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I have a really hard time getting out of bed when my alarm goes off at 5:00 in the morning, so I usually listen to NPR for 15 - 20 minutes before hitting the shower. This morning there was a fairly long segment regarding an agreement between Fiat and Chrysler. I was only half conscious when I was listening to it so I looked it up on Wikipedia just now.

From Wikipedia, "On 20 January 2009, Fiat S.p.A. and Chrysler LLC announced that they are going to form a global alliance. Under the terms of the agreement, Fiat takes a 35% stake in Chrysler and gains access to its North American dealer network in exchange for providing Chrysler with the platform to build smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles in the US and reciprocal access to Fiat's global distribution network.[23][24]

"The new equity holder would have the option of increasing that to as much as 55%. Fiat, the stronger of the two, wouldn't immediately put cash into Chrysler. Instead it would obtain its stake mainly in exchange for covering the cost of retooling a Chrysler plant to produce one or more Fiat models to be sold in the U.S. Fiat would also provide engine and transmission technology to help Chrysler introduce new, fuel-efficient small cars."

I find this news very exciting for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, they would retool at least one Chrysler plant here in the U.S. to produce Fiat models. This is good news for blue collar auto workers.

Secondly, this is good news for car dealerships that would sell vehicles people might actually buy.

Justin's dealership deals mainly in Chrysler products and also sells used cars. I'm a little nervous about his job since Chrysler is the weakest of the Big 3. Fiat may not be highly regarded in the world market, but I hope they can inject enough life into Chrysler to keep it going.

I'm totally test driving the Fiat 500 if it ever comes to the U.S. It is, perhaps, not the most attractive car with it's beady little headlights and rear bumper that juts out from the lines of the sloping tailgate like an underbite. But everyone seems to rave about this little car and I can't wait to try it for myself.

annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
Continuing on:

I drove several vehicles yesterday. After the Challenger, I drove the Caliber, then the Chrysler Sebring, then the Jeep Liberty.

First the Caliber: Love the look. Hate the drive. End of story.

Jeep Liberty: Ok. It's a truck. It drives like one. I'm not interested.

Chrysler Sebring: Even more surprising than the Rabbit. I took it on the freeway and hit the gas. It shot up the ramp like a bullet. It shifted pretty hard, but it was cold so I'm giving it a little slack there. Way more fun to drive than I was expecting. The sound system was mediocre, but could be good with some tweaking. Exterior styling was boring. I wouldn't buy this car.


Dodge makes the Sebring's sister car: The Avenger. Everything is the same except the exterior styling. Large trunk, comfortable cabin, 6 cylinder engine... But it looks like this:

It's not quite as nice as the Challenger, but it has that aggressive front end and some interesting styling along the rear half of the vehicle. Not too shabby. Surprisingly, this car costs about the same as the Challenger. It's just far more practical.

I could see myself in this car. It has the most important elements I'm looking for. I don't love it like I love the C30, but there are other things to consider.

Most importantly: this car would be way easier to service and repair. Everything from spare parts to tires would cost a lot less than the Volvo.

Four doors does make it easier to get Dominic in and out of the car. I want to ignore this on the Volvo because I love it so much, but there's really no getting around it.

The Dodge has at least 8 times as much cargo space. That's not a joke or an exaggeration.

The Avenger costs about the same as the C30. However, with Justin's employee discount, they knock about 3K off the price. There's a used C30 on sale down in Columbus for 1K less than a brand new Avenger. The Avenger has a lifetime powertrain warranty. The used C30 has no warranty.

My heart still says C30, but my mind says Avenger. I'm not ready to lay down 20 grand for a new car just yet, so I have time to think about it. But my poor Kia is having a rough time of it (it's in the shop today) and I think it may be time to break down and replace it. Before it breaks down and becomes worthless.


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