Merger News

These 13 brands are caught up in the FCA-PSA Group merger

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group are merging their extensive brand portfolios.

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Earlier today, a joint statement from FCA and the PSA Group announced that both boards had approved a merger. Currently, the two companies have 12 automobile brands between them. FCA brings Fiat, Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati vehicle brands and the Mopar accessories brand to the table. PSA Group owns Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel, and Vauxhall.

Here is what you need to know about each brand.

Peugeot

2019 Peugeot 208

Photo courtesy of PSA Group

Peugeot was founded not as an automobile company, but as a family business specializing in coffee and bicycles during the reign of Napoleon in 1810. The company announced in 2019 that they would be returning to the U.S. by 2023. Currently Peugeot sells the 108, 208, 301, 308, 408, and 508 cars. SUV varieties they offer including the 2008, 3008, and 5008. Partner, Expert, and Boxer vans are also part of the company's portfolio.

Jeep

2020 Jeep Wrangler Freedom

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Jeep is perhaps the most widely known family member of the FCA lineup. Its signature model, the Wrangler, first started as a test project for the U.S. Army. From there, the vehicle continued to evolve and be proofed on battlefields and farm land near and far. Nowadays, it's more likely to see a Jeep model on the road or driving down a trail. For the 2020 model year, Jeep sells the Gladiator, Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Renegade, and Compass in the U.S.

Fiat

2020 Fiat 500x Trekking

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Fiat is an Italian brand that was founded 120 years ago in Turin, Italy. It is currently the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy. The company has struggled to sell cars in the U.S. but has a good presence in Europe. Under the Fiat brand, the 500x, 500L, and 124 Spider are sold in the U.S. for the 2020 model year.

Dodge

2020 Dodge Challenger T/A

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Dodge is nearly as old as Fiat. It was founded 119 years ago as the Dodge Brothers Company. It was sold to Dillon, Read & Co. in 1925 and Chrysler in 1928. In recent years, the company has been turned into the performance brand for FCA. For the 2020 model year, the company sells the Journey, Challenger, Charger, and Durango, and Grand Caravan in the U.S.

Citroën

Citr\u00ebon

Photo courtesy of PSA Group

Citroën has been around for 100 years and part of what is now known as the PSA Group since 1976. The company sells cars in many countries under their own badge and in partnership with other automakers. Current autos in the Citroën lineup include the C1, C3, C-Zero (a rebadged Mitsubishi I-MiEV), C3 Aircross, C-Elysee, C4, C4 Aircross, C5, C5 Aircross, Nemo, Berlingo, Jumpy, and Jumper.

Mopar

2019 SEMA Show Mopar Ram Truck

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Mopar is FCA's parts, service, and customer car organization. It also customizes and builds vehicles including show cars for various auto shows in conjunction with the automaker's other brands. Mopar has been a brand for much longer than many people realize. It was first introduced as its own brand in 1937.

Ram

2020 Ram 2500 Power Wagon

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Ram Trucks was founded in 2010. Named after the most popular Dodge truck model, Ram is the brand under which all current FCA trucks sold in North America are produced. For the 2020 model year, Ram is selling the 1500, 2500, 3500 and chassis cab trucks. It also sells the Ram Promaster and Ram Promaster City vans.

Opel

Opel Corsa-e

Photo courtesy of PSA Group

From 1929 to 2017, Opel was owned by General Motors. It was added to the PSA Group portfolio in 2017 when GM looked to unload much of its European portfolio. Current plans call for eight electrified models by 2021 and the company is moving to electrify its entire lineup by 2024. Opel and Vauxhall, another PSA Group brand, are sold in 60 countries worldwide.

Chrysler

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The original Chrysler Corporation was founded in 1925 from the remnants of the failed Maxwell Motor Company. It's been a member of a number of conglomerates throughout its history but is perhaps best known in recent history for its Chrysler 300 sedan and Chrysler Pacifica minivan. For the 2020 model year, those two Chryslers and the Voyager, a low-end version of the Pacifica, will be sold in the U.S.

Maserati

Master Maserati Driving Courses 2019 GT garage

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Maserati is the most premium brand in the automaker's current lineup. The historic mark (it started in 1914) currently sells the Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, GranTurismo and GranCabrio coupes, and Levante SUV in North America. The Maserati Alfieri, a 2+2 grand tourer with a plug-in hybrid electric powertrain, is scheduled to be produced as a 2021 model.

DS

D3 Crossback

Photo courtesy of PSA Group

DS is PSA Group's premium car brand. In the past, DS and Citrëon have been deeply linked, but PSA Group has been working recently to differentiate them. Its current models include the DS 3, DS 3 Crossback, DS 4, DS 4S, DS 5, DS 5LS, DS 6, and DS 7 Crossback.

Alfa Romeo

2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Alfa Romeo has a rich history. Since shortly after its beginning in 1910, the company has been associated with racing and fast engines. The newest products from the brand, the U.S.-sold Giulia and Stelvio, a sports sedan and performance-focused SUV.

Vauxhall

Vauxhall Viva

Photo courtesy of PSA Group

Vauxhall Motors is a British-based car brand that is owned by PSA Group. Its passenger and light commercial vehicle lineup is identical to Opel's, but the Vauxhall name is used for UK models. The mark was acquired by PSA in 2017 following the purchase of it from General Motors. Vauxhall sells cars named Adam, Astra, Corsa, Viva, and Insignia. Its Grandland X, Crossland X, and Mokka X models are SUVs.

At this time, no details regarding the addition or elimination of any FCA or PSA Group brands has been announced.

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The Jeeps set off across Australia to cross the Simpson Desert.

Photo by Chris Collard

In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of its coastal towns, Australia's Outback remains a mostly desolate and barren landscape. Tumbleweeds blow about and flies swarm. Temperatures soar during the day and plummet at night.

Fifty years ago, the Simpson Desert was first crossed by an expedition group led by Ian McDonald in two Jeep Overlanders and a Jeep J300. The adventure was half journey, half marketing scheme, designed to promote the abilities of the Brisbane-built Jeep Overlander.

1969 East West Expedition Jeep When the team set off in 1969, the Simpson Desert was more barren than it is today, though just barely.Image courtesy of Seven Slot Expeditions

Fast forward to July 2019. After a year of planning by Australian Vaughn Becker, a Jeep history buff, a group that included Becker, Michael Bowen, Chris Collard, Ben Davidson, Paul Graham, Justin He, Alan McMullen, Karen McMullen, Rick Péwé, Sue Mead, and Derek Redmond set off to recreate the 6,000-km trek, dubbed the 2019 BFGoodrich East-West Australia Jeep Expedition.

Another essential member of the cast was an Australian affectionately known as "Emu". Emu, whom Mead says is well-known in the Australian Outback, was the team's fueler. He traveled with the team from the eastern coast of Australia to the edge of the Simpson Desert, then met the team in the middle of the desert and again at the western edge of the desert for refueling.

Warakurna Road House sign 30km The roadhouse is a classic Australian fixture and the only place to source petrol in the Outback.Photo by Chris Collard

Two members of the original journey, McDonald and photographer John Eggleston, joined the team for stages of the trip.

The route would take the crew through cities and aboriginal lands, small towns and desert outposts. The plotted points started at Byron Bay, the easternmost point in Australia. The plan was to trace the original adventure's route through Birdsville and Alice Springs, near Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The group would then travel on through the Simpson Desert, which has the most north-south facing sand dunes in the world, to Steep Point, the westernmost point of Australia.

The team traveled in five modern-day Jeep vehicles, referred to by nicknames: El Jefe (a 2018 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Overland), PoPo the Mule (a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited), Oz JK (a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Sahara Overland), Big Red TJ (a 1997 Jeep Wrangler), and Outback JK8 (a 2009 Jeep Wrangler JK-8).

Alice Springs sign Australia Outback When the BFGoodrich East-West Australia Jeep Expedition reached Old Andado Station, they turned north toward Alice Springs.Photo by Chris Collard

Each Jeep was unique but included some assortment of the following: BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires, Warn Zeon winch and bumper, a TeraFlex suspension, axle lockers, MaxTrax, and Factor55 and Bestop products.

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 The Jeeps on the expedition were kitted out with a variety of off-roading products including BFGoodrich KM3 mud-terrain tires, Warn Zeon winch and bumper, a TeraFlex suspension, axle lockers, and MaxTrax.Photo by Chris Collard

With decades of off-road racing and adventuring under her belt, Mead, 68, had felt that it was time to begin phasing down her career to make time for volunteering. Mead had not sought to go on another expedition, yet the honor of being asked and the fact that this trip would use so many of her skills convinced Mead to take the plunge.

"I feel like I've been so blessed and there are so many people that have so little," said Mead. "One of my goals is helping out after natural disasters using my four-wheel drive skills. I would like to help out more as my career comes to a close. When I was one of three journalists from the U.S. that was asked, I was so honored and I felt like: 'Woah! I still have a lot of stamina to do something tough. I really was so thrilled to be asked to go on this expedition."

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 During the journey, the team camped most nights and had to carry their own food and find firewood.Photo by Chris Collard

The 20-day journey tested the team's mettle. They camped most nights and had to carry their own food and find firewood. Mead is quick to point out that this was an expedition, not a race. Rather than competing, the participants were working together, "against the clock of danger [and the potential of] running out of water, running out of fuel." The Jeeps' technology, which had come a long way since the original expedition, played a crucial role in the team's success.

We Conquered the Simpson article Ian McDonald told the story of the Simpson Desert crossing in this 1969 magazine article.Image courtesy of Seven Slot Expeditions

"Our GPS units enabled us to meet up with our refueler in the middle of the desert. It wasn't perfect, but we had hundreds of miles around us with nothing. We were able to find him and pinpoint his location and then radio to him, 'We're here, coming over the ridge we think.'"

This precision was not only a feat, but a necessity. Running out of fuel would be deadly.

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 The Simpson Desert is a desolate space.Photo by Chris Collard

The Simpson Desert is vast and treacherous. The east-west route the team took is tougher than the west-east route due to wind patterns.

"You not only have the tallest dunes in the world, we had 1,100 of them – 1,100 – to cross," Mead recounts. "It's rough terrain; very few dunes had any kind of smooth path. Most of them had a lot of a ground plant called spinifex. It's really gnarly and not fun or easy to cross over. The dunes in that area are really difficult. People wouldn't take the route we did if they weren't explorers or didn't want an expedition."

Australia is notorious for its wildlife and the group encountered many of its native species along the way. The team had to be wary of deadly spiders and twenty-one venomous (ten of those lethal) snakes. The winter timing of their trip meant that temperatures dropped sharply at night, yet it did provide some benefits.

Tjukarusu Road sign Jeep East West Expedition The 1,000-kilometer long dirt road to the Tjukaruru Roadhouse, the most remote roadhouse in Australia, is home to thousands of feral camels, which roam freely across the majority of Western Australia.Photo by Chris Collard

"One of the Australian guys slept under the stars every night," Mead shared. "He kept trying to get me to sleep under the stars. At first, I was really paranoid about leaving the tent in the dark with a headlamp, thinking that I was going to run into snakes or spiders. Australia is pretty raw."

The going wasn't easy – the team faced hazards such as animal crossings and poor roads. The team wasn't alone on the road, which was strewn with reminders of these threats. "There are a lot of kangaroos and wombats that run across the road kind, of like deer in the United States, and people sometimes drive too fast on these dirt roads," Mead continued. "Vehicles laid rolled over, most abandoned."

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 Australia installed a telegraph line across the continent in the 1860s. The BFGoodrich East-West Australia team utilized one near Eucla for a basecamp one night during their return to Melbourne. Photo by Chris Collard

While deep in the Outback, the group came upon one set of travelers whose Skoda vehicle had rolled over and injured one of its occupants. The team called the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia, who flew in and landed on one of the dirt highways before taking the injured man to get the medical care he needed.

It as a reminder to be careful. Thankfully, the team stayed safe and healthy overall, save for one brief scare.

"We did have a team member collapse when we were remote," Mead recollected. "It was dusk and we wouldn't have been able to get a helicopter in to pick him up. He was dehydrated. There were two of us who immediately responded to him and were able to revive him pretty quickly. It was confidence-inspiring for me to know the right things to do."

Jeep Outback Australia East West Expedition Simpson Desert 2019 After 15 days and nearly 6,000 kilometers, the BFGoodrich East-West Jeep Expedition team celebrated reaching Steep Point, the westernmost point on the continent.Photo by Chris Collard

In late July, 15 days after they had embarked, the team arrived in Steep Point, ready to take a hot shower and sleep in a proper bed.

Though she has just returned from Australia, Mead already wants to go back. She took great joy in both the place and the people and adored seeing the beautiful, diverse landscape change as they crossed the continent. Mead especially enjoyed hearing the stories from McDonald and Eggleston about their trip experience 50 years ago.

Although this trek across Australia was certainly an epic journey, Mead notes, "It's not all about the big adventures, sometimes it's just about the small places of the heart that can reshape and change our lives, and for me… vehicles have done that, cars have done that."

Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

Fiat sales in America are abysmal. In an effort to lure more U.S. shoppers to its dealerships, the automaker has introduced the Fiat 500X Sport for the 2020 model year.

Described by Fiat it as "youthful and sporty" the 2020 Fiat 500X Sport features new front and rear fascia designs, body-color painted side moldings, and dark-finish exterior accents. It also has an eye-catching Rovente Red paint job. Its mirror caps, door handles, and rear license plate brow are finished in black and the model rides on 18-inch aluminum wheels. New 19-inch premium aluminum wheels wearing Micheline CrossClimate all-season tires are available. At the back are chrome dual-tire exhaust tips.

2020 Fiat 500X Sport The 500X Sport comes standard with a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood.Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The 500X Sport comes standard with a turbocharged 1.3-liter four-cylinder engine under its hood. The engine is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and achieves 210 pound-feet of torque. That's a lot of torque for a car this size. The Fiat 500X is the only vehicle in its class to have 30 mpg highway and standard all-wheel drive.

"Our Italian-designed, fun-to-drive Fiat 500X is the only vehicle in its class to feature standard all-wheel drive and achieve 30 miles per gallon," said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT – North America. "With standard turbo power, the Fiat 500X Sport is a fresh, new alternative in one of the fastest growing segments in the industry."

2020 Fiat 500X Sport The model comes standard with a 7-inch infotainment touch screen.Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The interior of the car features a dark-black headliner and pillars. There are new interior door and console bezel surfaces finishes. The car's techno-leather steering wheel is an upscale touch and features handcrafted red stitching and Alcantara inserts with paddle shifters. Alcantara leather also features as the cover on the cluster brow and there's a new cluster graphics and instrument-panel bezel finish.

Sport seats feature black fabric and vinyl inserts. A grey "500" logo is stitched on them just below the unique, circular headrests.

Below the seats are standard aluminum pedal covers and new Sport floor mats.

The model comes standard with a 7-inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Navigation, SiriusXM, a Beats audio system, and automatic climate control are available.

2020 Fiat 500X Sport Sport seats feature black fabric and vinyl inserts.Photo courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.

The 500X is available with adaptive cruise control and front park assist. It comes standard with blind spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, rearview camera, and seven standard air bags.

The 2020 500X Sport model is available for $26,895, excluding destination.