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Fiat Wants More Freemont Units From Chrysler

Fiat Freemont

It seems that the Fiat Freemont, which is nothing more than a rebadged Dodge Journey, is a big hit for the Italian automaker as they’ve asked Chrysler to increase the output in order to meet orders. The car was introduced in Italy last month and Fiat said that they want to sell 13,000 units this year, but in an interview given to Automotive News, the manufacturer said that they’ve already received 15,700 orders.

Fiat Freemont

For next year, Fiat is planning on selling 33,000 units of the Freemont large minivan so they got a promise from Chrysler that they’ll get 3,000 cars per month from the Toluca plant in Mexico. In order to meet this higher than anticipated demand in Europe, Chrysler increased the production of the Freemont by more than a third, rolling out in June 4,067 cars by working overtime. Chrysler is searching for methods to deliver 4,000 units every month without the additional costs that come with overtime.

Fiat Freemont

Perhaps the most important reason why the Freemont is doing so well in comparison to the Journey is because the Italian car maker has a considerably larger dealer network in Europe. The best year for the Dodge Journey was in 2009 when the company sold 8,318 cars, but last year they only sold 6,375, according to JATO Dynamics, a market researcher.

Fiat Freemont

According to Fiat, 80% of the orders they’ve received for the Freemont come from Italy and 80% of those who ordered the car are new to Fiat. Another reason why the car has turned out to be successful is due to the affordable price tag as its base price in Italy is 24,900 Euros, which is 5,600 Euros (18%) more affordable than the slow-selling (and ugly I might add) Fiat Ulysse that the Freemont replaces.

Source: Fiat, Chrysler via Automotive News

Fiat Plans Russian-built Jeeps

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Several rumors have surfaced the Internet last week regarding Fiat who will invest about $1.1 billion in a brand new assembly plant in Russia that will build Jeeps and other vehicles. This factory is reported to have an assembly capacity of 120,000 units / year. The Italian automaker reached last year a preliminary agreement with Russia’s Sollers group in order to form a $3.3 billion venture for assembling Jeeps, along with other cars. This deal involved creating a new plant in Naborezhnye Chelny, but the deal fell through at the beginning of this year.

Fiat has not given up and this time they want to do it on their own, with a little help from the Russian Ministry of Economy. Despite the fact that the new plant will be built in Nizhny Novogorod, which is the HQ of the important Russian automaker GAZ, there are no plans of a partnership in the near future, although in the past there were some negotiations but nothing went official.

According to Russian analysts, Jeep will have a hard time to obtain a niche in Russia’s saturated market, although the brand has a powerful global recognition. The number o Jeeps that were sold in Russia in the last few years is very low. In 2010, Jeep managed to sell only 809 units in Russia, according to the Association of European Businesses, as opposed to Land Rover that delivered 10,000 cars.

Fiat will also have to think about the price tag of these vehicles, taking into consideration that there is some fierce competition coming from the cars made in Korea and China.

Source: Inside Line

Hot Russian Model in Fiat’s New Hot Campaign for 500 – by Gucci

As I was saying the other days, a woman next to a car becomes hotter and makes the car even more interesting for men. And auto manufacturers know how to use that to increase this: the Russian model Nataly Poly is the image of Fiat’s new advertising campaign for the limited edition 500 by Gucci.

The supermodel posted in seductive postures, all dressed-up in a black leather body and laying over the 500’s ultra compact body. She definitely gives the entire campaign a distinctive air and style, through a more sophisticated message.

Fiat’s concept of campaign was created by Frida Giannini, Gucci Creative Director, who also made the design of this special edition 500. The fact is that those ads will appear in publications throughout the year.

Fiat 500 by Gucci was launched at the Geneva Motor Show 2011 in March, as a celebrating car for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy and for Gucci’s 90th anniversary. It comes in a choice of two color themes (black exterior – black and white interior, or white exterior – ivory and black interior), with Gucci pin stripes and 16-inch alloy wheels.

Since April, Fiat 500 is on sale in Italy, starting from €17,000 (US$24,200) price. The carmaker declared the car will begin to be sold in the entire Europe starting July, and worldwide at the end of this year.

[Source: Carscoop]

Fiat 500 TwinAir Announced

Fiat 500 TwinAir

This week, Fiat has announced the TwinAir version for its popular 500 model, including the convertible one. This designation will be used not only for the models fitted with the 2-cylinder turbocharged engine, but for an entire lineup of models. The “TwinAir” lineup features upgraded equipment and bespoke styling elements.

Fiat 500 TwinAir

Both the 500 and the 500C get a tiny 0.9-liter TwinAir turbocharged power unit that generates 85 hp and has a peak torque of 107 lb.-ft (145 Nm). It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 11 seconds and hits a top speed of 108 mph (173 km/h).

Fiat 500 TwinAir

On the outside, the car gets a couple of styling upgrades as far as the door handles are concerned, along with the new satin chrome finish of the grille, the black alloy rims, a black tailgate spoiler and a chromed exhaust tip. The 3-door model is also offered with an optional piano black roof.

Fiat 500 TwinAir

Moving inside the cabin, we find an all-black look that is highlighted by the dashboard fascia which has a satin chrome finish, while the sport seats are wrapped around in a combination of perforated leather and fabric.

Fiat 500 TwinAir

Customers are able to choose from one of the two trim levels available: TwinAir and TwinAir Plus. With the first one, you get 15-inch Total Black alloy rims, ABS and EBD, start/stop system, CD/MP3 audio system, a sports kit, remote-controlled central locking system and electric & heated exterior mirrors. If you opt for the second trim, you get 16-inch wheels, manual AC, fog lights, brake assist with hill holder, ESP with ASR/MSR, Blue&Me infotainment system and a leather-covered steering wheel with radio controls.

Fiat 500 TwinAir

In Italy, the base price for the Fiat 500 TwinAir is $19,200 (12,900 Euros).

Fiat 500 TwinAir

Source: Fiat via Carscoop

Chrysler Group Plans On Repaying All Government Loans

Fiat is only a few steps away from owning 51% of the Chrysler Group as the latter has announced a few days ago that it will repay all the loans provided by the United States and Canadian governments in 2009. The $7.53 billion that the Auburn Hills-based automaker owns will be repaid during Q2 2011 which ends in June.

To get the money, Chrysler will have to use a new term loan facility, along with issuing new debt securities that are going to be sold to institutional investors in a private offering, along with proceeds from Fiat’s recent cash infusion that increases its stake in Chrysler.

Chrysler will have to pay $5.8 billion to the United States Department of the Treasury and another $1.7 billion to the Canadian federal and Ontario governments.

As we previously mentioned here on rpmGo, CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced that Fiat wants to take majority stake in Chrysler in 2011 and for accomplishing this; they have to buy another 16% of Chrysler for $1.27 billion, which will raise the company’s position to 46%. Later on this year, they will buy another 5% to obtain the majority stake. For increasing ownership to 51%, Fiat must roll out a 40 mpg model in the U.S.

Source: Chrysler via Carscoop


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Chrysler Will Introduce Natural-Gas Cars In 2017

Khodro Soren ELX

Cars running on natural gas are not very popular around the world, except for several countries like Brazil, Iran and India. In United States there are only a few and if you ask someone to name an alternative fuel, the first answer they’ll have is probably ethanol. In other parts of the world, 2% of all cars are running on natural gas so this shouldn’t come as a surprise that automakers are starting to research on this technology.

Fiat is already selling a bunch of natural-gas vehicles (aka NGVs) in Europe and South America, and most likely Chrysler will do the same thing in the years to come as part of making its lineup green. In addition, Fiat will probably own the majority stake in Chrysler so they’ll implement this strategy for launching NGVs.

Fiat SpA Wants To Raise Chrysler Ownership With Another 16%

It was only a couple of days ago when Fiat SpA announced that they have increased their share at Chrysler by 5%, reaching a total of 30%. They don’t plan to stop there as rumors say that by the end of this June, the Italian group will raise its Chrysler ownership to 46%. These reports are coming from Automotive News who have quoted two unnamed insiders with direct knowledge of the matter, who talked about the plans of Fiat’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne.


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Fiat Still Thinking Of Moving Its HQ In The USA

2012 Fiat 500

Last month at an industry conference, Fiat SpA and Chrysler LLC Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said that the Italian car manufacturer could eventually merge with its Detroit partner and move its corporate HQ from Turin, Italy to the United States. A couple of days after that, John Elkann, who is Fiat’s Chairman and the grandson of the Gianni Agnelli family who owns 30% of Fiat, affirmed that the Italian automaker has no plans to leave its homeland. Marchionne also backtracked, but not until a meeting with Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi as well as other politicians, stating that no final decision has been made and nothing is going to be decided until 2014.

According to Reuters, Marchionne wants to move the company’s headquarters to the United States because there, the automaker would pay fewer taxes: “If I pay 70% tax in Italy and only 30% in the United States, it’s a no brainer where to go.”

At the moment there is an ongoing debate in Italy regarding the company’s factories. According to the same report, the production costs in Italy have grown by 25% more than in Germany in the last ten years. More than that, the Italian automaker affirmed that its 22,000 workers in Italy managed to built 650,000 cars in 2009, in comparison to the 600,000 units that were produced by the 6,100 employees at Fiat’s plant in Tychy, Poland.

Sergio Marchionne said that if he can boost up the efficiency of Fiat’s factories he will increase the salaries, which are significantly low by EU standard, as an average employee in Italy is paid approximately 1,300 Euros / month, while in Germany a worker gets about 2,000 Euros / month.

Source: Reuters via Carscoop


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Preview – 2011 Chicago Auto Show PART 1

The 2011 edition of the Chicago Auto Show will open its doors on February 9th, lasting until the 20th of the month. Here are some of the most important cars that will be exhibited at this important automotive event.

2011 Audi TT-RS

Audi will be bringing three new production models in the United States: TT-RS, 2012 Audi A6 and the 2012 Audi A7 Sportback. The sexy TT-RS is the most powerful and expensive TT model and will be offered with a 5-cylinder 2.5-liter supercharged power unit that outputs 340 hp. At first, the car will be sold with only a 6-speed manual gearbox. Later on, the German automaker will introduce other transmissions.

The A6 grabbed the EyesOn Design award a couple of weeks ago at the Detroit Auto Show and will feature a V6 3.0-liter supercharged engine which will probably be linked to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The A7 Sportback will be offered with the same engine that churns 333 hp and will be linked to a 7-speed dual-clutch automated-manual gearbox.

2012 BMW 1-Series Convertible

BMW will take to the Chicago Auto Show two of their newest models: the 2012 1-Series and the gorgeous 2012 6-Series. The first one will be available with new styling features that should be popular among American customers. The 128i and the 135i models will carry the 3.0-liter engine which is available in the 3-Series. The 128i will pack 230 hp under its hood while the 135i will be able to output 300 hp. If this isn’t enough, you could get the 1-Series M-coupe which will offer you 335 ponies to play around with.

If you like to drive with the top down, the 6-Series Convertible is the way to go. The car will feature a powerful V8 4.4-liter engine that cranks up 400 hp and is mated to BMW’s 8-speed automatic gearbox.

2012 Buick Verano

For those of you that prefer a car from the domestic market, the 2012 Buick Verano might be what you need. Placed below the Regal, the Verano will feature a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that outputs 177 hp and is linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. A couple of months later, the Verano will be available with a 2.0-liter.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic

Aveo is dead, long live the Sonic. Chevrolet will be taking to Chicago their new car which will come with a 1.8-liter engine that produces 135 hp and is mated to either a 5-speed manual (as standard) or with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The car will also be available with a 1.4-liter turbocharged power unit that will be linked to a 6-speed manual gearbox, outputting 138 hp.

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

Being a North American auto show, it is obvious why all of the local automakers will be bringing their latest models. Chrysler will roll out the 200, 300 and the all-new Town & Country models. The first one will be the company’s new mid-size sedan, replacing the now defunct Sebring. As far as the engine choices are concerned, the 200 can be fitted with a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter, mated to a 4-speed / 6-speed automatic gearbox. The high-end 200 model will be equipped with a more powerful V6 3.6-liter that produces 283 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Presented at the Detroit Auto Show, the Chrysler 300 will be shown at Chicago next week. It will be available in three versions, as follows: Touring, Limited and the 300C. The first two versions will pack a V6 3.6-liter engine that produces 292 hp while the 300C will get a massive V8 5.7-liter that is good for 370 hp. The Town & Country will be available with a V6 3.6-liter engine which will be mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The model will be available with the following trim levels: Touring, Touring L and Limited.

2011 Dodge Durango

Dodge will be bringing the Charger, Avenger, Journey and the Durango. The first one will feature two new sets of engines for the SE and R/T models. The SE will pack a V6 3.6-liter power unit that outputs 292 hp while the R/T will get a more powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that will offer 370 ponies. Both of the engines will be linked to a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

The Avenger will be available in four trim levels: Express, Mainstreet, Lux and R/T. The car will have a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that will output 173 hp, fitted with a 4-speed automatic transmission for the Express trim while the Mainstreet and Lux get a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The R/T will benefit from a V6 3.6-liter engine with 283 hp and a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Journey is a crossover/SUV which will be available in a 5-seater or 7-seater configuration. The model will be offered in five different trim levels: Express, Mainstreet, R/T, Crew and Lux. The entry-level Express will get a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine that offers 173 hp and will be mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. The rest of the trims will get a V6 3.6-liter that outputs 283 hp, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Durango will be available in three different trim levels: Express, Crew and Citadel. All of them will benefit from the same power unit, which will be a V6 3.6-liter that produces 290 hp. The customers that choose the Crew or the Citadel trim levels can get a more powerful engine, in the shape of a 5.7 HEMI V8, good for 360 hp. Regardless of the engine, all cars will get a 5-speed automatic gearbox.

2012 Fiat 500

After a couple of years of waiting, Fiat will be delivering the lovely 500 model to the US market. For this reason, they will exhibit the car at the upcoming Chicago Auto Show. The model will be available in three trim levels: Pop, Sport and Lounge. The engine will be a 4-cylinder 1.4-liter that will output 101 hp and will be linked to either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed automatic transmission. Later on, Fiat will launch the 2-door convertible 500C model.

Join us tomorrow for the second part of the article.

2011 Fiat Freemont Announced

2011 Fiat Freemont

The 2011 Fiat Freemont will be one of the first models to roll out from the Fiat-Chrysler partnership and it will be officially unveiled in March at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show. Based on the Dodge Journey, the Freemont will be manufactured at Fiat’s plant in Toluca, Mexico where they also make the tiny 500 model.

The car is 489 cm long, 188 cm wide and 172 cm high. With a wheelbase of 289 cm, the 2011 Fiat Freemont is being advertised as a genuine crossover which will offer plenty of space inside the cabin to complement its distinctive exterior design. Speaking of, it has an aggressive front end and an appealing bumper. In the back, it doesn’t look that much like older brother, the Journey, as it has a redesigned bumper and LED taillights.

The biggest advantage of the crossover will be in the cabin as the customers will get a great package. First of all, there will be plenty of room thanks to the standard seven seats and the easy to access third row. These seats can be easily folded down, disappearing below the car’s floor and making a regular load platform if you need it. The second row of the Fiat can be equipped with the innovative child booster system.

The cabin benefits from an updated design that complements the very nice soft touch materials that include a brand-new instrument panel, a wrap-around dashboard with chrome inserts and an infotainment system that features a generous color touchscreen. Other inside goodies include the triple-zone automatic climate control system, fog lights, touchscreen radio with controls on the steering wheel, tire pressure monitoring system, advanced trip computer, cruise control and keyless entry system. The highest trim level of this crossover will also pack rear parking sensors, automatic headlight activation, fold-down door mirrors, roof bars, darkened rear windows and Bluetooth support.

2011 Fiat Freemont

When it will be launched, the 2011 Fiat Freemont will be available with many engine options, including two variants of the 2.0-liter MutliJet turbo diesels that output either 140 or 170 hp. Later on, Fiat will introduce a more powerful V6 3.6-liter engine that produces 276 hp. At first, the crossover will only be available with a front-wheel drive system and later on the Italian automaker will introduce the four-wheel drive system.

Up until this moment, Fiat hasn’t revealed any information about the price tag of the 2011 Freemont, but looking at the $20,845 (SE model) – $27,995 (R/T 7-Passenger model) price range of the Dodge Journey, it should be somewhere around those figures.

When it will be launched it will have to face up some serious competition coming from the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Ford Edge, the Nissan Murano and the Mazda CX-7. From all of these cars, the first one would have to be the most important competitor for the upcoming Freemont. The Santa Fe offers engine options that start with the 2.4-liter DOHC Theta II 4-cylinder that outputs 175 hp and end with the more powerful 3.5-liter DOHC Lambda II V6 that outputs 276 hp. The Freemont will most likely have the most spacious cabin in its class, we’ll have to wait and see a production model before we jump ahead to any conclusions.

Fiat Promotes Natural Gas Engines

After almost 30 years of absence from the US market, the Italian Fiat SpA is returning back to the United States with the help of Sergio Marchionne. Along with this return, Fiat might bring one of their specialties – the natural gas power units that equip a wide variety of their models. According to Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat & Chrysler Group, by brining the natural gas engines, it is an efficient way to reduce the emissions thanks to the fact that they are more affordable in comparison with competing technologies. He added that the upcoming electric cars manufactured by Toyota and General Motors have “too many obstacles”, like the long recharge time for the batteries.

According to Constantinos Vafidis, the person who oversees hybrid and transmission development at the research center of Fiat in Turin, Italy, “natural gas is very suitable for the United States. Especially for public services and goods transportation, where vehicles are refueled from a central base.”

On the European continent, the Italian automaker Fiat is the market leader in natural-gas power units, taking 80% share of the methane-powered automobiles and 55% of the light commercial vehicles. A professor at the MIP management school of Milan’s Polytechnic University, by the name of Giuliano Noci, stated that “Fiat will use its technological leadership in natural gas, in a region discovered to have huge reserves. It’s almost a mandatory strategy. Fiat should lead the natural-gas car market as it’s far behind in the electric vehicle sector.”

Back in September, Alfredo Altavilla (the head of the Italian Iveco truck unit), stated that the natural gas is a “more affordable solution” due to the fact that it is less expensive to produce in comparison to other types of engines. He added that the extra costs for a power unit that uses natural gas is $3,000 in comparison to the $3,300 for a diesel engine and $8,000 for an electric hybrid.

Helped by government incentives, Fiat managed to sell 127,000 methane-powered cars last year in Europe (including the versions of the Ducato van and the Panda compact). In 2009, United States became the largest producer of natural gas, overtaking Russia. Lucio Bernard, who is the director of Fiat Powertrain, stated that “we’ve had contact with the U.S. and Canadian governments.” Canada and United States have become more interested “after the recent discoveries of shale-gas reserves in the region.”

In Italy there are more than 800 fuelling stations for natural-gas vehicles, making it a very robust market, probably the most robust in the entire world. On the contrary, in the United States, General Motors just began commercializing automobiles that have natural-gas power units to fleet customers. The only manufacturer of cars that have compressed natural engines in the United States is the Japanese automaker Honda. Fiat is currently taking into consideration joining the United States market with natural-gas cars. After a 30 year absence, Fiat is returning to the US with the compact 500 model. The Italian automaker is planning on selling 50,000 units of this model.

Chrysler is joining Fiat in a natural-gas car association in Washington and is considering launching such cars in the United States in the years to come, depending on the demand for such cars. A spokesman for the company by the name of Vince Muniga affirmed that “we’re always looking at alternative propulsion systems and how to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, so this is one thing we are looking at.”

Unlike Fiat, the Japanese automaker Toyota and General Motors are giving their attention to hybrid electric automobiles, as an alternative to traditional gasoline cars. On November 30th, General Motors started manufacturing the Chevrolet Volt, a gasoline-electric care that has a starting price of $41,000. GM is planning on selling 10,000 units of this model next year and 45,000 cars in 2012.

Toyota became more popular worldwide once it introduced onto the market the world’s first mass-produced hybrid car – the Prius that was launched about 10 years ago. In 2012 in United States, Chrysler will start making an electric version of the compact Fiat 500. The network of recharging stations for electric-powered cars is very underdeveloped at the moment, similar with the situation of the refueling gas vehicles stations. In the United States there are 1,300 stations for the approximately 110,000 cars that use natural gas, according to the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles. The Petroleum Marketers Association of America recently stated that in the US there are about 160,000 stations for gasoline-powered cars.

In 2009, Marchionne separated the Dodge and the Ram brands in order to create a standalone truck unit. His plans are to increase the stake of Fiat-Chrysler from 20% at the moment, to 35% by the end of 2011. His 5-year plan for Chrysler is to introduce small and large commercial vans to the United States in 2012.

An IHS Automotive analyst by the name of Phil Gott, recently stated that “that gives them the freedom to introduce Iveco products into the Chrysler lineup. The target customers would be the heavy duty fleets, they could cut their fuel costs in about half.”

The United States is holding the 14th place for natural gas vehicles sales in comparison to Italy, ranked 6th, according to the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicle. Surprisingly, Pakistan holds the number one spot with 2.3 million cars and about 3,000 fueling stations. The CEO of Fiat & Chrysler Group hopes to raise the United States figures. He added last week that “Fiat’s technological leadership in compressed natural gas in Europe is a key asset for the United States natural gas-vehicle-market.”


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Fiat Will Be Making Light Vans For Opel

Opel Combo

Fiat just signed a deal with General Motors in which they promise to supply 250,000 Opel/Vauxhall light vans. The new cars that will be developed will replace the Opel Combo, which will reach its lifecycle end in the last part of 2011, and it will be built on the current Fiat Doblo van platform. The new cars will be sold by Vauxhall and Opel dealers across Europe as well as other markets outside North America, starting with 2012.

Opel stated that these new Doblo-based vans will have the same “Combo” name and will be offered in a wide variety of configurations, like cargo vehicles, chassis cabs or passenger vehicles. The development of these new vans will be the direct result of the collaboration between the German designers in Russelsheim and the Italian engineers at Fiat in Turin, Italy. The vans will be manufactured together with the current Doblo model at a facility Fiat jointly operates with Koc Holding in Bursa, Turkey, under the Tofas venture.

Fiat Doblo

The current combo model is manufactured at the Opel factory in Zaragoza, Spain where they also make the Meriva and the Corsa cars. In 2009, the factory manufactured 29,904 Combos which is a lot lower in comparison to 2008 when they managed to build 56,934 units, according to the data published by Opel.

This arrangement between Fiat and Opel is a premiere, and was done in order to rationalize production in the current and possible future situation of diminishing demands in mature markets. Fiat said that it will start supplying 6,000 units to Opel in the last month of 2011 and hoping for a production of “at least 250,000” units in the future.

At the factory in Turkey, Fiat is making more than 100,000 vans per year.

Fiat 500 Now Available In USA

Fiat 500

Almost 30 years passed away since the last production model from Fiat was available for the United States market. The reason why the Fiat 500 was officially launched for the American market is the big success it was and still is in Europe. The US version of the 500 will be manufactured in Mexico and will come with a reinforced body structure, a new anti-lock braking system and a more generous fuel tank.

Fiat 500

Other modifications in comparison to the European model include a brand new steering wheel, an improved HVAC system, redesigned seats as well as other modifications to reduce harshness, vibrations and noise. Americans will be able to choose from one of the following trims: Pop, Sport and Lounge- all of them being powered by a 1.4 MultiAir engine, capable of producing 101 hp (102 PS / 75 kW) and 98 lb-ft (133 Nm) torque. As standard the car will come with a five-speed manual gearbox, but clients can pay extra for a six-speed automatic gearbox, exclusive to the United States market.

The Fiat 500 will start shipping in America in the following spring at a base price of $15,500 which is $4,600 less in comparison to its primary rival, the Mini Cooper.


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Fiat buys back Abu Dhabi company’s stake in Ferrari

According to UAE newspaper The National, Fiat has bought back a 5 percent stake in Ferrari from Abu Dhabi based investment company Mubadala. The 5 percent were sold five years ago and the contract had a clause according to which Fiat could buy back the stake at a certain time. The same newspaper reports that the buy back cost Fiat around 122 million Euros and it takes Fiat’s stake in Ferrari back to around 90 percent. But that’s not all, because this transaction fueled rumors that Fiat is planning on selling a large stake in Ferrari soon, probably as much as 40 percent.

When asked, a Fiat spokesman said that “I can confirm that Fiat has exercised the call option for the purchase of the Ferrari stake held by Mubadala.” Questioned about the rumored future sell, he had no further comments to make.


Fiat plans new SUVs based on new Grand Cherokee platform

Sergio Marchionne, the chief executive of Fiat and Chrysler announced that he is very happy with the new generation Grand Cherokee market success (including Europe) and that Fiat is currently looking into creating new SUVs based on Jeep’s platform. Launched in June, the 2011 Grand Cherokee is selling extremely good (October sales are up 291 percent compared to October 2009) and expectations are also high for the new Dodge Durango, which is based on the same platform and will go on sale next month.

Marchionne said he is very happy with the Jefferson North assembly line results and added that Fiat considers using the Grand Cherokee platform for a future Maserati SUV to compete the German rivals Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 and the Mercedes Benz ML Class.


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