Fiat Saves Chrysler

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Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby frezik » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:36 am UTC

http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090120/eu_italy_fiat_chrysler.html

Fiat will take a 35% stake in Chrysler.

Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I've been hoping for Chrysler's death for a while now. On the other, we might see an expediated return of Alfa Romeo to the US.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby IggyJack » Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:45 pm UTC

It looks pretty good to me. Fiat's allowing them to have access to better fuel technology at cheaper prices, etc. I saw an article on the fifty worst cars of all time, a couple Fiat's were on there. But that's just a sidenote.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby frezik » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:49 pm UTC

IggyJack wrote:It looks pretty good to me. Fiat's allowing them to have access to better fuel technology at cheaper prices, etc. I saw an article on the fifty worst cars of all time, a couple Fiat's were on there. But that's just a sidenote.


Historically, a lot of them have been terrible with lots of electrical problems. But the current Fiat 500 is pretty good. And their subsidiary, Alfa, makes cars so pretty they're almost pornographic.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby IggyJack » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:12 pm UTC

frezik wrote:
IggyJack wrote:It looks pretty good to me. Fiat's allowing them to have access to better fuel technology at cheaper prices, etc. I saw an article on the fifty worst cars of all time, a couple Fiat's were on there. But that's just a sidenote.


Historically, a lot of them have been terrible with lots of electrical problems. But the current Fiat 500 is pretty good. And their subsidiary, Alfa, makes cars so pretty they're almost pornographic.
Good lord, that picture is ridiculous. Looks pretty damn good. I dont remember if i said what source i got it from, but the list was from Time magazine. http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658537,00.html I guess its just me, but i dont see how Fiat could even support Chrysler. I haven't really heard about them being very big, course they're from Italy, so they may have massive sales there. Enlighten me.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Jebobek » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

With a quick glance to the right regarding related stocks, as of ~2:00pm EST the stocks of Chrysler are down at almost 10%, not sure if thats a sign of the buyin/out.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Jan 21, 2009 7:33 pm UTC

Chrysler is the American car company doing the best out of this whole horrible business. I am very happy to hear this (and not because I drive a Sparta.)

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby frezik » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:01 pm UTC

IggyJack wrote:
frezik wrote:
IggyJack wrote:It looks pretty good to me. Fiat's allowing them to have access to better fuel technology at cheaper prices, etc. I saw an article on the fifty worst cars of all time, a couple Fiat's were on there. But that's just a sidenote.


Historically, a lot of them have been terrible with lots of electrical problems. But the current Fiat 500 is pretty good. And their subsidiary, Alfa, makes cars so pretty they're almost pornographic.
Good lord, that picture is ridiculous. Looks pretty damn good. I dont remember if i said what source i got it from, but the list was from Time magazine. http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658537,00.html I guess its just me, but i dont see how Fiat could even support Chrysler. I haven't really heard about them being very big, course they're from Italy, so they may have massive sales there. Enlighten me.


Fiat is pretty big. Just in cars, they own Alfa, Lancia, and Ferrari, but they're a large industrial conglomerate in a lot of things besides cars. See their wiki page.

There's an old quote from Jermey Clarkson regarding Alfas, which is usually stated along the lines of "you can't call yourself a petrol-head until you've owned an Alfa". But people often omit the rest of what he said, which was that Alfas are brilliant cars to drive for the three weeks out of the year where they work properly. If you can put up with all the problems an Alfa will give you and still love it, you can call yourself a true car lover.

Jay Leno says that since most of Italy has a warm climate, they build their cars with restrictive oil flow, which is fine as long as it's warm. For anywhere colder, you need to make sure the car gets a good warmup before driving. But I'm not sure if this is really true or not. Classically, the major problems with Fiats were electricial rather than mechanical.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby dic_penderyn » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:15 am UTC

Fiat used to have a pretty bad name . Fix It Again Tomorrow.

The last ten years have seen Fiat and Alfa cars get some great innovations and designs.
I drive a Fiat and have done for the last 5 years. It is the only car that has never, ever let me down.
The engine technology are truly world class. The JTD engine is simply the best diesel engine ever built for the automotive industry.
While some of the older engines are still respected as world class. Fiat/Alfa/Ferrari racing heritage can be seen in some of the latest innovations such as the fantastic selespeed transmission. This system is by far the best transmission system there is, It gets a lot of stick for reliability on the very early models but these things are superlative.

This is very good news for both Chrysler (they can now sell cars the public want) and Fiat, (lots of new sales in a time when they are slow)

Great news all round.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby sethstorm » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:32 am UTC

frezik wrote:Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I've been hoping for Chrysler's death for a while now. On the other, we might see an expediated return of Alfa Romeo to the US.


As a fan of "Detroit metal", I hope this does not mean more K cars. Some of us don't mind affordable muscle and don't care to drive something that resembles a golf cart.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Azrael » Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:29 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Chrysler is the American car company doing the best out of this whole horrible business. I am very happy to hear this (and not because I drive a Sparta.)

Arguably, they're the worst off of the Big 3. Regardless of who's the in the deepest hole, Ford is doing the best and is the only one not taking government loans.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Hawknc » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:27 pm UTC

Yeah, uh, this is basically the equivalent of a last-minute lung transplant for Chrysler. A few more weeks, maybe a couple of months, and they would've died on the table before GM did. It doesn't help that their cars are the worst quality of the Detroit 3 and basically irrelevant to what people actually want to buy, even with fuel near $2 per gallon. A partnership with Fiat can only help them in the long term, provided they can survive through the short term.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:43 pm UTC

Maybe it's just the Chrysler's built in America... my Canadian-built 300 is so much more fuel efficient, spacious, and easy to drive than any of the other Big 3 cars built the same year (which are all ugly as sin, to boot).

But I'm not 100% up on the latest car news so I'll still see this as a neat partnership, and see where it goes.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby frezik » Mon Jan 26, 2009 4:54 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Maybe it's just the Chrysler's built in America... my Canadian-built 300 is so much more fuel efficient, spacious, and easy to drive than any of the other Big 3 cars built the same year (which are all ugly as sin, to boot).

But I'm not 100% up on the latest car news so I'll still see this as a neat partnership, and see where it goes.


The LH platform (second gen Intrepid, 300C, Concord, and a few others) was also Candian-built. While definately spacious for people, it did it at the expense of squishing the machine bits into weird contortions. For instance, the battery was underneath the intake and the passenger-side headlight. You shouldn't need a lift just to change your battery. Also, the engine has the waterpump built-in, meaning you need a full rebuild just to replace it (around 120k miles or so).

Additionally, the 2.7L engine on those had oil sludge problems that often killed the car around 75k miles. Though the engine is built in the US, according to Wiki. The same engine is used in the base configuration cars of the LX platform that replaced the LH, though they fixed the oil sludge issue.

Classically, the main problem with Chryslers is the transmission. They've fixed the major problems that they had in the early 90s, but the fundamental problem remains that they've been using the same basic automatic transmission design in everything from a Neon up to a big 4x4 truck. I haven't been following Chrysler too closely of late, but I imagine this is changing now that automatics across the industry are switching to either computer-controlled sequential transmissions or CVTs, rather than planetary gears.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby EsotericWombat » Mon Jan 26, 2009 10:12 pm UTC

Now we just need to see GM and Tesla Motors somehow joined at the hip. That would be awesome.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:50 am UTC

What, does GM need more unreliable ailing brands under it's roof?

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby EsotericWombat » Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:03 am UTC

Tesla is a concept at the moment. If an actual car company had their tech, they'd be able to make something of it.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:05 am UTC

Eh... they have technically hit production, and other companies have toyed with electric cars (including Toyota, which happens to make conventional Lotus engines). They have all failed, more or less, on account of battery issues. This is and will continue to be Tesla's biggest problem, irrespective of their other tech. The fact that straight out of the factory versions of the vehicle only put out 50 miles on the Top Gear test is quite troubling, seeing as we are all familiar with the fairly rapid decline that laptop lithium-ion batteries are still subject to. Big companies have certainly poured fair amounts into plug in hybrid technology, yet the hangup isn't with transmissions nearly so much as the need to pack in rather long range battery packs.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Hawknc » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:41 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:The fact that straight out of the factory versions of the vehicle only put out 50 miles on the Top Gear test is quite troubling

Yeah, that's actually pretty false. Top Gear is great entertainment, don't get me wrong, but it's lousy journalism. Tesla's biggest problem isn't their batteries (which haven't yet failed in a production vehicle) but the fact that they're a start-up making high-tech luxury vehicles in a global recession, which is why work on their next "Model S" vehicle is all but halted. Every major manufacturer is designing production vehicles using similar batteries, so I can only assume they have found ways around reliability issues.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:09 am UTC

From a bit more digging, it would appear the mileage number was created after running the car down to around 20% of the power, probably low enough to come up with a reasonable estimate (link and link). However, other digging did indicate that Road & Track thought that the battery would roughly meet claims when provided with reasonable driving conditions, and I'm generally under the impression that they're a tad more thorough and balanced then Top Gear or Tesla representatives. I suppose time will have to tell how effective the battery system proves, I suppose I'm still rather skeptical based on the grounds that there has been a lot of electric talk in the past by large auto companies, but a distinct dearth of proven results.

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby dic_penderyn » Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:10 am UTC

I know that this whole Tesla discussion is going OT, but I have a question.

How much more efficient is the Tesla than a standard petrol car?

The Tesla charges its batteries from the grid:

There is loss in the charging process, loss in the charger transformer, loss in the transmission lines to the substation, loss in the transmission lines in the grid to the power station, loss in the power stations ability to produce electricity from whichever fuel it burns , loss in the transport of said fuel to the power station etc, etc.
On top of all this, when the batteries are full, they have to do a huge amount of extra work on every journey because the car is so damn heavy compared to the petrol driven car it was based on (lotus Elise)

The Tesla is being hailed an a green car....but is it really?

I dont have the answers but I would love to see the figures.

Maybe this deserves its own topic.

D

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby frezik » Tue Jan 27, 2009 2:47 pm UTC

dic_penderyn wrote:There is loss in the charging process, loss in the charger transformer, loss in the transmission lines to the substation, loss in the transmission lines in the grid to the power station, loss in the power stations ability to produce electricity from whichever fuel it burns , loss in the transport of said fuel to the power station etc, etc.
On top of all this, when the batteries are full, they have to do a huge amount of extra work on every journey because the car is so damn heavy compared to the petrol driven car it was based on (lotus Elise)


In general, the electricity powering a Tesla probably came from a coal fired plant. Also, if you bought one and didn't get a 240V plug installed in your garage, you did something wrong.

Side note: Dealers who start selling all these new electric vehicles should contract with local electricians to get 240V plugs into people's garages and roll the cost of the service into the financing on the car.

The Tesla is a bit heavier than the Elise, but it can make it up by the fact that electric motors are both more efficient and have a flat torque curve. (190 hp for the Elise 111R, 248 hp for the Tesla). The Tesla was built to have the equivilent overall performance to the Elise.

Also, one advantage of battery packs is that you can put them wherever you please to get the best weight distribution. Front engined cars kill you with understear, rear engined cars kill you with overstear, and midengined cars are invariably 2-seaters only.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Hawknc » Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:27 pm UTC

dic_penderyn wrote:I know that this whole Tesla discussion is going OT, but I have a question.

How much more efficient is the Tesla than a standard petrol car?

The Tesla charges its batteries from the grid:

There is loss in the charging process, loss in the charger transformer, loss in the transmission lines to the substation, loss in the transmission lines in the grid to the power station, loss in the power stations ability to produce electricity from whichever fuel it burns , loss in the transport of said fuel to the power station etc, etc.
On top of all this, when the batteries are full, they have to do a huge amount of extra work on every journey because the car is so damn heavy compared to the petrol driven car it was based on (lotus Elise)

The Tesla is being hailed an a green car....but is it really?

I dont have the answers but I would love to see the figures.

Maybe this deserves its own topic.

D

The petrol in your car also suffered from losses in being mined, losses in the refinery, losses in transport (it costs a lot of fuel to move fuel) and huge losses in your engine. Don't shift the goal posts. A life-cycle efficiency analysis of electric vehicles compared to ICE-powered vehicles might make a good Science discussion, perhaps, though the discussion of EVs in general is germane to this topic because it's central to Chrysler's public plan for profitability. It's also something that Fiat doesn't have too much experience in, so it's possible that they're looking to leverage Chrysler's ENVI division for their own cars (although they haven't yet produced anything except concepts).

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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby frezik » Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:10 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:It's also something that Fiat doesn't have too much experience in, so it's possible that they're looking to leverage Chrysler's ENVI division for their own cars (although they haven't yet produced anything except concepts).


Some of those concepts have a funny looking pipe at the back (seek about 2 minutes into the video).

Fiat has been putting small diesels in their cars. Personally, I think small diesels running on algae-based biofuels are more promising than electrics (either batteries or hydrogen fuel cells), but it's certainly a problem that needs to be attacked from multiple angles.
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Re: Fiat Saves Chrysler

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:15 pm UTC

Yes, Fiat is big, especially relative to the Italian economy. But I don't think they are doing too well themselves. A few years ago. they had a merger deal with GM and GM had to pay them 2 billion to end the deal. Imagine that: GM paid through the nose so it would not have to buy Fiat. I think those small diesel are in fact a leftover of the the deal, they are the same small diesels that lie in Opels.

I am not sure what lies behind these Fiat-Chrysler plans, but it is definitely not a healthy company coming to the rescue, more the lame and the blind.


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