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Motortrend News Feed: BREAKING: Mike Manley Named New FCA CEO Amid Marchionne Health Crisis

The Top Zones - Sat, 07/21/2018 - 18:22

FCA has named Mike Manley as the company’s new CEO with the sudden and unexpected news of a health crisis for Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Manley, 54, takes over the job immediately, initially as interim chief until an emergency board meeting can make the succession official. It is a move that was not supposed to be announced or take effect until next year when Marchionne planned to retire. Marchionne was also CEO of Ferrari which had been spun off of FCA. Ferrari said Louis Camilleri, former chairman of Philip Morris International, will take over as CEO.

Mike Manley, former Jeep chief and current FCA CEO

Marchionne developed complications following surgery in Italy and his health took a turn for the worse, making the corporate news necessary. Marchionne is 66 and was recovering from a shoulder injury.

“With reference to the health of Sergio Marchionne, FCA communicates with profound sorrow that during the course of this week unexpected complications arose while Mr. Marchionne was recovering from surgery and that these have worsened significantly in recent hours,” the company said in a statement today. “As a consequence, Mr. Marchionne will be unable to return to work.”

Manley was considered a top candidate to replace Marchionne next year. His credentials include running the profitable Jeep and Ram brands and he also built the company’s presence in Asia. Another top contender was Richard Palmer, the chief financial officer.

As thoughts go out to Marchionne and his family, John Elkann, Chairman of Exor, released a statement. “I am profoundly saddened to learn of Sergio’s state of health. It is a situation that was unthinkable until a few hours ago, and one that leaves us all with a real sense of injustice. My first thoughts go to Sergio and his family.”

The two men have worked together for 14 years; Marchionne became CEO of Fiat in 2004. While they did not always agree, Elkann watched Marchionne create the company now known as FCA from the partnership of an ailing Fiat and a bankrupt Chrysler in 2009 that needed a business partner as a condition of exiting bankruptcy protection.

Marchionne managed to take two ailing companies and return them to profitability. Evidence of that: last month at an event to release the company’s next five-year business plan, the sweater-wearing CEO wore a tie to signal he had paid down the debt, as promised. It was a feat many did not think possible and sets up the automaker well to implement the new plan that takes FCA through 2022.

Elkann said, “What struck me about Sergio from the very beginning, when we met to talk about the possibility of him coming to work for the Group, even more than his management skills and unusual intelligence, were his human qualities, his generosity and the way he understood people. Over the past 14 years together we have lived through successes and difficulties, internal and external crises, but also unique and unrepeatable moments, both personal and professional. For so many, Sergio has been an enlightened leader and a matchless point of reference. For me, he has been someone with whom to share thoughts and in whom to trust, a mentor and above all a true friend.”

Marchionne, an Italian as well as a Canadian, is steeped in economics as well as philosophy and held a law degree. He likes to quote poets and philosophers in corporate speeches and the audiophile often plays his own soundtracks ahead of press conferences and earnings calls. He was also known for living on cigarettes, espresso, and little sleep for most of his career.

“He taught us to think differently and to have the courage to change, often in unconventional ways, always acting with a sense of responsibility for the companies and their people,” Elkann said.

Marchionne also had a team of leaders who were being groomed to take over the top job to allow for a transition that was to take effect next year. Manley likely did not know he was the chosen one as Marchionne had told reporters repeatedly that the new CEO would be told at the last minute.

Elkann said because of the succession plans in place, there will be a smooth transition.

“It has been my privilege to have had Sergio at my side for all these years,” Elkann said in asking for respect for Marchionne’s privacy at this time.



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Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2019 Subaru Legacy

The Top Zones - Sat, 07/21/2018 - 04:01
It’s hard to be an underdog in an unappreciated market. Just ask the 2019 Subaru Legacy, the mid-size sedan that does almost everything right yet barely registers a spot on most shoppers’ lists. The 2019 Legacy is worth a lengthy look, we say, and it rightfully earns its 6.3 out of 10 rating. (Read more about how we rate cars.) With...
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Watch: 8 Reasons Why the Acura RDX is Poised to Lead the Segment

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 23:00

BMW, Mercedes, and some other luxury automakers have more brand cachet, but the 2019 Acura RDX crossover has enough style and substance to compete with rivals from these brands. It’s a bold claim, but there is an argument to be made for lusting after the RDX over more expensive German competitors.

The RDX has been been extensively redesigned with a lighter, more rigid body and a re-engineered chassis. It also receives a new 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four engine that produces a whopping 272 hp.

In our First Drive review, we said the RDX is “cool, collected, self-assured, and unflappable.” Admittedly, it’s not the crossover with the most raw emotion, but there is beauty in its precision. “Most customers like the somewhat disconnected performance Audi trades on, and it’s easy to see where Acura set its benchmarks (Audi Q5, BMW X3, Mercedes-Benz GLC 300, and Volvo XC60),” we wrote. “Anyone can get in an RDX and comfortably and confidently drive very quickly.”

Check out the video above to find out how the RDX holds its own in such a competitive segment.

The post Watch: 8 Reasons Why the Acura RDX is Poised to Lead the Segment appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Audi Q8

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 22:29

As Audi’s new flagship SUV, the Q8 ushers in a new design language for the brand’s utility vehicles. In contrast to the conservative Q7, which shares a platform with the Q8 and will be sold alongside it, the new model takes design risks—so much so that it looks more like a concept than a production vehicle. The folks at Audi say this vehicle, which goes on sale in the U.S. late this year, blends the best of an SUV and a coupe. Are they right, or did Audi go too far with the design?

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Q8 is its thick silver grille frame. It protrudes out from the front fascia, giving the Q8 a more three dimensional look. You’ll also notice the grille forms the shape of an octagon, compared to the Q7’s grille that takes on the shape of a hexagon. Audi finished off the look with a sculpted hood, narrow headlamps, and large air inlets lined with more silver trim.

From the side, the Q8 doesn’t look terribly imposing. Although it has the same wheelbase as the Q7, it’s 3.3 inches shorter and 1.4 inches lower. However, it’s an inch wider which contributes to its planted stance. Silver trim along the windows and doors, along with strong character lines above the door handles, make the vehicle stand out from the crowd. Its roof is considerably sloped, and its beltline is high.

In the rear, the Q8 continues to surprise with a unique taillight signature that runs across a black bar. The taillights appear in a series of vertical lines and are connected by a light bar that runs the span of the rear end. On top of the black bar is a lip that gives the rear end a more sculpted look.

Take a peek inside, and the Q8 gets an interior worthy of a flagship. Basically, it’s covered in screens. There are two central screens: a 10.1-inch display for infotainment functions and an 8.6-inch screen for climate controls. To the left, there is a fully digital instrument panel measuring 12.3 inches. The dashboard design is dominated by clean, horizontal lines. Air vents are barely visible as they are incorporated into the horizontal lines that run across the top of the dashboard. Also notice the model features a flat-bottom steering wheel and contour lighting that provides depth to the surfaces.

Do you think the new 2019 Audi Q8 is refreshing or revolting? Let us know on Facebook! Also check out what Audi Q8 designer Sascha Heyde had to say about creating the vehicle.

The post Refreshing or Revolting: 2019 Audi Q8 appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Watch: 7 Reasons Why the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Beats the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 21:30

The off-road king of the Chevrolet Colorado lineup is the ZR2, and one could argue that it’s also more rugged than a long-standing competitor, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro.

In addition to a beefy suspension, the Colorado ZR2 features front and rear tracks that are 3.5 inches wider than the standard Colorado. It also has functional rockers, and front and rear bumpers that provide extra clearance for avoiding off-road obstacles.

In an off-road truck comparison, we said the Colorado ZR2 “excitedly bounds over any terrain you throw at it.” We continued, “The ZR2 is small and nimble enough to fit down tight trails that’d leave pinstripes on the other two while still packing the hardware to get itself out of trouble if it gets stuck.”

Of course, the Tacoma TRD Pro is up for the job as well. “Control and forgiveness are the names of the off-road game, and the 2017 Tacoma TRD Pro ably exercises its skill in both departments,” we wrote in a review.

Watch the video above to find out why the Chevy Colorado ZR2 may be the more impressive truck.

The post Watch: 7 Reasons Why the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Beats the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: LIVE 2018 Pebble Beach Concours Coverage Starts August 26 at 2 p.m.!

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 20:25

The 68th Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance is coming, and you’ll find live coverage only at MotorTrend.com, starting at 2 p.m. PT on Sunday, August 26. Some of the finest classic cars in the world are displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours, and Motor Trend is set to bring you all the analysis and engaging coverage of those historic cars you can get.

Featured classes at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours include Tucker, postwar custom Citroën, vintage-era sporting cars, and motorcars of the Raj. So when you want the absolute best LIVE coverage of the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours, head here to watch the livestream, which begins on Sunday, August 20, at 2 p.m. PT.

The post LIVE 2018 Pebble Beach Concours Coverage Starts August 26 at 2 p.m.! appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Bentley Offers New Open-Pore Walnut Veneer

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 19:45

What do you call nuts on a wall? Walnuts. What do you call walnut in a Bentley? Simply divine. Bentley and its special vehicle division, Mulliner, offer a new classic wood veneer for interiors of the Bentayga, Flying Spur, and Mulsanne called open-pore walnut.

The wood is sourced from an extraordinary tree type that combines European Walnut and American Walnut, according to Bentley.

The distinctive trees are rooted mostly in California, and Bentley’s wood specialists visit frequently to guarantee only the best quality walnut veneers are selected.

A handcrafted finish is finalized at Bentley HQ in Crewe, England. This improves the large pore structure to expose the powerful dark coloring of the wood.

Bentley uses specific materials to do so, and the handcrafted process helps ensure customers can feel the wood.

The open-pore walnut veneer is then painted with three ultra-thin layers of lacquer, together amounting to just 0.1mm thick. To put that into perspective, Bentley’s high-gloss lacquer coating is 0.5mm thick and has a glossy, smooth finish. Each layer is applied by hand and sanded between applications, of course.

Source: Bentley

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Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Ferris Bueller’s Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder Replica Heads to Auction

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 19:00

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. —Ferris Bueller.

We all admire the day Ferris Bueller had playing hooky, but what we admire most of that day is the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder he steals from his best friend’s dad’s prized car collection to roam around the streets of Chicago. It is time to live like Ferris, as one of the three cars used in the filming of the 1986 classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will be featured at Mecum’s 2018 Monterey auction next month.

Believe it or not, the film’s lead, played by Matthew Broderick, doesn’t actually drive a Ferrari in the film. The movie car is in fact a replica, a 1985 Modena GT Spyder California. Neil Glassmoyer and Mark Goyett originally founded Modena Design and Development to manufacture the Modena GT Spyder based on the original Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder. Because a genuine 250 GT would have cost a pretty penny, director and writer of the comedy John Hughes tasked Modena with creating two running replicas and one shell for the film in only four weeks.

This red-hot Ferrari replica is powered by a 5.0-liter V-8 engine with four downdraft carburetors mated to a five-speed transmission. The rectangular steel-tube frame chassis that the movie car sits on was constructed by Bob Webb, one of the original builders of Roger Penske’s Zerex Special.

Modena added multiple Ferrari-style elements, including the windshield, turn signals, grille, hood scoops, and fender vents to replicate the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder.

The Modena GT Spyder California that will be featured at the auction went through nine months of updates with the help of the original builder Glassmoyer. In April of 2018, the Modena GT Spyder was the 22nd vehicle to be inducted into the Smithsonian Historical Vehicle Association Hall of Fame.

The auction takes place on Saturday, August 25, in Monterey, California, and the bidding is expected to move pretty fast—so don’t miss it.

Source: Mecum

Photos courtesy of Mecum and Paramount Pictures.

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Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Hyundai N Brand Exec: We’re Working on a Halo Model

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 17:31

So far, Hyundai’s N division has produced high-performance versions of the i30 and Veloster. Now, the sub-brand wants to make its own standalone vehicle, reports Auto Express.

Thomas Schemera, Hyundai’s vice president of high-performance and motorsport operations, told the outlet that a bespoke model would inject some more emotion into the brand. “I can tell you Albert Biermann [Hyundai engineering boss] and myself are interested in hot things and have some ideas in the pipeline for a halo model—rest assured we are coming up with something,” he said.

It’s unclear what such a halo model would look like, but Auto Express claims Hyundai is debating between a two-seat sports car and a performance sedan like the Kia Stinger. Whatever form it takes, the vehicle isn’t expected to enter production for several more years.

Earlier this year, reports surfaced that Hyundai was working on a high-performance two-door car. According to the report, the model would have some kind of electrification. Yang Woong Chul, Hyundai’s head of research and development, reportedly said the new sports car was being worked on by N employees, although he wouldn’t confirm whether it would be a standalone N product or something else.

The i30 N isn’t coming to the U.S. market, but we will receive the Veloster N and its upgraded 2.0-liter turbo-four making 275 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Schemera said Hyundai has only completed “the first phase of N vehicles,” so more models are on the way.

Source: Auto Express

The post Hyundai N Brand Exec: We’re Working on a Halo Model appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Plug-In Hybrid price cut to $34,135

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 16:58
In an effort to spur sales amidst the onslaught of crossover SUVs, Hyundai on Thursday sliced the cost of its 2018 Sonata Plug-In Hybrid sedan by $1,350 to $34,135. MORE: 2018 Hyundai Accent, 2018 Kia Rio pass stringent IIHS crash test The top-tier Limited trim gets a price bump of $250 to $39,750 before adding that same freight charge, but...
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Landlords challenge House of Fraser CVA

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 16:31
A group of landlords advised by JLL and Begbies Traynor have filed an official petition challenging House of Fraser’s company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in the Scottish Courts.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: GVA appointed to market CAU portfolio

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 16:18
GVA has been appointed to market the troubled CAU restaurant portfolio on behalf of joint administrators.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: CDPQ backs Avison Young growth with $250m investment

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 07:39
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) has made a $250m investment to accelerate Avison Young’s growth plans.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Big Yellow Group shares rise after seeing off pay rebellion

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 07:01
Shares in Big Yellow Group rose 0.36% on Thursday to 977.5p as the company saw off a shareholder rebellion at its annual general meeting over executive pay.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Out-of-town retail hit by store closures

The Top Zones - Fri, 07/20/2018 - 00:00
Retail warehouse vacancy rates rose from 5.1% at end of Q1 to 6.3% at end of Q2.
Categories: The Top Zones

Property Week News Feed: Marks & Spencer halves its leasing team to three agents

The Top Zones - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 23:00
Retailer cuts team to improve efficiency and speed up decision-making as it continues store closure programme.
Categories: The Top Zones

The Car Connection News Feed: 2019 BMW X3

The Top Zones - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 20:52
Go long on the 2019 BMW X3. The new luxury compact crossover gains a lower cost, rear-wheel-drive entry model this year and will also serve as the jumping off point for an electrified crossover due sometime soon. Here and now, the X3 still delivers on our high expectations. We give it a very good 7.0 overall score, which is buoyed by standard...
Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Mopar’s New NHRA Funny Car Gets Dodge Charger Hellcat Branding

The Top Zones - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 18:45

Having 707 hp on tap is plenty for a street car, but nowhere near enough to hang in the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Funny Car class. As such, the 2019 Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat NHRA Funny Car packs more than 10,000 hp. The drag racer inspired by the Charger Hellcat makes its competition debut at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, this weekend.

“Our job at Mopar is to put the best race car underneath our drivers and keep them winning. We know this new body, developed in collaboration with the Dodge//SRT brand and Don Schumacher Racing, will do just that,” said Pietro Gorlier, FCA parts and service head in a statement. “The changes made to this new Funny Car body will improve on-track performance and help us carry on the Mopar brand’s long tradition of success at the dragstrip.”

Driver Matt Hagan of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) will have the pleasure of screaming down the track at the Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals Powered by Mopar.

“This new Funny Car body is something that Mopar and Dodge//SRT have put a lot of work and support behind, from R&D to wind tunnel testing,” said Hagan. “We improved on the body design. It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks and it will be a huge performance advantage. We will be able to press harder with more downforce on the nose, which translates into huge amounts of downforce on the run.”


The car can hit 330-plus mph and cover 1,000 feet in less than 4 seconds, according to Dodge. Up front, a new carbon fiber and Kevlar splitter generates gobs of downforce to plant the rocket ride to the track.

“We made four good, solid runs in testing at Norwalk,” said Hagan. “We put the body through a lot of different things and were really, really pleased with it. I really think it’s going to translate over to performance on the race track, and hopefully more win lights in the future.”

Though it’s hard to see much of a resemblance looking at the picture above, a production Charger SRT Hellcat was used for inspiration to create the front end graphics and other design elements.

“We are really excited to run the new Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat body in competition, both in qualifying and the race itself at Denver,” said Don Schumacher, DSR owner in a release. “It’s been a great project, working together with Mopar, Dodge//SRT, DSR and DSM to get the whole project finished and done in this period of time. We are really looking forward to how it’s going to change our program.”

The hellish funny car will debut at Bandimere on July 20-22.

Source: FCA

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Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat Will Still Play Key Role in FCA Lineup

The Top Zones - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 18:30

Steve Beahm took over as head of FCA passenger car brands (Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat) for North America in February, responsible for selling and marketing once-majestic brands now struggling for relevance in an SUV-happy market. In 32 years with FCA, the Washington native has done fieldwork and supply chain management, and he led Maserati North America. He started racing at 16 and still follows the sport, so when FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne asked him to take this job, “it was a quick yes.”

Congratulations on the new job.

I started February 1, so we’re on four months, but I’ve been around the company for almost 32 years, not necessarily in this role, but in a lot of commercial roles throughout that time frame. Never in the brand. Most of my career has been in sales, in the operations side, running incentives, field operations. I had Maserati for a short period of time, as well as the supply chain.

So you have it in your blood?

I started racing with my dad when I was 16 and did it for about 20 years and only gave it up because I ran out of time. The career was taking more of my time, and I had some kids at the time so I had to give up the sport, but I still follow it today.

What were you racing?

My first car was a ’69 (Plymouth) Roadrunner and the second one was a ’70 (Dodge) Challenger. Then I went on the dark side and raced a couple GM models for a while, but I started on the Mopar side and whatever my dad had available, I was willing to drive at the time.

So you are the perfect man for this job.

When Mr. (Sergio) Marchionne (chairman and CEO of FCA) asked me, it was a quick ‘yes.’

FCA’s five-year plan centers on volume brands. What is the role of the brands you oversee?

Passenger car brands represent 20 percent of NAFTA revenue. Dodge is the biggest brand by volume and revenue. Dodge’s role is to be prominent as America’s sports car brand. That’s what we’ve labelled it in the past few years, and I truly believe that’s where the brand is at today and where it’s headed for the future.

Charger and Challenger stay on the same platform, and you just keep updating it?

There’s a lot to be said for keeping a similar platform from the standpoint of knowing the bones that you have and how to make it better. We’ve had a proven vehicle out for a period of time, and right now that would be the direction we would head and for the vehicle it’s the right thing. No full commitments, but that’s part of our direction right now.

With the Challenger, have Hellcat and Demon been a boost to visibility?

It has been. Challenger started as a 2008, then Hellcat in 2015; Demon came out as a 2018 model. And we’ve got some other stuff coming down the road. For 2019 we’re going to do a Redeye. It’s a Hellcat that’s been possessed by a Demon. It’s  got a Hellcat body—basically suspension and platform—with the Demon engine. It’s calibrated a little bit differently than in the Demon, but it’s pretty much the Demon engine, so 797 horsepower. It’s a wide body, as well, so you get the 3.5-inch-wider wheels, which means more rubber on the ground.

Are those Nexen tires?

Redeye has Pirelli P Zeros. In terms of performance, the Demon was intended for the track even though it was street legal. We wanted to provide a car that wouldn’t be just on a race track or in somebody’s garage, but a car that would actually be out on the road. So the Redeye has a lot of the same features that were in the Hellcat or the Demon, performance-wise. We’re excited about it. It’s going to be a mainstream vehicle. It’s expected to sell 7 to 8 percent of our mix within Hellcat.

Will it have the transbrake, too?

It will not have the transbrake. It has line lock. Transbrake was the dragstrip piece on the Demon side, along with the suspension that was created for the Demon, so a lot of those features are not available on the Redeye.

Will it be a special edition or limited run?

It is not a special edition. I view it as no different than the Hellcat itself, other than we got an additional version with higher horsepower. It’s not limited to certain volumes. We have no limitations of the volumes right now, and we’re estimating it will be somewhere between 6 and 9 percent of Hellcat sales.

What other variants are planned?

Scat Pack: the first performance vehicle on the Challenger side. We’re going to make wide body available on the Scat Pack for the first time. The second feature is that it gets the waterfall hood from the Hellcat, and the Hellcat is going to get a dual-snorkel hood. That provides an extra 10 horsepower on the Hellcat, so it goes from 707 to 717. It’s fully functional. The left snorkel on the hood goes straight into the induction system and allows the engine to give us 10 more horsepower.

The (Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack) 1320 is another model that we will announce at the Dodge Mile High NHRA event in Denver on July 19. It’s a special model, a buzz model. The 1320 is intended to be a vehicle that someone can drive to work, but if they’re working on a Saturday they can head over to the dragstrip and take it down the track. It has a lot of features that you may have seen on the Demon or on Hellcat, that’s available as a Scat Pack. So the Scat Pack is the base model of 1320. It has 485 hp. It’s got special wheels and tires in terms of traction and capability, so the vehicle will be able to hook up in all conditions whether it be on the road or on the track. And it’s got some cool down features for someone who might be hot-lapping at the track, for the staging lanes. It will have some other cool features that will allow the vehicle to be a little bit more race-friendly for someone who is driving it to the track.

Are there other models for 1320?

No, it’s just going to be the Scat Pack for now. And Scat Pack will be the wide body whether it’s on a 1320 or not. But the only way you can get a 1320 is in a wide body off the Scat Pack. Nexen street-legal drag radials will be available, and it’ll also come with a little “Angry Bee” on it (an homage to the Dodge Super Bee). We’ll also supply some additional screens (in the instrument cluster) for setting up your car, similar to what we did with the Demon. In this case, it may not be to the same extent, but you have the capability to go in and try to set up the right balance for track conditions on the 1320.

You can keep doing that until you are limited by regulations or unable to add the tech you want?

(What stays the same) is the bones of the platform: A frames, suspension. All the other stuff underneath it will actually be all brand new in terms of our wiring harness, electrical capability. The architecture might be off the same platform—in some cases, we might make some enhancements—but everything else pretty much will be relatively all new.

Is there room to further expand the Hellcat family?

We’re always challenging our engineers. We’re always challenging our people on the marketing side to come up with what the people want. Dodge has the largest social media following of any brand, and we think we’re closer to our customers because of that. We have the most Facebook followers, most followers on Instagram and Twitter; our job is to listen to [our customers], and when we can go down some paths they want us to, if it’s good for our brand, we’ll do it. That’s a lot of what’s happened with Hellcat, Demon, and then the Redeye. A lot of the Demons are in storage rooms, a few of them are on the track. I want to see some Redeyes out on the road.

The FCA plan has the Hellcat engine going into the Ram pickup.

Yeah, we’ve got great engineers that provided us with an outstanding engine that has a bunch of performance, and the Ram guys think that’s a good fit for them to take advantage of it as well, and we’re good with that.

There were reports that the Viper is coming back.

As Mr. Marchionne indicated, the Viper is not in the [next five-year] plan.

The Viper plant no longer exists.

It does not. It is being modified for meetings, as a conference center, and a way to display some of our cars.

Does SRT remain as a brand?

It’s a brand that’s very important to Dodge. As America’s performance brand, SRT has to be the organization that continues to push us on the edge of performance. It’s that fine line of putting it on the track and driving it on the street. The SRT engineering team continues to find ways to provide us that performance level that our competitors can’t match.

Durango has performance versions.

Absolutely. It has an SRT version, so don’t underestimate the Durango. The Journey may be a little different, but the Durango SRT is one impressive vehicle.

So Durango fits with what you are trying to do with Dodge.


How do Journey, Caravan, and Durango still fit in Dodge? Or do they have a long-term role?

They have a role through the ’19 model year. We don’t talk much beyond that. But being America’s performance brand, long term, [some of the vehicles] may not fit.

When does the Grand Caravan go away?

We haven’t announced the end of production. It’s going to be through the 2019 model year, like the Journey, at this point.

Was the Magnum ahead of its time? It fits the Dodge persona now.

We had a couple trendsetters: the original Pacifica and then the Magnum. They’re both unique vehicles. We’ve actually looked at it, but at this stage we’re not headed down that path.

Is Chrysler the minivan brand?

I view it as people movers. The Pacifica is the anchor of the brand. It’s an outstanding vehicle, good for us to build upon. We’re looking for other opportunities. It’s my job to find ways for that brand to grow.

A Pacifica-based corssover was delayed. Is it still in the plan?

It’s not in the future plans Mr. Marchionne spoke about so I can’t give more details about that.

Do you stop making the Chrysler 300 but keep the Dodge large cars?

The 300 goes through the ’19 model year. If you step back and say, ‘Does it fit people movers?’ it does from the sedan standpoint, but not from a utility.

Can Chrysler survive with just a minivan?

It’s my job to look for opportunities—in a profitable way—to build on the Pacifica. Waymo agreed to buy 62,000 [Pacifica hybrids for their autonomous vehicle fleet]. I want to build on that and add Chrysler products.

Waymo is a great partnership.

I look forward to that relationship. I think it’s good for both of us.

Are there plans to take Dodge and Chrysler international? Are they NAFTA-only brands?

The passenger cars for Dodge and Chrysler are NAFTA influenced heavily, way north of 90 percent, and that will continue moving forward.

Is Fiat’s product line streamlined for North America?

The product plan is driven from EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa). Our job is to identify what models work for the U.S. and NAFTA. We’ll take products they build in Europe, homologate them, and they’ll be electric with a high percent of them hybrids.

The post Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat Will Still Play Key Role in FCA Lineup appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones

Motortrend News Feed: 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 First Look

The Top Zones - Thu, 07/19/2018 - 18:30

Just when you thought the Hellcat franchise was tapped out, FCA uses the Dodge Mile-High National Hot Rod Association Nationals event in Denver to announce its latest buzz model: the 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. The drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car for the grassroots drag racer will go into production by the end of the year for sale in early 2019.

Efforts to define Dodge as America’s sports car brand continue with the Challenger 1320, which follows a line of performance muscle cars that started with the 2008 Challenger and was followed by the 2015 Hellcat, 2018 Demon, and 2019 Redeye.

In the 1320, a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 generates 485 horsepower, 475 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Dodge claims it will cover the quarter mile in 11.7 seconds at 115 mph, fastest for a naturally aspirated, street-legal muscle car. The $45,980 MSRP includes the $3,995 1320 package as well as the $1,595 automatic transmission (and $1,395 destination) over the regular R/T Scat Pack trim.

“It’s a special model, a buzz model,” says Steve Beahm, head of passenger car brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler, and Fiat for FCA North America. “The 1320 is intended to be a vehicle that someone can drive to work, but if they’re working on a Saturday they can head over to the drag strip and take it down the track.”

The 1320 is essentially a 2019 Challenger with the new Widebody Scat Pack. It has the bulging aluminum hood from the outgoing Hellcat and enough drag strip technology from the Demon for the serious drag racer.

That includes an SRT-tuned Adaptive Damping Suspension with exclusive Drag mode, extreme-duty 41-spline halfshafts, line lock, and the TransBrake that was developed for the Demon to address wheel spin on launch. This allows the car to be staged with a foot only on the gas because the TransBrake mechanically locks the transmission’s output shaft as the throttle builds. When it unlocks, the transmission sends full power to the rear. For those who take the 1320 hot-lapping, there are cooldown features.

Like the Demon, the 1320 comes with just a driver’s seat, but buyers can add passenger and rear seats as an option (they were a $1 option on the Demon). Specially developed Nexen 275/40R20l street-legal drag radial tires are available for better grip.

To denote the new model, Dodge has created a modern version of the Dodge Super Bee logo. The new Angry Bee logo can be found on the front fenders, instrument panel, startup splash screen in the instrument gauge cluster, and it’s even illuminated in the headlights. There will also be additional screens in the instrument cluster to set up your car the way you want for the track.

Beahm said Scat Pack accounts for about 20 percent of Challenger volume. As for the growing Challenger line, he said lots of people want a muscle car and Dodge has the youngest buyer demographic in the lineup.

The post 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 First Look appeared first on Motor Trend.

Categories: The Top Zones