One Detroit automaker has been standing out from the rest of the pack in 2017. While General Motors Company  (GM) and Ford Motor Company  (F) are each underperforming the S&P 500 by a big margin year to date, shares of Italian-American car maker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCAU) have been off to the races.

Since the calendar flipped to January, Fiat Chrysler is up more than 40%, leaving most of its peers in the dust. Except Ferrari (RACE)  (a company spun-off from Fiat in January 2016), which is up nearly 70% on the year

Just this week, news hit that a Chinese automaker made at least one offer to purchase Fiat Chrysler at a small premium over its current share price. The takeover bid was rejected for not being high enough, according to the report, but it was enough to energize shares to kick off the week Monday: FCAU shares are up more than 10% since Friday's close. That up-move has been enough to propel shares of this car giant to new all-time highs.

But don't worry if you've missed out on that upside potential this year, Fiat is in full-blown breakout-mode right now. And the chart is signaling that shares could have even further to rally in the weeks ahead. Here's a technical look at how to trade it:

Fiat Chrysler actually spent a good chunk of 2017 tracking sideways in a well-defined range. Resistance at $12, coupled with uptrending support to the downside, has provided a pretty textbook example of an ascending triangle pattern, a bullish continuation setup that signals more upside ahead. The buy signal came with Monday's break above that long-term $12 price ceiling, an indication that buyers are clearly back in control of FCAU shares.

The follow-through in Tuesday's trading session is providing an important piece of confirmation for traders who've been reluctant to enter this trade.

Relative strength, measured by the line down at the bottom of this stock's chart, has been in an uptrend of its own since October, a bullish price signal that indicates FCAU's outperformance has been holding up from the explosive up-move last fall without wavering. That uptrend in relative strength means that Fiat Chrysler is statistically predisposed to outperform in the months ahead.

Risk management remains key if you're thinking about taking the Fiat Chrysler trade. Prior lows at $10.40 are a logical place to park a protective stop at this point. If FCAU violates that $10.50 level, the ascending triangle pattern triggering now is broken and you don't want to own it anymore.

Until then, FCAU stock is sending investors a clear buy signal this week.

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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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