Chrysler Canada recently recorded fifty consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth…

These days, there’s always something new and interesting to see at a Chrysler auto show product display.

Big and small, it’s got’em all.

There’s a super-cute little Fiat that can run forever on litre of fuel over here and a big, brawny heavy-duty Ram 2500 Laramie Longhorn Diesel that can pull a mountain over there.

Then there’s value-packed Dodge, go-anywhere Jeep and those top-line Chrysler brand products, including the sleek new (2015) 200 sedan. Gear-heads will, of course, be gathered around the SRT Viper, which reportedly can transport occupants to 100 km/h in less than four seconds.

On the business side, Chrysler Canada recently recorded fifty consecutive months of year-over-year sales growth, which is the longest period of continuous market improvement in the company’s history. Globally, 2013 was another great year for parent company Chrysler Group LLC, which reported a year-end net income of $2.8 billion, up from $1.7 billion the previous year. So far, in 2014, the sales growth story continues with award winning new vehicles and there are more new products in the pipeline.

The radically redesigned Jeep Cherokee was recently voted 2014 Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year, by members of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) and has already achieved best ever mid-size SUV sales results for Jeep. Cherokee is the first Jeep built on a body platform co-developed with corporate partner Fiat S.p.A. The base engine is a fuel-efficient 2.4-litre Tigershark MultiAir 4-cylinder engine and there’s an optional new 3.2-litre Pentastar V6 engine. Other engineering highlights include a nine-speed automatic transmission and a new Jeep Selec-Terrain traction control system with up to five customized drive modes.

This year the redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered with a new 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 engine option, which is expected to deliver best-in-class fuel economy, a driving range in excess of 1,100 km and towing capability up to 3357 kg (7,400 lb). A new eight-speed automatic transmission comes with all powertrains. Grand Cherokee also offers three 4×4 systems and a Quadra-Lift air suspension.

Led by the Ram 1500, Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of Year for the second year in a row and the only half-ton with a diesel engine option, Ram is now the second-best selling vehicle in Canada. Chrysler separated its Dodge brand and created the distinct standalone Ram brand to concentrate on core truck customers and offers a range of vehicles that includes pickup trucks, vans, cab/chassis platforms and commercial products,

The Fiat brand is a relative newcomer to the Chrysler family and is sold through selected Chrysler dealers. A recent surge in sales was led primarily by the introduction of a new Fiat 500L. Expanding the size and appeal of the diminutive Cinquecento (Fiat 500) and offering 42 per cent more interior space plus seating for five, the new 500L is a contemporary and uniquely Italian styling package.

If big, bold, and powerful is more your style, the Dodge Charger is a rear-drive, full size sedan with power to match its muscular styling. A new Redline Package comes with 20-inch black chrome wheels, Beats Audio and an upgraded 300 horsepower, 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine. If that’s not enough, there’s a new R/T edition comes with a 370 hp HEMI V8 engine.

The best selling minivan of all time, Dodge Grand Caravan is the definitive family transporter. It now only comes with a Pentastar 3.5 litre V6 engine – no gutless base engine here – linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. A new “Blacktop” package includes a black gloss front grille and headlamp treatments plus black polished aluminum wheels, giving it a more sinister appearance.

The already mentioned 2015 Chrysler 200 is a redesigned mid-size sedan for those who have earned the right to enjoy some luxury and those extra frills, yet still demand value for money. The 200’s exterior front-end design is apparently the new “face” of the Chrysler brand and it’s now based on an Alfa Romeo chassis.

At the L.A. auto show about six years ago, the lights were turned out at an abandoned Chrysler display during the press preview days.

It was both ominous and sad to see, as behind closed doors a once great company was struggling to survive.

The dark days are over.

Contact: bob [dot] mchugh [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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