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Car News In the Rearview – Jeep and Ram Don’t Need FCA

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Welcome back to In the Rearview, where I take you on a merry little jaunt down automotive news lane so you can see the top stories from the past week.

Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn

This last week was big on asking high-level CEOs pointed questions, as someone approached Carlos Ghosn, who is currently CEO of Renault and chairman of Nissan, Renault, and Mitsubishi, and asked him whether Nissan-Renault was going to be getting even more intimate with Mitsubishi in the form of a merger. The answer may surprise you!

Just kidding. It was no. There isn’t going to be a merger.

Sergio Marchionne said the auto industry isn't an earnings call with Wall Street experts

Then, someone asked Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio “Who Wants a Merger” Marchionne whether Jeep and Ram were strong enough to spin off into their own company, like Ferrari did a while back. Marchionne only said “yes,” which set off a storm of speculative news stories, superlatively asking “ARE JEEP AND RAM GOING TO BE THEIR OWN COMPANY?!?!?”

Again, I think the answer is probably no, at least for a while. Jeep and Ram are the cash crops of FCA, and without them, all Fiat-Chrysler is left with are Fiat, Chrysler, and Dodge.

Honda introduces The DT, or The Designated Texter for Distracted Driving Month in April

Then, we move on to something that seems ridiculous because it is: Honda made a hip-hop music video, in which it encourages the hip cool kids of today to hand their phones to their passenger so they can function as the “Designated Texter.” Fighting distracted driving is an admirable goal, but I’m afraid Honda is just not hip enough to make it seem anything but aging-minister-rapping-sermon goofy.

salesman holding lemon car law fruit citrus

Why are defective cars called lemons?

Speaking of, did you know that we call broken, unusable cars “lemons” thanks to old-timey citrus-hating slang? Now you do!

2016 BMW 6 Series Wheel Logo

BMW was busy over the past week, first teaming up with the National Parks to start building electric-car chargers in the parks, starting with the appropriate and also ironic Thomas Edison National Historical Park. Second, the company raised some precisely-groomed eyebrows by saying that dual-clutch transmissions, currently the transmission of choice in high-performance sports cars, are probably on the way out now.

2018 Ford Mustang Start Button

Talking of raising eyebrows, Ford is doing something odd with the Start/Stop button on the 2018 Mustang, making it pulse red at the same speed as a real mustang (the horse, that is) has its heart beat while at rest. I guess that could be a cool homage to the car’s namesake and underlying spirit, but I can’t get the thought out of my head that what you are doing there is poking a horse heart to get your car to move.

NHTSA logo

Finally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still without a new head administrator from the Trump administration, and given the appointment record of choosing people who like to remove regulations and have a hand in the agency’s regulated industry, this has safety advocates worried that the next head of the NHTSA might also be an automaker executive, like GM CEO Mary Barra.