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Year-End Highlights: Fiat Chrysler’s Key Updates in 2016

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Changing auto industry dynamics

In this era of technology, auto industry dynamics are changing at a very fast pace. Many technology companies such as Google (GOOGL) and Uber are becoming interested in developing vehicle automation technology.

To stay ahead of the competition, automakers will need to innovate and implement faster than others. That’s why mainstream automakers took some key initiatives in 2016 in the area of autonomous vehicle development and EVs (electric vehicles). Let’s find out what Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) did during the year to attempt to beat the competition.

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Fiat Chrysler’s collaboration with Google

In the second quarter of 2016, Fiat Chrysler collaborated with Google. Under the agreement, Fiat Chrysler is supposed to produce about 100 Chrysler Pacifica hybrids to test Google’s self-driving technology. FCAU and Google both planned to co-locate their engineering teams to make the design, testing, and manufacturing process hassle-free.

A possible future integration of Google’s self-driving technology in FCAU’s vehicles could enhance customer appeal. So the collaboration with Google could prove to be an important step for Fiat Chrysler in 2017.

Auto giants (IYK) General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) have already started developing and testing their autonomous vehicles. Tesla (TSLA), the popular electric carmaker, already offers partial automation features in its vehicles.

Electric vehicles and FCAU

Currently, EV development is an area in which Fiat Chrysler lacks strength and future planning. In 2016, the company’s EV, the Fiat 500e, was available on the market with an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) of $31,800 in the United States. But in terms of driving range and other features, the Fiat 500e didn’t impress customers at that price point.

FCAU’s direct peers, including GM and Ford, have made promises to start mass producing EVs. In fact, GM already started delivering its much-awaited Chevrolet Bolt EV in December 2016. Is it time for Fiat Chrysler to focus on EV development to stay ahead of the competition?

Read on to the next part to see what the recent Fed rate hike could mean for Fiat Chrysler.

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