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First Drive: 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie

Comfort reminiscent of a luxury car with truck utility.

by on Feb.12, 2019

The 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie offers comfort reminiscent of a luxury car, but offers plenty of truck utility.

Pickup trucks are hot now and no truck is getting more attention than the Ram 1500, which is ringing up scores of plaudits.

The honors, among them North American Truck of The Year for 2019, are well deserved.

Reviews You Can Use!

For anyone who has driven traditional pickup for work, climbing into the cab of a Ram 1500 Laramie is a revelation as it has the kind of comfortable luxury one traditionally associates with full-sized luxury sedans. (more…)

Alfa Romeo Bringing Back 4C Spider for 2020

It will enjoy a limited run of just 15 cars.

by on Feb.11, 2019

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia will be a limited-edition vehicle this year with just 15 units.

Despite rumors floating around of its imminent demise, the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider will stay around for the 2020 model year, officials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have confirmed.

Alfa Romeo unveiled the limited-edition 2020 4C Spider Italia for North America with its limited production run of only 15 vehicles, during the press preview at the Chicago Auto Show. In keeping with the special color and badges, each car will be numbered.

Product News!

Ben Lyon, FCA product expert, said the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia, which is hand-built in a factory in Italy, offers enthusiasts a chance to own a unique mid-engine design inspired by the brand’s legendary racing history and the essential sportiness embedded in the brand’s DNA.  (more…)

Ford’s Future Relies on Its Manufacturing Prowess

Technology is going to lead, but old school rules will ensure success.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of Global Operations, meets with the media after the announcement that Ford would pump $1B into the Chicago plant.

As the auto industry stands on the cusp of a huge upheaval, Ford Motor Co. is pursuing a strategy that not only looks to new technology, but also relies on the deft use of the manufacturing skills that were instrumental in the company’s rise more than a century ago.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president, Global Operations, said the billion-dollar investment the company is making in its manufacturing operations in Chicago, where the company has some 6,000 blue-collar workers and plans to add 500 more in the few months, will depend utilize both the latest automation but also the human touch.

The Last Word!

“We’re going to have a new, highly-automated paint shop and body shop,” said Hinrichs talking about Ford’s future plans with reporters at the Chicago Auto Show. But Ford is also depending on the skill of its employees to build the new Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator.as well as specialty vehicles such as the police interceptor that is based on the Explorer.   (more…)

Ram Aims for Commercial Customers With New HD Trucks

Brand focuses on truck's flexibility to lure buyers.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Jim Morrison, director of marketing, Ram Brands, introduced Ram's new commercially oriented heavy-duty trucks at the Chicago Auto Show.

Ram is hoping to lure more buyers to commercial-oriented heavy-duty pickups with a new 2019 Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab, geared specifically to be put to work in a variety of different situations.

Jim Morrison, director of marketing for the Ram Brands, said the new family of heavy-duty chassis cabs will also delivers a package with more capability, more comfort and more technology.

Business News!

With a segment-leading towing capacity of up to 35,220 pounds, the highest Gross Combined Weight Rating of 43,000 pounds and payload up to 12,510 pounds, Ram’s haulers are built for heavy-duty work while achieving new levels of efficiency and upfitter friendliness, Morrison said. (more…)

Ford, Harley Reconnect for New Harley-Davidson F-150

Truck is back after seven-year hiatus.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Ford and Harley-Davidson are together again with a new Harley-Davidson F-150 for 2019.

Two iconic brands are teaming up again to create a unique product that appeals to customers of both brands with a new version of the popular Harley-Davidson F-150.

“Motorcycle enthusiasts can once again enjoy dramatic Harley-Davidson design cues in the number one selling vehicle in America, the Ford F-150,” said Brad Richards, vice president of design and styling for Harley-Davidson Motor Co.

Auto Show News!

“The strong reaction by the public to the concept truck at our anniversary event encouraged us to move the 2019 Harley-Davidson edition Ford F-150 into production. We look forward to fulling the dreams of fans who overwhelmingly asked for this special truck,” he added. (more…)

Daimler AG Profits Fall as Car, Van Division Sales Drop

Mercedes fails to meet last year's profit, sales marks.

by on Feb.08, 2019

Daimler AG Chairman Dieter Zetsche fields questions from the media during the company's annual earnings press conference.

Daimler AG said its fourth-quarter operating profit fell 22% as trade wars and ballooning costs for developing electric and self-driving cars took a bit out of the company’s profits.

The German automaker’s earnings before interest and tax or EBIT dropped to 2.67 billion euros in the fourth quarter, falling short of analyst expectations of 2.92 billion euros.

Financial News!

Mercedes-Benz said increased tariffs on vehicles imported from the United States to China and delivery stoppages for individual diesel models hit demand and resulted in weaker prices. (more…)

FCA Hourly Employees Getting $6K Profit-Sharing Checks

Fiat Chrysler employees have taken home $29K since 2009.

by on Feb.07, 2019

Fiat Chrysler's hourly employees will received $6,000 profit-sharing checks.

Hourly employees of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. will collect $6,000 from the FCA-United Auto Workers profit-sharing plan next month, the automaker announced after releasing its fourth quarter financial reports.

Based on the company’s 2018 financial performance, FCA US LLC announced today that it will make average profit-sharing payments to approximately 44,000 employees on March 8, 2019.

News You Can Trust!

With this payment, U.S. hourly employees have received on average more than $29,000 in profit sharing since 2009. (more…)

Toyota Profits Up in 3Q, But Miss Analysts’ Mark

Automaker cuts forecast for rest of year.

by on Feb.07, 2019

Toyota's Masayoshi Shirayanagi said the automaker is looking for ways to further cut costs.

Toyota Motor Co., Japan’s largest automaker, posted a profit of 676.1 billion yen, or $6.16 billion, for the third quarter, up from 673.64 billion yen in the same period a year earlier.

However, the result fell short of the street’s expectations of the 680.84 billion yen median of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Global News!

The automaker saw rising sales in Asia, particularly China, offset a decline in the company’s largest market: the United States. (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.

News You Can Trust!

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…)

Ram Brings on Multifunction Tailgate for Pickups

New tailgate offers flexility, functionality -- and takes competition in the midsize truck market to a new level.

by on Feb.06, 2019

The 2019 Ram 1500 will have the Multifunction Tailgate. It will be available across all the 1500 models.

Call it the battle of the beds. The cargo beds, that is.

With the fight for market share in the lucrative pick-up truck market steadily escalating, Ford Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V. and General Motors all have new or upgraded pickups ready for consumers that focus on features and functions that are heating up their traditional competition.

While some of the updates improve creature comfort, there’s a heavy emphasis on functionality, especially when it comes to both carrying — and accessing — cargo. Ram Truck, FCA’s truck brand, is unveiling a new tailgate for the Ram 1500 that it says will make it easier to use.

Breaking News!

“The Ram Multifunction Tailgate is intuitive to operate, and owners will find it immediately useful,” said Reid Bigland, head of Ram Brand – FCA. “Combined with Ram’s class-exclusive RamBox feature and new tailgate step, we’re taking Ram’s cargo management and storage to the next level.” (more…)