Tag Archive | "Chrysler Group"

Chrylser Group Offering Mopar-Branded VSCs

Chrysler will now offer F&I products under the Mopar Vehicle Protection brand, which replaces Chrysler Group Service Contracts. The transformation began on Oct. 1 with a new name and logo. Officials said the changes reflect the continuing integration of Chrysler Group’s parts, service and customer care operations under the Mopar brand.

“Mopar’s mission today is to fully support all of Chrysler’s brands by providing every customer with an exceptional after-sales experience,” Chrysler states on its website. “Mopar will continue to offer cutting-edge technology, innovative products, authentic, quality-tested parts and high-quality customer service.”

The Web site promised owners of Chrysler Group service contracts that service will remain uninterrupted during the transition. The company also is offering one-year extensions to qualified plan owners.

Mopar, in its 75th year of service, is now the source of parts and accessories for Chrysler Group and FiatSpA brands. Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered by the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat SpA vehicles.

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Incident at Chrysler Plant Leaves Two Dead

DETROIT – According to multiple sources, including local news site WDIV Detroit, two men are dead after an apparent love triangle and subsequent argument.

The reports state that a line worker at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant here confronted and then stabbed his union steward over a possible affair with his wife, who also works at the facility, say reports. The worker then fled the scene and drove to a nearby location where he shot himself. The union steward was pronounced dead on the scene.

The plant employs about 3,000 workers on two shifts. The 3-million-square-foot plant makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango full-size SUVs. Employees have been sent home, and the second shift for the day has been closed as well; Chrysler has made grief counselors available to any employees who need them.

In a statement, Chrysler said, “Chrysler Group is deeply saddened by events that occurred at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant this morning. Two employees were involved in an altercation inside the plant. One employee was stabbed and unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene. The Detroit Police Department is currently investigating. Production has been suspended for this morning and employees are being released.”

The UAW also released a statement, noting, “The UAW expresses our deepest sympathy to the families of our members involved in the tragic incident today at Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant. Although many details are unknown at this time, we are deeply saddened by the loss of life.”

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Chrysler Reports Best Sales in Five Years

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Chrysler Group LLC reported U.S. sales of 148,472 units, a 14 percent increase compared with sales in August 2011 (130,120 units), and the group’s best August sales since 2007.

The Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck, and FIAT brands each recorded year-over-year sales gains in August compared with the same month a year ago. The FIAT brand’s 34 percent increase was the largest sales gain of any Chrysler Group brand for the month. August marked Chrysler Group’s 29th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains.

The Dodge brand produced three record-setting models while registering the largest sales volume of any Chrysler Group brand in August. The Dodge Journey full-size crossover, the most versatile and affordable crossover in America, set an all-time sales record while the sporty Dodge Avenger mid-size sedan and Dodge Challenger muscle car each set a sales record for the month of August.

The FIAT, Chrysler and Jeep brands also produced record-setting models in August. The Fiat 500 set an all-time sales record with its 34 percent sales gain while the Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan and the Jeep Wrangler established sales records for the month of August.

“Our Iron Man streak continued last month as we posted our 29th-consecutive month of year-over-year sales growth,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO – Dodge Brand and Head of U.S. Sales. “Our hard work over the past few years is starting to pay some dividends in our sales growth, quality awards and profitability. Not to mention, an incredibly resilient U.S. new vehicle sales industry doesn’t hurt either.”

Chrysler Group’s 14 percent increase in August was driven in part by sales of the all-new Dodge Dart compact sedan (3,045 units). Dart sales were up 294 percent in August compared with the previous month of July, as the Belvidere, Ill. assembly plant continues to ramp up Dart production.

The Chrysler 300 flagship sedan, with its substantial 65 percent increase, contributed to Chrysler Group’s August increase, as did the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, each posting double-digit percentage gains for the month. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, with a 13 percent hike, had its best August in six years while the Ram pickup truck extended its lengthy streak of consecutive year-over-year sales gains with a 19 percent increase in August.

Chrysler Group finished the month with a 66-days supply of inventory (362,407 units). U.S. industry sales figures for August are projected at an estimated 14.6 million units Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR).

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Chrysler’s U.S. Sales Rose 23 Percent In First Quarter

Chrysler Group LLC’s vehicle sales in the U.S. rose 23 percent in the first quarter to 287,000 new cars and trucks driven by growth in three of the auto maker’s four brands.

The pickup truck Ram brand led the group with a 38 percent increase in sales during the quarter compared with the same period a year earlier while Jeep rose 34 percent, according to information released in Fiat SpA’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday. Dodge vehicle sales rose 24 percent but the Chrysler brand fell 9 percent during the quarter. Details about the decline weren’t immediately disclosed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Fiat, which owns a stake in and has management control of Chrysler, also said the U.S. auto maker’s retail sales increased 51 percent during the quarter. Chrysler is expected to release its first quarter results next month although a date has yet to be announced.

The stronger first-quarter performance provides a boost to Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne’s goal of increasing Chrysler’s worldwide sales to 2 million vehicle this year. The auto maker sold about 1.5 million cars and trucks last year.

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Chrysler IPO Plan Awaited

Fiat SpA will report first-quarter earnings today, and investors are expected to pepper Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne for updates on the financial dealings of partner Chrysler Group LLC.

Marchionne is close to refinancing Chrysler’s $7.1 billion in government debt, which will pave the way for Fiat to increase its 30 percent stake in the Auburn Hills automaker by 16 percent, The Detroit News reported.

Questions also are expected about when Chrysler and Ferrari will hold initial public offerings of stock.

This week in Europe, Marchionne said Ferrari may be worth $7.3 billion. Estimated values of firms are used to set the initial stock offering price.

Projecting a value for Chrysler is considered more difficult.

While some analysts think Chrysler could be the sleeper success story of the industry, others said an IPO now would fall short because of the uncertainty about the automaker’s future products, profitability and dealings with Fiat.

Although Chrysler has laid out plans through 2014 for vehicles developed with Fiat, “we have no idea what they will be like,” said Sean McAlinden, economist with the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor.

Marchionne wants an IPO this year, but the timing is subject to Chrysler’s performance, market conditions and available capital. His recent comments that the IPO could be delayed until next year are being interpreted by investors as recognition more time is needed to erase doubt.

It’s a company no one has really looked at for a decade or longer, said a member of the investment community who requested anonymity. “Chrysler is kind of in a black hole.”

While General Motors was a public company before bankruptcy, Chrysler hasn’t been since 1998. But financial results are being released under Marchionne’s leadership for more transparency before the IPO.

Top executives are preparing to visit smaller hedge and equity funds to interest them in investing in Chrysler’s debt. It would be a precursor to an IPO road show.

“A road show now would be well-received. Wall Street is always hungry to make a buck,” said Rebecca Lindland of IHS Automotive in Lexington, Mass.

But Chrysler could make more money by waiting to launch an IPO, said James Ricci, director with KPMG LLP in Detroit.

“That would provide better clarity to their performance and financials. With time, gas prices will be better understood, as will the effect of the situation in Japan. An environment of risks and unknowns is not an environment for an IPO,” he said.

Chrysler could be the largest IPO of 2011, said Kathy Smith, principal with Renaissance Capital, an IPO investment adviser in Greenwich, Conn.

“But investors are not positive about the auto sector right now,” Smith said, in part because GM stock is underperforming. Chrysler has been out of bankruptcy longer than GM, which had an IPO in November.

“There is not enough of a track record on which to make decisions,” Lindland said.

Chrysler “could be a sleeper (hit) or it could be a bomb. That’s what they need to evaluate.”

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Fiat May Pay $1.5 Billion To Up Chrysler Stake

Italy’s Fiat SpA expects to pay around $1.5 billion for an additional 16 percent stake in Chrysler, which it hopes to buy later this year after the U.S. automaker repays government loans, three people familiar with the matter said.

Italy’s biggest industrial group is also working to raise about 1.5 billion euros ($2.17 billion) through a credit facility and is expected to launch the deal in coming months, according to one of the people familiar with Fiat’s thinking.

The credit facility is planned for the Italian automaker’s general liquidity purposes and is expected to remain undrawn, reported Reuters.

Fiat, which currently holds a 30 percent stake in Chrysler, aims to obtain majority control of the U.S. automaker by the end of 2011 – one of Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne’s overarching goals as he tries to integrate the two car companies.

As part of the 2009 bailout deal agreed with Washington, Fiat was given management control and a minority stake in Chrysler. Under the terms of the U.S. Treasury agreement, Fiat can exercise an option to buy a 16 percent stake in Chrysler if the loans it owes the U.S. and Canadian governments fall below $4 billion.

People familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that Chrysler is close to launching a debt refinancing package to repay all of its roughly $7 billion owed to the U.S. and Canadian governments and the deal could be completed by June.

Repaying the loans stemming from its historic 2009 bailout would mark a critical step for Chrysler as the No.3 U.S. automaker tries to distance itself from the controversial rescue by the Obama administration and rebuild consumer confidence in the brand.

A financial integration of the two automakers, both of which struggled in their own markets, could also make Chrysler a better story for potential stock investors when the company eventually goes public later this year or next.

Chrysler’s initial public offering, which was originally expected to take place in the second half of this year, could be pushed into 2012 as Fiat first wants to secure majority control of the U.S. automaker, a possibility Marchionne suggested in late March.

But before Fiat can take control, Chrysler must repay its loans to the U.S. and Canadian governments in full.

Chrysler owes $5.8 billion to the U.S. government and $1.3 billion to the Canadian government, according to the company’s fourth-quarter earnings release.

In a research note Friday, Banca IMI estimated that Fiat could buy the 16 percent stake in Chrysler for between 1 billion and 1.2 billion euros ($1.4 billion to $1.7 billion).

“There’s a lot of different ways to look at the valuation but it would be in the right ballpark,” one of the sources said of the $1.5 billion valuation of that option.

Fiat declined to comment on the cost of the additional 16 percent in Chrysler and on the planned credit facility. The sources asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak with the media.

Chrysler has selected four banks to spearhead the debt refinancing deal and is aiming to launch the debt offering after Chrysler reports first-quarter earnings, likely in May, sources said this week.

Marchionne, the Italian-Canadian who runs both Fiat and Chrysler, said earlier this week Chrysler would refinance the government debt by June.

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