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Samuel Hubinette (above in photo by Rodney Webb) had a high-flying good time as he raced to back-to-back victories during Memorial Day Weekend at the first stop of the 2011 Traxxas TORC season at RedBud MX in Buchanan, Mich.
Hubinette won the top spot in round 1 Saturday and round 2 Sunday in PRO Light — featuring a spectacular come-from-behind victory Sunday over Monster Energy/Traxxas/Maxxis driver C.J. Greaves.
“Mopar® is very familiar with Sam’s amazing car control skills and driving talents, so when Mopar and Ram decided to go racing in the 2011 TORC Series, it was an easy decision to tab Sam to pilot one of our entries. Sam proved to be a quick study and stunned the off-road racing community with a win in his very first TORC event.”
Mopar’s Head of Marketing
In third place on Sunday was another Ram-sponsored driver, Andrew Caddell.
In Sunday’s PRO 4 action, Scott Douglas beat out Ram Truck/Mopar‘s Ricky Johnson for the top spot. After the race Johnson said of his duel with Douglas, ” I was Rammin’ on him hard, but just couldn’t get by.”
In PRO 2 on Sunday, Ram Truck‘s Rob MacCachren took top honors in beating out Scott Taylor.
“This is the first time I’ve run this truck in the dirt. The guys did an awesome job with the settings on this Mopar/Ram, the BF Goodrich’s hooked up and we didn’t have to pull a tear-off all day. Looking forward to coming back next year!”
Ram Trucks TORC Driver
For the full story on the weekend racing, click on over to the Traxxas TORC site.
Interested on getting in on some of the off road action yourself? Check out the Ram Runner conversion kit from Mopar as Mopar Head of Sales and Product Development Jim Sassarossi does a walk around and fills you in on what makes this truck so great!
“Under the Pentastar” is a quick video recapping important happenings around the company over the past week. This week’s video leads off with:
- Company Celebrations in Auburn Hills and the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, as Chrysler pays off the $7.60 billion dollars in government loans with interest six years early
- Reaction to the event from some Sterling Heights Plant employees
- The Chrysler Brand kicks off the next phase of its “Imported from Detroit” ad campaign with a Town & Country commercial called “Quiet Ones”
- The first stand-alone Fiat Studio in Michigan, owned by Galeana Automotive Group, celebrates its grand opening.
Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!
Auburn Hills, Mich. - Chrysler Group LLC, working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), delivered the first of a demonstration fleet of Ram 1500 plug-in hybrid electric (PHEV) pickup trucks to municipal officials in Yuma, Ariz., today.
The 10 PHEV Ram 1500 pickups delivered by Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of the Chrysler Group’s advanced hybrid vehicle project, are part of a national demonstration fleet of 140 vehicles that will be used during the next three years to evaluate customer usage, drive cycles, charging, thermal management, fuel economy, emissions and impact on the region’s electric grid. In addition to Yuma, 11 other partners across the United States will receive vehicles for demonstration and testing purposes.
Strictly a demonstration program, there are no plans for a production version of the PHEV Ram 1500 truck at this time.
Cities and states were selected to evaluate temperature extremes, urban traffic cycles and diverse climates and geographies from North Dakota, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Arizona. Cities will include San Francisco and Sacramento, Calif.; Austin, Texas and Kansas City, Mo.
The Ram 1500 PHEV includes a liquid-cooled 12.9kWhr lithium ion battery pack and a 6.6 kilowatt (kW) on-board charger. Additional features include AC power generation of up to 6.6kW; directional charging; reverse power flow and full regenerative braking used to capture more energy. For fuel economy improvements, the front axle can be disconnected when not needed.
The powertrain also includes a 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine and a two-mode hybrid transmission. The 5.7-liter HEMI is equipped with a Multiple Displacement System (MDS) that improves fuel efficiency at highway speeds by shutting down fuel delivery to up to four cylinders.
The battery pack is located under the second-row seat of the pickup and is liquid cooled to help maintain a consistent battery temperature. For on-the-job electrical power tools, a 240 volt/30 amp four-prong outlet and 120volt/20amp duplex outlet power strip is located in the rear box.
“Cities have been carefully selected to help the Chrysler Group collect a wide range of data,” explained Abdullah Bazzi, senior manager of Chrysler’s advanced hybrid vehicle project. “Temperature extremes found in the cold of North Dakota or the heat of Arizona can have a severe impact on battery life and charging efficiency.”
The choice of a Ram 1500 pickup truck was based upon two-speed transmission technology that was readily available from a previous vehicle electrification project from the Chrysler Group.
Urban and rural use also will be tracked to measure battery performance and overall hybrid efficiency with the demonstration fleet of pickups. Other uses include military bases where vehicles will be able to provide power back to the electric grid in what is termed “reverse power flow” of up to 6.6kW.
Funding for the program in part is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the Transportation Electrification Initiative sponsored by the DOE. The grant, totaling $48 million from DOE and $49.4 million from Chrysler Group, was designed to develop vehicles that will be cost efficient for consumers, satisfy safety concerns of daily travel without recharging and help reduce dependence on foreign oil.
The Chrysler Group also is developing a similar fleet of 25 Town & Country minivans with plug-in hybrid technology for demonstration and evaluation that will be allocated to select cities later this year.
Turn Your Ram Truck into a Desert Racer
- Mopar® Ram Runner kit offers performance on par with off-road race trucks
- Suspension and shocks included in the Mopar Ram Runner kit are superior to the competition
- Mopar Ram Runner kit boasts aggressive, attractive styling that will also turn heads on the street
Just a little more than one year after Mopar debuted its Ram Runner image vehicle to much acclaim at the 2010 Moab Jeep® Safari, the brand today announced details of its new Ram Runner kit for off-road enthusiasts.
“At Mopar, our image vehicles showcase potential directions that we may take and the new Ram Runner kit is a good example. We saw the reception that Ram Runner received last year and quickly moved to offer kits that will allow off-road enthusiasts to transform their stock Ram 1500 into a desert racer.”
President and CEO, Mopar
The Mopar Ram Runner Kit, developed with successful Baja off-road racer Kent Kroeker, includes the following: Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit, off-road front bumper, off-road front and rear fenders, off-road rear-tire carrier, sport performance hood and cat-back exhaust. Each element of the kit may also be purchased separately. The street-legal kit may be installed by do-it-yourselfers or in a Ram dealership.
The Mopar Ram Runner Kit is equal to or better than its competitors on a number of fronts. The heavy-duty suspension system can handle practically any abuse the off-road dishes out. Front upper and lower control arms, which are three inches longer than production arms, provide added width and allow greater wheel travel over rough dirt trails.
Front lower control arms are constructed of 4130 chrome moly steel in order to withstand off-road punishment. Upper control arms include rebuildable high-angle ball joints. Both inner and outer tie rods are substantially strengthened and contribute to the rugged, off-road steering characteristics and capabilities. Outer tie rods, constructed of forged steel, measure 1-inch in diameter. Inner tie rods also are nearly 20 percent beefier, increasing from 0.62 inches to .75 inches.
At the rear, a 5-link coil spring rear suspension is utilized and helps provide a 30-degree departure angle.
The Pre-Runner Stage II kit offers a boost in suspension travel, 14 inches both front and rear, which is superior to the suspension travel on the Ford Raptor. The Ram Runner kit, which includes Fox 3-inch internal bypass shocks, offers performance on par with that of an off-road Baja race truck and outperforms the 2.5-inch shocks of the competition.
Ground clearance is approximately 13 inches at the center of the front cross-member and 16 inches at the rocker panels.
Body parts included in the Mopar Ram Runner Kit, created with Trophy Truck inspiration, feature a tough-yet-stylish look built to handle the rigors of the off-road while turning heads on the street. The front bumper is constructed of steel with an integrated aluminum skid plate. With a 41-degree approach angle, ample clearance is assured over the deepest off-road obstacles.
Front and rear fiberglass fenders are lightweight, tough and durable with wider wheel wells that allow for tremendous suspension articulation with zero tire-to-body interference. The three-inch wider track also provides an imposing, aggressive look.
The stamped aluminum, dual-scooped sport performance hood adds even more to the forceful appearance of the Ram Runner kit. The spare-tire carrier is located in the bed of the pickup and enables easier access and provides the ability to transport a larger spare tire, contributing to the overall appearance and “Baja truck feel”.
Ram Truck and Mopar are joint sponsors of The Off-Road Championship (TORC) Series in 2011. Both brands will share sponsorship of the Traxxas Racing team fielded by Mike and Mark Jenkins along with the Menzies Motorsports team owned by Steve Menzies. Ram will be the official vehicle of the TORC Series and the Mopar Ram Runner will serve as the official pace truck. The Mopar graphic that appears on the Mopar Ram Runner pace truck will also be made available to consumers.
MOPAR RAM RUNNER KIT (Each part of kit may be purchased separately)
- Pre-Runner Stage II Lift Kit: 5-link coil-spring rear suspension, 4130 chrome moly lower control arms, upper control arms, rebuildable high-angle ball joints and forged steel, high-angle tie rods. Fourteen inches of suspension travel in front and rear, 3-inch internal bypass Fox shocks. (MSRP: $13,270, Part No. P5155662)
- Off-Road Front Bumper: Steel construction with integrated aluminum skid plate, high approach angle of 41 degrees provides greater clearance over off-road obstacles. (MSRP: $1,250, Part No. P5155663)
- Off-Road Rear Tire Carrier: Rear placement allows for easier access and ability to carry larger tires needed for the off-road. (MSRP: $1,010, Part No. P5155664)
- Off-Road Front Fenders: Tough, durable fenders feature wider wheel wells allowing for tremendous suspension articulation, zero tire-to-body interference, and provide an imposing, aggressive look. (MSRP: $1,020, Part No. P5155665)
- Off-Road Rear Fenders (6’4″ bed): Tough, durable fenders feature wider wheel wells allowing for tremendous suspension articulation, zero tire-to-body interference, and provide an imposing, aggressive appearance. (MSRP: $1,020, Part No. P5155665)
- Sport Performance Hood: Stamped aluminum, dual-scooped hood with molded bezels adds to the forceful appearance of the Ram Runner Kit. (MSRP: $978, Part No. 82211065AD)
- 5.7L Cat-back Exhaust: Dual exhaust with chromed tips for bumper with cut-outs. (MSRP: $1,135, Part No. P5155280)
May 25, 2011 12:13 AM- Mike Driehorst- It’s a day 23 months in the making, six years ahead of schedule, and a day during which Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne spoke both praise and caution.
And, the highlight transpired at 10:13 a.m. when Marchionne received confirmation from Citigroup that company’s wire and bank transfer of payments to the U.S., Canada and Ontario governments were received and Chrysler Group’s $6.7 billion loan was paid in full, with interest.
Marchionne spoke to Chrysler Group employees at the company’s headquarters at noon (above), and then headed to the Sterling Heights (MI) Assembly Plant for the 2 p.m. public portion of what he called the company’s “Independence Day.”
He was joined there by Assistant to President Obama for Manufacturing Policy Ron Bloom, and Vice President and Director, UAW Chrysler Department General Holiefield. Senior Vice President and Head of Manufacturing Scott Garberding made opening remarks.
During his comments, Marchionne said the “joy” of June 10, 2009, when the loan were made, “was conditioned by the sense of responsibility we all shared.
“Not just for the privilege we had been given of helping get an American icon back on its feet, but more importantly for our moral obligation to justify the support that American and Canadian taxpayers had given us.
“We knew we had to live up to the expectations of those who had made sacrifices on our behalf.”
As he has done so in the past, Marchionne cautioned about celebrating too much:
“Today is a major milestone for Chrysler Group, but our work is by no means finished….
“Repayment of the government loans closes an important chapter in our history, but we still have a great deal left to accomplish before regaining our rightful place in the automotive landscape.”
- Chrysler Group made final payments Tuesday of $7.6 billion for the outstanding loans from U.S. and Canadian taxpayers (via their respective governments).
- Payments consisted of $5.9 billion to the U.S. Treasury and $1.7 billion to Export Development Canada
- In total, Chrysler Group paid U.S. Treasury $6.5 billion and the Export Development Canada $2.0 billion, including interest and additional consideration
- Total loan pay off was $6.7 billion plus $1.8 billion of interest and other considerations. That’s a loan + interest totalling $8.5 billion.
- U.S. and Canada governments made $1.8 billion on the deal
- Paid in full more than six years ahead of payment schedule
- Loans by U.S. and Canadian governments combined with strategic alliance with Fiat leads to:
- 16 all-new or significantly refreshed vehicles currently in dealerships;
- more than $3 billion in facility upgrades; and
- increased employment with the hiring of 6,000 Chrysler Group employees
- The new financing will save Chrysler Group an estimated $350 million a year in interest expenses.
- In June 2009, Chrysler Group borrowed $5.1 billion from the U.S. Treasury and $1.6 billion from Export Development Canada.
- $2.6 billion from the original loan facilities was undrawn and the facilities will be cancelled
Automotive Dealer Marketing Heavyweight TK Carsites brings us this incredibly large and informative infographic on the death and rebirth of the automotive industry in the last several years. It shows the effects that a recession and high gas prices have had on the habits of the automotive buying public, felt both in the new and pre-owned segments.
As you’ll see below, Chrysler had the second largest increase for new car sales for 2009-2010. They also saw an increase in US vehicle sales in 2010 for the first time since 2005. Many believe that the automotive industry has taken their hits and have viewed these setbacks as an opportunity for growth, and have since embraced new territory previously uncharted in the industry. The advance of Social Marketing, with a big push from companies like TK Carsites, have helped propel automakers and dealers into the until now unknown reaches of Dealership Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and WordPress Blogs (Such as Chrysler Catchall.)
The automotive industry is (finally) doing what we as consumers have always hoped they would do, LISTEN TO US! The automakers and dealerships are communicating with customers on Twitter, actually engaging them and answering questions, as well as taking both positive and negative feedback. The lines of communication are now open and the industry is listening! For example, Jeep’s Facebook page reached a million “Likes” early this year. That’s a million people who get updates from Jeep in their personal feed, right there next to their drinkin’ buddy Jimmy and their cousin Bill. If that doesn’t stand up and make you listen, I don’t what will!
The Automotive Industry is on it’s way back, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing! Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!
Click the infographic below to see it full size!
“Under the Pentastar” is a quick video recapping important happenings around the company over the past week.
This week’s video leads off with a recap of the announcement that Chrysler Group plans to repay their $7.5 billion dollar debt to the US and Canadian governments next week; followed by the exciting news that Chrysler Brand was named “Top Popular Brand” in the 2011 AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, Lenny Kravitz is starring in the all new Jeep Wrangler Broadcast Campaign; and finally, Jamawn (Jay) Woods of Sterling Heights Assembly Plant was honored for his success on the reality show “America’s Next Great Restaurant”.
Thanks again for Checking out Chrysler Catchall!
May 19, 2011 12:23 PM- Chrysler Brand definitely made an in-your-face statement during Super Bowl XLV with its two-minute, Imported From Detroit TV commercial, featuring Detroit native, Eminem.
“The new website is designed for consumers who are considering Chrysler Brand vehicles for the first time, or for the first time in a long time. The site offers third-party reviews and comments, and directly compares our lineup to competitors.”
Head of Chrysler Brand
The new website gives visitors the opportunity to:
- See how other customers who have never owned or considered a Chrysler Brand vehicle react to the new 2011 models
- See professional drivers’ impressions of how Chrysler Brand cars and minivans handle vs competitive products in real driving situations
- Compare key features of Chrysler models vs competitors
- See for themselves the value proposition Chrysler offers with its higher level of standard content vs competitors
- Review articles and quotes from third-party journalists on the new 2011 models
May 19, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – The Chrysler brand today was named the “Top Popular Brand” in AutoPacific’s 15th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. In addition, the new 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and the all-new 2011 Jeep® Grand Cherokee were named winners in the “Minivan” and “Premium Mid-size SUV” categories, respectively.
AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award is an industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new vehicle. This study by the Southern California-based automotive research firm summarizes the results of over 68,000 new vehicle owners.
“Vehicles that score highest in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are delivering value and satisfaction across a wide range of attributes, performing well in 48 separate categories that objectively measure the ownership experience. The new Chrysler Town & Country and Jeep Grand Cherokee demonstrate that Chrysler’s new approach to product execution is resonating with buyers.”
President of AutoPacific
For 2011, every Chrysler brand vehicle is new or significantly refreshed, resulting in beautifully-crafted vehicles with new powertrains, upgraded suspensions and world-class interiors and an exhilarating driving experience.
“Chrysler is honored the satisfaction experienced by our owners with their new Chrysler vehicle resulted in winning the ‘Top Popular Brand’ in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Chrysler is passionate about building vehicles that customers are proud to own, and this award, based on owner feedback, reinforces the 2011 Chrysler lineup does just that.”
“The AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award is another important accolade for the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the 30th award the vehicle has captured. Few vehicles ever reach this level of recognition. At Jeep, we are delighted that consumers, as well as influential opinion leaders, are recognizing Grand Cherokee’s exceptional blend of on-road refinement, legendary real-world capability, craftsmanship, premium design, safety, efficiency and value.”
President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC
As posted on RedLetterDodge.com:
May 11, 2011 – 12:00 pm by RLD- So you got 1200 lbs. of male cargo you need to transport in a hurry? Our 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan R/T can fill that tall order. Its powerful yet fuel efficient 3.6L Pentastar V6 didn’t win numerous awards and accolades from the always skeptical motoring press for nothing. This little dynamo produces 283 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, enough to plant your testosterone occupants firmly in the in Grand Caravan’s black leather seats.
These great looking seats are an R/T-exclusive and have red stitching that give the interior more attitude and less shuttle bus feel. If you’re in the driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob are at your controls. Should your buddies in the back get rowdy on the way to the game, a premium sound system with nine-speakers, a subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier will drown them out.
The Grand Caravan R/T will also bend corners without protest as the R/T package comes standard with a performance-tuned suspension that includes retuned front/rear springs and shocks, a 12 mm lower ride height and lower-rolling resistance tires. These features will make you want to strap on a helmet and hit the race track.
Speaking of hitting the track, that’s just what we did at the Texas Motor Speedway. Jefferson Bryant, a freelance automotive journalist shot the video above of the Grand Caravan R/T during the Texas Auto Writer’s Spring Roundup last week. We know many of you will never hit the race track but just in case you feel the need, our Grand Caravan R/T can take you and your buddies for heck of a thrill ride!