The long-discontinued Dodge Dart reappears on the sales charts, Georgia says no to Rivian manufacturing incentives, Lordstown Motors starts production of its electric truck. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Alright, Who Bought A Dart Last Quarter?
Customers must be really desperate for new cars right now. Stellantis recently released its third-quarter sales figures and some very strange anomalies stand out among the legions of Ram pickup trucks and Jeep Wranglers that made it into customers’ driveways.
Let’s start with the strangest number in this report, three. As in, Stellantis reported the sales of three brand new Dodge Dart sedans, a car that’s been discontinued in America since 2016. Did a handful of dealers just forget that they parked Darts somewhere? Were these cars local parts runners on dealer plates that were never registered? Is this just a result of auditing past Dart sales numbers and realizing that a few mistakes were made?
Next come numbers five and seven, the number of brand new Fiat 500Ls and Fiat 500s reportedly sold last quarter. Both of these Italian runabouts exited production after the 2020 model year. I know that Fiats aren’t the most rapidly-selling cars in America, but two years on dealer lots seems a bit excessive. However, if you did buy a brand new Fiat 500 last quarter, good job. The 500 is a fun little car that enjoys a bit of a thrashing in Italian tradition, the sort of car we sorely need in the marketplace now.
Needless to say, we’re reaching out to Stellantis for clarification on these figures to learn exactly what the hell is going on. While a handful of Fiats languishing on lots for two years doesn’t require much suspension of disbelief, what’s going on with the Dart sales figures?
Georgia Court Says No To Rivian Incentives
When a big company wants to build a new facility, it’s often wooed by incentives from jurisdictions that want facility investment. I say often because that’s not always the case. Reuters reports that proposed incentives for a new Rivian plant in Georgia have been struck down in court.
“We remain undeterred in our efforts to bring high-paying, American manufacturing jobs to Georgia, and are currently assessing all legal options,” the Joint Development Authority (JDA) of Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton counties and Georgia Department of Economic Development said in a joint statement.
Morgan County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell on Thursday rejected the agreement between the local development authority and the Amazon.com Inc-backed EV company on grounds that the proposal did not appear feasible and failed to establish that it would promote the welfare of local communities.
While this news is definitely a shame for Rivian, it’s not difficult to rationalize the court’s decision. Looking at Rivian’s financial forecasts, things aren’t exactly smooth sailing. Slow deliveries and high expected losses are bad signs with talks of a recession swirling, even if making vehicles often requires an astonishing burn rate.
Lordstown Motors Finally Starts Truck Production
Lordstown Motors recently announced the start of commercial production for its Endurance electric pickup truck. To be a bit more precise, two saleable units have been made. Two trucks isn’t many, but Lordstown is setting its sights low and planning to deliver just 50 trucks this year. That’s a very reasonable number, provided everything necessary comes through, as Lordstown explains.
FMVSS crash testing has been completed successfully, and EPA and CARB applications have been submitted. We also continue to accumulate test miles on the vehicles, finalize other certifications, and complete software updates as we work to ensure the best experience for our customers. We expect to deliver approximately 50 units to customers in 2022 and the remainder of the first batch in the first half of 2023, subject to raising sufficient capital.
So, not out of the woods yet, but not exactly vaporware. I have a feeling that Lordstown will have a smoother ride than many EV startups due to contracting manufacturing to Foxxconn. Actually building cars is incredibly difficult and costly, so if it can be outsourced to another corporation, that’s one less thing for a car brand to worry about. In a way, it could signal a new automotive paradigm. With brands like Fisker, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz outsourcing production of certain models to Magna, it’s not without precedent and could allow for more agile, localized vehicle development and production.
The Chip Shortage Drags On
In “no shit” news, Reuters reports that Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares expects the chip shortage to continue on into 2023.
“The situation will remain very complicated until the end of 2023, then will ease a little,” said Tavares, adding that “semiconductor manufacturers have an interest in making business with us again, especially as they’re raising prices”.
It’s a crap, yet, completely expected bit of news, although the chip shortage could be less of an issue in the near future than it’s been this year. Rising interest rates could put a damper on new car demand as cheap loans dry up, while the rising cost-of-living has been pricing some shoppers out of the new car market entirely. I wouldn’t be surprised if new vehicle demand takes a hit next year, which should help automakers rebuild inventories.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Tuesday and my word, are we really in October already? The month of Drake and costumes of things that were never supposed to be sexy is upon us, which means that some of us in northern climes will soon be tucking our favorite cars away for the winter. What’s one last adventure you’d love to have with your summer toy before it gets stored safely out of the salt?
Lead photo credit: Dodge
Why 3 darts?
You need 3 darts to play darts.
The first player to hit a 300C wins.
It was me. I bought the Darts.
It’s so strange. The Dart looks better now than when it was new. Maybe because there are fewer cars? Not a lot of advantages to living in the South but weather is a plus. Winter is a minor six week inconvenience in January and February. It snows once every two to three years. We throw some dirt on the bridges and stay home mostly. The snow will be gone in two days. Salt? Why bother? Of course the summers are ungodly hot but that’s another story.
We expect to deliver approximately 50 units to customers in 2022 and the remainder of the first batch in the first half of 2023, subject to raising sufficient capital.
Gonna have to move quite a few of those penny stock shares to raise any sort of capital right now. Seems fine, I’m sure it will be fine.
Time to grease the cars up with Fluid Film, eventually swap to snow, well, ice tires and drive on.
If I were to buy a compact car, I would buy a Dart (if I couldn’t get my hands on a Corolla Hybrid).
I’m sorry, but I have trust in them, and they turn effortlessly. It’s a great car on back roads.
Granted, I wouldn’t buy a 1.4T Dart. Or a DCT Dart. Those things are absolutely trash.
I’ve always thought a 4C-powered Dart would’ve been AMAZING. A real return-to-form for the GLH badge. 230 some odd horsepower and 250 some odd foot-pounds of torque would’ve been exciting!
And it’s not like it’d be that hard to bolt a stick to it: the 4C’s DCT is nothing but a dual clutch version of the stick shift anyways.
Neutral: I have a kei car which I have been parking in the street for two years now. I feel bad for her, but I am near signing on a house which means that I will have a GARAGE. Finally being able to store her correctly isn’t exactly an adventure – but the mortgage is. :O
Someone still thinks they’re on the old site!
I was walking to get my Tesla from the service center last week and next door is a UL facility and they had a Lordstown pickup in the lot. As I walked by they took the cover off. Looked pretty nice from 20 feet, but so did that ’90 Dodge D150 I bought.
I always thought the Chrysler 200 and the Dodge Dart were fairly attractive cars. The 200 had that “hunter” transmission that could never settle on a forward gear. The Dodge suffered from “it’s a Fiat.” Agree that more performance packages might have fixed the sales problem for both vehicles.
If you even have an answer to the question posed in The Flush, I have an alternative answer: hop in your summer ride, drive south, and live there instead. Best method for dealing with winter road salt EVER. Greetings from sunny Florida.
LMAO Florida, you forgot the /s tag
Have fun shoveling your drive this winter.
I’ll take 3ft of snow over 3ft of water any time.
This might not be the week to brag about Florida’s weather.
Yeah but then I have to deal with salt water rust as the entire peninsula goes underwater before I retire.
Am I the only one that sees the Lordstown truck driving up the hill on the wrong side of the road?
I do miss NE autumn. Been out in California for 40+ years now. Used to hike in the White Mountains back in the 70’s.
That Georgia deal sounds even worse (for the people) than even the Foxconn con in Wisconsin for the Gen 10 LCD factory.
Gonna sell the pickup and get a decent commuter for my new commute. I need 3 good vehicles, not 2 + the pickup. Thought I would die in this thing, but I have to move on.
“Morgan County Superior Court Judge Brenda Trammell on Thursday rejected the agreement between the local development authority and the Amazon.com Inc-backed EV company on grounds that the proposal did not appear feasible and failed to establish that it would promote the welfare of local communities.”
Good. Because these deals pretty much NEVER benefit the communities, much less in the high-flying way they’re sold. ‘Oh if we give them a $2B tax break we’ll get $4B in money from all the employees! Because look at all these high paying jobs!’ And of course, the supposed high paying jobs never materialize.
And the way the JDA sold it was just insulting to anyone with an IQ over 70, and offensive to the public good.
One, Rivian was claiming they were going to be spending over $5B on the plant. The fuck? Are they building trucks or are they building multiple semiconductor foundries? Because TSMC isn’t spending that much building a new 300mm fab. And there isn’t the market capacity for a plant that would be multiple times the size of Toledo North. In other words, the “$5B” number is pure fucking fabrication. Especially when the total employment was alleged to be 7,500 to produce an alleged 400k cars per year. (Yeah, right. They’re going to outsell the Toyota Camry with a truck that costs three times as much. Sure.)
Then there’s the way the deal was structured. It wasn’t just a $1.5B (yes BILLION) tax break. They were literally going to ‘lease’ the land (800 hectare) from the development authority to avoid $700M in property taxes for 25 years, which was deliberately undervalued. Real taxes would have likely been more than $2B. The state was going to spend a MINIMUM of $200M to buy the land so they could lease it, grade it, construct new road improvements, extend utilities, build a new highway just for the factory, at least $62.5M to build Rivian their own private training center, and at least $27M on ‘job training.’ With the state being on the hook for all cost overruns and having to build it to Rivian’s spec.
Rivian’s bill for more than $750M in cash outlay and maintenance costs?
They would pay $300M for 25 years. While also getting $5,250 per ‘job’ in income tax credit, and Georgia paying out a refund collected from employee income taxes if Rivian owed less. No, I’m not joking. They put it in writing.
The average salary Rivian’s employees can expect to take home isn’t the $56k number touted – that’s pure bullshit they took from TurboTax based on 10 people. That’s it. 10 people. The actual average for Georgia based on real payroll data is ~$34k-44k.
“Lordstown Motors recently announced the start of commercial production for its Endurance electric pickup truck. To be a bit more precise, two saleable units have been made. Two trucks isn’t many, but Lordstown is setting its sights low and planning to deliver just 50 trucks this year. “
And if you believe even these hilariously low numbers, Workhorse has a drone-equipped last mile EV they’d love to sell you, and I have some lovely property in Florida to sell you to park it on.
Let me translate for y’all.
“We expect to deliver approximately 50 units to customers in 2022 and the remainder of the first batch in the first half of 2023, subject to raising sufficient capital.”
Translation: “We’re so fucking broke and so behind on our bills, unless somebody gives us a shitload of unmarked non-sequential bills in duffel bags, we can’t even afford to make the thing we swear we can make.”
“Rising interest rates could put a damper on new car demand as cheap loans dry up, while the rising cost-of-living has been pricing some shoppers out of the new car market entirely. I wouldn’t be surprised if new vehicle demand takes a hit next year, which should help automakers rebuild inventories.”
The problem is that interest rates and profiteering (it’s not inflation when the companies are recording record quarter after record quarter) mean it’s all kinds of fucked.
Interest rates and prices have risen so quickly and so high that people have been priced out of cars from week to week. Forget ‘cheap’ loans too, you can’t even get ‘reasonable.’ In January, you were looking at 3.94% on a 60 month new car. Today, it’s 5.18%.
On an average new car ($47k) that’s $4,832.85 of interest for a January loan, $6,449.75 for a September loan. Yeah. An additional $1600+ on the exact same car and exact same term. The monthly also goes from $863.88 to $890.83 a month. Assuming you find a car.
So this is far more likely to result in worst case conditions instead, especially since companies are doubling down on bad behaviors. There will be an extreme oversupply. Customers can’t afford MSRP (which they won’t cut because they signed the supply deals at peak “ADM”,) issuers will be stuck with high interest rates meaning no cheap loans for customers, and their supply contracts were done based on above peak demand. So they’ll either have to build too many cars to use up the supply they’re contracted to buy, or they’ll have to extend lifecycles so they can use up parts on shelves.
You can argue that this is good because it’ll force dealerships to sell cars below sticker again. But it’s not good. They’ll be selling below sticker in some situations, but you’ll be paying as much as currently because of interest alone. $2500 off sticker sounds great to people who don’t realize that doesn’t include the high interest rate, which wipes out any ‘savings’ you got.
“What’s one last adventure you’d love to have with your summer toy before it gets stored safely out of the salt?”
Depending how the repairs go, I’m hoping to take the Saab on a trip to New Hampshire for reasons. But it depends on what’s found in the transmission. Current suspicion is that it may just be a broken E-clip, but waiting to hear if the local expert is even up for taking a look.
“it’s not inflation”, except, it is inflation that is raising the prices on the parts and the free money for votes causing wages to have to go up. the profits are dictated as a percentage of sales(Dictated by Sareholders) and sales have to include the material plus overhead costs, so when those two things go up and the prices adjust accordingly, the 30 percent number is also higher.
It’s not inflation in the way that people commonly talk about inflation. Its a cash grab with a scapegoat, like how the original writers for the Simpsons are on net profit deals and will never see a dime while the producers and studio on gross profit deals are swimming in pools of dubloons
“Good. Because these deals pretty much NEVER benefit the communities, much less in the high-flying way they’re sold. ‘Oh if we give them a $2B tax break we’ll get $4B in money from all the employees! Because look at all these high paying jobs!’ And of course, the supposed high paying jobs never materialize.”
Re: Every sports stadium deal ever….
Pretty fucking much, except this one’s even more offensive. Because the state is literally paying hundreds of millions of dollars in cash up front, for something that can’t be used for literally anything else or by anyone else, based on something that is transparently bullshit. 400k units per year when their lowest priced car costs over $87,000 after tax or nearly double the average new car price?
Yeah. Sure. They’re definitely going to sell … hang on, gotta get my calculator here … 25 times Porsche’s annual Macan sales. When the Macan typically leases with a sticker $30k less. Or… sec, carry the 1, divide by zero… more than 28% of ALL MID-SIZE SUVs COMBINED.
In 2 years time.
At an average price that is more than 50% higher than the two top selling SUVs (Grand Cherokee and Highlander,) over double the Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in, and TRIPLE the Santa Fe Hybrid.
You have to be quite literally mentally ill to believe any of the numbers Rivian has thrown out. Or a participant in a con. 400k units would be three to four times Jeep Grand Cherokee annual sales. And the Grand Cherokee has been the top selling SUV for, let me check my notes, EVERY GODDAMN YEAR OF IT’S EXISTENCE.
I don’t put cars away for the winter, if the roads haven’t been salted yet, I keep driving it. If the roads have been salted, I wait for a few heavy rains to wash it off, then go back to driving. If it ends up having to sit for a week or more, I just start it up every few days and let it run in the garage for awhile
1). The Dart and 200 make me sad. By all accounts they’re totally decent sedans…but I think FCA really missed the mark by not offering any true performance trims. I think reviving a name like Dart that has performance history and making it an econobox left a bad taste in a lot of peoples’ mouths, and the sport compact segment has actually grown since the car was put out of production…not to mention the MOPAR or no car gang still lines up around the block to buy Charger and Challengers despite how ancient they are.
I think if they crammed the pentestar 6 in there and gave it a stick and some handling upgrades people would have bought them in droves. Or maybe this is just me being a daydreaming enthusiast…I always liked the look of both the Dart and 200 but they never offered a real answer for my need for an engaging drive, and unfortunately sedans that don’t stand out die….hell, some that do (the Stinger) still die as well. It’s a sad state of affairs out there.
2). Rivian seems to make amazing products but they need to get their finances in line if they want to stay relevant…and I find it amusing when corporations that have very clearly benefited from the lax regulations of capitalism turn around and ask for handouts because they haven’t been smart enough with their money. You can’t have it both ways, unfortunately…and color me skeptical that those alleged high paying jobs are actually going to find their way to normal people. I’d imagine all that money will be eaten up by a handful of extremely generous executive salaries, like it usually is. The tech field in general needs to be less greedy IMHO.
3). Lordstown is still a scam and so are almost all of these money incinerating EV startups.
4). I’m glad we aren’t in the market for anything because it still doesn’t look like things are going back to any sort of normal anytime soon…or maybe ever 🙁
Da Flush: I don’t have a summer whip but unfortunately the time to take the P Zeros off the Kona N is already here. We’ve had a couple of cool (high 40s/low 50s) rainy days in a row and the tires are already a disaster. I’ve read that the time to switch is when temperatures approach freezing (feel free to correct me here) but the total lack of traction in the cool rain is driving me up walls.
Since I live in an area with only light to moderate snowfall I don’t think full winters are really necessary, but I’m planning on putting a set of Goodyear Eagle Exhilarate all seasons on the car for the cold. Do y’all have any experience with them or other recommendations? The Exhilarates seem to get great reviews and there’s a Goodyear shop a few blocks from me so getting them would be mighty convenient.
As of now my plan is to keep the P Zeros and have them put back on when it gets hot again. They’re a one trick pony for sure but their one trick is amazing. I have yet to be able to find the limits of the car and a lot of that is due to the rubber.
Regarding your first point, I also feel bad about the result with the 200/Dart. Outside of the poorly tuned 9 speed transmission, I feel like it was more than a half-assed effort on FCA’s part. That said, I’m fairly certain that there was a trim of the 200 that came with the 3.6 Pentastar. That would’ve been a lot of fun, I think.
There was indeed a 200 with the 3.6
There were also performance trims of the Dart planned, but FCA recognized the shift away from sedans earlier than most and the car was canceled before they could see the light of day.
It’s a shame too…if it had the power to match the mini muscle car looks they gave it it would have been a mighty appealing package for me and I’d imagine many others as well.
I believe you are correct actually. And honestly, even though it’s a bit of a dinosaur it’s not a bad engine at all. I’ve driven it in multiple Grand Cherokees and found it to be more than adequate in them, plus it’s not particularly high strung which is always a good thing for longevity.
My dad’s GC has about 120k hard miles on it (he doesn’t take good care of his cars and has enough money that his attitude is more or less “if it breaks I’ll buy a new one”) and the engine has had 0 problems. The electronics, suspension, and transmission are another story…but that V6 is rock solid.
I have a set of Exhilarates that are just about dead after 3 years and 23k miles. I got them right when they came out and three of my tires weren’t round. After a lot of back and forth with the Goodyear store they agreed two of them weren’t round and replaced them. I still have one that feels a little out of balance but I guess it wasn’t bad enough for them to do something about. So I’m annoyed at Goodyear, but I’ve looked around and haven’t found anyone else saying they had the same problem, so I was just lucky, I guess. Tires aren’t bad though. Wet weather grip is really good and grip overall is good. They’re pretty quiet. My only real complain, besides the lack of roundness, is the turn in is bad. It takes a lot more steering angle to get them to turn, especially initially. I found it distracting at first, but I’m used to it now and don’t think about it that much. I’m going to be replacing them with ExtremeContact DWS06+.
Thanks for the info!
“Snow tires”, to my knowledge, are really cold compound tires first and snow-specific tread pattern second. I don’t get a ton of actual snow days where I am anymore, but I still religiously swap them out roughly Thanksgiving to easter. Lot of people spend time in the ditches near me when there’s even a hint of snow or ice, and the performance is better in the dry and cold still.
Can someone help me understand why a purely electric vehicle needs EPA and CARB certifications??
Do further “justify” the existence of useless pencil pushers and keyboard jockeys. That’s why. Someone has to pay for that certification…
Because the moment you trust a for-profit corporation to self-regulate is the moment you have their bean counters calculating what the most cost-efficient level of violations would be to commit for their bottom line.
Without the EPA, Elon would be running around claiming the Model 3 is only $35,000 and can drive around the world six times on a single charge.
Too bad they never sold the Fiat Tipo over here, sold in Mexico and the Middle East as Dodge Neon. Stellantis needs to bring over some cheap Fiats and Pugs to sell here as Dodges and Chryslers.
Why the fuck do they require EPA and CARB shit for an electric car? They should just be exempt LOL
Rivian should just buy Lordstown Motors.
I ride my custom built microcar in all weather conditions, even road salt. I make sure to coat it in Waxoyl(also used for my GT6, which has also been driven in the snow, although it is very rust prone) and clean it after exposure to road salt, so rust hasn’t been an issue. It is currently down to the bare trike frame, but it is still usable. I’m working on the next body for it which should be significantly more streamlined than the last one, and will have a roll cage integrated into it.
Its traction in the snow is really terrible though. For cornering purposes, most of the laden weight(being me, the rider, as the vehicle is under 100 lbs) is placed over the two front wheels. This means the rear drive wheel readily spins in the snow. I know to stop pedaling and lightly tap the e-brake to kill the motor as soon as the rear starts to turn away from a straight trajectory, and let it regain traction. If the rear drive wheel slips out, I could easily lose control. If the trike starts going sideways, it could flip instantly as soon the rear wheel gains traction as the vehicle’s momentum is still heading straight. I’ve had a few close calls in traffic with this, especially with all of the potholes around here.
Ahh, the joys of operating tadpole-layout rear-drive three-wheelers in the snow. It’s doable, but you better know what you’re doing!
Re: Rustproofing your microcar: Remember that rust is usually most destructive from the inside of steel components, because you won’t see anything before it’s rusted through. So if your frame is made out of tubing, you should coat the inside with the product you’re using (Waxoyl?), by drilling holes into the frame and spraying the oil into it through these holes (preferably with quite high pressure).
That’s interesting.I’ll be making one with a similar layout so i’ll be sure to test it thoroughly.
We dont get snow here but some conditions can be sketchy.When you appear as a bump on the road to others it’s best to take no chances XD
Bittersweet because fall is such an awesome season, but the time of annual oil changes, Stabil, etc is nearly upon us. Hoping to get a few more nice days with long drives to nowhere before the cold hits for good.
I bet a rear-drive front-mounted V10 is all kinds of “interesting” when driven on a snowy/icy road!
I bet it would be, not least because the R-compound tires turn into bricks below 40 degrees.
The warnings against cold weather driving in the owners manual are among the strongest worded I’ve ever seen for a consumer product.
Do you know anywhere to find pics of that? I’d like to see that.
“Competition racing tires have rubber compounds that may develop surface cracks in the tread area at temperatures below 20°F (-7°C ). Always store competition racing tires indoors and at temperatures above 20°F (-7°C) when not in use”
“Driving with competition racing tires on snow, ice, or cold road surfaces can cause loss of control or an accident. Competition racing tires are summer season tires and are not
intended to be driven in snow, ice, or road surfaces below 32°F (0°C). Do not drive a vehicle with competition racing tires in these conditions”
“Avoid driving on wet roads, in heavy rain, or through standing water with competition racing tires. Failure to follow this warning may result in tire failure, increasing
the risk of crash, injury and/or death.”
“There are no measures for flat tire repair included with this vehicle. It is recommended that drivers always bring a mobile phone in case of a flat tire”
“There are no snow tires that are compatible with the wheels on this vehicle.”
Thanks for sharing that. It just adds to the car’s charm, IMO.
+1 I love all that kind of “understand what you’re getting into” stuff on standard high-performance equipment.
Like the warnings in the old Shelby Mustangs that the competition brakes had be to properly warmed up for maximum capability, the danger hot exhaust stickers on the first-gen Vipers, or one of my favorites, the plaque in the Ford Thunderbolt that in effect said “we cut all kinds of corners on everything but the drivetrain b/c we know what you bought this for.”
It’s the mix of the track car type warnings with the carryover, mundane, legally required info that really make the Viper manual a fantastic read.
“This vehicle is not designed to tow a trailer”
“Here’s how to install a child seat” (Note, I usually have a child seat installed)
“You must press the clutch pedal to the floor to start the car”
“Recommended shift points for fuel economy”
etc etc etc
The Viper even has an econo-upshift light on the dash, right? Just like my Focus! 😉
Mine does not, but the tach does light up with a red snake head as you approach redline, which is kind of the same thing, right?
I want to read those warnings! None of this surprises me in the least. Bricks that distribute the mass that is over the rear axle over a wide surface area will mean very little traction!
The tires becoming bricks is no joke. I was once stranded on a mountain in WV for a week because there was an unexpected cold snap which turned a big rain cloud into a big snow cloud. Even three days in when most cars were doing fine, I was spinning tires on frozen gravel.
Time to connect up the heater core on the MGB and see if I can get a few good fall drives in before Garage Time hits.
Anybody here own a Dart? It seemed cool when it came out, like sorta the real (go away Caliber) second coming of the Neon, and cool how they brought in Travis Pastrana (I think?) to help tune the performance versions.
Love to hear an actual owner experience.
Older sister had one, used. One headache after another for the three years she owned it. Left her stranded a few times, wouldn’t hold an alignment. I never found out if it had been in an accident or something, but I wouldn’t have doubted it.
Horrible car, but that is also one person’s anecdote.
I have a feeling that they were like the Alfa Romeos. If you got one that actually worked, it was a good/great car. The problem is that so many of them didn’t work. I remember reading about Alfa’s given to journalists that get dropped off in their driveway and then…. don’t start again before the writer could even drive it.
There’s an assload of data out there that suggests the Alpha’s are a nightmare to own and maintain…but it seems like whenever they’re brought up on car blogs someone comes out of the woodwork to rave about how amazing theirs is. The people that like them REALLY like them so I’m not entirely sure what to believe.
The same is true for Land Rover, Jaguar, VW, FCA etc.
I think it’s some combination of:
A) Have radically different notions of what “reliable” means, and what level of annoyances they’re willing to overlook (I’m guilty of this with my own FCA product).
B) Don’t want to admit they made a mistake buying a trouble-prone vehicle.
C) Not having a good grasp of statistics (even the most notorious failures usually only affect a small percentage of vehicles, yet are a big deal when thousands are sold)
I also think Car and Driver’s long term quadrifoglio proving to be a nightmare did irreparable damage to the Giulia’s reputation. I actually put some serious thought into buying a secondhand one (the base Giulia is an amazing buy in the high 20s to mid 30s) back in 2020 or so but the horror stories scared me away. Well…those and the fact that I live in a place that requires a front plate, and front plates absolutely ruin the look of the Alpha products.
Alfa. Alfa. Alfa. Say it after me. (I know, spellcheck might be to blame, but still)
Alfalfa. Alfalfa. Alfalfa. Am I doing this right?
Alpo alpo Alpo Alpo alpo Alpo Alpo alpo Alpo…
Maybe I have a different notion of what reliable is as well, but I’ve owned 8 VW or Audi products and they have all been pretty normal ownership experience. None of them ever left me stranded anywhere outside of someone crashing into me making the vehicle undriveable. (Got hit head on by a 77 LTD Convertible when in my 87 Jetta. I was stopped at the time, they came into my lane and bashed me). They’ve only needed normal wear items replaced, never anything catastrophic or something out of the ordinary that would otherwise be a “reliable” part in any other brand.
Just because a lot of something breaks doesn’t mean they all break.
Anything from them is a nightmare. I was chatting with a 500 Abarth owner I ran into at the gas station the other week. Because the 500 Abarth is a fun, good car. Mostly.
He was very proud that it was still running. Because it was on it’s eighth engine replacement. I said “oh, it eats cylinder heads?” Nope. He’s had to have the longblock replaced 8 fucking times.
EIGHT long blocks?!
That man is one proud owner!
That’s some real dedication.
“Jeremy Clarkson writing in 2008 about Alfa Romeos:.
However…..I have argued many times that owning an Alfa is a portal through which all petrolheads must pass if they genuinely want to know what it is that differentiates a car from a toaster or a washing machine.
Because Alfas have flaws, they feel human, as if they have a soul and a temper. Each one is like the tortured hero of a Russian novel, a car of extraordinary depths, a car you can never truly fathom, especially when it four in the morning and it is enveloped in a cloud of steam, yet again, on the North Circular.
They are like cocaine. The unimaginable highs are always matched by immense, brooding lows. Massive electrical storm that inevitably follow a glorious sultry evening.“
My boss came into the office today in a loaner because his Guilia Q4 decided to have massive electrical failure in a 1 lane construction zone
In spite of reliability issues, if I were to buy a car anytime soon, the Alfa Romeo 4C is toward the top of my list.
Suffered a rental-spec Dart with the CVT. It literally struggled to get up to highway speeds. No amount of deferred maintenance could have explained that, either.
Test drove a “proper” one (2. 4 Tigershark, C635) and it was a pretty damn miserable car. No amount of handling (which it lacked out of the box) could make up for just how cheap and miserable the interior felt, or build quality that left it sounding like paperclips in a tin can. And unlike the Neon, it was screaming bloody murder for more power. (Neons were sub-2800lbs at 150HP, Darts were 3300lbs+ at 184HP. You see the problem?)
Severely squandered potential, in other words. At 200-220HP with progressive springs and some attention to detail, it could have been the Neon’s better. And I do not say that lightly.
No Dart was EVER sold with a CVT.
You either got a variant of the C635 (manual or it’s dumbfounded dual clutch) or the Hyundai 6F24.
If that thing wasn’t a CVT, it was completely and utterly destroyed before it left the factory and it sure as fuck was not a DCT unless they offered a DCT without autostick. One, rental. Two, it absolutely was not a 6F24. I’ve driven a 6F24. A lot, in fact. The 6F24 either slams into gears or is a box of neutrals, nothing in between.
When you stood on the throttle in the rental Dart, it just infinitely wound up trying to slip into the next gear, and good gods was it nothing but slip. You could HEAR the transmission slipping internally. And this thing, again, had less than 35k on it. Hell, it slipped on engine braking.
Plus, they had a fleet spec version. You literally could not order a Dart with the “radio” this one had, because it deleted the backup camera. Seriously, it was the basic LCD display unit, which was never offered on the consumer Dart.
I want to know where they found it, only so I can burn that place to the fucking ground with every one of those shitboxes in it.
I had a bunch of weekend rental darts and always sort of dreaded it when they handed me the keys but by the time I gave them back always ended up having enjoyed it more than I expected. Never rose to the level of “I should buy one”, but I thought they were pretty slick
I owned one for a while when they were still new, I actually liked it. It wasn’t the best car and it definitely had its foibles but I looked around and found one with the stick shift and the little 1.4 turbo motor which was plenty enjoyable to beat on around town. It was big enough to give people a ride if they needed one, had the good uConnect screen and was easy to whip around/park. I understand to some degree why it got hated on and killed off but it wasn’t THAT bad!
I had the same combo and can echo your statements. Definitely had its flaws but people make it out to be far worse than it was.
Family business has one for a delivery car. Coming up on 300k miles on its second engine that was covered by an extended warranty (amazingly). Nothing special but it holds up to the abuse of delivery drivers treating it as they do.
I sat in one briefly. The driver’s seat absolutely killed it for me. I felt like I was sitting on the seat instead of in it. And it wasn’t even comfortable.
I was interested because it had 22 more HP and a lot more torque than my Cruze. After finding I didn’t agree with the seats, that ended that.
So the 2013 has a lower cushion that drew a lot of complaints so for 14 and up they got a much thicker cushion. I had a 13, and I personally found the seat very comfortable for my ass. I would not have bought a later car with the updated seats.
I owned one, an Aero(the CAFE trim) with the 1.4 turbo and 6mt. It was a perfectly fine automobile that was quite reliable during its service with me. I still miss it from time to time, as much as I love my Ram which is just so vastly superior to anything my family has ever owned.
I wouldn’t have owned it with the 2.4L, which has a habit of guzzling oil regardless of the application, or the 2.0L which was just an absolute dog. The 1.4 was a fun motor that would have benefited from the car being a few hundred pounds lighter, and it sounded great with the dump pipe I had on it. I’ve always wanted the Fiat 124 just for that motor. But all of them were pretty reliable, it has a bad rep that is mostly undeserved, because I’ve never seen any really major issues with them. Common issues regardless of engine were shift cables, rear calipers, radios(common on all FCA vehicles), door speakers, but like I said, nothing really major. Turbo issues were common on earlier turbos too, but if you caught it under warranty it was covered and you got a brand new turbo. The worst issue was the 2.4 with its oil consumption issue. We did a few motors on those in my time at Dodge.
I had a few other do-dads installed in it too, like sway bar, shift bushings, short throw, etc.. It was a fun car to hustle on a backroad, and it was a pretty competent road tripper too.
I know I’ve worn this one out more than the welcome of Jehova’s Witness at your front door, but Jeep. I’m still putting down the top on the drive home from work since it’s a bit too chilly in the mornings unless I wear a hat and coat. I’ll be rotating the tires, changing the oil and filter, and everything else should be up to snuff for the oncoming winter.
I’ve tried having second cars a couple times now, but with a two car garage and a two car driveway without a parking pad, it’s just brutal. At least here in ND, anyway. It’s not even about the inconvenience so much as it’s not really good treatment of a car you should enjoy. Maybe someday, when I have more space in the country or a quonset or something.