Friday, September 19, 2008

Chrysler Recalls More Than 600 Jeep Liberty Vehicles Due to Possible Urethane Issue

Chrysler is recalling 644 2008 Jeep Liberty vehicles because they may have been assembled using an incorrect urethane, according to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Office of Defects Investigations. The vehicles in question were assembled at the company's Toledo North Assembly Plant in June.

"We [received] a bad batch of urethane adhesive," says Max Gates, spokesperson for Chrysler. "It didn't have the UV stabilizer in it, so it could break down."

According to Gates, someone in the plant noticed the container of adhesive didn't have the right label on it during production of the vehicles-after some of them had left the plant.

"They caught [the problem] within three days, so it was probably noticed pretty quickly," says Gates.

Dealers will replace the windshield and/or fixed rear quarter glass for customers. Gates says he doesn't see an issue with a separate glass shop replacing the glass, with the exception of the reimbursement issue for consumers-as Chrysler has only guaranteed the glass will be replaced free of charge by certified Jeep dealer.

Gates could not reveal what company supplied the adhesive.


2008-09 Dodge Challenger Recalled over Accidental Rollaway Concern

Dodge Challenger is being recalled over concerns about accidental rollaway with the "keyless go" function. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)
The recall affects Challengers with automatic transmission and the "keyless go" function and is scheduled to start this week. (Photo courtesy of Chrysler LLC)

Date posted: 09-19-2008

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Chrysler is recalling 6,636 2008-09 Dodge Challengers equipped with automatic transmissions and the "keyless go" option because they may fail to meet a federal safety standard for theft prevention which could result in accidental rollaway.

"If the stop/start button is pressed and held and the engine turns off, the electronic key code is removed from the vehicle," said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its recalls summary of the problem. "Since this can occur in a transmission or gear selector position other than 'park,' and the transmission or gear selector does not become locked in 'park' as a direct result of key removal, it was determined that a noncompliance may exist.

"This standard specifies vehicle performance requirements intended to reduce the incidence of crashes resulting from theft and accidental rollaway of motor vehicles."

Chrysler dealers will reprogram the wireless ignition node module so the engine can only be turned off when the transmission and gear selector is in the "park" position. The recall is scheduled to begin this week. Owners can contact Chrysler at 800-853-1403 for more information.


WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Chrysler Chairman and CEO Bob
Nardelli accepted the 2008 Secretary of Defense Freedom Award today at the
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The
Freedom Award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to
employers for outstanding support of their employees who serve in the National
Guard and Reserve. A total of 15 companies in multiple categories were

"I am truly honored to accept this Freedom Award on behalf of the men and
women of Chrysler," said Nardelli. "Because the Freedom Award is based upon
employee nominations, this award demonstrates the pride our employees have in
working for Chrysler, knowing that our company provides military-friendly
benefits and policies while on active duty."

Members of the National Guard and Reserve or their families can nominate
employers for their support of military service. More than 2,000 nominations
were received by the Department of Defense from across the country for 2008. A
national selection board comprised of senior Defense officials and business
leaders selected the recipients for this year's award.

Chrysler employee Theresa Jones, a Powertrain Instrumentation Technician
in the company's Engine Development Laboratory and Petty Officer Second Class
in the Naval Reserve, was one of four employees who submitted Chrysler as a
candidate for the Freedom Award. Jones delivered remarks introducing the
company to those in attendance at the black-tie event.

"I'm honored to be employed by a company like Chrysler because they truly
support their military employees not just in words, but in actions," said
Jones. "Their generosity allowed me to remain financially secure and maintain
my current lifestyle, which had a huge impact on my morale in sometimes
difficult circumstances."

Honoring Those Who Serve

Chrysler has a long tradition of support for the U.S. military that
stretches back to the creation of the Jeep(R) vehicle prior to WWII and
continues today. As a part of its participation in Military Appreciation Month
in May 2008, Chrysler announced its military support initiative, "Honoring
Those Who Serve," to recognize those men and women who serve in our armed
forces. The initiative consists of three components: Employment,
Transportation and Community.

Employment: Chrysler is partnering with the Departments of Defense and
Labor and Veterans Affairs to bring current and former members of the military
together with the Company, its dealers and suppliers to find suitable career
opportunities as they transition to civilian life. The company created a Web
site for those looking for career opportunities at

Transportation: The Company continues to offer military-only discounts,
benefits and warranties on Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge products. Currently, the
company offers a free three-year maintenance agreement and employee pricing
specifically for members of the military who purchase a Chrysler, Jeep or
Dodge vehicle.

Community: Chrysler joined America Supports You (ASY), a Department of
Defense program that connects nonprofit support groups with military people
and their families. The Company is currently working with two ASY home-front
groups -- The Freedom Calls Foundation and Operation Gratitude. Along with
Operation Gratitude, Chrysler recently presented an all-new Jeep Liberty with
a custom-painted mural to Cpl. Michael Gallagher, at Fort Lewis, Wash., on
July 1, 2008. Gallagher originally received the vehicle keys in one of the
300,000 Operation Gratitude care packages that were delivered in December 2007
while on duty in Iraq.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Albert Vidal Alexandre Boudarel, a sculptor and designer of animal mascots for automobiles, is born in Paris, France
Harry Joseph Seaman, founder of Seaman Motors and developer of improved roadbuilding techniques, is born in Berlin, WI
Mr. and Mrs. Willaim Warwick and daughter Daisy arrive in New York City in a GMC truck loaded with Carnation Milk products after a 70-day trip from Seattle, WA to promote the National Parks Highway
Ab Jenkins completes a 24-hour solo run at the Bonneville Salt Flats, UT in a stock Pierce-Arrow V-12 roadster, covering 2,710 miles for an average speed of 112.94 mph - this was the first 24-hour run done at Bonneville
The 1949 Kaisers are introduced

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

Chrysler offers select employee pricing for September

Chrysler LLC introduced an employee pricing program today that could shore up soft September sales. Starting today, military personnel, returning lease customers and employees of companies that supply Chrysler can buy a Dodge, Chrysler or Jeep for $200 above the price a Chrysler employee would pay.


Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

John Lyon Collyer of the B. F. Goodrich Company is born in Chelsea-on-Hudson, NY
The Narragnasett Park Asphalt Speedway in Providence, RI stages its first races - the 100-mile main event is won by Eddie Rickenbacker in a Maxwell
Diesel engine authority Dr. Ing. Adolph Nagel dies at age 63
Racer Charles de Tornaco is killed at age 26 when his Ferrari crashes during a practice run in Modena, Italy
The last episode of the television program Route 66 airs

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

Chrysler to shed 450 contract jobs, sources say


Chrysler LLC plans to eliminate around 450 contract jobs by the end of the month on top of the 1,000 salaried positions already announced, the Free Press has learned.

In July, Chrysler announced it was eliminating the salaried positions as part of a cost-savings effort in response to declining sales volumes. The elimination of the contract jobs are part of that overall effort, people familiar with the plans said.

"Chrysler does not disclose specifics related to on-site contract workers," Shawn Morgan, a Chrysler spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The Auburn Hills automaker's sales are down more than 20% so far this year, and the company has been taking dramatic steps to turn itself around.

Over the past two years, the automaker has announced it wants to eliminate around as many as 28,000 jobs. That figure includes about 1,000 contract jobs cut as part of a decision announced last November.

Chrysler has also taken out 1.1 million units of capacity, announced it was closing its St. Louis-area minivan plant and Delaware SUV plant, and eliminated four products to help make the automaker a smaller, more efficient company.

Earlier this year, Chrysler implemented a 5% rate reduction on certain types of indirect supplier contracts, which impacted most agreements with agencies providing contract workers to the automaker.

The Free Press reported that some contract workers were seeing a direct result in the form of pay reductions.

Detroit's auto industry is filled with contract workers. When times get tough, such workers are often let go or see their pay cut.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dodge Challenger Super Stock Drag Package Available For Order...If You're Man Enough

We're stoked that Chrysler is offering a Dodge Challenger Drag Pak turn-key racer, but how exactly do you go about ordering one from your local Dodge dealer? Since these mighty Mopars are going to be limited production, you gotta prove you're worthy. First, you're required to submit your application in writing to a dealer, who will then fax it to Mopar Motorsports' secret lair. Keep in mind that this is all first-come first-served, so you probably want to get a fax confirmation to make sure your paperwork went through. But what qualifications will buyers have to meet?

It's recommended that potential buyers have "a current Competition License or sanctioning body affiliation prior to ordering their vehicle." So, n00bs need not apply. That's because Mopar wants to put their best foot forward with the Drag Challenger. They've even specified that the "buyer is encouraged to have the Challenger Drag Pak vehicle in competition within a reasonable amount of time." We're assuming that's also to weed out any speculating collector-types, as the profit margin on the vehicles will likely be slim to none. Besides, nobody should ever take a brand new race car and seal it in a bubble in a locked garage. [Mopar via Allpar]

Sneak peek #3: New Dodge Ram is one smooth ride

calendar (1K) Posted Wednesday, Sep 17, 2008 at 9:39 am in Company News

In this 99-second video, the new 2009 Dodge Ram pickup is put to the test … three tests in fact, to evaluate ride quality and comfort: offroad, smooth road and freeway hop ride quality. Watch and see how the Dodge Ram’s link coil rear suspension stacks up against Ford, Nissan, GMC and Toyota, all still using leaf springs, which debuted on Old West stage coaches.

This is the third in a series of five sneak-peek videos showing the Ram outperforming the competition. These videos will go live on on Friday as part of a wide-reaching Ram pre-launch and launch campaign.

The tests were conducted by Automotive Marketing Consultants Inc., among the industry’s foremost automotive testing and evaluation companies.

A new AMCI video will be featured each day this week on The Scoop.

Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Lester L. Whitman and Eugene I. Hammond arrive in New York City to complete the third trans-United States automobile trip which included a route from Windsor to Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada to give the journey an international flavor
Henry, Clara, and Edsel B. Ford become sole owners of the Ford Motor Company
Racer Stirling Craufurd Moss is born in London, England
The Packard Custom Super Eight 180 is introduced
Edgar W. Smith, an executive with General Motors 1919-1954, dies in Morristown, NJ at age 66

Chrysler could use Nissan, Fiat platforms for 'Project D'

by Viknesh Vijayenthiran

Motorauthority.Com | Chrysler could use Nissan, Fiat platforms for 'Project D'Chrysler's "product renaissance" is expected to bring many new models into the company's fold, all designed to appeal to consumers changing tastes. Spearheading this will be 'Project D', Chrysler's plan to create a new global mid-size platform that will underpin several new models and relaunch Chrysler back into public favor.

While it has long been thought that Chrysler will develop a brand new platform under Project D, which will replace the Dodge Avenger and Chrysler Sebring cars currently in production, according to Motor Trend this is just one option on the table. One of the more interesting routes Chrysler could take includes using the platform from another manufacturer, specifically Nissan or Fiat. Both the Nissan Altima and the Fiat Croma sit on mid-size platforms that Chrysler could use, and by adding Chrysler styling could achieve the same rewards as developing a new platform from scratch but without the huge costs.

Additionally, Chrysler could combine elements from different platforms to create their own platform. This mix-and-match approach could also save huge development costs while allowing more flexibility in creating a unique platform suited to Chrysler's needs.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2010 Dodge Ram 1500 appears to get 5.0L diesel option


It's no secret that round two of the diesel wars is about to begin. Round two you ask?

Yep, that's the one in which the full-size 1/2-ton trucks will be the combatants. It's believed that GM and Toyota will be offering 4.5L V8 diesels, and Ford will have a 4.4L V8 diesel. It is also assumed that Dodge would offer a new smaller Cummins diesel for their new Ram 1500.

Now it is revealed, via an under-the-hood sticker found on the new Ram, that the new small diesel will displace 5.0 liters, making it a half liter bigger than the competition. Hey, it's all about braggin' rights when it comes to trucks, right?

Mike Levine, of, and who posted this story, thinks this new diesel will also be a V8 and not a straight six like the larger 6.7L unit found in Dodge HD pickups. Expect this new small diesel to show up for the 2010 model year.

Alas..good to Mike

2002 Jeep Compass, with product designer Jordan Meadows, left,
and design manager Micheal Castiglione.

Nissan owner can’t wait to trade up to a 2009 Ram

San Antonio police officer Hector Hernandez can’t wait until the lease on his Nissan is up and he can buy an all-new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. Hernandez talked about what sold him on the Ram during a test drive at the Ram Challenge Tour in San Antonio, Texas.

Sneak peek week: Videos show Ram’s advantages

calendar (1K) Posted Monday, Sep 15, 2008 at 9:52 am in Company News, Video Scoop

To establish the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 as a game-changing vehicle, the Dodge brand turned to the independent vehicle testing and evaluation company, Automotive Marketing Consultants Inc. (AMCI), to test the new pickup truck in head-to-head comparisons against its major competitors. In a series of challenges, AMCI, among the industry’s foremost automotive testing and evaluation companies, tested the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 in the areas of acceleration, towing, fuel economy and ride quality over a series of eight months and proved 12 compelling claims.

This week on The Scoop, employees will have an opportunity for a sneak peek of five compelling videos showing the Ram outperforming the competition. These videos will go live on on Friday as part of a wide-reaching Ram pre-launch and launch campaign.

Today’s video — “Freeway Hop” — demonstrates Ram’s superior ride quality.

2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee to get new Phoenix V6 engine

Chrysler will be introducing a new and redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee in 2010 but will be keeping the unibody construction. Under the hood, Chrysler will offer a new fuel-efficient V6 engine, internally known as the Phoenix.

Tom LaSorda, Chrysler’s co-President said that Chrysler will retool its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit to produce the new Gran Cherokee and some other models that will use the same platform - which was built in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz.

LaSorda also confirmed that Chrysler’s new small car that it is working on with Chery Automobile will be ready for sale next year.


Automobile Quarterly
Automobile Quarterly
This Day in Auto History:

Testing is completed for the Packard Model F
Racer Josef Peters is born in Dusseldorf, Germany
A GM T-95-C tractor/trailer unit operated by the Southern California
The post office at the Ford Motor Company Navy Service School closes
The United States Auto Club (USAC) is organized with Duane Carter

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

Chrsyler Korea to Sell New Sedans, Suvs

SEOUL, Sept 16 Asia Pulse - The South Korean unit of U.S. carmaker Chrysler LLC said Tuesday it will start selling its new luxury sedans and sports utility vehicles in South Korea this month.

Chrysler Korea plans to limit the sale of its premium sedan 300C SRT 8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8 SUV to 50 units each, the company said in a statement.

"As the SRT models are produced in small quantities worldwide, we are planning to limit sales in South Korea," Chrysler Korea said.

The 300C SRT 8 and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8 SUV are expected to sell at a price of 898 million won (US$78,633) and 82.9 million won, Chrysler Korea said.

The 300C SRT 8 can reach a top speed of 265 kilometers per hour, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 8 SUV goes from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in about four seconds, the company said.


Brand-new 2009 Dodge Ram production launched out of Chrysler's Warren Plant

September 15, 2008

By Benson Kong
Photography by the Manufacturer

A high-profile event in celebration of the manufacturer launch of the 2009 Dodge Ram at Chrysler's Warren Truck Assembly Plant was celebrated on September 12 by approximately 1000 attendees, including Jim Press, Chrysler LLC vice chairman and president, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, and other Chrysler employees and local dignitaries.

Approximately $220 million was invested into the Warren plant to prepare for the production of the new Ram. The Michigan Economic Development Council has supported the plant investment in many ways to ensure the availability of jobs for Michigan workers. Training funds to support the transformation also were provided by the Council. Governor Granholm was supportive of the production launch: "Today's launch of the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram demonstrates Michigan's continued leadership in the global auto industry. We are proud to support Chrysler's commitment to invest in Michigan and create jobs for Michigan workers."

 Brand New 2009 Dodge Ram Front View

The changes to the plant in preparation for production of the 2009 Dodge Ram involved a focus on customer satisfaction and manufacturing quality. More than 150,000 hours of training was put in over the past two years to ensure a high-quality launch. A change in work structure moved much of the plant workforce into working in small, self-directed teams rather than a traditional plant work-line. The change into teams helps with quality assurance more than anything else; now there are five times more quality-assurance team members on the floor.

The importance of in-station quality helps to address potential customer satisfaction issues. Changes have been made to productions areas such as body shop robotics, final assembly area, interior trim shop, and the chassis shop. Quality metrics have already shown improved quality since starting new production processes, with the metrics being provided from customer expectation surveys. The 2009 Dodge Ram will be the first vehicle to benefit from the new production processes implemented at the Warren Assembly Plant.

The 2009 Dodge Ram crew cab and Quad Cab pickups are also being built at the Warren location.

The plant has implemented a number of green initiatives and is ISO 13001 Certified. Natural gas is the only source of fuel, and low-energy light bulbs are used in conjunction with motion detectors to control light usage. A regenerative thermal oxidizer captures and re-uses heat. Shop solvents are redistilled and reused. Materials recycled include tires, oil, mercury, batteries, and many others.

The 2009 Dodge Ram also is being produced

Auto Column

Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star

Published: Monday, September 15, 2008

Jim Press, vice-chairman and co-president of Chrysler LLC, says North American economic conditions remain so volatile he has no clue how sales will do for the last quarter of the year.

July was a disaster for the North American auto industry - the worst month in 16 years, at an seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12.5 million vehicles.

August improved a bit, to an annual rate of 13.7 million units. But that's still a far cry from the boom days of selling 16 million to 17 million cars and trucks per year.

As a rough rule of thumb, each 250,000 in sales represents one automotive assembly plant and several thousand direct jobs. So North American sales are down the equivalent of eight to 12 assembly plants and tens of thousands of jobs.

In an address to the Automotive Press Association in Detroit a few days ago, Press said he wouldn't hazard a guess as to how he thinks September and the rest of the year will go.

The future is so hazy, the former head of Toyota North America said, he can't tell which way it's going. "We can't tell if the market is going back to 13 or 14 million or down to 11 or 12 (million).... But we haven't fallen off the table yet."

Clearing out the 2008 models and surviving the next three months is key for Chrysler. "We're still within spitting distance" of sales projections, Press said.

The good news: "We don't plan to close any more plants."

Slowdown forces Toyota to keep workforce busy

Toyota, where Press used to work, is famous for never closing assembly plants or laying off employees, among other claims to fame.

But it's become quite a struggle for the company to keep all of its team members busy. Sales have slumped so badly, even the world's most successful carmaker doesn't have enough work to keep everyone on the payroll building cars.

Thousands of Toyota's North American associates aren't building cars and trucks these days because of the economic slowdown -- but they are still getting paycheques.

In a recent interview, Ray Tanguay, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. and a member of the company's worldwide board of management, said the company has reassigned 4,500 of its U.S. assemblers and other employees to training and other duties while the company rides out the downturn.

"We're trying to be very transparent with our team members and our suppliers," Tanguay said. "We're going to invest in them" while the company rides out the rough economic waves.

The 4,500 people had been building pickup trucks and SUVs at Toyota's three truck plants in Indiana, Texas and Alabama.

Toyota announced a few weeks ago it was postponing the hiring of a second shift at its new RAV4 assembly plant in Woodstock, Ont. But keeping all those people on payroll in the U.S. was "the toughest decision," said Tanguay.

The Canadian operations, by comparison, "are very fortunate we have high demand vehicles." The Lexus RX 350 and the fuel efficient Toyota Corolla and Matrix are built at Toyota's Cambridge assembly plant, "and they are in very short supply right now."

Sales of the RAV4, which will start coming out of the new Woodstock plant in a few weeks, are up 30 per cent in North America this year, so that plant's future appears assured despite the postponement of the second shift.

Tanguay, a graduate of St. Clair College, said nobody in the industry forecast how bad sales would become in North America this year. And like Press, he says there is no clarity to where the industry is going.

"There are a lot of factors. Nobody can give an answer."

The factors hurting the auto industry sales include the sub-prime mortgage meltdown in the U.S., declining housing values, higher oil prices and the devalued U.S. dollar - "all these factors have a huge impact on the market."

"But we had a pretty good ride since 1989," said Tanguay, putting some perspective on the current conditions. "The market has just been going up. Things don't always go up."

The current downturn, he said, "is a little bit of a setback."

Companies interested in Viper

You read it here first two weeks ago that American automotive engineering firms Roush and Saleen were looking at buying the Viper name from Chrysler., says Chrysler vice-chairman Jim Press has confirmed those two companies are at the top of the list to buy the supercar brand.

Phoenix engines more efficient

Chrysler's Windsor Assembly Plant has begun running prototypes of minivans with the company's new Phoenix engines and even Bluetec diesels, sources say.

The Phoenix family of engines are fuel efficient V-6s with technologies such as turbocharging, overhead cams, direct injection, and variable valve timing.

Ford and General Motors have already moved into such engines in search of greater fuel efficiency for their volume models. Chrysler's versions will come in four different displacements.

Chrysler co-president Tom LaSorda has said the first Phoenix engines will be available a year from now in the 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee, along with other undisclosed vehicles to be built on the same platform at Jefferson North in Detroit.

No word yet on which displacement they are using in the minivan prototypes.

Quality crucial to Chrysler recovery

Nardelli sends staff memo on mission


Improving quality and working more closely with dealers will be key factors to Chrysler LLC's turnaround, Cerberus Capital Management Chairman John Snow said Monday.

"I know there's a deep commitment here to putting out better products," Snow said at the International Council of Sheet Metal Presswork Associations' International Congress in Grand Rapids.

Cerberus acquired majority control of Chrysler about a year ago.

In Auburn Hills, Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli sent employees a memo about the company's mission, highlighting a "one-pager that expresses our strategic framework for future success."

"It starts with a vision -- to provide cars and trucks that customers will want to buy, will enjoy driving and will want to buy again. Chrysler veterans will recognize these words, because our vision -- or our purpose -- for the most part, does not change. Those 20 words capture the concepts of attracting, satisfying and keeping our customers with great products. That's why we're in business. That's what we come to work to do."

He added: "We also have a very important mission -- one that can be expressed in just three words -- return to profitability. It's a critical mission, because without sustainable profitability, we cannot fulfill our vision."

Webbie Arrested After Fleeing From Cops

Louisiana rapper Webbie was arrested and charged with felony eluding after leading police on a dangerous high-speed chase through Hattiesburg, Mississippi on Sunday.

According to police reports, officers attempted to stop a 2009 Dodge Challenger for a routine traffic stop on September 14, 2008 on I-59 North at 3:30 p.m. The driver ignored the officer's flashing lights and began driving erratically before crashing into a black 1999 Mercury Cougar.

The driver of the Challenger proceeded to keep going, while police temporarily gave up pursuit to assist the injured passengers of the other vehicle.

Later, authorities found the damaged Challenger abandoned in a Walmart parking lot, and eyewitnesses confimed that three men exited the vehicle, departing in a 1993 Ford Crown Victoria. The vehicle was quickly tracked down and Webbie, born Webster Gradney, was identified as the driver by the initial traffic stop authorities.

Webbie is also facing millions of dollars in lawsuits, amidst claims that he took money from several promotoers, but failed to show up to perform at the concerts, according to