After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, North America’s largest auto show restarts this week in Detroit, giving consumers their first taste of what the trillion-dollar auto industry has in its pipeline. sleeve.
The North American International Auto Show is taking place in Motor City, Michigan, but there was some exciting news for Canadians on Wednesday as Chrysler announced plans to restart the 300 sedan, which will be made in Canada.
Starting with the 2023 model year, Chrysler will manufacture the gas-powered sedan at its plant in Brampton, Ontario. First launched in 2005, the 300 enjoyed strong sales for around a decade before demand began to wane even before the COVID-19 pandemic, as smaller, more fuel-efficient models became more popular. . The latest version of the 300 rolled off the line in 2020.
Chrysler, part of multinational automaker Stellantis, will make about 2,000 cars for the US market and about 200 for Canada for a final test before discontinuing the vehicle for good. In addition to the 300, Chrysler’s Brampton plant also makes gas-powered Dodge Chargers and Dodge Challengers, which are also slated to drop after next year.
“This is the last model year for the 300,” Christine Feuell, CEO of the Chrysler brand, told CBC News. “We really wanted to give our 300 enthusiasts something to celebrate as we shut down this release.”
She added: “We hope to build up enough inventory to have inventory sales for a while…until the new product is launched.”
Electric cars in the spotlight
The new product that Feuell is teasing is primarily electric in nature, as Chrysler is leaning heavily on electric vehicles for its future, much like many other automakers are doing.
Chrysler plans to roll out its first battery-electric car in 2025, but the move to electric is going to be quick: within seven years, the brand plans to offer only electric-powered vehicles, closing the book on internal combustion engines.
“Our transition really begins in the next two years as we migrate to full electrification,” Feuell said.
While the Detroit auto show displays carry the familiar brand names that car shoppers are used to, there are a few newcomers to the event who hint at the industry’s electric future.
A Detroit-based startup called Plug Zen is there, showing off its range of charging stations and infrastructure. The same goes for Harbinger Motors, an aptly named electric van maker whose product lineup is a signal of what’s to come for delivery trucks.
Swedish brand Volvo’s truck unit has announced plans for six new electric-powered trucks, with the aim of having half of its fleet electric by the end of the decade.
The buzz around electricity is so big that US President Joe Biden is expected to make an appearance in Detroit, trumpeting his administration’s plan to spend US$900 million to build an 85,300 kilometer network of charging stations across 35 states.
His recent infrastructure bill includes a new federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for anyone who buys an electric vehicle, as long as it’s built in North America. Eligible vehicle batteries must also be manufactured in North America, and there are requirements for battery minerals to be produced or recycled in the continent.
The tax credit aims to create a supply chain for electric vehicles in the United States and end dependence on other countries, mainly China.