

The all-new 2009 Ram launches this fall. Pricing has not been finalized, but is expected to range from about $20,000 to more than $40,000.

Real Crew Cab Will Increase Market Share

The Ram has almost 17 percent of the pickup market now, and Accavitti says that will increase significantly now that Dodge has a “right-sized” crew cab in the lineup. In the past it had the Mega Cab that did not fit in a garage and the super-sized truck was so big it had to ride on the heavy-duty Ram platform. Chrysler thought it had a better mousetrap with the Mega Cab, but it did not prove to be the case. Accavitti expects the new conventional crew cab to account for 50 percent of sales, “so we can say with confidence we will pick up share.”

Powertrains include a 3.7-liter V-6 which the automaker expects to get at least 20 mpg, but testing has not been completed. There also is the choice of the new 4.7-liter V-8 launched last fall, or the upgraded 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 offering 380 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque. Engineers say with the multi-displacement system, the additional torque will allow the engine to spend more time operating on just four of the eight cylinders, resulting in better mileage. The expectation is 10–20 percent better fuel economy.

The other main improvement is abandoning leaf springs for a new coil-spring, multi-link rear suspension. Engineers say there are no compromises to towing capacity, payload, or any other performance matrix, and the new suspension is 40 pounds lighter. To help those who tow, the new truck offers both four-pin and seven-pin trailer wiring connections. And a trailer-tow camera, nicknamed “the marriage saver,” will be available a few months after launch.

Chryslers updated HEMI V8 makes more power using less fuel.

Click to Enlarge
The 2009 Ram is nearing launch, and a recent powertrain update sees its 5.7-liter HEMI V8 more powerful and efficient than ever before. Horsepower is rated at 380, a ten percent increase, while torque peaks at over 400 lb.-ft.

The 2009 Ram is nearing launch, and a recent powertrain update sees its 5.7-liter HEMI V8 more powerful and efficient than ever before. Horsepower is rated at 380, a ten percent increase, while torque peaks at over 400 lb.-ft.

It's also less thirsty than the outgoing model. Truly, it's probably never been more environmentally friendly to run a truck with enough torque to pull a tree out of the earth's crust. But how do engineers create more power with less fuel? And how much better on fuel could the HEMI actually be made, anyhow?

According to Chrysler, making more power with less gas has a lot to do with breathing. Imagine an engine as being similar to an Olympic runner.

For either to achieve top performance, a huge volume of air needs to make its way in and out easily- and any restrictions can have a negative effect. Imagine the runner trying to race while breathing only through their nose, for instance. The air intake system of an athlete is less physically complicated than that of a HEMI V8, but it remains that opening things up in the name of airflow can bring positive benefits. Additional power for the new HEMI was achieved primarily through three areas: reduced air flow restriction, an active intake manifold, and Variable Valve Timing (VVT).

Head ports, the engines equivalent of a windpipe, were redesigned using a sophisticated computer which helps engineers determine their optimal shape and size. The valves have been made larger too- all in the name of allowing the air-fuel mixture in and out of the engine more easily.

The variable intake manifold is able to switch between different 'runners', which are passageways that air is drawn through on its way into the engine. A flap-valve directs air into the powerplant from one of two runners- depending on the situation. Longer runners aid low-RPM torque, while shorter runners rush air into the engine for high-RPM horsepower.

A single manifold represents a compromise- but the variable unit allows for a performance-oriented manifold and a more economical manifold to occupy the same physical space.

Variable Valve Timing, (VVT), manipulates the valve timing to operate the engine in the most efficient manner for the situation. For instance, by closing the intake valve later, the engine has to do less 'pumping' as the piston travels down on the intake stroke. Optimized exhaust valve timing allows more of the combustion energy to be transferred to the crankshaft, rather than simply ejected as heat.

Chrysler's Multi-Displacement System (MDS) in on board as well- saving fuel through cylinder de-activation when full power isn't needed. Chrysler engineers estimate that MDS has saved about 100 million litres of fuel since hitting the road in 2005.

All said and done, fuel savings are in the neighborhood of 4 percent- respectable considering the extra power.

Chrysler's team says that they're reviewing technologies that can improve fuel efficiency of current engines by another 10 to 15%.

Trouble is, they're very expensive and need to be introduced in low volumes to gage customer response. A technology that can save $1,000 worth of fuel won't sell if it costs $2,500. That said, will the world ever see gasoline-powered full-size trucks get 50 miles per gallon? Chrysler's engineers say that there is indeed a limit yes- and that it's considerably less than 50MPG.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dodge unveils more fuel-efficient 2009 Ram

Scott Burgess / The Detroit news

AUBURN HILLS -- The 2009 Dodge Ram could boast a 20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, executives said Thursday morning.

The new Ram, which will roll into dealerships this fall, includes an improved 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 that has become more powerful and more efficient, said Mike Cairns, the Ram's chief engineer.

The new engine, which produces 380 horsepower and 404-pound-feet of torque, has become about 5 percent more efficient, he said. The additional mileage gains were credited to significant work to make the Ram more aerodynamically efficient and by cutting 80 pounds from the truck's overall weight.

"We expect to see a 10 to 20 percent gain in highway efficiency," Cairns said.

The 2008 Ram Quad Cab Laramie with a 5.7-liter Hemi gets 15 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. Raising the highway mileage to 23 mpg on the highway makes it one of the most efficient full-size pickups on the road. Four-by-four models using the 5.7 Hemi typically hit about 17 mpg on the highway.

"This is the best truck Dodge has ever made," said Dodge's director Mike Accavitti.

Dodge, the No. 3 pickup manufacturer in the United States, sold 358,000 trucks last year. However, high gas prices and changing consumer demands have caused Ram truck sales to drop 24 percent this year through April, according to Autodata Corp.

The new Ram touts 35 significant changes inside and out over the 2008 model.

Dodge sees market share gains with 2009 Ram pickup


By Soyoung Kim

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Reuters) - Chrysler LLC said on Thursday that it expected to increase its share of the tough U.S. pickup truck market with the September launch of the redesigned Dodge Ram.

The 2009 model, which will compete against Ford Motor Co's redesigned version of the U.S. market-leading F-Series pickup truck slated for later this year, comes as truck sales plummet amid record high gasoline prices.

Still, the Dodge Ram remains Chrysler's single best-selling vehicle, and analysts see its success as key to the automaker's turnaround under private equity owner Cerberus Capital Management LP.

"We're confident we're going to pick up some market share (in the truck segment) with this vehicle," Mike Accavitti, director of the Dodge brand, said at a media briefing.

"Whenever gasoline prices spike, there's a freefall in the truck segment," he said. "But the market is still sizable."

A slumping U.S. economy and runaway gas prices have prompted consumers to shift toward more fuel-efficient smaller cars and crossovers and away from large trucks and SUVs.

Sales of pickup trucks dropped about 18 percent in the first four months of the year, outpacing the 9 percent decline in the overall vehicle market, according to Autodata Corp.

"If life were perfect, we would launch (the new Dodge Ram) in an upmarket," Accavitti said, "but the market is still substantial."

Dodge has about 16.6 percent of the truck market, behind Ford and General Motors Corp . Toyota Motor Corp's <7203.t> Tundra pickup truck trails, but is the only major brand gaining share in the slumping market.


Chrysler, the No. 3 U.S. automaker, has yet to disclose prices for the new Ram. Base prices for current models range from $21,485 to $40,000.

Buyers will be able to choose between six-cylinder or eight-cylinder engines.

The company said the new model got 10 percent to 20 percent better fuel economy than the current version because of various technological advancements.

The current Dodge Ram gets about 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 on the highway, the company said.

Chrysler plans to offer light-duty diesel and two-mode hybrid versions of the Ram in early 2010, officials said.

Dodge's share of the truck market has been steady through the downturn, but the Ram has been one of the most heavily subsidized trucks.

Officials acknowledged that there were more than $6,000 incentives on some Dodge Ram models, but declined to comment on whether the redesigned model would be launched with incentives.

Dodge, Ford and other truck makers face a particularly tough market in the United States, where gasoline has reached more than $4 per gallon.

Even drivers who consider themselves "truck people" have shown signs of defecting to lower-cost vehicles, according to market research company Acxiom Corp .

The survey, conducted earlier in May, showed almost half of pickup owners were at least considering buying a car as their next vehicle, and 17 percent expressed interest in shifting to a lighter and more fuel-efficient crossover.

"The casual truck buyer is a thing of the past," said Tim Longnecker, who head's Acxiom's automotive practice.

Detroit carmakers must be prepared to place truck owners in other vehicles in their lineup -- a break from the usual practice of trying to sell them the next version of the truck they now own, Longnecker said. "None of these companies are set up to do that."

2010 Dodge Charger Coupe


Here are some nice retro-style renderings from independent artist, Michael Leonhard. More.


2009 Chrysler 300

A sharp eyed poster over at GM Inside News happened to snag a shot of this mysterious sedan on Saturday morning in Auburn Hills, MI. The camo-covered car was coming out of the Chrysler tech center leading to speculation that this could be the next generation Chrysler 300. If it is, it would be as much of a departure from the current model as that was from the previous generation. The low roof gangster sedan styling is jetissoned in favour of something much more contemporary and potentially bland. After the disaster that was the new Sebring, maybe Chrysler has decided to play it safe with the LX replacement. Has anyone else seen this car, or have any information on it?

2009 Chrysler 300 zoomed

Man who catched a car with his iPhone, said:I believe this is the next 300, I’ve never seen any spy shots of the car. I wish I had pulled out my2009 Chrysler 300 original shot iPhone quicker, but I had to chase it down I75 and traffic was unusually heavy (makes me sad that I’m trading the sporty LS for the less sporty MKX on Monday). This was the best I could do. It was heavily camoflaged but it looks much more mainstream than the 300. It has VERY flush side glass, one of the things that realy stood out (the windows are also much bigger reletive to the high cowl of the old 300. It also has LED tail lights, but I couldn’t really make out much of the car detail through the camoflage. It’s definitely all new!

It really doesn’t look like a 300, but more like a Mercedes. I was only convinced it was Chrysler because it was coming out of the Chrysler headquarters when it passed me at the University I75 on-ramp.

Chrysler LLC Patents

1 7,377,571 Full-Text Collapsible seat mechanism with integrated subfloor
2 7,373,930 Full-Text Multi-port check-valve for an evaporative fuel emissions system in a turbocharged vehicle
3 D568,792 Full-Text Automobile body
4 D568,211 Full-Text Automobile body
5 7,367,589 Full-Text Collapsible steering assembly with a stationary reaction surface
6 D567,410 Full-Text Vehicle tail lamp
7 D567,409 Full-Text Vehicle headlamp
8 7,363,250 Full-Text Market center based purchasing system and method
9 7,363,131 Full-Text Re-positionable vehicle control-by-wire assembly, method, and system
10 7,361,092 Full-Text Balance assembly for coupling first and second rotating members

Chrysler LLC Trademarks

Serial Number Reg. Number Word Mark Check Status Live/Dead
1 78607239
2 78972570
3 78866661

Chrysler to export Chery A1 to Mexico in late 2008

Chery Auto will finally consummate its corporate marriage with Chrysler when a version of the Chrysler-badged Chery A1 goes on sale in Mexico by the end of 2008. The Chinese small-car is built as an OEM project at Chery’s Wuhu plant and will be exported to Mexico later this year with a Chrylser brand, perhaps Dodge as previously reported.

The new Chery A1 for export to Mexico is similar to the Chery A1 sold in China, both of which were designed by Stile Bertone, an Italian automotive design firm. It is an updated subcompact model of the Chery QQ, with a 1.3L gasoline engine capable of a top speed of 156 kmh. The Chery A1, aimed at young customers, is currently sold from 40,000 yuan ($5,750) to 65,000 yuan in the domestic market.

Sales of the Chrysler/Dodge-branded Chery A1 in the United States are expected sometime in 2009 or beyond, assuming that the subcompact can meet U.S. crash and emissions standards. Chrysler and Chery are in talks on building Chery cars with Chrysler branding for the American and European markets.

The export of Chery A1 to Mexico marks the Chrysler-Chery deal has begun to bear fruits. And industry analysts say this heralds Chery’s entry into the North America market. The next destination of the Chery car may be Canada, said as an executive of DaimlerChrysler.

This Day in Auto History:

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly

Ernest Carlton Kanzler of the Ford Motor Company is born in Saginaw, MI
Frederick H. Clarke and Dr. Henry F. Clarke of the Kent Motors Corporation are arrested in Newark, NJ for stock fraud
The Ford Motor Company pavilion designed by Walter Dorwin Teague opens at the California-Pacific Exposition in San Diego, CA
Racer Ken Schrader is born in Fenton, MO
Benjamin Samuels of the Yellow Cab Company dies at age 83

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

New Dodge Challenger SRT8 cruises into supercar class


'I built that," retired Chrysler assembly worker Jimmie Wilson said, hurrying across the parking lot of Athens Coney Island in Royal Oak toward the silver 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8. "No. Wait," the 65-year-old Detroiter said as he got closer to the muscular new Dodge coupe. "It's different."

The new Challenger looks enough like the 1970 car that inspired it to fool a guy who built the original. Under the skin, though, it's better in ways the engineers who cruised Woodward Avenue a generation ago never dreamed of.

The Challenger, a performance coupe that comes only in max-performance 425-horsepower SRT8 trim for the 2008 model year, will grow into a full model line this fall, as less-expensive 2009 models with smaller engines and higher fuel economy arrive.

Prices for the '08 SRT8, which features a 6.1-liter version of Chrysler LLC's iconic Hemi V8 engine, massive race-ready Brembo brakes among other upgrades, start at $39,420, including a $2,100 federal gas-guzzler tax but excluding destination charges. The only options Dodge offers on the SRT8 are a navigation system and sunroof and a $50 charge for summer tires.

I drove a Challenger SRT8 with the summer tires.

The Challenger SRT8 has a top speed of 170 m.p.h. and accelerates to 60 in 4.9 seconds.

Those figures put the Challenger SRT8 squarely in the supercar class with elite models like the BMW M3 coupe, but its price is thousands of dollars less.

For a fast car, though, it sure takes a long time to get anywhere in the SRT8. The big coupe draws a crowd in every parking lot and can stop traffic as other drivers maneuver for a better look and ask questions: Is it fast? Does it have air bags and other modern safety features? Can I buy one? Do you like it?

Yes, yes, yes. A thousand times yes.

The Challenger rides on a shortened version of the platform that underpins the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. That means it comes with antilock brakes, electronic stability control and curtain air bags and powerful four-piston ventilated Brembo disc brakes.

The technologies Chrysler used to create the LX platform that underpins the Challenger didn't exist when the 1970 Challenger rolled off the assembly line under Jimmie Wilson's eye.

A fully independent suspension and sport-tuned 20-inch all-season performance tires provide the new Challenger with road holding and grip infinitely superior to Detroit's first generation of muscle cars. Those cars were fast and furious in a straight line, but they did not approach the handling possible with modern tires, suspension and computer-aided engineering.

The suspension holds the Challenger secure through dramatic turns and on hyperspeed straightaways, but the Challenger's ride is also very comfortable, absorbing the bumps of rough pavement without the teeth-jarring impact that came with first-generation muscle cars.

Comfort and road holding are both superior to the Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500, which uses the same muscle-car formula but is limited by its solid rear axle.

Powered by an upgraded version of the Hemi V8, the Challenger's head-snapping acceleration is channeled smoothly through Chrysler's six-speed automatic transmission. That gearbox responds well in tap shift mode, but the lack of a true manual is one of the Challenger's few shortcomings. The 2009 SRT8 will offer a six-speed manual when it goes on sale this fall.

Anyone who buys a car like the Challenger SRT8 and complains about fuel economy should stop whining. That said, the SRT is thirsty. It requires premium gasoline and has EPA fuel economy ratings of 13 m.p.g. city and 18 m.p.g. highway.

The front seat is roomy and comfortable, with plenty of storage bins and pockets. Rear legroom is less generous, but rear headroom is good and the 16.2-cubic-foot trunk has a regular shape that makes it easy to use all its space.

The interior lacks a couple of features you should take for granted in a car this price, however. There's no memory function for the seats and mirrors, the tilt and telescoping steering wheel is manual rather than power, and the keyless pushbutton start does not have a feature to automatically lock and unlock the car when you walk away and as you approach it. Many new vehicles with keyless ignition share this shortcoming.

The sporty looking leather seats could also use a more scooped-out bottom cushion to secure occupants during aggressive maneuvers, and the serving-platter-sized steering wheel is too big and badly out of place in a high-performance car with such fast and responsive steering.

The exterior styling is nearly perfect, from the throwback shape to detail touches like the chrome flip-open fuel door. The old-style exterior door handles could stand to be larger and deeper, though. They're difficult to grip and feel like a feature that will break long fingernails as quickly as the SRT8 hits 60 m.p.h.

Dodge will build 8,000 2008 Challenger SRT8s. Every one is already sold.

The small production run for the '08 Challenger SRT8 means that the only review vehicles available are pre-production models. It's either review them or don't review the Challenger until the '09s arrive a few months from now.

For that reason, I'll mention a couple of glitches in the pre-production Challenger I tested, but they didn't affect the car's rating: the climate control fan whistled when set to high, and the front fascia that wraps around the grille does not line up perfectly with the front fenders and hood.

If those matter to you, check for yourself before you leave the dealership. If you don't like the Challenger SRT8, there'll be a line of people behind you who will be happy to take it.

Dodge's higher calibre of Caliber

Posted By Joe Duarte

Posted 3 hours ago

It's easy to find adjective phrases to describe the SRT4 version of the Dodge Caliber - a Dodge of the highest Caliber; Dodge's new bullet; a higher Caliber bullet ... I'm sure I could go on and on.

But if the truth be told, as nice and quick as this new Caliber is, it doesn't stand out in a crowd of lower Calibers. And that package was pretty good right out of the box - equipped properly, they would leave their owners wanting for nothing.

Still, some wanted more power in light of the special version of the Neon that Caliber replaced. The SRT4 was a lovely little sports sedan that really transcended the Neon name much more clearly than the new SRT4 transcends the Caliber brand.

SRT is Chrysler's tuner group that proudly puts its stamp on everything from Ram pickups to Viper roadsters, Chrysler 300 sedans to Jeep Grand Cherokee sport-utes, Dodge Charger sedans and Magnum wagons. Past vehicles also included the Chrysler Crossfire coupe and the Plymouth Prowler. Future ones include Challenger.

It stands for Street and Racing Technology (SRT) with the trailing number being the number of cylinders of the vehicle's engine. In this case, the "4" designates a turbocharged four-cylinder engine displacing 2.4 litres.

It's a fun four-banger, too, coming to life with rebellious growl and snorting out exhaust with a defiant declaration of performance potential. It reportedly goes from 0 to 100 km/h in the mid-six-second range and covers the quarter mile in about 14.5 seconds. You can time all this yourself, with an onboard computer that can also gauge lateral force (Gs) and stopping distance.

The six-speed manual is pretty efficient at forcing through early acceleration but it can get clunky in the middle and cumbersome if you're trying to shift while negotiating a turn (such as an onramp). In a sense it's a throwback to North American performance transmissions that required their drivers to muscle through the gears, often without even using a clutch, but today's sports cars are more about nimbly tip-toeing around a track more than rumbling your way down a dragstrip.

And although the combination of a battened-down suspension and low-profile, stiff sidewalled performance tires on 19-inch rims does a good job of providing a flat stance during that onramp acceleration, it's not so efficient at handling see-saw cornering. But, it is stiff enough to pop a lid off a Timmy's cup during everyday city driving (note to wife: no matter how smooth city pavement may look, don't pull the lid off that coffee until we get to cruising highway speeds).

The interior could be lifted right out of a race car with high, wide Recaro-style seats snugly supporting front occupants from shoulder to knee. Beyond the wheel, three large gauges alert the driver to what the car's doing, with a smaller boost gauge sitting just to the left of the steering wheel rim. The only complaint I have is that the speedo should be large and in charge in the centre of the cluster with the rev-counter relegated to either the left or right flank.

There are all sorts of little stowage cubbies throughout the cabin, but none of them are really easy to use effectively and quickly.

The rear seats are flat but comfortable and the seatback goes down in a 60/40 split for cargo/passenger versatility. Putting them down doesn't create a flat load floor, but this vehicle is more about compromises than traditional hatchback versatility.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Two Chrysler LLC Plants Present Scholarships to Five Students

Detroit -

STERLING HEIGHTS -- The Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant and Sterling Stamping Plant (Sterling Heights, Mich.) have awarded $5,000 in scholarships on behalf of The Chrysler Foundation to Sterling Heights-area students for the 2008-2009 calendar school year. Five students each received $1,000 and individually monogrammed backpacks, to help support their pursuit of technical educational courses in post-secondary education at two- and four-year colleges, universities or vocational/technical institutions.

"It is important to give back to the youth of our community," Brian Glowiak, Vice President - The Chrysler Foundation, said. "Helping these students achieve their educational goals will benefit them, as well as the surrounding community and workforce in the future."

In 1999, The Chrysler Foundation established the Chrysler Scholarship Fund for Technical Training with the Sterling Heights Community Foundation. Since its inception, the scholarship fund has awarded 40 scholarships to Sterling Heights students. The scholarship fund targets high school seniors and graduates who are under 21, living in Sterling Heights and pursuing careers in technical or vocational fields such as engineering, manufacturing, computer science or skilled trades. The scholarship recipients were chosen by a scholar-selection committee and honored at a reception today at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.

  Scholarship recipients include:

-- Jacob Kotwica - Stevenson High School
-- John Kulczycki - De La Salle Collegiate High School
-- Eric Wilkins - Stevenson High School
-- Pacari Woodland - Henry Ford II High School
-- Chelsea Gerlach - Stevenson High School (2007), currently attending
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant produces the Chrysler Sebring Sedan, Chrysler Sebring Convertible and the Dodge Avenger. The Sterling Stamping Plant supplies materials for the for the Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Ram, Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan Minivans, Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, Dodge Nitro and the Chrysler Pacifica.

The Chrysler Foundation

The Chrysler Foundation is the primary source of charitable grants made by Chrysler LLC. The Foundation annually supports hundreds of charitable organizations with an emphasis on community growth and enrichment, arts and culture, education, and youth development programs throughout the United States and increasingly, the world. Visit

About Chrysler LLC

Chrysler LLC, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces Chrysler, Jeep(R), Dodge and Mopar(R) brand vehicles and products. Total sales worldwide in 2007 were 2.7 million vehicles. Sales outside of North America were the highest ever with an increase of eight percent over 2006. Its product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee and Dodge Challenger and Ram. The Chrysler Foundation, the company's philanthropic arm, annually supports hundreds of charitable organizations in the United States and throughout the world. In 2007, the Foundation gave approximately $21 million in charitable donations.

This Day in Auto History:

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly

Frederick A. LaRoche registers “Multimobile” as a trademark – he was the head of the American Darracq Automobile Company of New York City, importers of this French marque
NASCAR mechanic Ray Fox is born in Pelham, NH
Racer Marvin Panch is born in Menominee, WI
Heinrich-Joachim von Morgen, winner of the 1930 Masaryk Grand Prix, is killed in a crash during a practice run at the Nurburgring in Germany
The 250,117th 1940 Buick is produced, breaking the company’s model year record set in 1928

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nanotechnology treatment for automotive glass surfaces lasts 80,000 km in Canada

Water beading on a car windscreen treated with Nanoprotect AG

Nanoprotect AG from Nanotec is a unique, transparent, protective treatment specifically developed for automotive glass. It creates a water repellent, non-stick glass surface which improves visibility when driving in rain or snow, often to the point where windscreen wipers are not needed.

In most environmental conditions, Nanoprotect AG normally lasts for up to 2 years or 30,000 km. Recent testing of Nanoprotect AG in Eastern Canada has shown that with normal use, the product can last up to 80,000 km on the automotive glass with a single application, even in the extreme conditions of that region.

While driving, rain and snow bead off the automotive glass treated with Nanoprotect AG, which greatly improves visibility. Enhanced visibility on wet roads leads to quicker reaction times when something unexpected happens, and this can literally save lives.

Nanoprotect AG is long lasting since it chemically bonds to the automotive glass. It does not change the clarity or texture of the surface. The automotive glass is non-stick, so build-up of dust, grease, oil, tar, dead bugs and plant resins are easily removed.

Nanoprotect AG protects exterior automotive glass, i.e., windows, windscreens, external mirrors, glass sunroofs, and glass headlights. 28-May-2008