The Fiat-Chrysler deal went through. I think this has the potential to improve the car selection available in the US. I was impressed by many of Fiat’s designs I saw last summer. I haven’t had a chance to drive or work on one yet, so I can’t be sure, but many Fiats look practical for a significant fraction of drivers. I hope the better Fiat models make it in the US. Even if they don’t, there is still the possibility that Fiat’s influence will lead to some better Chryslers.

One feature on some recent Fiats that should be quickly adopted is the Bosch Start&Stop system, which is basically a few sensors and a beefed up starter motor. Start&Stop allows the engine to shut off at stoplights, and restart when needed. It is designed well enough to keep the engine on when it needs to be. Start&Stop is reported to save up to 11% of gas for city driving. A system like this would be particularly useful on work trucks, but should be used on most cars sold. From my experience, work trucks spend a lot of time stopped and idling, but much of that idling time isn’t needed. A system that runs the engine only enough to keep it warm–and the cabin air-conditioned or heated–would save large amounts of gas. The system should easily pay for itself in fuel savings.

So, will Fiat-Chrysler be better for Chrysler than DaimlerChrysler?