Chrysler at the 2014 Canadian International Auto Show

200 launch

February 2014 marked the 41st Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Ontario. Chrysler was in their “signature” location in the North building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre; their display had a bright, airy feeling thanks to the white ceiling and floor; that said, the show was spread out over a large space, and the lighting was less than ideal.

paris, bigland, marchionne

Lawrence Monkhouse, who was a Chrysler Canada photographer for many years [see his page on Pillette Road], wrote:

I greeted Reid Bigland [head of Ram, Dodge, and Chrysler Canada] with a “Hi boss — I'm a Chrysler Canada retiree.” He said “That’s great,” and noticing the allpar logo on my badge, said, “And now you’re working for allpar.” I told him that if there was anything he wanted to know about Chrysler he could check it out at allpar.com, and he told me he knew.

In his talk, Mr. Bigland said that Chrysler Canada last year was number two in sales and manufacturing, and so far in 2014 (based on January sales) leads the way with 18% market share. Chrysler Canada accounts for 22% of Chrysler production, with 570,000 cars and minivans made here in 2013.

sergio marchionne

The keynote speaker was Sergio Marchionne, who warned against falling back into the “ill-advised” practices that “got us into trouble,” including overproduction. Mr. Marchionne talked about untapped potential in alternative fuels (pointing to Canada’s large supplies of natural gas, among others), and new driving technologies with the risks they bring. He concluded, “Our leadership as an industry is defined not just by the amount of money our companies make, but by the role we can play for future generations, and by the enormous opportunities we are able to create, for our people and for the society as a whole. It is this commitment to behave ethically and to improve the quality of life in society that gives merit and dignity to what we do.”

minivans

Later, Mr. Marchionne talked with reporters about the upcoming minivans and the status of the Windsor, Ontario plant. He said that the government and Chrysler were far apart in negotiations, which was also stated separately by a Canadian official; generally, Canadians do not subsidize plants to the extent of Americans (roughly 20% of the cost of a new plant being funded by tax dollars in Canada is considered fairly high, whereas in the United States, 50% is becoming normal).

reid and sergio

Mr. Marchionne acknowledged the high skills, productivity, and quality of the Windsor plant workers, while pointing to the large investment being proposed — “over $2 billion.” Over $1 billion of this would be spent on the plant alone, since plans include flexible manufacturing to allow vehicles of varying designs and dimensions, including a completely new paint shop and possibly a new body shop; since Fiat took over, Chrysler’s often-aging equipment has been replaced en masse by brand new, state of the art machines.

award wtih Cherokee

At the show, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee was declared the 2014 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) (as well as “best new SUV/CUV under $35,000”). The winners were voted on by 80 Canadian auto journalists, who test drive new and updated vehicles for five days in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Details were individually rated in secret ballots, with over 40,000 data fields.

cherokee with ajac award

superbird

charger

darts

new 200

ram

vm v6 ram engine

reid bigland

All FCA brands were present, including Ferrari and Maserati. Competing for attention with Maserati was the McLaren P1, a $1.3 million car — not that much more than “La Ferrari.” The two bear some striking resemblances. 

ferrari

mclaren

maserati

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