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Oh the irony! After being selected as Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and earning a five-star safety rating from NHTSA, the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger sedans are being recalled for a possible malfunction of its anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC).
In total 119,700 vehicles are being recalled due to a problem with the power distribution center that could overheat causing both those valuable systems to fail on the vehicle. Without a doubt, the failure and loss of those two safety systems increases the risk of a potential car crash. Currently no accidents or injuries related to the recall have been reported.
“A plastic insert surrounding a fuse may be subject to distortion caused by thermal expansion and contraction,” Chrysler announced in a statement. “Such distortion could interrupt power to the ABS/ESC control system and temporarily suspend its function.”
Those affected by the recall can take their vehicles to a Chrysler Group dealership to have the ABS/ESC system fuse relocated for free.
A replica of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL has been confiscated and destroyed by German officials after trying to clear customs. Daimler has always had a strong stance against copyright infringement, and this proves just how far the German automaker is willing to go.
“Anyone building, offering or selling replicas of the vehicle is in breach of the Company’s rights. This even applies if the replicas do not incorporate any logos or trademarks of the Company,” said Daimler AG.
The 300 SL is one of Mercedes-Benz’s most legendary models and Daimler AG has a trademark for its body shape. According to Daimler, the body of the 300 SL has been copyright-protected for a number of decades now as a work of applied art.
The destruction process involved two presses that apply over 30 tons of pressure each, and once the fiberglass body was tossed in, it was “smashed into small pieces.”
GALLERY: Mercedes 300 SL Replica
The 2012 Chrysler 300 and its mechanical twin, the Dodge Charger are both recognized as Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) after also earning a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.
The American full-size sedans each received full marks in front and side crash tests and earned a commendable four-stars in rollover. However, the combined five-star overall rating for the two models exclude the high performance SRT8 versions.
Offering more than crash safety, the mechanically identical 300 and Charger both offer active safety equipment as well, including all-wheel drive, auto high beams, adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, blind-spot sensor, and rear cross-path detection.
The IIHS bases their ratings for both vehicles on their performance in front- and side-impact crashes as well as a rollover test.
GALLERY: 2012 Chrysler 300c
GALLERY: 2012 Dodge Charger Blacktop
Everyone had to know this was coming the second General Motors announced the For My Vehicle (FMV) OnStar system, an aftermarket setup that can be implemented on any vehicle. The second OnStar’s FMV would help recover a Chrysler, there would be news about it – and here it is.
Last weekend, on December 18th, Jean Franklin of Gresham, Oregon had her stolen 2006 Chrysler 300 recovered thanks to OnStar FMV, making it the first case of a recovered car with the aftermarket mirror. And GM probably couldn’t have had it better for their first success story, not just being a Chrysler, but having the recovery time a mere 64-minutes after the original call was placed by Franklin.
OnStar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors, helps recover more than 500 stolen GM vehicles a month and can now aid in recovering any stolen vehicle, GM competitor or not.
OnStar’s FMV is priced at $199 plus installation with monthly service charges of $18.95/month or $199/year.
Ramciotti was lured out of retirement to head up the project, which aims for a common design language for the two brands. “We are trying to find an international language, which could have a place both here in Italy and in the U.S.,” said Ramaciotti in an interview with Bloomberg. “If you put all the models into the showroom, they must fit together. It’s a delicate problem.”
Sergio Machionne, Chief Executive Officer of Fiat and Chrysler, hopes sharing designs will boost both Chrysler and floundering Italian sister company Lancia, a weak link for Fiat. The carmaker loses an estimated $1.08 billion annually in Europe. If all goes as planned, the new Chrysler-Lancia line will boost group sales 64 percent by 2014.
Sharing vehicles between manufacturers is a quick way to cut costs, but it can have a high price.
“It’s extremely difficult to succeed in a strategy of globalizing design,” said Roberto Verganti, a management professor at Milan Polytechnic. “The risk is making international cars with no personality. When you buy a Lancia, you are looking for a piece of Italy, and when you choose a Chrysler, you are getting a slice of America.”
Despite the plan to marry models between Chrysler and Lancia, Fiat doesn’t plan to do the same for other brands including Dodge, Jeep, Maserati and Alfa Romeo, all of which will retain their respective identities.
Currently, Chrysler provides re-badged Grand Voyagers and 300s to Lancia, with Lancia calling them the Voyager and Thema respectively. For now, the cars are attracting attention in showrooms, but they haven’t been hot sellers in the depressed Italian economy. “Reactions are good. The Thema is pretty, design is attractive for Italians, too, but no one is buying these kinds of cars now,” said Roberto Ferrari, who owns a Lancia dealer outside Milan.
Overall, Chrysler only sold 37,000 cars in Europe last year, including Jeep and Dodge. That number is down by almost 38 percent since 2007 when they peaked at 120,000 units.
The news isn’t all bad for Fiat’s rebranded American cars though. Since June, the company enjoyed 18,000 orders for their rebranded version of the Dodge Journey minivan, more than double their total sales for 2009.
Chrysler has released pricing for the high performance 300 SRT8, with the new model starting from $47,995. The 2012 model sits half an inch lower than non-SRT models, has a new front fascia and grill, along with body-colored side cladding, four-inch exhaust tips and a new rear fascia. You already know it will come with aggressive 20-inch rims and the available Black Chrome Package adds black chrome rims, black upper and lower grille surrounds and a rear valance strip.
This beastly 300 packs a 6.4-liter HEMI cranking out 470-hp and 470 lb-ft of torque mated to the previous generation’s five-speed automatic transmission. It will rip of a 0-62 mph time in the high fours and has a top speed of 175 mph.
GALLERY: Chrysler 300 SRT8
The Chrysler Group has repaid it outstanding debt worth $7.6 billion in loans to the U.S and Canadian governments. This ends nearly two years of public ownership of the third largest U.S automaker.
Chrysler made a payment of $5.9 billion to the U.S Treasury and $1.7 billion to Export Development Canada- finally ending loans that bailed Chrysler out of near bankruptcy in June 2009. It is impressive that the automaker managed to repay all debts six years ahead of schedule.
“Less than two years ago, we made a commitment to repay the U.S. and Canadian taxpayers in full and today we made good on that promise,” CEO Sergio Marchionne said in a statement. “The loans gave us a rare second chance to demonstrate what the people of this company can deliver and we owe a debt of gratitude to those whose intervention allowed Chrysler to re-establish itself as a strong and viable carmaker.”
The repayment became possible for Chrysler through its 16 new or refreshed models this year. The company reported a first quarter net profit for the first time since exiting bankruptcy under the control of Italy’s Fiat S.p.A
The automaker initially borrowed $5.1 billion from the U.S and $1.6 billion from Canada in June 2009 however the company racked up $1.8 billion in interest.
[Source: Automotive News]