AD #2707 – PSA & FCA In Merger Talks, Mopar Modifies 1968 Dodge for SEMA, Ford Upgrades SYNC and Adds OTA Updates

October 30th, 2019 at 12:32pm

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Listen to “AD #2707 – PSA and FCA In Merger Talks, Mopar Modifies 1968 Dodge for SEMA, Ford Upgrades SYNC and Adds OTA Updates” on Spreaker.

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Runtime: 12:20

0:07 PSA & FCA In Merger Talks
1:06 Automakers Choose Sides on CA MPG Fight
1:49 GM Posts Decent Q3 Earnings
2:44 Tesla’s U.S. Revenue Tumbles
3:43 Kiekert Creates Locking System for EV Chargers
4:29 Ford Upgrades SYNC and Adds OTA Updates
5:50 Skoda Developing Kinetic Energy EV Charger
6:54 Car Dealers Face Technician Shortage
8:47 Uganda Backs Startup to Build EVs
9:58 Mopar Modifies 1968 Dodge Camper for SEMA

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85 Comments to “AD #2707 – PSA & FCA In Merger Talks, Mopar Modifies 1968 Dodge for SEMA, Ford Upgrades SYNC and Adds OTA Updates”

  1. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Pickup trucks aren’t my thing, but that Dodge “low rider” is cool.

    Speaking of Ford, wasn’t there supposed to be a Mustang hybrid hitting the market about now? Whatever happened to it?

  2. Larry D. Says:

    That technician shortage will soon be a surplus of unemployed technicians. Soon meaning in 10 years in the US, sooner in China and else, with the tens of millions of reliable and simple to service EVs replacing your dirty smelly ICEs.

    Now let’s see how high the usual suspects will jump.

  3. GM Veteran Says:

    When you say “your dirty smelly ICEs”, I assume you really mean “ours”, don’t you Mr. Hand?

  4. NickT Says:

    $6,800 bucks!!! These guys overpaid for what is hardly a collectable.

    But I gotta admit, the end result is pretty rad!

  5. Larry D. Says:

    3 Clueless “Fool Cell” advocate, I will NOT respond to you unless you ADRESS ME WITH THE RESPECT, that, unlike YOU, I DESERVE.

  6. rick bradner Says:

    I said this was a better deal for FCA when the Renault deal blew up. PSA wants to enter the U.S.and this a remarkable opportunity for them to do so quickly & very cheaply. Much better for FCA workers in N.A. as well. Much has been made of the lack of China market for each company, but for PSA, the N.A. market is the bigger prize. Dollar value profits & margins from China will never amount to U.S.

  7. Larry D. Says:

    3 And I Return your obscene “Mr Hand” right back to YOU and ALL of your failed GM colleagues, who managed the IMPOSSIBLE, you took the biggest auto company in the world, with a market share of 60% at its peak, and not only you took it down to 16%, YOU BANKRUPTED IT, instead of dominating the industry and gobbling up all your rivals. But good luck trying to speak seriously to somebody like you and your kind.

  8. Brett Cammack Says:

    4
    They could’ve probably gotten a rust-bucket, but the cost to repair would have exceeded their cost to acquire by quite a bit.

    Common knowledge that the cheapest way to restore a vehicle is to buy one that somebody else paid to restore. Seldom do you ever break even restoring a vehicle.

  9. GM Veteran Says:

    I am honestly very surprised that the locking system for the EV charging cable has not been a standard element of these systems from the beginning. There are a lot of kids and practical jokers out there that would think it funny to unplug someone’s charging cable, delaying the owner’s trip home that night from work.

    Despite the automakers “choosing sides”, I would think they are smart enough to see the worldwide trends in emissions and mileage requirements. Trump won’t be president for more than four more years (if that) and the mileage requirements can be changed very easily. The automakers should just stay out of it and continue to increase the mileage and decrease the emissions of the vehicles they produce, which they need to do for the rest of the world anyway. Come the end of the Trump presidency, they will be glad they did.

  10. Brett Cammack Says:

    Thinking about developing a new keyboard that you have to hold down the [shift] key to type lower case. Gonna call it the “Bombast 2000″. Should sell like hotcakes out here on the Intarwebz.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 They are worth more than we’d think. I searched “1968 dodge pickup for sale,” and the first two I was were a ’68 for $9500, and a ’69 for $13,500. I don’t know about the details.

  12. GM Veteran Says:

    I may be a fool, but orders for 10,000 plus fuel cell powered semi tractors proves that the numbers have been crunched and multiple large companies have decided that Nikola trucks make good business sense for their fleets.

    On the other hand, I predict Tesla will only sell short haul versions of their Semi for reasons stated by other posters yesterday. Declining prices of batteries are well documented, and not really news, but their weight and the space required to house them make long-haul EV semis a financial disaster. No fleet manager will sign up for that.

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    FCA and PSA don’t have much product, or market overlap, if that is a good thing for a merger. Unless markets change a lot, though, I don’t envision many PSA products being sold in North America, or Chrysler Group products in Europe.

  14. Brett Cammack Says:

    As I recall, the powertrain of an OTR semi is quite a bit heavier than we assume. Replacing all of that (plus big tanks of diesel fuel) with four Tesla Model 3 motors and a few thousand pounds of batteries might not be much of an engineering challenge.

  15. GM Veteran Says:

    10, I would like to order one as a Christmas gift.

  16. JWH Says:

    #5 – Not sure who believes you deserve respect? Expect for yourself. In addition, do you always need to SCREAM? Very difficult to hear you when screaming.

    Sean – Good show as always with information from around the world – Will admit I had not heard of Kiira startup in Uganda. Agree with you they have a long way to go & have to wish them luck.

  17. Larry D. Says:

    A Disgusting Habit of drivers-commuters here in SE MI:

    I have been meaning to bring this up, for decades I have been noticing an unusual habit of many people parking at work, they do not just park and go to their jobs, they stay in their cars, with the engine running, spewing their smelly, dirty exhaust, apparently forever. In mild weather like this, they really don’t need the engine to be running, they can easily sit (if that is what they really like) in the car for an hour before it gets cold, if at all. If they want to finish listening to some music, they could switch the engine off and still listen to it, if the key is in the right place in the ignition. But they don’t care, they leave the engine on.

    Many of these park in a large “Commuter” lot I have to cross as I walk from home to office, it is only 5% of my 1 mile walk, but still extremely unpleasant and unhealthy. Many of these wait in their cars for a local bus to take them to their final destination on campus. I could understand leaving the engine on in the worst heat of the summer, when they need their A/C, or on a cold winter day, but why in this excellent Fall weather?

    If they insist doing what they do, this is one more argument in favor of at least Hybrids, if not full EVs.

  18. GM Veteran Says:

    14, I believe it was Kit that provided an estimate yesterday on this. Long haul diesel rigs can typically go 1,000 miles between fill ups. To get approx 600 miles of range for an EV semi tractor, it would require roughly 15,000 lbs or more of batteries, wiring, etc. That is a lot of productive hauling weight to give up. A diesel powertrain is definitely heavy, but not close to that much. If a big breakthrough in energy density makes it to market, long-haul EV semi trucks will likely become a reality. The fuel cell solution may only be a stop-gap measure.

  19. Larry D. Says:

    7 And the worst part, even after GM went broke and a supposedly “New GM” came out, with the poor shareholders-owners of “Old GM” having lost ALL their investment, 100% of it, was the new GM any better? How is it doing now?

    It is still highly dysfunctional. It just lost $3 bill (and SE MI and the Suppliers and their workers lost probably $10 bill), just because of a stupid strike. It negotiated with corrupt and criminal UAW so-called “leadership”, instead of refusing to negotiate until CLEAN leaders were elected. It wasted billions on silly AV ‘research’ instead of producing better cars, ICE and ESPECIALLY BEVs, where by Lutz’s own admission, the Bolt, which still loses $9 k minimum for each one made, gets paid by robbing the suckers who buy GM’s profitable vehicles (hint: Pickups and SUVs). Really, “New” GM?

    It may sound far fetched today, but neither GM nor FOrd inspire ANY confidence currently, AND if you wait 20 years, who do you think the top 3 US automakers will be?? Maybe NOT GM and Ford. I will not say who, the usual suspects may have a stroke if I do.

  20. Phred Says:

    We have heard these predictions of a shortfall in new technicians for the dealer network many times before. So where are the associated “high school shop classes” to recruit candidates? Where are the programs in high density population areas like Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, and any big city? Something does not match up with these “industry alarm bells”.

  21. Larry D. Says:

    From today’s Ward’s news email

    https://www.wardsauto.com/autonomous-vehicles/who-wants-self-driving-vehicles-survey-not-many?NL=WAW-04&Issue=WAW-04_20191030_WAW-04_198&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1&utm_rid=CPENT000009061197&utm_campaign=22912&utm_medium=email&elq2=706f152c2c414a219f729c4b3dafef65&utm_source=27220

    Nobody loves AVs except the junior faculty who may get tenure because of all the AV funding they got.

  22. Bishop Says:

    #1 Next month Kit… November 17th last I heard.

    That is, if you are referring to the ‘Mach E’ (which won’t be its real name, I am told) that is a ‘Mustang inspired’ BEV. From what I’ve read, it is rumored to have a price point starting at around the Testa Model Y (high 40′s) for marketing reasons, but could go into 60′s). Last I heard is that it is supposed to be fairly close to an Edge. . . size-wise.

    Now if you were referring to the Mustang Hybrid, then that is much further down the road.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 From rough calculations I did yesterday, using various information I could find, a battery to move a semi 600 miles would weight about 15,000 pounds and would occupy about 120 cubic feet of volume. The big diesel engines used weigh about 3000 pounds. 600 miles worth of fuel would weigh maybe 600 pounds. I wouldn’t try to guess the weight of the transmission, differentials, etc. of the diesel powertrain.

    The bottom line, if my calculations are even close, is that a BEV semi would be doable, if you put the batteries in the underside of the trailer. Since the powertrain plus batteries of the electric would weigh more than the diesel, the electric would be better for volume limited cargo, like corn flakes, rather than weight limited cargo, like structural steel, given the weight limit of 80,000 pounds (in the US).

  24. Lambo2015 Says:

    On the MPG fight there are really two battles here. The actual MPG that will need to be achieved and the second battle over if there should be two or more requirements. Support for one doesn’t automatically mean the automakers support both. I would think they all would prefer to have only a single EPA standard and negotiate on what that should be. Which could be as stringent as what CA is asking for but still want a single standard. So I would not assume just because some are in support of Trumps efforts to prevent states from setting their own standard doesn’t necessarily mean they want the lower MPG requirement.

  25. Ctech Says:

    The reasons why there is a technician shortage is low net pay upon entry, the high cost of tools to advance, and the lack of support or advancement at the dealer level. Pay is still largely determined by the flat-rate system which OEM’S manipulate to cut their costs. Dealers often manipulate the vehicles assigned to techs favoring some over others. Electric cars still have flaws in the non-drivetrain areas as all cars. If I knew back when I was younger what I know now I likely would have chosen a different career path.

  26. Larry D. Says:

    This should be a very good AAH tomorrow, not only because of John, Gary and Michelle Krebs, who are all really good, (don’t know the SAE guy) but also because there is no guest to waste the first half hour peddling one more startup BEV or tricycle or nuclear skateboard.

    The only drawback is, if it was just one day late, they would be able to discuss actual Oct. sales numbers.

  27. Kit Gerhart Says:

    22 The one I was wondering about was the hybrid. If done right, as in reasonably good performance, like ~7 second 0-60, and good mpg, like low 40s EPA combined. it is something I could be interested in. I wouldn’t expect it to get Accord or Camry hybrid mpg, with the longitudinal power train, and probably more weight, but if they don’t overdo it on performance, it should come close on mileage.

  28. Lambo2015 Says:

    A Disgusting Habit of some posters here is to attack others comments and then reference their original post to continue their titrate. But we continue to see it. Worse than letting your car run for a month unattended.

    19 Yep them EVs just cannot sell for a reasonable price and profit without being offset by selling them SUVs or in Tesla’s case selling their credits. In case you missed yesterdays AD GM isn’t any different than that huge European manufacturer VW that plans to increase their SUV sales to 40% so they can build more EVs. Sounds so similar.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24 If CA had their own, higher mileage standards, it might not even affect the car companies, because of the market mix in CA. I suspect the state has a much higher percentage of Civics, Corollas, Priuses, and Tesla 3s than the national average, and lower percentage of F250s and Suburbans.

  30. Larry D. Says:

    28 Those who live in glass houses should NOT throw stones. Look at the show archives before you speak. I was ALWAYS personally attacked again and again while I NEVER Initiated such an attack, I would criticize COMPANIES And their PRODUCTS and Labor Unions but NOT make personal attacks. and TODAY is sufficient, what I wrote about technicians and how the incompetent vulgarian replied, WITH AN OBSCENE AND DISRESPECTFUL PERSONAL ATTACK. I did NOT address him in my post, but he sure adressed me. DO YOU UNDERSTAND? Study the record before you speak.

    You obviously need to look up the term in the dictionary.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    According to this article, it costs $28,700 to build a Bolt, but because of other costs, according a certain investment firm, they lose $7400 on each one.

    https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1110563_chevy-bolt-ev-costs-28700-to-build-tesla-model-3-a-bit-higher-analysis

    That article says Toyota lost money on Prius for close to 10 years, well into the second generation.

  32. Lambo2015 Says:

    30 We all understand passive aggressive, but thanks for the input. Dictionary? What century do you live in? BTW looks like your cap button is locked again. We are all capable of reading even without emphasis on certain words.

  33. MJB Says:

    #7. …But you’ve gotta keep in mind that GM’s once 60% market share was something the world will never see again from any car maker unless and until market conditions return to what they were back then. i.e., only a handful of global competitors. Once competition heats up, no one can hold onto a market share that huge.

  34. Sean McElroy Says:

    @Nick T – I think the folks at FCA/Mopar might agree they overpaid a bit, but they’re on a very limited time schedule to get these vehicles done and almost need to start with a solid vehicle.

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    33 I think GM’s market share peaked in 1961, my freshman year in high school. It was, indeed, a different world, with the “big three” sharing about 95% of the U.S. market. Things changed a lot in the next 10 years, with VW selling 570,000 cars in the U.S. in 1970. By then, Toyota and Datsun were also selling a lot of cars in the U.S.

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    34 They probably didn’t overpay as much as I first thought, seeing a similar truck for sale for $13.5K. I suspect the Mopar guys were looking mainly for a solid body, and wouldn’t have cared about much else, while the one for $13.5 had a, presumably, properly working 225 slant six, and 4-speed manual.

  37. Cycles Says:

    9- Charge handle locks have been part of Tesla vehicles since the Model S launched in 2012. So, the concept is not new. This is an important feature to secure the charging opportunity.

  38. Joe G Says:

    25… Well stated as to the real challenges for service techs at an OEM shop. With BEV’s only projected to sell 5-6% at best the ICE repair market should be viable for quite some time. Once again Autoline Daily thank you for giving me a heads up on future tech like Fords Sync4 system. It is unfortunate that I cannot get that level of information at the dealership where I work.

  39. ChuckGrenci Says:

    I think the beginning of the erosion of GM was the first gas crisis, and along with the insurance industry’s revolt to high h/p and the subsequent surcharges and the government’s polution crack down, the foreign competition was more poised to meet the new challenges; almost the perfect storm. Granted the big three made massive mistakes and these challenges were long overdue but the big American car didn’t stand a chance.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7,33,35, GM’s US market share peaked at just over 50%, not 60%, and in 1962. GM share was also ~50% a few years in the mid-1950s. In 1980, it was still 44%, but dropped like a rock under the “leadership” of Roger Smith, who was more interested in giving money to Ross Perot than building cars, and GM lost about 8 points of market share during his tenure as CEO.

    https://www.autonews.com/article/20090601/OEM/306019739/detroit-3-domestic-brands-u-s-market-share-history

  41. Kit Gerhart Says:

    40 That chart is hard to read; at least my browser runs everything together, but there is a lot of interesting information there.

  42. Lambo2015 Says:

    25 & 38 Sounds like you guys know the service side of things pretty well. I would guess the majority of work is collision repairs. That would not change as more cars become EVs. I would think a technician could easily spend the majority of their time fixing the thousands of other components that EVs will share. Yea the powertrain of an EV is more simplistic as far as moving parts but what percentage of repairs are powertrain?

    Many manufacturers offer a much longer warranty on powertrain over all the other items that fail. So I doubt as EV sales grow to even a whopping 8% the demand for technicians will continue to increase simply because of there being more cars overall.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    42 Yeah, with today’s cars, you go over 100K miles without doing anything to the powertrain, except changing the oil. Jiffylube will need to find new types of business sometime in the future. Since newer cars don’t go through many mufflers, Midas has gotten into brake work, but that will decrease a lot with EVs, and hybrids, because regen relieves the friction brakes of much of their work.

  44. Lambo2015 Says:

    39-40 Yeah its hard to compare what market share you had when you only competed nationally. Then start competing globally. A lot more factors played into the loss of market share than just poor management. When you start slicing the pie for 8 or 10 players rather than three you can expect a drop.
    Then include the change in the market like you mentioned Chuck (gas and vehicle size)and that compounds the problem. Lots of industries have tried to survive on what made them successful and forgot to evolve, like Kodak, Sears, Kmart, Xerox, Blockbuster. Which is why I think so much money is being thrown at EV and AV technology. Trying to stay relevant and prepared for a changing market. Unfortunately EVs have brought even more competition to the game as will AV technology.

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    25 Years ago, I felt sorry for a mechanic at a Chrysler dealer, who got the job of replacing the head gasket on my Dodge Spirit R/T. The mechanic was a young guy, who hadn’t been there too long, and since no one there had even seen one of those engines before they gave him the job. He got it done, mostly ok, but probably took three times as long as the flat rate he got paid for.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s an itneresting chart that shows the top 20 in US sales from 1961-2016. A lot of different brands come and go over those years.

    https://knoema.com/infographics/floslle/top-vehicle-manufacturers-in-the-us-market-1961-2016

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    46 I just found that link not to work well to show detailed information with a phone. It needs a computer browser. I haven’t tried a tablet.

  48. cwolf Says:

    here is a possible supply of dealer techs:
    chrome://bookmarks/

  49. cwolf Says:

    sorry try again

  50. cwolf Says:

    https://jalopnik.com/independent-mechanics-are-getting-screwed-as-cars-get-m-1839464930

  51. cwolf Says:

    kit
    your questions about coke and the steel industry:
    The process you mentioned using natural gas is one that converts iron ore into iron without a blast furnace (Blasting”). In essence, it is an electric furnace injected with natural gas. It is not cost effective and requires a lot of EL.

    The large blast furnaces are fading fast. I read that something like 11 folded in the past year or so. In this process up to 3 types of coals can be used to control fluidity, strength and hardness when “coking.” Most steels are now made in “mini-mills and becoming more heated by electric. Today EL is about 15%, in 15 yrs about 60% and in 25 years almost 99% of the steel mills will be all electric.
    Only a small percentage (relative) is made from recycled steel simply because the amount recycled is limited, has it’s own set of processes and a portion of that is combined in the normal manner, mostly for desired characteristics.
    I know I just scratched the surface, but it’s a start to satisfy our curiosity.

  52. cwolf Says:

    Kit,
    If you are interested in the natural gas method of steel making,” Midrex Co.” is the largest.

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    51,52 Thanks. I’ll check the Midrex site.

  54. cwolf Says:

    Kit
    just to be clear, coke is in blast furnaces only. Mini mills melt scrap for steel.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    54 Yeah, I thought minimills only melted scrap. I remember Nucor starting a place in the coutryside of central Idiana, probably in the ’80s, and I thought they just melted scrap, with electric furnaces.

  56. cwolf Says:

    55) funny you mentioned Nucor. In passing, my friend said not to put much stock into them in the future. Midrex is over whelming them at every turn.
    When my friend returns from out of town, he offered to re-educate me in the steel making process from his perspective in the coal/coke industry. Maybe I’ll have something more to share with you that will be interesting.
    This CEO has been around a long time so I expect he will share something that I wouldn’t get in any of my engineering classes. I just hope I’m wise enough to ask the right questions on a subject that never sparked an interest nor caught my attention.

  57. joe Says:

    5 You demand respect when all along, you insult others. I find that funny. You should examined yourself Mr Perfect!

  58. DonWagner1239 Says:

    Just got a bulletin that Ford and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement. Why couldn’t GM do it even after a month?
    Odd somebody complained about ICEs spewing pollution that has two old unregulated Mercedes!
    What’s obscene about “My hand?” Must not be up on the slang of today. Have to use it more often.

  59. cwolf Says:

    58) DonWagner, this is great news. This did conclude quickly because many details were worked out while the GM/UAw talks were going on. Bargaining took longer for GM because they were the “target” company from which Ford and FC contracts would be based upon.
    But be aware that the negotiations with FiatChrysler may take longer because of the recent talk of a merger with PSA. The UAW scandal with Chrysler won’t make things easier, I bet.

  60. Ctech Says:

    In the past (1960′s-early 1980′s) when you got to 100k miles, you bought a new car. The used car got handed down or traded in. As car and truck prices increased, drivetrains lasted longer and needed less regular maintenance, consumers keep their cars longer or lease them. The U.S. manufacturers were not focused on this change in the market, except the finance arms which offered more ways to finance a vehicle for a longer term. As is documentmented in the books that John McElroy recommends, the decline started with the U.S. automakers focusing on competing with each other and not focusing on what consumers wanted or needed. IMHO.

  61. cwolf Says:

    DonWagner, that is good news. Hope to read more about it tomorrow.
    To answer your question, GM negotiations took longer because they were the chosen “target” company that other following contracts would be based upon. Ford/UAW dealings went quick because they have been negotiating their own terms while the GM thing was in process.
    The Fiat/Chry. deal may take longer due to the UAW scandal with Chrysler, plus the merger with PSA might muddy things up a bit.

  62. Ctech Says:

    These are a few of the regular failures I’ve seen on the cars and trucks built in the last 7 years at about 100k miles: Nissan Altima and others Nissans with CVT transmissions failure at 100k miles, BMW’s with 4 and 6 cyl engines oil leaks at the oil filter housing and valve covers, BMW’s and Mercedes front lower control arm bushings, Mercedes oil-filled motor mounts collapsing, GM 1.5L turbo engines broken piston rings, Ford awd transfer case failures, Chrysler 3.6L oil cooler housing failures. Toyota/Subaru engine bearing failures. There are more, and this does not include collision damage. Add hybrids and electric car system failures and this is why there is a tech shortage which isn’t going away.

  63. Kit Gerhart Says:

    A done deal?

    Fiat Chrysler and PSA, Maker of Peugeot, to Merge https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/business/fiat-chrysler-psa-peugeot-merger.html

  64. cwolf Says:

    AUTOLINE:
    You made a correction for me. Thank You!

  65. Larry D. Says:

    https://www.autonews.com/automakers-suppliers/fca-posts-record-earnings-margin-north-america?utm_source=breaking-news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20191031&utm_content=hero-image

    64 more important, FCA just posted record earnings in NA. Interesting that the only Detroit ex-Big 3 to do well currently is the one owned by Fiat, while the two “pure domestics” posted losses and in my very humble opinion (just so you don’t think it’s my mother-in-law’s opinion), they really don’t know what they are doing!

  66. Larry D. Says:

    60-63 how many of these failures would occur if instead of a gas or diesel vehicle, the car was a Tesla S or other BEV? ALmost none.

    This corroborates my belief that a good rational reason for hating BEVs is if you are a mechanic or, especially, a DEALER, as by their own admission, at their official NADA site, I got charts for ten years of average dealer incomes from their three activities, and they barely make any money selling new cars, they do a little better selling used cars, and they make far, far more of their prodfits from SERVICE.

  67. Larry D. Says:

    From China to Norway

    I am all set to work in China in November, and they have a big-a$$ exhibition in Shanghai on Mon- Tue, my U there will be closed and they asked me to do the lectures on a Saturday, which I refused, and offered to do them on weekday afternoons instead.

    A friend from the old country just emailed me that the Prime Minister of that outfit and a whole bunch of business types are also going to Shanghai for that exhibition and meetings with Chinese bigwigs to make business deals (China has already patiently and over many years made huge investments in the old country, and vice versa, many old country business types have huge business in Shanghai, leading the OC to establish a general consulate there even before 2006 (when I first visited Shanghai).

    And now I just got another invite, this time from Norway, the world’s biggest (%wise) BEV paradise, from friends at the U of Trondheim, and will visit there next year. Maybe in July when it gets hot in the summer home.

  68. Larry D. Says:

    64 Τhey may well merge, I don’t know why they want to, but I doubt Toyota is worried.

  69. Lambo2015 Says:

    66 Obviously FCA is doing something right and its mostly due to they have a great portfolio of the vehicles people actually want. They don’t seem to wasting as much money on BEVs or AV and have delivered a really great full size Ram that now outsells the Chevy. They just introduced this year the Gladiator which gets them back into the mid-size truck market as well as the already vast offerings from Jeep for SUV/CUVs. Then add in Dodge that is selling the Challenger really well despite a very dated body design.

  70. Kit Gerhart Says:

    66 FCA may have better management than GM and Ford, or maybe not, but those high profit trucks and Jeeps, some high profit, make up a very high percentage of FCA’s NA business. That would help too.

  71. Larry D. Says:

    70 I see many Renegades around here, the poor man’s Jeep, or they are not many but stand out with their poor styling, they are clones of the God-awful Fiat 500 Fat crossover which is made, not surprisingly, at that Serbian plant that made the YUGO.

  72. Kit Gerhart Says:

    70 …and the Gladiator is selling at crazy prices, for what it is.

  73. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I see Renegades both in FL and IN, and know a couple people who have them. They use them mainly as “city cars,” for which they work pretty well, except that they are thirsty, for their size.

  74. Larry D. Says:

    74 are these 2WD Renegades? Why would one need an off road vehicle in the city. At least the Renegade is very short so it would parallel park very easily. I also see short GM SUVs, there have been several Buick Encores and later Chevy Traxes. Their proportions are really poor, they look fat and stubby.

  75. Larry D. Says:

    A friend’s wife got a Smart several years ago. They live in Arlington VA, he drives a Maserati Ghibli (really cheap, 5 series $) and a 1989 735i, I asked him if they like the Smart and he replied that the wife loves its ease of parking when she goes shopping in Georgetown.

  76. Kit Gerhart Says:

    75 The one in FL is 2wd, and the one in IN is 4wd. People buy them for the same reasons people buy other tall wagons, they like the “view of the road” from their tallness, and they find them easier to get in and out of than cars. Some people like the looks of them too. Yeah, their being short can be handy in some places.

    Of course the 4wd one in IN would be good in snow, but I got by for about 40-some years in the same location, driving 2wd cars.

    76 I drove a smart, when they first hit the US market, and except for the really crappy single clutch automatic transmission, I kind of liked it. The non-power steering actually felt pretty good. They offered power steering, but you sure didn’t need it.

  77. Lambo2015 Says:

    72 Yes, you have previously posted your opinion on the Renegade and your thoughts of it being a poor “mans” Jeep which is not only sexist but offensive to assume the people that buy them are poor. Maybe they are just in the market for a small CUV and the size fits their needs. Most of the ones I see are driven by women as they seem to favor the very small CUVs. They sit higher and are still light and easy to maneuver.
    May not be the most attractive offering but they sell around 100,000 a year so cant hardly ding FCA for building what people will buy.

  78. ChuckGrenci Says:

    Anybody know how Gladiator sales are going. The little I’ve seen, other than being pretty expensive, is that off-road with its long wheel base, it is not for ultimate off-roading. I realize that this is a multi-purpose vehicle but I also don’t see the appeal of this big fairly heavy Jeep.

  79. Lambo2015 Says:

    The only way I’d own a Smart car. Naw probably still wouldn’t.

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Hayabusa+Smart+car&view=detail&mid=3C9C7CBFAA2428CE72E63C9C7CBFAA2428CE72E6&FORM=VIRE

  80. Lambo2015 Says:

    79 Hard to say cause they stopped reporting monthly sales just as the program was launching. So they started to ramp up production and they reached full production during the last quarter which saw 16,132 in sales. This next quarter should provide a better number on how they are selling.

  81. Kit Gerhart Says:

    72 The Renegade and similar Fiat, the 500X are made in Italy. The front-drive only, slightly roomier 500L is from Serbia. All three get poor “owner satisfaction” results in CR’s survey.

    77 The Renegade owner I know in Florida also has a Challenger and a Corvette.

  82. Kit Gerhart Says:

    79 I’ve known one smart owner, who towed it with a motor home, to use for short trips from the RV parks. Unlike some cars, it can be towed with all 4 wheels on the ground, and being small and relatively light, it was easy to tow. It didn’t have a turbo Hayabusa motor, though.

  83. Larry D. Says:

    77 claiming that the phrase “POOR Man’s Jeep” is allegfedly “sexist” is the most RIDICULOUS, 100% RIDICULOUS, and LUDICROUS attempt to bite my ankle EVER.

    ENlighten us, oh wise one, how a politically correct “person” would have REPHRASED the common phrase so that nobody would use this LAME Excuse of alleged “sexism”.

    Should one say “A poor PERSON’s Jeep”? I use ‘person’ all the time, BUT here it is inside a PHRASE whose impact would be RUINED if you changed it, SO I WILL NOT, and you can SUE me instead of getting a LIFE.

    You are, IN ADDITION, a MAJOR LEAGUE Hypocrite. You are NOT IN THE LEAST concerned about the alleged “sexism”, but you hate it when we badmouth JEEPS for what they really are, HUGELY Overpriced pieces of CRAP popular with spoiled, auto illiterate freshmen (and even more with freshwomen, before you utter ANOTHER pitiful complaint of sexism because I did not say “Freshpersons”).

    But I am sure you are hoping for me to say how pathetic this whole thing is, so you can lodge another bogus complaint that I allegedly personally attacked you.

  84. Larry D. Says:

    78 All I know is Jeep is making enormous profits, this has to do both with the ridiculously high prices, but also with their much increased sales, when each extra unit is really profitable. of course this will not go on forever, no fad ever has.

  85. Lambo2015 Says:

    83 :-)

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