All New Chrysler 200: Born and Bred in Sterling Heights, Michigan

Mancari Chrysler 200Erected in 1953, the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant was never really designed to build cars. The original purpose of the facility, now sitting north of Detroit, was to manufacture jet engines and missiles for the United States Army. In fact, it was once named the Michigan Ordinance Missile Plant and subsequently owned and occupied by Volkswagen until 1983.

Chrysler took over the rocket-making plant after it was converted into an automobile manufacturing hub and immediately started churning out the Chrysler LeBaron GTS and the Dodge Lancer a year later.

Chrysler began to zero in on the mid-size automobile market in the 1980′s. In less than 10 years, the American car maker had built over a million vehicles.

But that very same year, the then-56-year-old automobile plant was scheduled to be closed down due to a bankruptcy plan of action.

After a successful purchase agreement with the Italian automotive giant Fiat, the northern Detroit production facility survived preserving thousands of jobs and working to bring forth the new line of Chrysler 200s in 2010.

Chrysler received a major brand makeover when the company invested $850 million dollars to overhaul the plant’s assembly line and create a new paint and body shop. The company’s new digs were recently unveiled at this year’s Chrysler 200 event.

According to Fiat Chrysler Automaker CEO Sergio Marchionne, the auto maker’s choice to invest in a facility that was once slated to be on the chopping block, is simply a reflection of the kind of dedication Chrysler’s workers continue to show on a daily basis.

In many ways, the production of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is a shout out to the grit and determination embodied by the American spirit. It’s a nod to dealerships worldwide like the one here at Mancari, as well as a banner of appreciation for the loyalty of each and everyone of the brand’s customers.

It’s this same concept that birthed the ideal of a “born maker.”

Being a born maker is about digging deeper and working harder. It’s about creativity and ingenuity. A “maker” gives no excuses and makes no apologies.

Chrysler, along with the all-new 200, was constructed right here on American soil. In 2013, the mid-size sedan was named one of the most American Made Cars by the Kogood American Auto Index.

Olivier Francios, Chrysler’s chief marketing officer describes the merger of the characteristics of a born maker with the story of the Chrysler 200 as “… an homage to American innovation, serving as a reminder that you don’t have to cross an ocean for a car you’re proud to have in your driveway.”

More than six decades later, The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant has become as important to the fabric of America as apple pie. At least, that’s how we see it at Mancari’s in Oak Lawn.

Mancari's of Oak Lawn
4630 West 95th Street Oak LawnIllinois60453 USA 
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Chrysler Group Brands Experience Record-Breaking Growth in June

jeep compassFor 51 months straight, Chrysler Group has posted year-over-year sales gains with six of its brands either experiencing growth or record-breaking sales.

June turned out to be a good month for Chrysler. Last month was the group’s best June sales month since 2007 and here in the U.S., Chrysler sold 171,086 units – a 9 percent increase from last June’s sales of 156,686 units.

Six Chrysler vehicles, including Compass, Patriot, and Wrangler, had a record sales month in June, while Jeep, Dodge, Ram Truck, and Fiat were highlighted because of their exponential growth this year.

Jeep led the way, reporting its best sales in June to-date, and with a 28 percent increase, it had the greatest gain in June sales out of all of the Chrysler brands.

There has been been a dynamic trend in popularity in the Compact SUV segment. We’ve noticed here at Mancari that a few of the Jeep models like the Compass, Patriot, and Wrangler have been doing pretty well in overall sales.

So well in fact, that last month, all three models had their best month ever in June – posting record sales monthly since January.

Mancari is also excited to announce that Edmunds.com recently awarded the Jeep Wrangler with its Best Retained Value Awards.

Ram Trucks wasn’t far behind, posting a 14 percent increase last month. Two vehicles that rose to the top were the Ram pickup, which was named Motor Trend’s “Truck of the Year” as well as the Ram ProMaster Van, which took home Edmunds.com’s Best Retained Value Award for a Compact SUV in June.

The list of accolades keep rolling in as the Dodge Challenger was pronounced the winner of Edmunds.com’s Best Retained Value Award for a mid-size / large coupe.

Chrysler’s Town and Country was ranked highest in initial quality among minivans three out of four years in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Study in June.

Sales for the Town & Country were up 24 percent last month, reflecting consecutive growth for the past 11 months.

As a whole, Chrysler almost doubled its sales at 9 percent – a significant jump from the 5.9 percent increase it projected.

Finally, the Fiat brand saw a whopping 113 percent sales increase since June 2013, while the Fiat 500 Cabrio Abarth blew everyone else out of the water with a mind-altering 130 percent year-over-year increase.

What’s behind the sudden upward fluctuation in sales for the American automaker?

According to the Business Insider the auto industry is seeing a substantial increase in buyer confidence, as vehicle sales reached 16.98 million units in June, which was reported by Wards Auto. “The report signals that consumers are willing to make big-ticket purchases…,” said Barclay’s Dean Maki.

On a wider scale, the light vehicle sales market is a “…bright spot in the tremulous global environment,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive

The seventh largest automaker in the world has a five year plan to grow the company to 7 million sales worldwide by 2018.

A bold plan. But then, again at Mancari, we realize anything’s possible. Stop over to Mancari’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram for a great selection of new and pre-owned vehicles.

Chrysler Aims to Save Drivers 700 Million Gallons of Fuel

chryslerTorqueFlite. Chrysler’s newest weapon in its armory. This time, the automaker aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a major way, while saving its drivers somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 million gallons of fuel over the life of more than one million of its vehicles. Worldwide. Here at Mancari’s, we’re extremely excited for this major goal set by Chrysler.

TorqueFlite is a ZF-designed, Chrysler-built eight speed transmission born from advanced technology automatics that provide more torque capacity than any other eight-speed produced by the automaker in the past.

What may be surprising to most Chrysler enthusiasts is that the name TorqueFlite has been around since the late 1950′s when it first debuted as a three-speed automatic transmission.

It’s predecessor, the two-speed PowerFlite transmission, accompanied the brand’s passenger vehicles two years before TorqueFlite came on the scene.

Chrysler wanted to produce an automatic transmission that was durable and easy to operate – and one that needed fewer parts. After the introduction of the TorqueFlite unit, the automaker still offered PowerFlite, but then discontinued it.

With the implementation of alphanumeric designations in the 1990s, The TorqueFlite name became obsolete; although the original design remained in tact for Chrysler’s transmissions until about 2007. It was when the automaker collaborated with the ZF brand, that the TorqueFlite name had resurfaced.

Today, eight-speed automatic transmissions are fuel-saving power monsters that provide a greater performance first gear and a high economy top gear, faster shifts, 98 percent all-gear efficiency, and a fast-locking torque converter.

The ZF unit is also useful for its low inertia when shifting or starting, along with the barely noticeable “slip” one feels with immediate engagement of the torque converter’s twin torsional damper system.

Other benefits of the ZF include: low viscosity transmission fluid that never needs replacing, a hydrodynamically cooled clutch, and Chryler’s chain-driven axial parellel vane cell pump.

What’s unique to the TorqueFlite’s software is that it’s able to adapt the unit’s shift patterns to variable driving characteristics and changeable road conditions. It also optimizes efficiency based on temperature, stability control, and logitudinal and lateral acceleration.

According to Chryler, the new and improved transmission is “fill-for-life”  – meaning that under normal driving circumstances, you’ll never have to change the oil.

In some vehicles, like the Dodge Ram 1500, an internal thermal management system reduces parasitic losses by raising the temperature of both the engine and transmission fluid.

Chrysler has turned a transmission technology that was once only offered by luxury car makers, into a main-stream brand driver’s dream. Presently, 19 Chrysler Group model automobiles come equipped with the new eight-speed transmission.

Mancari Chrysler agrees that the momentum is only likely to continue with the expansion of this advanced automobile technology throughout the FCA family of vehicles.

Saleen Dodge Challenger Takes High Performance to New Level

saleen challengerThe Dodge Challenger is definitely intent on putting the muscle back into today’s automobile. We here at Mancari’s in Oak Lawn feel this new and improved Challenger is the perfect car for anyone who is looking for classic performance and muscle.

Adding even more high-powered performance, Dodge teamed up with Saleen Automotive, a high profile, American car manufacturer with a well-known reputation for building limited edition vehicles that operate at their peak – including customized cars and parts.

Saleen is well-versed in the mechanics of the modern day race car.  As a former Formula Atlantic race car driver in the early 80’s, founder Steve Saleen’s love for high performance vehicles inspired him to build his first three hatchbacks in 1984 – signifying the beginning of a new breed of automobile.

By 1995, Saleen Automotive had begun using a 7.0 liter V8 engine in its track-cars.  And as vehicle popularity grew, the company came up with its own EPA-certified engine – the 351W.

Today, Saleen is the only remaining American small car manufacturer with OEM, Original Equipment Manufacturer, status.

Saleen has produced customized versions of popular vehicles for car companies like Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and Toyota. Saleen’s work can be seen in the production of vehicles like the Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger.

Soon after, it created its own custom-made line of automobiles. The design of the 2000 Saleen S7 was completely unique to its brand, in everything, from its chassis to its paint color.

It also forged partnerships with entities like Hidden Creek Industries and the world’s largest chemical company, BASF.  Saleen even embraced Hollywood, joining forces with well-known comedian Tim Allen, and making vehicle appearances on the big screen in box office hits like 2 Fast 2 Furious, Iron Man, Entourage, and Transformers.

Intense levels of performance, world class quality, and unique design elements, have made Saleen’s custom built vehicles, arguably, the best performing vehicles in the world.

And if that weren’t enough, all of its parts and accessories are built to optimize your experience – each aerodynamic package is equipped for durability, UV stability, and impact resistance.

Saleen wanted to embrace the culture of racing, while standing by its commitment to innovation, performance, handing, and design – giving car enthusiasts something they could appreciate.

Mancari knows you crave performance. Stop by today and get the Challenger you’ve been looking for, at a price that fits your wallet. We are proud to currently offer two 2014 Saleen Dodge Challengers. One is manual and the other is automatic. Visit Mancari’s Saleen Challengers page to learn more about them.

Pennsylvania Celebrates Bantam Jeep Festival

bantam jeepThe town of Butler, Pennsylvania is loaded with American history.  Recently the town celebrated a historical American vehicle, the Bantam Jeep.  It is a classic military style vehicle that was used during a time America’s military desperately needed reliable transportation and the creation of the Bantam is still be celebrated over seventy years later.

The Bantam Jeep was hand built in Butler, Pennsylvania in 1940 when the war was just starting.  The American Bantam Car Company responded to the request sent out by the U.S. Army for a new reconnaissance vehicle to be built within forty-nine days. At the time, the Bantam Company was bankrupt and could not fund the production of any prototype vehicle, but they requested the help of designer Karl Probst.

bantam jeepThe Army and the Bantam Company together convinced Probst to design the Bantam Jeep (pro bono) and the first prototype was sent for military testing by the end of September.  Willys-Overland and Ford took over from there, fine-tuning the Bantam to make it meet the Army’s requirements and coming out with two more versions of the Bantam. All-in-all over six hundred thousand models were produced and tested by the Army.  The Willys version is the one that future Jeep vehicles were modeled after, although the classic Jeep grill was a design provided by Ford.  Every branch of the military was issued the Bantam Jeeps and over thirty percent of production was sent to ally forces during the war.

The town of Butler should be proud of being part of such a significant piece of American military history. The Bantam Jeep’s tale is part of an exhibit at the annual Bantam Jeep Heritage Festival.  The numbers are still rolling in from this year’s event, but in 2013 Butler saw a record-breaking number of attendees at their festival.

It’s a time that Jeep enthusiasts can get together for some fun, competition and get a little muddy.  This year the events included the Ride with a Guide tour.  Three local dealerships provided vehicles and guides free of charge to attendees who wanted to experience everything an off-road legend had to offer.

Every year there are more and more people attending this popular event.  If you want to be a part of Jeep history next year, be sure to check the Bantam Festival website to register early because space is limited.  There are many off-road enthusiasts here at Mancari’s in Oak Lawn, and we would be glad to help you get your Jeep ready to hit the trails or talk to you about which new Jeep would be right for your next adventure!

A Look Through Jeep’s History: From the 4×4 to the Renegade

2015 jeep renegadeThe earliest technology behind the 2015 Jeep Renegade can be attributed to its military roots. Interestingly enough, today the term “Jeep” has almost become synonymous with any type of 4×4 off-road sport utility vehicle. Here at Mancari’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge, we offer customers many different SUVs, but the Jeep is one of our most popular brands.

The very first 4×4 was created by Charles Cotta in 1901. It was a pragmatic invention – capable of delivering power to all four wheels, driven by steam, and built to weather all seasons and conditions. Prior to its patent being turned over to the Milwaukee Four-Wheel Drive Company, the Cotta Automobile Company never sold any of its own vehicles.

jeep 4x4Another huge breakthrough occurred in 1908 when the first-ever, cross-compound steam engine debuted with a steerable, integrated front driving axle. Once the vehicle was reconstructed, Otto Zachow’s creation came to be known as the Battleship. After being tested on the ominous back roads of Clintonville, Wisconsin, it seemed to be unstoppable. Zachow’s brand (Four-Wheel Drive Auto Company) sold a 1-1/2 ton version of the truck to the Army in 1912.

By 1934, Jeep’s 4×4 sported a Timken-built front axle and transfer case. This was the beginning of the brand’s popularity because it allowed the driver to shift in and out of 4-wheel drive mode using the vehicle’s in-cab shift lever.

Over the years, the Jeep continued to evolve. Once built to meet the Army’s specifications in 1941, the prototype “Quad” aka Willys MA, was born.

The Willys Wagon, introduced in 1946, was the nation’s first all-steel station wagon. Designed with a fold-down tailgate hatch, the Jeep 4×4 is credited as having started the American tailgate party.

Today’s Jeep has remained true to its roots. Offering the best off-road driving experience in its class, the 2015 Renegade is propelled by two separate powertrains: a 1.4-liter Multiair four-cylinder turbo engine and a 2.4-liter Multiair four-cylinder engine.

The new off-roader also comes equipped with some pretty cool tech features, too. A patented Tek-Tonic design integrates pliable and tactile forms like the soft-touch instrument panel, with more spartan details such as the passenger grab handle.

The auto maker came up with two new intelligent 4×4 systems – the Jeep Active Drive and the Active Drive Low. The first offers the driver full-time 4×4 capability, while the latter provides full-time 4×4 with 20:1 crawl ratio – a first-ever in its class. Both include a five-mode Jeep Selec-Terrain System, giving the newest off-roader in the car maker’s line-up, outstanding four-wheel drive performance.

Jeep also threw in another exclusive feature – a disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit that kicks only as needed in order to make the Renegade even more fuel efficient.

Powerful. Adventurous. Efficient. The 2015 Renegade was strategically redesigned to stand out in a growing class of small Sport Utility Vehicles.

If you’re looking for a little more excitement this summer, visit Mancari’s of Oak Lawn for the new 2015 Jeep Renegade! We’re celebrating the Summer of Jeep so there’s no better time to take one for a test drive!

Jeep Puts Chrysler Back on the Map

jeepAs projected, Jeep has put Chrysler back on the map. For the past three months, the car maker has hit an all-time monthly sales record, with May being its best sales month ever.  As of June, Chrysler’s sales are up an impressive 58 percent over last year.

After the completion of the merger, Fiat Chrysler announced an aggressive global plan to up sales to 7 million vehicles by 2018.  In 2013, we witnessed sales of 4.4 million automobiles. It wants to be considered a serious competitor with popular brands like GM, Volkswagen, and Toyota. Chrysler believes that a 6 million-unit-a-year deal is crucial to its sustainability.

FCA and Mancari Chrysler think that it’s all in the way that you market your product. If each one of Chrysler’s brands belong to a different segment, it makes marketing simpler, while targeting very distinct sectors.

The good news for the automaker is that even a goal of selling 1 million Jeeps worldwide in 2014 seems attainable. Last year, Chrysler reached global sales figures of $775,000. This is a figure that seems on point for this year’s U.S. sales, if current trends continue.

There has been much success in the performance of several SUVs, namely, Jeep, Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, Compass, and Patriot. Surprisingly, Grand Cherokee sales are up 13 percent over last year, despite the 2013 under-performance of the Liberty SUV.

The compact SUV segment is hot right now and Patriot and Compass are on fire. Compass has enjoyed a 28 percent increase over last year, while the Patriot is up 18 percent.

FCA plans to add more factories overseas in order to increase sales, as well. Even though most of our profits come from the U.S., setting up shop in China Europe and Latin America can’t hurt. This way, Chrysler is able to bypass heavy import fees and tariffs.

Another part of the auto company’s four year plan includes bringing back the Grand Wagoneer – a large, seven-passenger SUV that, we think, will rival the likes of the Lexus VS, Infiniti Q60, and the Audi Q7. On Jeep’s 75 anniversary, it will introduce a new compact crossover as an answer to the Toyota RAV4 and the Honda CR-V.

Another one for the brands FCA is counting on is the return of Alfa Romero to the U.S.  The car maker plans to build up Alfa Romero by investing close to $7 billion into the brand and slowly increasing the number of models.

Indeed FCA’s strategy for a more globally competitive marque are lofty, but if the way Jeep has been performing is any indication of the future, we’re expecting a pretty good year here at Mancari Chrysler. 

Ram 2500 Power Wagon – History in the Making

ram 2500There’s no doubt that today’s Ram 2500 Power Wagon has enjoyed a rich linage of pioneering, off-road, four-wheel drive capability.

What was once a super heavy, multi-faceted, military vehicle has morphed into all-purpose, performance-ready V-8. The Power Wagon boasts about 410 horsepower and 429 lb-feet of torque, and is known for tackling steep climbs, while offering a smooth, quiet cabin ride for more civilized road travel.

The Dodge Power Wagon traces its civilian roots back to the 1930’s, when it became the first 4X4 to be offered directly to the public.  Today, America loves its V8 HEMIs, but the oversized 383 Big-Block engine hadn’t been made available for pleasure use until the 1960’s.

Speaking of 4X4′s. Around the time the Power Wagon first went into production, it was only one of two factory-complete general use 4X4′s in America. Up until then, four wheel drive was reserved mainly for military and business purposes, though they had been produced in their earliest form around the early 1900s.

Fast forward to the 2014 Dodge Ram. Weighing in at a hefty 6,700 pounds, with a towing capacity of up to 10,810 pounds, the Ram is a bonafide monster truck.

Even back in 1946, the Dodge Power Wagon was a beast. Utilizing a military truck design, the Dodge was built to be rugged.

Though it sported a much shorter wheelbase at 126 inches, it weighed close to 8,700 pounds and was powered by a 94 horsepower 230-cubic-inch L-head six.

Back then, Dodge catered heavily to the farming industry, touting the Power Wagon’s capacity to tow a three-bottom, 14-inch plow, while advertising its powerful tractor-like capabilities.

The 2014 Chrysler version offers the same kind of performance it did back in 1949, featuring a good two inches of lift, locking differentials, and a 12,000 pound winch.

The Power Wagon nameplate was let go in the 1980′s. By then, the market for four wheel drive vehicles had been saturated and while the off-road icon had a pretty reasonable sales tag, competitors usually based their prices in relation to other vehicles in the same class.

In 2005, the Power Wagon was reintroduced to the world under the guise of the Dodge Ram – though some 4×4 enthusiasts, say that many people began mistakenly referring to the RAM as a Power Wagon.

When it came back on the scene, the Power Wagon became a separate model under the RAM marque and today, still dominates the world of high-performance pickups. For a great selection of Dodge and Ram vehicles and trucks, visit Mancari’s of Oak Lawn.

Joliet, IL Gears Up for 8th Annual Taste of Joliet

taste of jolietSold out concerts. Top-notch entertainment. Twenty-five food vendors. Carnivals, competitions, Kid Zone, and more!  The Taste of Joliet 2014 promises to be the city’s biggest event ever!

This year’s musical lineup includes some of the best bands in the business from American English, Brett Eldredge, and 7th Heaven to Eric Paisley, Skinny Williams, and Thompson Square.

In the past, the Taste of Joliet played host to iconic names like REO Speedwagon, Kenny Rogers, Rick Springfield, and KC & The Sunshine Band. With tons of great entertainment and hundreds of contests, games, activities it’s no surprise that over the past few years, “Taste” weekend has experienced a record turn out.

That’s a pretty big deal for a place known by most people as the “City of Steel and Stone.”

taste of jolietJoliet, Illinois is town of about 152,000 people who make up a very diverse and close knit community. It’s also one of the fastest growing cities in the Midwest and a place where residents pride themselves on a strong work ethic, family values, and respect for community.

Contrary to what many non-natives think, Joliet is a town that’s not afraid to play hard as well.

Traveling around the city, you’ll find gambling establishments like the Hollywood Casino Joliet and minor league baseball games played by the Joliet Slammers.

Families in the area enjoy a wide variety of activities like the races at the Chicagoland Speedway, outdoor water parks like the Splash Station, and GPS coordinated, outdoor treasure hunting games, like geocaching.

But it’s this mixture of high-time and hard work that defines what the Taste of Joliet is all about – a composition of history, legacy, and culture in a fun-filled, three-day extravaganza.

The city first held the event back in the 1980′s through the the 1990′s. It picked back up again in 2006 as the demand grew for festivals and entertainment on a larger scale.

Since then, the Joliet Park District has put on its annual exposition with the mission to “keep it as local as we can”  as described by Joliet Park District superintendent of communication, Brad Stab.

“Keeping it local” gives vendors in the area the opportunity to present their products and services to the community at large, while offering greater public business exposure.

Last year at the ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium, more than 60,000 people stood shoulder-to-shoulder over a three day period, enjoying a great musical lineup from a host of talented artists, competing in numerous contests and events, and indulging in various foods from local vendors.

On the eve of its 8th anniversary,  the Taste of Joliet has become a tradition, much like the city, that continues to grow year after year.

As in times past, Joliet residents enthusiastically look forward to gathering again for another great Taste weekend. Taste of Joliet will run June 27th through 29th. Mancari’s of Oak Lawn looks forward to a fun-filled summer with good friends, great deals, and fun festivals. We have a great selection of new and pre-owned Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram vehicles to get you around town safely this summer.

Ram Once Again Teams Up With Kentucky Derby

ram kentucky derbyMany of us at Mancari’s recently watched the big race. The Kentucky Derby, which many have called “the greatest two minutes in sports”, has been around for 140 years.  For the last five of those years, the Ram Truck brand has been the Official Truck for Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby.  Continuing the momentum of the back-to-back “Truck of the Year” awards, Ram took advantage of the partnership and created a “Dominate the Field” advertising campaign.

The commercials and other advertisements for Ram Trucks still centered on the concept of hard-working Americans…the force that drives this country.  Glimpses of a Ram truck at work alongside these Americans give a peak at the power and ingenuity of a long-time favorite vehicle.  At the end of the advertisements is the seal of the 140th Kentucky Derby and the declaration of Ram’s partnership to the institution.  In turn, there were posters around Churchill Downs promoting the event and the hard work and dedication that it takes to get into the prestigious race, while incorporating the tagline “Guts. Glory. Ram.”

The Ram brand was seen all around the race grounds, including on the “Big Board”, the new very large ultra HD video board at Churchill Downs.  Attendees enjoyed exploring samples of the Ram Truck line-up and have their pictures taken next to a new 2014 Ram 1500 Eco Diesel. Those pictures were immediately emailed to the patrons.  Freebies like Ram brand flip-flops were handed out and the Ram brand was integrated in many aspects of the race day. The gate crew members wore uniforms with the Ram logo and a representative was on hand to present the winning trophies to horse owners and jockeys.

Of course there were plenty of working Ram trucks seen in and around the race grounds.  Trucks are a necessity to the working order of an event of this magnitude.  Whether transporting a few tons of horse supplies or taxiing officials from one end of the complex to the other, it was important that a vehicle with power and reliability be able to handle the tasks. Ram trucks once again met the expectations associated with the brand name.

If you’re interested in learning more about the latest Ram trucks available, visit Mancari’s of Oak Lawn. We have a full selection of new and pre-owned vehicles. Stop over and take one for a test drive!