Watch Sam Hubinette and Jen Horsey run Targa Newfoundland in a Fiat 500 Abarth

November 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm

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Targa Newfoundland Fiat 500 Abarth

We’d grown pretty accustomed to seeing Sam Hubinette sling a Dodge Challenger around a drift course, but the guy knows how to do more than go sideways. Back in September, the Crazy Swede partnered up with Jen Horsey to take on the Targa Newfoundland in a Fiat 500 Abarth in the open class. How’d the team do? The plucky little hatch snagged second place, finishing just one second behind Paul Dyer in his 300 horsepower Mistubishi Lancer Evo IX. That’s no mean feat considering the Abarth puts down just 160 ponies of its own.

Fiat worked up a quick video documenting Hubinette and Horsey’s efforts over the long week, and you can check it out below. In addition to taking home the silver, the team also walked away with a few other honors, including the Presidents Manufacturers’ Challenger award and the Next Generation Challenge title for vehicles with 1.6 liters of displacement and less.

Continue reading Watch Sam Hubinette and Jen Horsey run Targa Newfoundland in a Fiat 500 Abarth

Watch Sam Hubinette and Jen Horsey run Targa Newfoundland in a Fiat 500 Abarth originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 15 Nov 2012 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat confirms 500 Abarth Cabrio for LA with F1-inspired video

November 17, 2012 at 12:19 am

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Fiat 500 Abarth Convertible video screen capture

In addition to the electric 500e, Fiat will be debuting a new 500 Abarth Cabrio under the lights of the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month. And to get everyone excited about the scorpion-stung droptop, Fiat has launched this promo video showing the cars zipping around a track at the hands of Ferrari Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

Fiat confirmed the car’s LA debut in its one-sentence description of the video on the company’s YouTube channel.

The Scuderia Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa tested the Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio in Austin, Texas, in anticipation of its North American debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

There’s a lot to love about the 500 Abarth – we’ve enjoyed it on several occasions – and we can only assume that this new Cabrio model won’t disappoint. And how could it? After all, one of our favorite parts about the Abarth experience is the utterly amazing sound that shoots out of the tailpipes, and that aural pleasure will only be enhanced with the roof flipped back.

Scroll down to see the short video for yourself, and stay tuned for the full details as part of the LA Auto Show festivities.

Continue reading Fiat confirms 500 Abarth Cabrio for LA with F1-inspired video

Fiat confirms 500 Abarth Cabrio for LA with F1-inspired video originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 16 Nov 2012 16:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat releases first 500e images ahead of LA spotlight

November 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

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2013 Fiat 500e - front three-quarter view

Fiat won’t officially pull the wraps off of its all-electric 500e until the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month, but we now have a pair of official images that show the little orange shocker both inside and out.

All of the details surrounding the new 500e are still under embargo until the debut, and as of this writing, Chrysler will only confirm that the car will go on sale in California sometime in 2013. The automaker will also show the car this weekend at the American Music Awards on the “green carpet” this Sunday, November 18.

Fiat 500e interiorFrom what we can see in these photos, the 500e doesn’t look vastly different from other Fiat 500 models, save the redesigned lower front fascia (in contrasting white), lower side sills, aero underbody lip, and more wind-friendly wheels presumably wrapped in low rolling-resistance tires. Inside, the Fiat’s cabin has been done up in a similar white-and-orange motif. Other changes to the interior include a redesigned gauge cluster and the addition of push-buttons where the normal gear shifter would be.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the 500e leading up to its launch, including reports stating that Chrysler is only making the car to appease the folks of California and that the company will lose something in the area of $10,000 on each EV it builds. We’ll see how the little electron-eater fares when it launches next year.

Until then, sight tight – we’ll have the full skinny on the 500e in the coming weeks. For now, scroll down to read Chrysler’s very brief statement.

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Fiat releases first 500e images ahead of LA spotlight originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 16 Nov 2012 00:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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UAW trust demands Fiat pay $342M for Chrysler shares

November 13, 2012 at 9:38 pm

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Bob King, UAW president addressing the faithful

Last month, we brought you the latest news in a rather tenuous ordeal between Fiat and the United Auto Workers over the future of the Italian automaker’s stake in Chrysler. The union contended that Fiat failed to make an adequate offer for the 3.3-percent stake that was sought. Fiat offered $139.7 million for the shares in July, which the UAW rejected.

We now have word of the union’s counter offer of $342 million – more than double what Fiat proposed. According to Reuters, the entity in question is the UAW’s healthcare trust, known as Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, or VEBA, which currently owns 41.5 percent of the American automaker. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has voiced his intent to eventually purchase the trust’s full 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler as part of a long-term unification plan.

Following the initial offer from Fiat, the trust refused to sell the 3.3 percent share in July, which resulted in a lawsuit brought by Fiat. As part of this counteroffer, VEBA has brought a counter suit, as well as a statement claiming that the initial Fiat offer was “substantially below market value.”

VEBA originated from the 2007 auto bailouts, in which retiree medical benefits were shed off into their own entity to facilitate restructuring of the automakers. Rather than taking cash to fund its restructuring, VEBA took the Chrysler stock, which is the center of this current conundrum. According to a spokesperson for the trust, “sale of the called shares at the price calculated by Fiat would constitute a transaction prohibited by federal law.” At this time, neither the automaker, the trust, nor the Securities and Exchange Commission have commented on the proposed transaction.

UAW trust demands Fiat pay $342M for Chrysler shares originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 13 Nov 2012 13:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lancia to live on with models built in America

November 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

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Lancia Thema

Motor Trend reports that Lancia isn’t headed for the scrap heap after all. Chris Brown, a spokesperson for Chrysler, told MT the automaker will live on and continue to manufacture its Ypsilon hatchback in Italy. The remainder of the brand’s vehicles will be built in America by Chrysler. What’s more, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has said future Lancia models will be co-developed with Chrysler. That’s a big shift from what we heard last week. As you may recall, the German site Automobilwoche reported the sun was poised to set on the Lancia brand for good, due in part to economic woes in Europe.

Under the rumored plan, Fiat would then push Maserati farther downmarket to help fill the gap. As it turns out, Marchionne was simply talking about further platform sharing between Fiat and its profitable American brand. That means we can likely expect to see more Lancia-badged Chryslers prowling the streets of Europe very soon.

Lancia to live on with models built in America originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 Nov 2012 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lancia to live on with models built in America

November 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

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Lancia Thema

Motor Trend reports that Lancia isn’t headed for the scrap heap after all. Chris Brown, a spokesperson for Chrysler, told MT the automaker will live on and continue to manufacture its Ypsilon hatchback in Italy. The remainder of the brand’s vehicles will be built in America by Chrysler. What’s more, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has said future Lancia models will be co-developed with Chrysler. That’s a big shift from what we heard last week. As you may recall, the German site Automobilwoche reported the sun was poised to set on the Lancia brand for good, due in part to economic woes in Europe.

Under the rumored plan, Fiat would then push Maserati farther downmarket to help fill the gap. As it turns out, Marchionne was simply talking about further platform sharing between Fiat and its profitable American brand. That means we can likely expect to see more Lancia-badged Chryslers prowling the streets of Europe very soon.

Lancia to live on with models built in America originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 04 Nov 2012 12:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Marchionne plans to kill off Lancia

November 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm

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Lancia grille

Lancia is dead. Long live Lancia.

The European financial crisis has claimed another victim. This time it is not a racing program or production facility, but an entire car brand. Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced the shuttering of the storied Italian make as part of a “larger strategic correction” to right Fiat’s current financial woes. That kind of dashes any plans for a Stratos comeback.

According to German site Automobilwoche, the move is part of a larger effort that would see Fiat spread product offerings over more vehicle segments, including the premium market. Still, Fiat will continue to present the Panda as the “pillar of the brand, and will be rebadged as a Jeep in the near future.

With news that Fiat could post a 700-million-euro loss for 2012, the killing-off of Lancia starts to come into context. According to Marchionne, the company may not break even again until 2015 or 2016. The hope of shuttering the Lancia brand is to further consolidate underpinnings and cut costs by platform sharing and rebadging of Fiat, Jeep, and Chrysler products, hopefully pulling the Italian automaker out of the red.

Marchionne plans to kill off Lancia originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 02 Nov 2012 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Marchionne gunning to unify Chrysler and Fiat by 2015

November 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm

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Sergio Marchionne, CEO of both Chrysler and Fiat, has stated that the planned unification of both companies will have to wait a little longer as the Italian automaker grapples with the European financial crisis. Marchionne has previously stated that the goal was to achieve unification as early as 2014, but that has temporarily been put on the back burner while Fiat aims to strengthen its finances.

In a Reuters report, Marchionne said, “The objective has always been to try and bring unification by 2014 or 2015… I’d still like to see that done.” Marchionne went on to say that Fiat would not have the capital to make that move as early as 2014, unless “something extraordinary happens and we find liquidity through other means.” According to the report, Marchionne’s top priority is fixing its European situation.

This is all in relation to Fiat’s plan to purchase the remaining 41.5 percent stake in Chrysler currently held by the United Auto Workers healthcare trust. The trust was created as a move to unburden Chrysler from retired workers’ healthcare costs.

Fiat tried to purchase 3.3 percent of the American automaker this July for $139.7 million. The healthcare trust claimed that figure was not enough and refused to sell the portion, resulting in a lawsuit brought by Fiat against the healthcare trust. No update was given on the lawsuit, though Fiat stated that it plans on making another 3.3 percent purchase in January.

Marchionne gunning to unify Chrysler and Fiat by 2015 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 01 Nov 2012 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fiat brings Café Racer, Beach Cruiser and Magneti Marelli samplers to SEMA

October 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm

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The retro-coolness of the Fiat 500 is such that it naturally lends itself to customization. So, when we first heard tell that the company was preparing a stripped-down Caf

Chrysler posts $381 million Q3 net profit

October 30, 2012 at 11:53 pm

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Chrysler Headquarters Pentastar window glass

Chrysler reports that its vehicle sales jumped by 12 percent in the third quarter over the same period in 2011. That step up was enough to bump profits by 80 percent to $381 million on $15.5 billion of net revenue. Moving forward, the automaker expects to see fourth-quarter profit of $210 million, which should help the company realize its forecast of $1.5 billion of net profit for the year. Reuters reports Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne expects the automaker’s free cash flow for 2012 to be “well in excess” of $1 billion.

Over the same period, the smallest of the Big Three laid claim to an 11.3-percent slice of the domestic market, thanks largely to a 16-percent jump in US retail sales. More importantly, the manufacturer’s net industrial debt now sits at $693 million, down from $2.2 billion one year ago. You can check out the full press release below for more information.

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Chrysler posts $381 million Q3 net profit originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 30 Oct 2012 14:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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