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Fiat Chrysler

Lee Iacocca at a podium at Ellis Island
Ron Cogswell / Flickr

Automotive legend Lee Iacocca, known best for developing the Ford Mustang and pulling Chrysler back from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1980s, has died. He was 94.

The son of Italian immigrants rose from a modest background to become a household name as CEO of Chrysler Corporation.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler’s deal of the decade is dead.

Good ol’ French politics killed it this week – exactly what you get when the federal government in Paris controls 15 percent of the hometown Renault.

chrysler logo
Ricardo Giaviti / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Fiat Chrysler says political conditions in France caused it to withdraw its offer to merge with French automaker Renault.

The company says its board made the decision at a meeting Wednesday evening. An FCA statement says it has become clear that the political conditions don't currently exist for the deal to proceed successfully.

Randy Stern / Creative Commons/Flickr

French automaker Renault's board will meet Tuesday to consider a merger offer from Fiat Chrysler.

It would create the largest automaker in the world based on sales, but that's only if Renault's current partner, Nissan, stays in.

Fiat Chrysler wants to form global giant with Renault

May 27, 2019
Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
User: fiatontheweb / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Fiat Chrysler proposed on Monday to merge with France's Renault to create the world's third-biggest automaker and combine their investments in the race to make new electric and autonomous vehicles.

The merged company would reshape the global industry: it would make some 8.7 million vehicles a year, leapfrogging General Motors and trailing only Volkswagen and Toyota.

Shares of both companies jumped over 10% on the news of the offer, which would see each side's shareholders split ownership in the new manufacturer.

City of Detroit

The Detroit City Council green-lighted a deal with Fiat Chrysler Tuesday that should bring around 5,000 new jobs to the city, and represents the largest investment in auto manufacturing within Detroit city limits in decades.

auto factory
Fiat Chrysler

The city of Detroit and Fiat Chrysler are working on a deal to assemble land for the company. If it’s finalized, Fiat-Chrysler would begin a massive factory expansion and renovation project that the company says would create nearly 5,000 jobs.

First, Detroit needs more than 200 acres of land. The Moroun Family owns the biggest chunk, and the Morouns want a deal of their own in exchange.

Michigan Radio’s Sarah Cwiek spoke to Morning Edition host Doug Tribou about the deal.


City of Detroit

The city of Detroit and Fiat Chrysler officially have a deal for a $2.5 billion investment in facilities on the city’s east side—including its first new auto assembly plant in more than three decades.

Fiat Chrysler says it will expand its Jefferson North plant, and revive and expand the defunct Mack Avenue Assembly facility. The company says that should create nearly 5,000 new jobs.

City of Detroit

A 60 day deadline to pull together a major deal between the city of Detroit and Fiat Chrysler has come and gone, but city leaders insist it will still get done.

Fiat Chrysler wants to invest more than two billion dollars to expand two plants, including one that's currently defunct, on Detroit’s east side. The automaker says the project will bring about 5,000 jobs. It will be the city's first new automotive production facility since the 1980s.

City of Detroit

The city of Detroit is racing toward a Saturday deadline to finalize a deal that would bring a major Fiat Chrysler investment to the city.

Fiat Chrysler wants to invest $2.5 billion to expand and update its Jefferson North Assembly plant, and revive its idled Mack Avenue Engine facility.

Former United Auto Workers Vice President Norwood Jewell has pleaded guilty to violating federal labor law by misusing money meant for a worker training center.

The government says Jewell was part of a wide-ranging, years-long conspiracy between Fiat-Chrysler and UAW officials to siphon funds from the automaker-supported training center. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

The last time Detroit got a new auto plant, Papa Bush was in the White House and Detroit’s real reckoning was years away. In the nearly 30 years since, Ford Motor mortgaged the Blue Oval to survive Detroit’s two other automakers collapsed into federally induced bankruptcy, and all three found profitability.

Fiat Chrysler laying off nearly 1,400 workers at Illinois plant

Feb 27, 2019
Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler has announced it is laying off almost 1,400 hourly workers at an assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois, that makes Jeep Cherokees - a move the automaker said is unrelated to a major investment in the Detroit area that could add 6,500 workers.

auto factory
Fiat Chrysler

Detroit got some very good news on Tuesday.

Fiat Chrysler says it plans to build a new assembly plant in Detroit, invest in five other Michigan plants, and hire 6,500 additional workers.

Michelle Krebs is an analyst with Autotrader. 

"Detroit hasn't seen a new assembly plant in a long time, decades," says Krebs, "so this is absolutely fabulous news for Detroit, for Michigan and for Fiat Chrysler and Jeep."

Fiat Chrysler says the nearly $4.5 billion expansion will help it meet growing demand for Jeep SUVs and RAM trucks. 

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

With apologies to Mark Twain, reports heralding the death of auto production in Detroit are exaggerated.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Chrysler and its storied American brands live today because ol’ Sergio Marchionne – a poker player – gambled and won.

As Detroit’s number three automaker slumped toward bankruptcy, the CEO of Italy’s Fiat bet he could combine the weakest players in Europe and the United States to forge a global contender. One that could generate fatter profits and carry less debt.

The new Obama administration relented. So an Italian schooled in Canada got control of Chrysler for essentially nothing  arguably the shrewdest acquisition the global auto industry has seen in a generation.

user International Students’ Committee / wikimedia commons

 

Tributes have poured in for Sergio Marchionne, the former CEO of Chrysler and Fiat who died Wednesday. 

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes wrote: "His impact on the global auto industry cannot be overstated.”

Howes joined Stateside’s Cynthia Canty to discuss the qualities that made Marchionne a great leader.  

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Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has died at age 66.

Marchionne had been CEO until being forced to retire Saturday because of his health. Marchionne had shoulder surgery last month, but his condition worsened in recent days.

Kelley Blue Book executive analyst Rebecca Lindland said despite his illness, Marchionne's death was a shock.

"I saw Sergio back in June in Italy, at the beginning of June, and it's just incredible to think that he's not with us anymore. It really is. It's very surreal," Lindland told Stateside.  

Media gather around the Volvo XC90 at the Detroit Auto Show.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The past few days have brought some big changes in the automotive world.

Sergio Marchionne, chief executive at Fiat Chrysler, stepped down after complications during a shoulder surgery. He’s been replaced by Mike Manley, who has been in charge of the company’s Jeep and Ram brands.

Plus, it’s finally official. The Detroit Auto Dealers Association has announced that the the North American International Auto Show is leaving frigid January behind and shifting to a June schedule in 2020.

Auto Manufacturers
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Fiat-Chrysler's  former human resources director has pleaded guilty to lying to a federal grand jury to cover up a conspiracy to pay off top UAW officials.

Michael Brown, 60, entered his guilty plea Friday.

Brown was Fiat-Chrysler’s senior negotiator during collective bargaining talks with UAW-Chrysler in 2011 and 2015.

Fiat Chrysler recalls 4.8 million vehicles

May 25, 2018
user fiatontheweb / creative commons

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled 4.8 million vehicles this morning due to issues with cruise control. In 15 models, there is a potential for drivers to be unable to cancel cruise control when an electrical short-circuit occurs at the same time cruise control is accelerated. 

If this occurs, there is a potential for the driver to lose control of the vehicle. However, the function can be overpowered if the driver continuously applies the brakes, or shifts the car into neutral and brings it to a halt. 

Chrysler logo
Garret Voight / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 

Twenty years ago this week, Germany's Daimler-Benz AG acquired Chrysler.

 

The Germans described it as "a merger of equals." 

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan equipped with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology.
FCA

Fiat Chrysler announced an agreement on Monday to supply thousands of Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to Waymo, Google’s self-driving subsidiary, to expand its fleet of autonomous vehicles.

Waymo currently has 600 Pacifica minivans in its fleet, some of which are used in its Early Rider Program in Phoenix. FCA delivered 100 Pacifica Hybrid minivans during the second half of 2016 and an additional 500 in 2017. The minivans are plug-in hybrid variants with Waymo’s self-driving software and hardware built-in.

 

Auto Manufacturers
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Three union workers at Fiat Chrysler are suing the automaker and the United Auto Workers over a bribery scheme.

They're seeking class-action status to represent all FCA hourly workers.

Federal prosecutors say Fiat Chrysler negotiators bribed UAW negotiators in order to get contract concessions and other benefits. So far, one former FCA official, Alphons Iacobelli, and one former UAW official, Virdell King, have pled guilty in the conspiracy. More indictments are expected.

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Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says he'll step down next year after leading the combined company since 2009.

Marchionne, 65, told media at the Detroit auto show that FCA will release a business plan through 2022 around June. The company will announce his successor sometime after that. Candidates include Mike Manley, who leads the company's Ram and Jeep brands, and Reid Bigland, who leads the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands and U.S. sales. 

YouTube screengrab

Fiat Chrysler has announced it will shift production of heavy-duty Ram trucks from Mexico to metro Detroit by 2020.

Fiat Chrysler says the move will bring Ram production to the Warren Truck Assembly Plant, along with a $1 billion investment and 2,500 new jobs. There will also be a $1.5 billion investment in the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Ram 1500 truck, creating an additional 700 new jobs.

The automaker also announced it will give one-time, $2,000 bonuses to its U.S. employees.

Daniel Howes / Detroit News

Rising profits and record sales are no protection from predators – or a boss trying to extract value before it’s too late.

Just ask the fine folks at Fiat Chrysler. Their company is in play for the fifth time in roughly 20 years.

From independence, it went to the Germans, then back to the Americans. They drove it into bankruptcy, and then to the Italians of Fiat and Ferrari fame. Then they tried to entice General Motors and Volkswagen into deals nobody wanted.

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Change is in the wind at Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes joined Stateside today to explain what's behind Great Wall Motors' interest in buying Fiat Chrysler.

chrysler logo
Ricardo Giaviti / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

A former Fiat Chrysler financial analyst, who federal prosecutors say helped illegally funnel worker training funds into the bank accounts of Fiat-Chrysler and UAW employees  over a number of years,  has pleaded guilty.

Jerome Durden entered pleas on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Ann Arbor to charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. as well as  failure to file a tax return. As part of a plea agreement, he faces up to 37 months in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 12.

Ralph Gilles on Failure:Lab
Screengrab of "Failure:Lab Detroit 2016 | Ralph Gilles" video (YouTube)

We all fail sometimes. No exceptions. 

It's often hard to admit, but failure is an essential part of the human experience. 

That's what Failure:Lab is all about. 

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