What we're reading in the Motoramic Dash this morning about Dodge racing its Dart, plaudits for Chrysler and moving the metal in Baghdad:
Dodge signs Travis Pastrana for Dart Rallycross team [Dodge] Anxious to build some youth appeal for its upcoming Dart compact car, Dodge has signed rally prince Travis Pastrana to take a specially prepped Dodge Dart into the Global Rallycross Championship series this year. The Dart Pastrana will race has a few changes from stock — like a 600-hp turbo engine and a rally-grade four-wheel-drive system. Look for it at the Global RallyCross races that will be held around several NASCAR events this year.
"The fear is gone," Marchionne tells "60 Minutes" [Detroit Free Press] It's Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's moment to bask, as this positive profile on "60 Minutes" highlights the turnaround at Chrysler. Industry wags would point out that much of the work Marchionne can hail happened before he arrived, like the new Chrysler 300 and Jeep Grand Cherokee. The real test will be how well Fiat-Chrysler produce when building all-new models, which are still a year out.
U.S. faces messy problem at Ally Financial [Financial Times] One of the less well-understood portions of the Obama Administration's rescue of the auto industry is the role of Ally Financial, the former GMAC financing arm that was in many ways the key to General Motors and Chrysler succeeding after bankruptcy. The problem now: Ally is still ailing, caught by debts from its old mortgage business (remember those Ditech.com ads? That was GMAC/Ally) and creditors wanting payback — not to mention the government's 74 percent stake.
Fisker targets $100 million in new money [Bloomberg] The scoop from Bloomberg's Alan Ohnsman about the start-up builder of the Fisker Karma seeking more money from investors makes sense. Fisker can't access much of its $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy, but needs more cash to build its second model, the Nina, at a Delaware factory formerly owned by General Motors. Fisker already has $896 million from private investors; will the Karma's troubles give more backers pause?
How Dilts became a danger zone dealer [Auto News] Today's best story is locked behind a paywall, but it's still a great read about how a former Chrysler sales exec teamed with an Iraqi entrepreneur to open a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep showroom in Baghdad. The business has a few quirks — 24-hour security armed with AK-47s, a few cases of the windows shattering from nearby bomb blasts — but it's also shows just how strong the demand for personal transportation is on any given point of the globe.