Looking Back at FCA for 2018
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had some huge wins throughout the year of 2018. The automobile’s group greatest loss was the fate of the late Sergio Marchionne. In his passing, FCA came back strong and has many plans for its bright future. The auto group has had some interesting developments as of late, and if anything, the many brands under the umbrella have increased in quality and consumer demand. Just look at all these rewards.
…and many more!
New Developments for FCA
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been non stop blowing us away with new engineering and automobile developments. The auto group started off the year by touting its new future-proof global medium engine, a new 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 cylinder. Around the same time, the new mild-hybrid system, eTorque, was announced, found in the 2018 Jeep® Wrangler JL and 2019 Ram 1500 as a powertrain option.
Then, in conjunction with lightweight OEM parts supplier Nemak and Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, FCA created new aluminum for its engine cylinder heads to handle more horsepower, and we’ll talk about why in a moment. Following the new Global Medium Engine design, FCA also went on to develop a turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine more powerful than the Pentastar V6. Following the passing or Marchionne, FCA revealed their plans for electric vehicles and hybrids going forward, and even invested $30 million into turning the Chelsea Proving Grounds into an Autonomous Testing Facility for retail self-driving vehicles.
Automaker Ram Trucks started off the year with the release of the 2019 Ram 1500, debuted at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. This new light duty pickup truck was so great, that FCA subsidiary Mopar spent 200,000 hours designing new performance and personalized parts and components for a new 2019 Ram 1500 Mopar catalog. Soon after its release, the 2019 Ram 1500 received pretty strong safety marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and Ram released many special edition trucks for the 1500 and other pickup truck models. Finally, FCA announced a new Ram midsize truck is on the way.
Jeep also started and ended 2018 with a bang beginning with the next-generation 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show just before the new year. The off-road automaker also debuted the 2019 Jeep Cherokee at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, sharing the spotlight with the 2019 Ram 1500. Following this, FCA announced new changes coming to the Jeep lineup with a new Five Year Roadmap for Jeep.
Some of these plans include the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the Jeep Wrangler plug-in hybrid by 2020. Aside from becoming an official cult brand, Jeep ended 2018 with the reveal of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Mopar also had some fun with this vehicle, modifying the 2020 Jeep Gladiator with Mopar parts beyond belief.
With only three vehicles in its current lineup, Chrysler is looking to expand with the first possible self-driving vehicle for retail from FCA, the Chrysler Portal autonomous minivan. Moving in the same direction, the partnership between Fiat Chrysler and Alphabet Inc., Google has been going swell. Having already added over 60,000 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans to its autonomous fleet, the Google Waymo Project has really blown up.
Earlier this year in February 2018, the self-driving Waymo became the first approved self-driving ride-hailing service in Phoenix, Arizona. The project continued to expand throughout the US, going onward to get a permit for testing in California. Most recently, the Waymo One ride-hailing app was launched in Phoenix, Arizona for testing the first autonomous ride-hailing service.
Dodge has had some interesting reveals this year, but as usual, their horsepower-hungry engines usually take center stage. What first started as a need for speed to give mid-tier options some power with the Hellcat Drag Pack eventually turned into putting SRT Demon parts into the 2019 Dodge Challenger lineup. The new 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat got more attitude with the Widebody package, also available on the 797 horsepower Dodge Challenger Hellcat SRT Redeye and R/T Scat Pack. Yes, 797 horsepower, probably thanks to those new engine cylinder heads.
If muscle car enthusiasts were blown away by the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye, then we can only wonder the brainsplosion that occurred when Mopar unleashed the Hellephant engine kit. In addition, Dodge announced a new Dodge Viper is coming in 2021. Among all this good news, Dodge also released some heritage options for its lineup and a new Rallye appearance package.