We recently did a story on 10 Reasons Why FCA is in Big Trouble, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is actually doing a lot of things right, too. The company may be in the news a lot recently because of recalls, hacking and the crazy things its CEO Sergio Marchionne is saying, but the company also has a lot to brag about.
Here are 7 things FCA is actually doing right:
1. Hellcat ALL the things!
Dodges have been getting a lot of respect lately with its Charger and Challenger Hellcat models. With each packing a mind-warping 707 horsepower from a supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8, what is even more nuts is how affordable these cars remain. For under $64,000, you can have a 707-hp Hellcat. Try to find another car that offers this much power that doesn’t cost six figures or more.
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The news that a Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee Track Hawk is coming is icing on the cake. Dodge has performance at the top of its agenda, and we can’t fault them for that.
2. Bringing Alfa Romeo back as a serious competitor
The Alfa Romeo 4C is the new lustworthy exotic car and the upcoming Ferrari-powered Giulia promises to be just as wild. FCA has to be given proper credit for bringing Alfa Romeo back into the consciousness of the North American automotive enthusiast. Not only is the 4C sexy like an Italian underwear model, but it is a hardcore, purpose-built performance machine. It may not be the most comfortable or practical car, but every single person who drives it ends up falling in love with it, which is not an easy thing to accomplish. The car is flawed, but it exhibits a sense of purpose, intimacy and engagement that is very rare these days.
Alfa Romeo does not make any compromises, and in a world where cars cut corners everywhere to cater to the masses, the lightweight 4C is unique for being made for a very specific type of driver.
3. Jeeps are hot sellers
Jeep continues to bring in huge sales for FCA. Sales have been growing month over month, and year over year. Jeeps have devoted cult followings and no matter which model, all Jeeps are some of the most off-road capable cars you can buy.
4. Ram trucks are fantastic
Ram has been getting a lot of praise for its EcoDiesel pickups, which are powerful, efficient, and still stand alone as the only diesel-powered trucks in the half-ton segment (at least until the new Nissan Titan XD arrives). Along with its great powertrain, Ram offers class-exclusive air suspension and some useful add-ons like the RamBox storage system, not to mention a great interior. Much to FCA’s liking, Ram sales are still increasing every month, with the brand seeing a 4 percent jump in August.
In the Heavy Duty pickup arena, Ram is always battling it out with Ford over best-in-class ratings, but this competition means that both brands are pushing each other towards new levels of capability. It’s a good sign when an automaker will fight for the top spot.
5. The Viper is still alive
Let’s not forget that Dodge makes the Viper, an icon from the 1990s and one of the last hand-built, naturally aspirated V10 beasts you can buy with a manual transmission. And it’s still built in Detroit. The difference now is that the Viper is so much more sophisticated (and even more European-feeling) than it used to be, so it’s no longer the knuckle-dragger that only cared about straight-line speed and tried to kill you. The Viper is now a serious and quite refined performance car. Viper owners are also extremely loyal. They rarely sell their cars and often end up buying more than one.
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Laugh all you want, but the Dodge Grand Caravan and its Chrysler cousin are two of North America’s best-selling minivans, and FCA has this market cornered. Combined with the Chrysler Town & Country, FCA sells the most minivans in America.
7. UConnect is the best infotainment system
2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker
UConnect is one of the best infotainment systems on the market right now. With a big, easy to read and responsive screen, UConnect is probably the most user-friendly system out there. A 6-year-old could probably figure out how to use it, a great testament to how easy the menus are to navigate and how intuitive the system is.