Archive for the ‘Minivans’ Category

First Drive: 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited

Plenty of comfort and convenience with great fuel economy.

by on Feb.21, 2019

The 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Limited features the S appearance package with blacked out wheels and other updates to make it appealing to men.

Minivans were invented by the old Chrysler Corp. back in the early 1980s and through the company’s various transitions and permeations have been a mainstay in its product portfolio ever since the Reagan years.

Facing stiffer fuel-economy and emission regulations, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. has brought on a hybrid version that has all the advantages that have made of the traditional minivan a practical choice for families or anyone that needs to carry multiple passengers of all ages to a destination in comfort and with minimal fuss.

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The sliding doors on the 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid remain as practical as ever for dropping children off for school while changes to the powertrain have given it greater range and fuel economy FCA also has loaded up with the latest technology, including the ability to connect multiple devices to the Internet and useful driver-assistance features such as blind spot detection that help justify its $50,375 price tag, which includes the $1,395 destination charge. (more…)

Millions More Vehicles with Takata Airbags Yet to Face Recall

Automakers, regulators continue fix slowed by lack of replacement parts.

by on Feb.12, 2019

Takata's faulty airbag inflators have been linked to 24 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

Nearly 2 million vehicles have been recalled this month to replace airbag inflators blamed for dozens of deaths around the world, but millions more are expected to be targeted in the U.S. alone by early next year.

The problem was caused by faulty airbags produced by Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp., the inflators potentially failing over time. When that happens, they can inflate too aggressively, sending shrapnel spewing into the passenger compartment. So far, at least 23 people are known to have died due to the defect – most of them in the U.S. – with hundreds more injured.

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The Takata airbag recall is not only the largest safety-related service action in U.S. history, but also the longest-running recall, with the first advisories going out to vehicle owners back in 2001. It took years for industry leaders, regulators and safety experts to agree on the extent of the problem, but it is now dragging out due to a shortage of replacement inflators. (more…)

Auto Dealers Get Nervous as Inventory Continues Rising

Sales expected to fall later in year.

by on Feb.06, 2019

Auto dealers are expressing concern about new vehicle inventory levels early in the year.

Car dealers and manufacturers keep a careful watch on inventories and a rising level of unsold vehicles in dealer hands is drawing attention and concern both for the health of the industry and of the overall economy.

The American International Automobile Dealers Association, or AIADA, is reporting that car dealers are beginning 2019 with a heavier inventory of unsold vehicles on their lots, a situation that some analysts say will put pressure on them to push for cuts in factory output as U.S. auto sales are expected to cool this year.

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Most forecasts call for vehicle sales to drop to between 16.8 million to 17 million units this year, which is a decline of between 200,000 to 400,000 units from 2018.  (more…)

FCA Debuting Special Anniversary Minivans in Chicago

35th anniversary editions commemorate a major industry shift.

by on Feb.04, 2019

The 35th anniversary edition Chrysler Pacifica.

Fiat Chrysler will roll out a pair of special edition minivans at the Chicago Auto Show later this week to mark the 35th anniversary of the automaker’s original “people-movers.”

Few individual vehicles have had a more dramatic impact on the U.S. automotive market as did the original Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager when they came to market in 1984, instantly clicking with buyers and rapidly spawning an array of competitors.

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While minivan sales today are running little more than a third of their one-time peak, they still remain a go-to product for millions of American families and, FCA hopes to take advantage of that with the 35th Anniversary Models it will roll out on Thursday at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center.

(more…)

Auto Sales Stabilize in January’s Polar Weather

Cold weather offset by strong incentives.

by on Feb.01, 2019

FCA's Reid Bigland said the automaker had a good "cadence" to sales in January, despite the frigid weather.

This story has been updated with new information.

Despite the government shutdown that neutralized sales in the U.S. Capitol and polar weather in the Midwest, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and American Honda reported sales increases for the month of January, while Toyota and Nissan reported that sales dropped.

FCA said its January U.S. sales rose 2% to 136,082 vehicles compared with sales of 132,803 vehicles in January 2018. General Motors and Ford, FCA’s Detroit-based rivals, no longer report monthly sales totals, but on a quarterly basis.

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“In spite of some frigid January weather, we remain bullish on 2019 given the continued underlying strength of the U.S. economy,” said U.S. Head of Sales Reid Bigland. “We expect a good cadence of new product throughout the year led by our Ram heavy-duty pickup trucks and Jeep Gladiator midsize trucks in the first half of this year.” (more…)

Waymo to Build Self-Driving Cars in Michigan

Company in the market for a used auto plant.

by on Jan.22, 2019

Waymo is moving east to Michigan to build Level 4 autonomous vehicles in metro Detroit.

More and more automakers looking to develop their autonomous vehicles are finding their way to Michigan, and now add Waymo to the list. The Google spinoff plans to produce robot cars at a to-be-determined location in southeast Michigan.

The company has been testing its self-driving vehicles largely in the southwest, and had planned to find a cold weather state (i.e. a state with snow) to continue testing. However, this plant will be the first-ever site to churn out Level 4 autonomous vehicles.

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“Waymo will first identify a facility in Southeast Michigan and, over the next few years, aim to create hundreds of local jobs in the community,” the company said in a statement. “We’ll be looking for engineers, operations experts and fleet coordinators to join our team and help assemble and deploy our self-driving cars.”  (more…)

Live From Detroit!

This year's event has some of everything.

by on Jan.14, 2019

This year’s media preview of the North American International Auto Show may be wrapping up, but it had some intriguing — and occasionally surprising — debuts, including a flying car. Check out  complete coverage of the 30th anniversary NAIAS on bingdb.info. (more…)

Ford Expected to Cut “Thousands” of European Jobs

European unit wants 6% profit margin by 2020.

by on Jan.10, 2019

Steven Armstrong, Ford of Europe's chief, confirmed the unit is taking measures and examining other options to become profitable.

With speculation swirling about the details of an almost certain link up between Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG, the company announced it plans to cut “thousands” of jobs in Europe in the near term.

“We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe,” Steven Armstrong, group vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement on Thursday.

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Ford Europe has been a money loser for several years and now needs to restructure its operations to turn that trend around. The unit employs about 53,000 people. (more…)

Trump Administration Still Fighting to Roll Back Fuel Economy Rules

Critics say mistakes made in calculations nullify Trump-propsed gains.

by on Dec.07, 2018

The Trump administration is proposing revoking California's ability to make it's own emissions and fuel economy rules.

While the industry is focused now on issues such as trade, manufacturing capacity and employment, the fight over fuel economy and emissions hasn’t gone away and could roar back to life any time.

The Trump administration proposed rolling back the fuel-economy rules imposed in the waning days of Obama administration. It also has proposed eliminating California’s hold on the auto industry.

Beyond the Headlines!

California, powered by an overwhelming political victory by Democrats opposed to Trump in last month’s midterm elections and bolstered by new reports both from the Trump administration’s Environment Protection Agency and the United Nations Independent Panel on Climate Change, have vowed a long and expensive court fight to protect the Obama standards and its authority. (more…)

Waymo Kicks Off Autonomous Taxi and Ride Sharing Service

Autonomous service starts in Phoenix.

by on Dec.05, 2018

This scene may become more common as Waymo One kicks off service in Arizona.

Self-driving ride-sharing service is here. Well, it’s in Arizona, technically, but the day that Uber, Lyft and others have waiting for has arrived with the debut of Waymo One, Waymo’s autonomous taxi and ride-sharing service.

The service operates in a 100-square-mile zone covering four Phoenix suburbs: Chandler, Tempe, Mesa and Gilbert. The company has been testing its vehicles in the area since 2016, including offering free rides earlier this year to generate some goodwill for autonomous vehicles.

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“Over time, we hope to make Waymo One available to even more members of the public,” John Krafcik, Waymo’s CEO wrote in a blog post. “Self-driving technology is new to many, so we’re proceeding carefully.” (more…)

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