Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 10

10
03.24
OPINION
Charger trapped between
the past and the future?
STELLANTIS HAS BITTEN OFF A LOT
all at once with the new Dodge Charger
Daytona. Maybe that's an understatement.
Meshing
muscle
car heritage
with EV
technology
could leave
Dodge with few
customers from
either camp.
It's on a new modern platform and
has two or four doors, it's being built in
a retooled plant in a new city -
Windsor, Ont. - and it can be had with
electric or internal-combustion power.
This would be a risky undertaking for
any new vehicle, but the biggest gamble
is more cultural: trying to mesh heritage
and the EV era without getting trapped
between the two. What do I mean?
In all likelihood,
the new Charger,
which pays significant
homage to its
1969 muscle car
history (see story on
Page 1), will be a
hard pass for buyers
who make their purchase
based on
economy, prestige
or, in particular, saving
the planet.
Dodge says as
much. In a 10-minute YouTube video,
brand CEO Tim Kuniskis takes an electric
Charger - it's the perfect name,
isn't it? - back in time to meet the
Dodge Brothers. He tells them that
using electricity to make
a more powerful car
rather than one that's
focused on the environment
is the company's
way of getting revenge
against the rule makers.
He then pokes fun at
SCAN TO
SEE DODGE'S
YOUTUBE VIDEO
people who drink kale smoothies. Fair
game, I reckon.
OK, muscle car fans are the target,
then, but if the seething hatred on
social media over an electric Charger is
any indication, muscle car enthusiasts
want their muscle cars to have a " f----g
Hemi " (that's from a Facebook
page) V-8 engine and not electric
motors or turbocharged inline six-cylinder
engines. (In the video, Kuniskis
says the company was forced to drop
the Hemi, presumably for emissions
reasons.)
These could be the same barking
dogs who said, all the way back to
2005, that a four-door Charger was a
dumb idea even though it was a clear
success with 1.9 million of them built
over nearly two decades. Regardless,
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
JEFF
MELNYCHUK
there's a prevailing sentiment that the
new car tramples all over history
instead of reincarnating it. It's worth
noting that wasn't the case 15 years
ago when the retro Dodge Challenger
was launched. That was a hero and
became its own legend.
So who are the new Charger's customers,
then? A thin wedge of rich,
high-tech Baby Boomers looking to
beat up on Tesla owners at the stoplight?
A collector who has an original
1969 Charger Daytona and wants the
new one? I'm not entirely sure.
Had the new car just been a redesign
that incorporated the inline six-cylinder
as the base engine and a Hemi
V-8 as the option, I think it would be
an automatic slam dunk with fans.
But as an EV, the Charger might run
into the same issues Ford has had selling
the Mustang Mach-E. It was strong
out of the gate with early adopters, but
now it languishes on lots. Pundits have
used the situation to profess waning EV
popularity, but it's just as likely that an
electric Mustang crossover doesn't sell
because it's not a real Mustang. The
Charger is a car, at least.
The saving grace for Dodge is that
the flexible STLA Large platform will be
used for other vehicles coming out of
Windsor. The previous Charger shared
the line in Brampton, Ont., with the
Challenger and the Chrysler 300, but no
other vehicles.
If the new Charger flops, Stellantis
could revise it until it connects with the
market, or just hang it up, put the
Charger in the history books and take
the loss.
I have high hopes for the car
because it's clear Stellantis has put lot
of thought and effort into it, likely spending
many late nights and board meetings
considering the cultural obstacles.
In my January column, I wrote,
" Whatever Stellantis builds next, it had
better be great. "
I hope the Charger is just that, but
meshing heritage with EV technology is
a high-stakes gamble for the brand. The
options are win big or lose big. - ANC
Brown is among a roster of
Startups have
found a niche
by tailoring
their services
to women.
speakers at the She Auto Know Car Clinic, an event
aimed at demystifying the auto world for women. The
daylong event, set to take place March 23 in Toronto,
will feature sessions ranging from how to handle roadside
emergencies to choosing the
right service centre.
Brown, who will speak on the
industry's shift toward electrification,
decided to participate at the
behest of organizer Stephanie
Henry, a Toronto broadcaster and
CEO of She Auto Know. Henry
launched her company two years
ago to " help women understand
vehicles better, so they aren't taken for a ride. "
" Our mission is to foster inclusivity, providing
resources for active participation and contributing to
a more diverse and empowered space, " said Henry,
who also has earned a service tech diploma.
In other parts of the country, like-minded women
are launching similar efforts. In Vancouver, Vivian Liu,
a former district manager for General Motors, said she
founded Making Auto Easy (MAE) last year to educate
women about cars and help them feel comfortable visiting
dealerships or repair shops.
WRITE TO US:
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Email letters to Grace.Macaluso@autonews.com
Women help other women gain
confidence in dealership visits
IN HER 20-PLUS-YEAR CAREER IN AUTO RETAILING,
Mitzi Brown has witnessed many changes, but one
pain point persists: the discomfort women feel when
they step into a car dealership or service centre.
" They're intimidated, " said Brown,
a sales executive at Porsche Centre
Oakville, about 40 kilometres west
of Toronto. " When they are dealing
with me, they always say, 'Oh, God,
I'm so happy to have a woman,'
and I feel that they can be themselves. "
MACALUSO
MANAGING
EDITOR
GRACE
" I set out to build something based on my experience
that was going to help people make well-informed,
smart, confident decisions, " Liu said.
MAE is also an online platform that helps consumers
find the right vehicle for their
needs and wants, she said. " It's like
an online dating website, but for
cars. While it's geared toward
women, it can be used by all consumers. "
The
MAE website bluntly
declares, " Picking
the right car
doesn't have to suck. "
While automakers and dealers
have stepped up efforts to recruit
female employees as well as
launch marketing campaigns targeting
female car buyers, the
industry remains a male bastion,
said Liu.
" It's not for lack of trying, " she
said. But startups such as MAE and
She Auto Know have found a niche
by tailoring their services to women,
whether they're looking to buy a car
or start an automotive career.
MAE, for example, has partnered
with the Vancouver International
Auto Show, hosting two days of
workshops for women March
23-24.
" It's time for a cultural shift, and
it starts from the root, " Henry said. " Dealerships and
automakers can contribute by promoting and supporting
diversity in the workforce and introducing
educational programs to demystify auto processes
and spaces. " - ANC
Fairness of a yearly EV tax weighs
heavily on many - just get over it
The roads
won't fix
themselves;
EV drivers
should pay
an equivalent
to fuel tax.
PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY CRAIN COMMUNICATIONS, INC.
KC CRAIN, GROUP PUBLISHER & CEO
JEFF MELNYCHUK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, 506.866.8236, Jeff.Melnychuk@autonews.com
GRACE MACALUSO, MANAGING EDITOR, 226.787.0441, Grace.Macaluso@autonews.com
GREG LAYSON, DIGITAL AND MOBILE EDITOR, 519.567.8877, Greg.Layson@autonews.com
DAVID KENNEDY, TORONTO BUREAU CHIEF, 416.712.1378, david.kennedy@autonews.com
EMMA HANCOCK, HOST AND CONTENT STRATEGIST, 647.921.3543, emma.hancock@autonews.com
TIM DIMOPOULOS, MANAGING DIRECTOR/PUBLISHER
416.560.7663, tim.dimopoulos@autonews.com
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MATT PARSONS, 313.446.5866, mparsons@autonews.com
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CHRISSY TAYLOR, VICE-PRESIDENT EDITORIAL OPERATIONS, AUTOMOTIVE NEWS GROUP
KC CRAIN, PRESIDENT & CEO
KEITH E. CRAIN, EDITOR EMERITUS
YES, THE ALBERTA GOVERNMENT
plans to put an annual $200 tax
on electric-vehicle owners starting
next year. No, this isn't unfair,
undemocratic, punitive or even
dumb, as some people on social
media have suggested.
Heck,
the
idea isn't even
new. In 2021,
Saskatchewan
placed a $150
annual fee on EV
owners. Even
California - the
EV mecca and
jurisdiction that
our federal Liberal government so
badly wants to emulate when it
comes to green automotive policy
- charges an annual EV registration
fee.
According to our story on
, Alberta introduced
the new tax in its budget,
tabled Feb. 29, saying the added
weight of EVs will " cause more
wear and tear on provincial roadways "
than vehicles powered by
internal combustion that are subject
to fuel taxes every time drivers
fill up the tank.
Make no mistake, EVs are
heavy: The Ford F-150 Lightning
weighs about 900 kilograms more
than the internal-combustion versions,
and the new Dodge
Charger Daytona EV is pushing
6,000 pounds (2,700 kilograms),
ing finish-line tape.
DIGITAL AND
MOBILE EDITOR
GREG
LAYSON
which is unsurprising given that
it's also larger than the previous
internal-combustion model that
weighed in at about 4,400
pounds (2,000 kilograms).
" While fuel tax revenue is not
dedicated to funding construction
and maintenance of provincial
roads, there are, nevertheless,
fairness concerns with drivers of
other vehicles and longer-term
challenges associated with declining
fuel tax revenue, " the province
of Alberta says.
And, the province said the
$200 tax is " in line " with the estimated
fuel taxes paid annually by
gasoline- and diesel-vehicle drivers.
The
roads won't fix themselves
for free, folks. And retrofitting
guardrails to keep people safe
from the occasional EV crash
won't be cheap.
Why bring that up? Because
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
and University of Nebraska
crashed an electric pickup into a
conventional guardrail - the
type used across North America
- at 60 mph (96 km/h) and it
looked like a marathoner breakThe
new Dodge Charger
Daytona EV is significantly
heavier than the previous
internal-combustion model
and will take a heavier toll
on roads. PHOTO: STELLANTIS
So yes, all drivers should have
to pay, even the most virtuous
environmentalists.
It's not like we haven't been
taxed - fairly or not - for eons
for things we don't use equally.
Take health care. The healthiest
people pay the same rate as the
people who drink alcohol in
excess, smoke, overeat, live a
sedentary lifestyle, race cars, forgo
seatbelts or have naturally occurring
underlying ailments. One person
might visit the doctor or hospital
multiple times a year; others
might not ever set foot in one.
And yet, we all pay our fair share.
Heck, even child-free couples
are taxed to fund provincial education.
Sure,
the gas tax is a user fee.
Drive more, pay more. But EV
owners shouldn't get a free ride.
So, pay the EV registration fee
because, in the end, it's fair.
- ANC
Stephanie
Henry
started She
Auto Know
to " help
women
understand
vehicles
better, so
they aren't
taken for a
ride. "
PHOTO:
LINKEDIN

Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - March 2024

Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 3
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 4
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 5
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 6
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 7
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 8
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 9
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 10
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I1
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - I2
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 11
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 12
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 13
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 14
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 15
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 16
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 17
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 18
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 19
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 20
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 21
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 22
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 23
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 24
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 25
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 26
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 27
Automotive News Canada - March 2024 - 28
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