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Jeep has just announced that it will recall 209,724 units of its Liberty model, built for model year 2004 and 2005. However, the recall is only for States that are considered “Snow Belt” areas.
Why do these Liberty models have a problem with snow?
Because the recall is about rust, and the States that use road salt are more likely to cause a rust issue due to excessive corrosion.
The components that are of concern to Jeep and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are the lower control arms, which can crack as a result of corrosion. Such a defect can effect the vehicles handling and could result in a crash.
NHTSA says that 21-States are included in this recall, and Jeep will start notifying and correcting this issue by April of this year. So far, 83 corrosion complaints have been reported, but thankfully no one has been involved in an accident or reported any injuries.
Jeep made a significant design change to the lower control arm in 2004. This part was manufactured by Global Automotive Systems, which is now part of DURA Automotive systems of Rochester Hills, MI.
If your vehicle is potentially affected, expect a letter of recall from Jeep very soon. All the repairs will be done free of charge for the owners of these vehicles. For more info, contact NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236.
In an industry which has recently seen generally negative news regarding sales figures, Jeep is bucking the trend. Global sales for this purely SUV brand are up by 41 per cent, while in the US, sales grew by 44 per cent.
However, that is nothing when compared to the growth the brand has enjoyed in Europe in 2011. In Germany for instance, sales have grown by 124 percent, and in Italy by 117.6 percent. In France they are up by 71.7 percent and even in economy stricken markets like Spain and UK, sales grew by 21.2 and 18 percent respectively.
On a whole, European sales for the Jeep brand have swollen by 61.8 percent. This is certainly great news for the brand and its investing partners.
“The increase in Jeep sales in Europe is evidence that Chrysler Group’s integration with the Fiat Group is clearly working,” says Mike Manley, President and CEO, Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Much of the Jeep brand’s success in Europe can be attributed to a strengthened dealer network, as well as a roll-out of new Jeep models for the European market – including the incorporation of Fiat’s fuel- and emissions-saving MultiJet II technology on the new 3.0-liter CRD engine that powers the Grand Cherokee.”
If Jeep can continue on this upward swing, it can become the most popular North American import brand in Europe.
Ford wants to be a player in this field and has announced that early this year, it will open a new dedicated research lab in Silicon Valley. The premise behind this new facility is to create uncompromised personal mobility experiences.
Being in Silicon Valley, Ford believes it can make better ties with established and start-up tech firms, plus link-up with area universities like Stanford.
“Ford has an incredible heritage of driving innovation in the transportation and manufacturing sectors during the past 107 years,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president of Research and Innovation. “Now it’s time to prepare for the next 100 years, ushering in a new era of collaboration and finding new partners to help us transform what it means to be an automaker.”
This new lab, which will be opened in the San Francisco Bay area will serve as a hub for all of Ford’s new technologies. Ford has in recent years developed products like MyKey, SYNC, EcoBoost and Inflatable Rear Seat Belts. By being in such a tech savvy location, what will Ford come out with next?
“Silicon Valley represents a deep and dynamic technology neighborhood and is far from Dearborn,” said K. Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader for open innovation with Ford Research and Innovation. “With so many opportunities and so much potential, our new lab will allow us to scout new technologies and partners in their own environment and continue our expansion beyond the traditional automaker mindset to drive innovation for a better mobility experience.”
Their goal is to integrate mobility with technology in everyday life, and bring that experience to millions of customers around the world.
They already have the Model S sedan, which is set to go on sale in 2012, but now they are also working on a crossover vehicle, which is referred to as the Model X.
Tesla is hoping to debut this new model by the end of 2011 (perhaps at the next L.A. Auto Show), is offering a secondary stock offering of 5.3-million shares in order to raise funds for the project.
The Model X will utilize the same technology as the upcoming Model S, but offer it in a more practical platform. If all goes according to plan, this model will hit showrooms in 2014. Plans for the car were revealed in filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Tesla Roadster will end its production run by December of this year.
[Source: Inside Line]
Chrysler Group LLC has just announced that it plans to fully repay the loans it took from the U.S. and Canadian governments by the middle of this year.
In a statement from the auto maker, it says “Chrysler Group intends to complete the repayment during the second quarter of 2011 from proceeds of a new term loan facility and newly issued debt securities to be offered and sold to institutional investors in a private offering exempt from registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933.”
Chrysler wants to repay the government loans as quickly as possible due to their high interest rates, which stand at 14% for the U.S. loan and as high as 20% on loan from the Canadian Government.
Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that these loans would cost $500-million in just interest, which would severely affect the company’s ability to make a profit. In order to pay off these loans, Fiat is looking to buy an additional 16% stake in Chrysler at a reported $1.27-billion. Fiat currently owns 30% of Chrysler Group LLC. Chrysler will also look at private investors to see if it can essentially get a better interest rate compared to the government loans, which currently sit at $7.53 billion.
Fiat can only purchase the extra stake in Chrysler once this debt is wiped clean. This debt-refinancing deal is the only hope for the struggling car maker to start earning a profit in the near future.
The Cadillac CTS coupe might be the newest American sports coupe on the market, but that doesn’t mean the engineers are now sitting idly by.
According to latest industry news, GM engineers are already designing the 2015-model CTS coupe, which will be based on their new ATS small-car chassis. The move to this platform will enable GM to build a convertible version without having to lose too much structural rigidity.
The new Alpha-platform will be able to accommodate different lengths for the wheelbase. Insiders suggest that the next CTS coupe will get the longest wheelbase on this platform. The next Camaro will also get this platform but with a shorter wheelbase, and the ATS sedan will be shorter still.
Reports also suggest that the next CTS sedan will have its own platform, and chances are the wagon variant will get killed off - much to the dismay of auto writers everywhere.
[Source: Motor Trend]