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Monroe Superstore News and Events

Toledo plant construction on track for new Wrangler
Next-gen Jeep model set to roll out in 4Q

By Tyrel Linkhorn, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Published 6/2/2017

Construction within Fiat Chrysler's Toledo Assembly Complex is on schedule, with the debut for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler still on track for the year's fourth quarter.

Officials from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, which owns the plant and the Jeep brand, allowed a small group of media into the facility Thursday to see the progress of the work and give an outline of what all has happened there in the last eight weeks.

Since the last Jeep Cherokee rolled off the line on April 7, construction crews have gutted most of the plant floor to make way for the new conveyor systems, tooling, and robotics necessary for a new Wrangler.

"At one point you could see from one end of this building to the other with the amount of demo that was going on," Plant Manger Chuck Padden said.

While a few areas will be relatively unchanged, for the most part the plant is starting from scratch. That's necessary, officials say, because of the different way in which the new Wrangler will be built.

The Cherokee, which will soon relaunch in Belvidere, Ill., is a unibody vehicle. In simple terms, that means the body and frame are essentially one single unit upon which everything from the suspension and engine to doors and seats are mounted.

The new Wrangler will continue as a body-on-frame vehicle, which mates a body to a separate chassis which is built with the engine, transmission, suspension, and other key components.

"It may seem simple, but basically you're almost going from building a car to a truck," Mr. Padden said. "The frame is built separately from the body so the entire process changes. The components are very different."

Fiat Chrysler has said it will invest about $700 million in the project. Between the automaker's own skilled trades employees and outside contractors, up to 2,500 people were working on the changeover at one point. Today, that's closer to 2,000, Mr. Padden said.

Officials with the automaker would not address questions about the new Wrangler itself, which is expected to go on sale next year as a 2018 model.

However, union officials said last month that 200 prototype Wranglers already had been built in a special part of the plant. Those vehicles will be used for a variety of testing purposes, but not sold to the public.

None was within sight on Thursday.

The current generation of the Wrangler will remain in production until shortly after the new model launches. That side of the Toledo complex, which includes two on-site suppliers, has not been affected by the construction.

Officials with Fiat Chrysler said the work in the former Cherokee plant has included hauling away 920 truckloads of scrap material, plus about 4,800 tons of steel to be recycled.

For the new conveyor lines, crews dug out significant sections of the floor, installed the equipment and have poured 4,000 yards of new concrete.

"From the technology standpoint here, there's nothing brand new, never been used before, but some of this is brand new to Toledo and some of it's bigger, faster, better, than where the applications have been in the past," Mr. Padden said.

One addition will be adaptive lighting in the final inspection part of the paint shop.

"There's new technology there that will actually adjust the intensity of the inspection lighting depending on the color of the car going down the line," Mr. Padden said.

Different parts of the plant are in different stages of construction. While concrete is still being poured in some areas, in other areas technicians are beginning to program the robots.

Fiat Chrysler laid off about 3,200 employees when Cherokee production ended, though the company has said all of those will be brought back in. The company also has said 700 new full-time jobs would be created, though no new details about that were offered on Thursday.

Eventually, Jeep will shut down the current Wrangler line and retool it for a new Jeep pickup. The company has said the Toledo Assembly Complex will share in an upcoming $1 billion investment that will support part of that work, though officials haven't said exactly how much of it will come to Toledo.

 The Monroe Superstore is proud to be part of this community for over 50 years. 
Happy 200th Anniversary Monroe County! 1817-2017





Jeep Wrangler ranks among best on resale
SUVs hold 55% of purchase price at age 5
BY TYREL LINKHORN BLADE BUSINESS WRITER Published 12/16/2015

About a year ago, Monroe car dealer Ralph Mahalak, Jr., gave his employees some new instructions for what to do when Jeep Wranglers came across the auction block. Don't worry about the price. Just buy 'em.

"They were complaining they could never buy them because they were overpriced," he said. "Obviously, someone is selling them. Why don't you keep your hand raised until we buy them."

Mr. Mahalak, who owns the Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Superstore, acknowledges the idea sounded a little crazy, but it's worked.

"It doesn't really matter," he said. "You always sell it."

The Wrangler, which is built at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Toledo Assembly Complex, has consistently been among the best at retaining its value and that remains true this year.

Kelley Blue Book said Tuesday the Wrangler once again enjoys the top resale value within the compact sport utility and crossover segment.

The Wrangler slipped from No. 2 to No. 5 overall in Kelley's 2016 Best Resale Value Awards, but the Jeep still holds onto its purchase price far better than the industry average.

"The Wrangler is one of those vehicles that just holds its value phenomenally well," said Eric Ibara, director of residual values for Kelley Blue Book.

The valuation service expects a new Wrangler to keep 66 percent of its sticker price three years in and 55 percent after five years. The five-year assumption is based on a vehicle in average condition with 75,000 miles.

The industry average for 2016 models is about 35 percent after five years, down slightly from last year. Officials say used car prices should slide a bit in 2016 as more vehicles come off leases and go back into the retail stream.

Kelley Blue Book uses sales data, market conditions, economic expectations, and other factors to gauge the resale value, but Mr. Ibara said at its heart, it's simple.

"It'll sound a little trite but it really is Econ 101," he said. "It's a balance of supply and demand. We have seen examples of great vehicles that should carry a strong residual value, but if too many are produced, it will hurt the used car value."

Tops for 2016 in the Kelley study was the Toyota Tacoma. The midsize pickup has been a regular on the Kelley list, but it got a boost this year after a major redesign. Kelley Blue Book estimates the Tacoma will hold onto nearly 62 percent of its value after five years.

Trucks and SUVs, sales of which have been soaring of late, dominated the list. Following the Tacoma are the Toyota 4Runner, the GMC Canyon, and Chevrolet Colorado.

The Jeep Cherokee, which is also made at the Toledo Assembly Complex, didn't make the list, which means it wasn't among the top 10 overall or among the top three ranked in its segment.

For the brandwide awards, Kelley Blue Book said Subaru and Lexus were tops.

Car shoppers should take note of expected residual values, the rating company says. Vehicles that hold their value well can often be leased for less, while buyers could net thousands of dollars more when it comes time to sell.



Jeep Cherokee production to stay through '16
Fiat apparently delaying launch of next-generation Wrangler
BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER Published 11/19/2015

Jeep Cherokee production is expected to be moved from Toledo, although those plans appear to be on hold. Jeep Cherokee production is expected to be moved from Toledo, although those plans appear to be on hold.

Union officials say they have learned Fiat Chrysler's Toledo Assembly Complex will continue building the Jeep Cherokee through at least the end of 2016, a longer period than they had initially expected.

While the revelation gives employees a little more short-term job certainty, it could potentially signal the company is pushing back the launch of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler.

A spokesman for Fiat Chrysler declined to comment Wednesday.

Though Fiat Chrysler hasn't officially announced plans to move Cherokee production out of Toledo, its chief executive officer did say that was his plan in an interview with a trade publication this year.

Doing so would allow the company to expand Wrangler production in Toledo. The two sport utility vehicles are the best-selling Jeep models, each selling more than 170,000 for the first 10 months of the year.

The recently ratified contract between the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler indicated without specifics that Cherokee production would end sometime next year.

However, in the latest edition of the Toledo Union Journal, UAW Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower said that appears to have changed.

"Although the contract states there will be a built-out [shut down] in 2016 to make that move, we have been told that all down weeks for the year have been filled in with production," Mr. Baumhower said.

He went on to say suppliers have been told to maintain full production on the Cherokee through the end of 2016.

Neither Mr. Baumhower nor UAW Local 12 Jeep Unit Chairman Mark Epley returned calls seeking comment.

Mr. Baumhower's comments do match up with what analysts are saying, though.

Bill Rinna, senior manager of North American forecasting at LMC Automotive, said Toledo should have a full year of Cherokee production in 2016 before the model leaves to make room for redesigned Wrangler.

"Our current timing of the next-generation Wrangler is [first quarter] 2017, although we have been getting indications that this could possibly be delayed until later in the year, which would make sense given significant retooling that would need to be done," Mr. Rinna said.

Even if the next Wrangler is delayed, there may not be much of an effect in the short term.

"The momentum on this vehicle is ridiculous. It's absolutely insane," said Ralph Mahalak, Jr., who runs a Jeep dealership in Monroe. "They're just selling faster and faster and faster."

Though the Ram pickup and Jeep Patriot outsell the Wrangler at his Monroe Dodge Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Superstore, Mr. Mahalak said Wranglers are far and away the quickest sellers on his lot.

"Build me two times as many Wranglers and I'll be a happy guy," he said.



2016 Jeep Wrangler Backcountry

The Jeep Wrangler Backcountry boasts a winter capability theme and is based on the Wrangler Sahara model. It features a Backcountry decal on the front fender and rear quarter panel, a unique off-road front and rear powder coated bumper, 17-inch Rubicon wheels painted in Mid-gloss Black and a black fuel fill door. Wrangler Rubicon rock rails are standard on the Wrangler Backcountry, but Sahara side steps are also available at no additional charge. A black hard top is standard, but an optional body color hard top is also available.

Wrangler Backcountry is available in five colors: Hydro Blue, Black, Bright White, Granite Crystal and Xtreme Purple. Backcountry is the only model in Wrangler's lineup available in Xtreme Purple.

Inside, Wrangler Backcountry features Piano Black vent rings, door handles and grab handles. A vinyl-wrapped console lid and door armrests with Diesel Gray accent stitching, black McKinley leather seat bolsters with black sport mesh inserts, a nine-speaker premium Alpine sound system and all-weather slush mats are featured. The Bluetooth hands-free Connectivity Group is also standard in the Wrangler Backcountry.



Toledo Blade Article, published 8/21/2015
Pope to use retrofitted Jeep Wrangler in U.S. visit
Will be modified version of Toledo-built vehicle

Pope Francis will use a modified Toledo-built Jeep Wrangler when he visits the United States next month.

The Pope's Holy See office at the Vatican said that was the plan for the Popemobile, according to the Washington Post.

It will will be a retrofitted sport utility vehicle like the one he used in his visit last month to Ecuador. The vehicle is in the hands of the Secret Service in the United States.

Details of the vehicle weren't immediately available.

All of Fiat Chrysler Automobile's Wranglers are built at the Toledo Assembly Complex.



What a great time at the 2015 Monroe County Fair!  The weather was perfect and we had a blast with all the wonderful folks who stopped by to visit our display. 





Come Visit Us at the
18th Annual Milan Bluegrass Festival

August 6, 7 & 8
KC Campground, 14048 Sherman Rd., Milan MI 734-439-1076
Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Dailey & Vincent, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, Russell Moore & IIIRD Time Out, Detour, Nothin' Fancy, and more!
 










July 14 - 19, 2015
157th Annual Lucas County Fair
1406 Key St., Maumee OH  43537
Click Here For More Info



FREE  Entertainment this Father's Day Weekend

Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM Superstore is a proud sponsor of the 16th annual Dundee Mayfly Music Festival!
Come to Wolverine Park along the River Raisin this weekend, June 19-20. 
Family fun and entertainment includes:
  • Friday Night: Rock & roll entertainment; Fireworks
  • Saturday afternoon: children's games, music, and activities
  • Saturday Night: Country music bands

98.3 FM Nash Icon Presents The United States Army Field Band The Volunteers Sunday June 21, 2015 at Saint Mary's Park downtown Monroe, Michigan; with special guest Nashville Recording Artist and 98.3 Nash Icon's own Jeff Tuttle Music.
Free admission and brought to you by the Low Payment King at Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Superstore!


THIS JUST IN: Hail Storm Brings About #STEALADEAL #CarSALE!!!  Due to the high winds and #HailStorm that occurred late Wednesday night (June 10) in the #Monroe County area, approximately 450 new and used vehicles on the lot of our Monroe Superstore have been damaged.  In order to continue meeting our customers' car buying needs, we are taking immediate action to begin repairing vehicles; PLUS, we will immediately begin receiving approximately 200 new and used vehicles from our five sister stores!!!

At the Low Payment Kings, we are committed to serving you and providing the best service, for the best price, which is why this act of Mother Nature has brought about our STEAL A DEAL SALE!  We are committed to providing full disclosure to customers who wish to purchase a repaired vehicle at A DISCOUNTED RATE- OR, purchase an un-repaired vehicle at an EXTREME DISCOUNT!!!  Our commitment to excellence means that our banks, lenders, and leasing companies will receive full disclosure as well. 

The general public as well as all new & used car dealers are welcome to participate in all the SAVINGS during our STEAL A DEAL SALE!!!  ASK ABOUT our  tremendous "HAIL OF A SALE" Lease rates too!

Take advantage of the increased inventory of 200 new and used vehicles shipped from our sister locations, OR purchase a repaired or un-repaired vehicle as a result of the hail storm at a DISCOUNT OR EXTREME DISCOUNT!!! 



FREE VIEWING PARTY & SILENT AUCTION TO BENEFIT "PAULA'S HOUSE" - Friday, June 12, from 6 to 11P.M. (202 W Front St.)

The Food Network's "American Diner Revival" features Dena's Family Restaurant. Come enjoy free food, bid on silent auction items, and make donations to benefit Paula's House, a transition home for women in recovery. Dr. Paula Whitman provides a positive environment for women who are homeless or have substance abuse problems, and helps them face their addictions while living a healthy lifestyle. Paula's non-profit organization needs your help to continue operation!

The Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM Superstore is proud to partner with 98.3 Nash Icon Radio and Dena's Family Restaurant to support  Paula's House Charity Event. Please join us at the Knights of Columbus this Friday, June 12th, from 6 pm to 11 pm. There will be a silent auction to raise funds for Paula's House as well as food provided by Dena's Family Restaurant. All donations and money raised will go directly to Paula's House to keep this great non-profit organization operating. All checks and donations can be made out to Paula's House directly.

Knights of Columbus Address:
202 W Front St, Monroe, MI 48161
(734) 241-4640



May 18, 2015
Monroe Dodge Chrysler

Dear JP Mahalak,
Congratulations to you and your entire sales team for achieving Pentastar Club status in 2014!  Once again, this award honors the top annual retail sales performers in your Business Center.  Enclosed you will find your Pentastar Club Plaque to display in your dealership.  Thanmk you for your dedication and support in 2014.  We know that you are ready for the challenges in 2015.
Good Selling,
Reid Bigland, Head of US Sales



Join us for the Raminator Monster Truck Event, Friday May 8 & Saturday May 9

The Raminator Monster Truck will be on display at the dealership on Friday, May 8, 11am - 6pm; and Saturday, May 9, 9am - 4pm, with a Car Crush Show at 1:00pm.  This is the third time we have hosted this exciting event.  The Raminator, which weighs approximately 10,000 lbs., recently broke a monster truck speed record at 99 MPH!  Hall Brothers Racing, owners of the Raminator, will also be here Friday and saturday with Raminator merchandise available to purchase. 

For more info, click here, or visit www.raminator.com


 



It looks like a Jeep, only smaller, cuter
Renegade enters subcompact SUV market
BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER, published 3/18/2015

Cute might not have been what Jeep was going for with the new Renegade, but there it is anyway.
 
As the smallest member of the Jeep family, the Renegade has an irreverent, almost toylike appearance inside and out. It's a little quirky, but it works.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles began shipping the Renegade, which is built in Italy, to dealers last week, with most Toledo-area dealers receiving their first shipments over the past couple of days. Jeep said dealers should have a full supply of the vehicles within the next month. The Renegade is the first Jeep built outside North America to be sold in the United States.

Almost a foot-and-a-half shorter than the Toledo-built Jeep Cherokee, the Renegade slots into the growing subcompact sport utility segment. Dealers are hopeful that the vehicle will bring new buyers into the showroom.


Though the Renegade may hurt sales of the Jeep Compass and Patriot, both of which are old models due for replacement, analysts don't expect it to steal any sales from any of the larger Jeeps, such as the Cherokee. In fact, it may help the Cherokee down the road when Renegade drivers are looking to trade up.

Though the seating position would suggest otherwise, the Renegade rides more like a car than a truck. Built in Italy, the Renegade shares its platform with the Fiat 500X. However, there's still plenty of Jeep DNA, especially in Trailhawk trim.

Like with the Cherokee, the Trailhawk version provides goodies meant for off-roading. It also adds cosmetic touches, such as the topographic map pattern of the seat fabric.

The seats are firm, but comfortable. The Renegade doesn't seem to have quite the same level of refinement that the larger and more expensive Cherokee does. There's not a ton of back seat room, but you can legitimately carry adult passengers.

On the road, it feels nimble and light. We drove the more powerful 2.4-liter equipped version, which is paired with the same nine-speed automatic transmission that goes in the Chrysler 200 and Jeep Cherokee. The Renegade also comes with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four cylinder that can be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.

And though the Renegade certainly doesn't ride like a Wrangler, you're not likely to forget you're driving a Jeep. From subtle to screaming, there are little Jeep design details everywhere.

The famous Willys-style slotted-grille-and-headlight motif is stamped into the speakers, the rearview mirror housing, and a number of other places, including both headlights and both taillights. There are plenty more, but looking for them is half the fun.

Pricing starts around $18,000 for a base front-wheel drive model and around $30,000 for a well-optioned Trailhawk.




Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk proves off-road capabilities
Vehicle named Four Wheeler of the Year by trade magazine

BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER, published 1/28/2015

The Jeep Cherokee recently picked up a notable award that should help remove any doubt that in the right trim, the sport utility vehicle has plenty of off-road capability.

Earlier this month, the editors of Four Wheeler magazine chose the 2015 Cherokee Trailhawk as its Four Wheeler of the Year.

Winning that title is nothing new for Jeep - the brand has picked up 13 such honors - but company officials say it's special in that it is the first major award from an off-road enthusiast publication recognizing the Cherokee's capabilities.

In prepared remarks, Jeep brand chief executive officer Mike Manley said the award "reinforces the fact that the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk is unquestionably the most capable midsize SUV on the planet."

Jeep builds the Cherokee only in Toledo.

Four Wheeler only considers new or significantly updated models for the annual award. The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro came in second. Testers cover more than 1,000 miles of terrain ranging from pavement to sand at elevations from sea level to more than 9,000 feet.

"The team of seasoned judges appreciated Cherokee Trailhawk's cutting-edge technology, fresh styling, and luxurious interior amenities packed in a vehicle designed for the 21st century that still maintains true off-road capability," Four Wheeler Editor Christian Hazel said in a statement.

When Jeep confirmed in 2013 that it was reviving the Cherokee name for its new vehicle, a number of critics complained that the company was watering down a proud name that stood for real off-road capabilities by slapping it on a car-based crossover.

But company officials say those voices have quieted as they've been able to show the Cherokee taking on rough terrain.

"We just took the vehicle, let the vehicle prove itself, and started documenting it," said Jim Morrison, Jeep's director of product marketing. "We've seen the acceptance grow since we launched the vehicle."

The base Cherokee comes with front-wheel drive, though four-wheel drive is available across the lineup. But it's the Trailhawk that gets all the real goodies, such as an increased ride height, skid plates, and better approach and departure angles.

Mr. Morrison said Jeep is committed to ensuring that there's a true, off-road-capable version of every Jeep model.

"It's important to us because capability is the cornerstone of our brand. It's important that we stay true to our brand because that's what our customers expect from us, and honestly that's what helps separate us from our competition as well," he said.

Jeep says 15 to 20 percent of Cherokees sold in any given month are equipped with the Trailhawk package. The company sold a total of 178,508 Cherokees in the United States last year.

The other Cherokee models are the Sport, Latitude, and Limited.



Toledo Jeep output shows global gains
16 percent of 2014 vehicles destined for other continents

BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER - published 10/23/2014

Through the first nine months of 2014, Chrysler's Toledo Assembly complex built
about 59,000 Jeeps destined for markets outside North America.

That works out to about 16 percent of Toledo Jeep production.
 
Of those, about 28 percent are made in right-hand-drive configuration, according to company data provided to The Blade. Generally right-hand-drive vehicles are used in countries in which rules of the road dictate motorists drive on the left hand side of the road. Among those countries are England, Australia, India, Pakistan, and Japan.

The Cherokee was recently named one of the 10 best new cars in Japan for 2014, the only American-made car on the list and the first time an American-made car has made the journalist-voted list.

Chrysler said about 6,400 Jeep Wranglers and 10,300 Jeep Cherokees were built as right-hand drive vehicles so far this year. Both vehicles are built only in Toledo.

Jeep officials would not say how many vehicles the company sells in particular countries.

The Toledo Assembly complex is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' busiest Jeep plant, with workers churning out 377,628 vehicles in the year's first nine months. That's more than last year, when workers built 296,000. The plant didn't start making the Cherokee until June last year.

Chrysler officials said previously the company hoped to build more than 500,000 vehicles in Toledo this year. Based on the year's first nine months, the company seems primed to meet that goal.

Jeep's biggest market is the United States, and by a huge margin. Through the year's first nine months, 69 percent of all Jeeps sold were sold in the United States.

However, company officials have often said Jeep is Fiat Chrysler's most global brand, with opportunities to grow the brand outside North America.

That's true with the Jeep Cherokee, which officials have said should eventually be sold in 150 countries. Currently, it's available in more than 100 countries.

Chrysler said it has sold 19,055 Cherokees and 24,437 Wranglers outside North America this year.

Though those numbers aren't huge, they are helping. Jeep sales are on pace to reach 1 million deliveries worldwide this year, a mark that would shatter the previous sales record, which was set last year.


MONROE SUPERSTORE BECOMES AREA'S ONLY CERTIFIED RAM AGRICULTURAL DEALERSHIP
MONROE, MI, July 28, 2014

When Ram trucks celebrated America's farm and ranch families with a two minute commercial featuring Paul Harvey during the 2013 Super Bowl, they created a relationship with those families like no other truck maker ever had.

Today, Ram dealers are proud to announce the next generation of that relationship. Endorsed by the National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization, Ram welcomes Monroe Superstore to the ranks of Ram Certified Agriculture Dealerships. A first of its kind in the truck industry, this certification lets farm and ranch families know staff at this dealership understands the uniqueness of their business. It also signals the dealerships commitment to the timing of cherry harvest, calving season and third cutting of hay by adjusting parts of its operations to accommodate the unique demands of each commodity, and every season.

To become a Certified Agriculture Dealership, Monroe Superstore was required to select three team members to successfully complete a curriculum prepared by its agriculture partners. Your Certified Agriculture Specialists at Monroe Superstore are: Greg Bondy, Glenda Cotton and Jeremy Jennings.

With the initial curriculum complete, the Monroe Superstore team will now participate in a continuing education effort that synchronizes their learning with everything important to Michigan agriculture as it happens. Ongoing education, combined with what Certified Agriculture Specialists learned through the initial curriculum, will allow the dealership to become a real-time partner with area agriculture by pro-actively anticipating and meeting the changing demands of its family farm customers.
The Certified Agriculture Dealership designation is important to the areas non-farm truck buyers. Agriculture is widely known for battle testing equipment under the toughest of conditions. Experts at Monroe Ram, and the farms they support, will be able to provide buyers of any influence first-hand knowledge of the products capabilities based on their own experiences on the farm.
Monroe Superstore Ag Specialist Greg Bondy sums it up best; "Appreciation for agriculture's needs has set deep roots with this dealership, and the Ram brand. The Ram CAD program was built with input from educational experts, agriculture experts, family farmers & ranchers so our dealership can offer the industry something more-a partnership that understands, and adjusts to those needs at every level."

For more information about what this certification means, and how Monroe Superstore intends to use it, contact any of our Certified Agriculture Specialists at 734-242-6370.



Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Superstore
15160 S Monroe St
Monroe, MI 48161-3792


April 2014

Dear JP Mahalak,   

Congratulations to you and your entire sales team for achieving Pentastar Club status in 2013! This award honors the top retail sales performers in your Business Center.

With this letter you have received your Pentastar Club Plaque to proudly display in your dealership.
Thank you for your dedication in 2013 and your continued efforts in 2014!

Good Selling,
Reid Bigland
President & CEO Ram Truck Brand Head of US Sales




Autobytel.com has named the 2014 Jeep® Grand Cherokee "SUV of the Year," while the 2014 Ram 1500 won the "Pickup Truck of the Year" award. 

"For 2014, the Jeep Grand Cherokee embodies a readiness to head off into the hills as an affordable family hauler wrapped around class-leading interiors chockfull of the safety, technology and comfort features that set the Grand Cherokee at the top of the heap," said Autobytel Editor Michelle Naranjo. "For the second year in a row, the award winning Ram 1500 continues to bring fuel efficiency and tech in a bold package to the value shoppers and accomplishment seekers who want to get the job done.




Congratulations Southern Michigan Timberwolves!
Playing in the 3A National Championship Sunshine Bowl VIII; Homestead Florida, Sunday, January 19th at 4pm
Go T-Wolves! Monroe superstore is very proud to be one of your sponsors!







NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Sales for Toledo-built Cherokee strong, Jeep CEO happy to report
Pushing for 1 million production milestone
BY TYREL LINKHORN,BLADE BUSINESS WRITER, Published 1/15/2014

DETROIT - Jeep is beginning to ship the 2014 Cherokee to international markets as the automaker eyes a big sales boost for the year.

Though the vehicle went on sale in late October in the United States and has reached some smaller Latin American markets, the company is at the very beginning of global sales, Jeep's Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley told The Blade on Tuesday in an interview at the North American International Auto Show.

"I've got quite a number of them on boats at the moment," Mr. Manley said. "They're on the way to China, and later on this quarter they'll be on their way to Europe."

Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said this week Jeep can sell 1 million vehicles globally in 2014.

Mr. Manley was a bit more reserved, but still anticipates a major gain from 2013. He said the official target is 800,000 Jeeps this year.

"If we don't significantly beat that number I'll be very, very disappointed," he said. "How close we can get to 1 million units, we'll see. We're going to push as hard as we can."

Jeep sold 731,565 vehicles last year, despite having a big hole in its lineup for most of the year.

Mr. Manley said he was pleased with the first two months of sales for the Cherokee, which is built at Chrysler Group's Toledo Assembly Complex.

Sales figures have been strong, and Jeep says buyers have been tilting toward premium models.

That isn't unusual for a new vehicle.

Mr. Manley's hope, however, is that the Cherokee follows the trend of its big brother, the Grand Cherokee, which kicked off skewing premium and has stayed there.

There isn't enough data to get any sense of who is buying the vehicle from a demographic standpoint.

Still, it's too early to declare any sort of victory for Cherokee.

"I still think there's a lot of work for us to do to communicate the attributes of that vehicle in the marketplace," Mr. Manley said. "We've got some great marketing plans that are in place now that will continue to build as we get into 2014."

For now, the Toledo Assembly Complex is the only place the Cherokee is built.

However, Chrysler Group continues to move forward with plans to add Jeep production in China and in Brazil.

Jeep produces the Wrangler and Cherokee in Toledo, the Grand Cherokee in Detroit, and the Patriot and Compass at a plant in Illinois.

Jeep plans to introduce a smaller sport utility vehicle to the U.S. market late this year or early next year that will be built in Italy.

Outside of that, officials have not said what models they plan to build outside North America, though leadership has been firm that the Wrangler will not be produced outside of Toledo.

"We haven't announced what vehicles that we have plans to build elsewhere. What we've said is we need to localize in China. We need to localize within Brazil if we can. And then at that time, when those plans are finalized we'll talk about the vehicles," Mr. Manley said.

He concedes, however, that the Cherokee is an obvious candidate.

Whatever is built in China will be for that market and will not be exported to the United States, he said.

Chrysler Group has an agreement with a Chinese company for a joint venture in that country, but has had difficulty getting production off the ground.

Even if the Cherokee is also built elsewhere, Mr. Manley said the effort would unlikely have an effect on Toledo.

"When we think about how that vehicle should perform in the marketplace, I don't think localization elsewhere would detract from the work and the capacity we put into Toledo," he said.

Right now the Toledo plant is about as busy as it can be, especially on the Wrangler side. Company officials have heaped praise on the Toledo work force this week for its ability to keep boosting Wrangler output.

Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12, which represents workers in the plant, was grateful for the praise.

"They're working their butts off over there, and it's nice to have somebody recognize their efforts," he said. "And they've been recognized for generations."

Mr. Baumhower noted that when Lee Iacocca was CEO of Chrysler, he awarded Toledo's Jeep plant the Chairman's Award for five years running.

"It's a cultural thing that's been created for generations over there and it's a fun thing to be a part of," he said.

Though the Cherokee line could add a third shift, the Wrangler line is at capacity.

"When you're at the limit the way that we are, to significantly break that is a structural change," Mr. Manley said. "At this moment in time, we're obviously looking at what that may be, how that may be facilitated, but it's a challenging question to answer. And at this moment in time I have no solution to it."

Earlier in the week Mr. Marchionne said investing in the Toledo plant was something the company would have to consider.

Mr. Baumhower said he hasn't been part of discussions about an expansion. He did say that to do so, the plant likely would need more real estate and added that he believes there are ways to do that.




Motor Trend Names Ram 1500 as 2014 Truck of the Year

Ram 1500 Outclasses Competition with the Fuel Economy, Torque, Style and Amenities to Satisfy the Most Demanding Truck Buyers
December 4, 2013, El Segundo, Calif. - Motor Trend has selected the Ram 1500 as its 2014 Truck of the Year.

The announcement was made at the Chrysler Group LLC Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan, the birthplace of Ram Trucks. A full report on Motor Trend's comprehensive Truck of the Year testing will be featured on MotorTrend.com and in the February 2014 issue of Motor Trend.

Nine Truck of the Year contenders were put through an extensive battery of testing designed to evaluate virtually every aspect of each vehicle. In addition to the 2014 Ram 1500, the judges examined other all-new or significantly updated trucks the industry produced this year: the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram Heavy Duty, and Toyota Tundra pickups; and the Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Nissan NV200, and Ram ProMaster vans.

To determine which truck deserved top honors, the Motor Trend judges took the nine contenders to the Continental Tire Automotive Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas. There, the judges tested each truck's performance with the following exercises:
1. Standard testing (without load): 0-60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and maximum lateral grip.
2. Limit handling (without load): closed-course cornering, braking and acceleration.
3. Tow/payload testing: 0-60 acceleration repeated with trailers attached (pickups) or payload secured (vans), loaded to 75 percent of each truck's maximum rating (as equipped)
4. Road looping: Highway and real-world replication.

At Continental's 5,000-acre proving grounds, the team utilized the facility's 8.5-mile high-speed oval, 15-acre dynamics pad, 1.1-mile dry-handling road course, and multi-surfaced ride road to evaluate each truck's capabilities and expose strengths and weaknesses. Following the team's intensive, weeklong evaluation in Uvalde, the trucks were shipped to Motor Trend headquarters in El Segundo, California, to undergo proprietary "Intellichoice Real MPG" fuel-economy testing. Using advanced technology including a weather station, GPS data-logger, and flow-rate and gas analyzers, Real MPG measures exhaust samples every second during an 88-mile drive to record accurate real-world fuel economy.

Once testing was completed, the judges convened to determine which truck would be crowned Truck of the Year. The winner is not chosen from a direct comparison against the other contenders, but rather as a result of how each contender measured up against the award's six criteria: Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value and Performance of Intended Function.

With the votes cast, the Ram 1500 clearly emerged as Motor Trend's 2014 Truck of the Year. The judges were particularly impressed with the performance of the Ram 1500's all-new EcoDiesel V-6 engine as well as its eight-speed TorqueFlite transmission, a combination that boasts a towing capacity of up to 9,200 pounds. Further, Motor Trend's Real MPG testing supported what the team learned in Uvalde: None of the gas-powered half-ton trucks in this year's competition - be they V-6 or V-8, 4x2 or 4x4 - could match the EcoDiesel's mileage. After delivering observed fuel economy of 15 mpg under extreme testing at Continental's proving grounds, the EcoDiesel continued to impress during the Real MPG test loop, returning the following frugal stats: 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined for the Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4x4 with a 3.92 rear axle and an even more notable 18/28/22 for the Lone Star Crew Cab 4x2 with a 3.55 rear axle.

The Ram's optional air suspension system also scored high marks in Engineering Excellence, as it delivered a compliant ride and commendable handling no matter the terrain. In terms of design, the Ram 1500 impressed with its style, packaging, and interior ergonomics; notably, the Laramie Longhorn's luxury aesthetics and real wood trim. The breadth of the lineup was another compelling factor. Whether outfitted as a basic workhorse or optioned up to a near-luxury hauler, the Ram 1500 provides all of the capability needed in a truck.

"For 2014 we had a large and highly competitive field of contenders for Motor Trend's Truck of the Year," said Edward Loh, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "At the end of the day, though, the Ram 1500 quickly rose to the top. Not only did it withstand our rigorous testing, it thoroughly impressed our judges with its vast array of standard and optional equipment, and, most notable, its fuel-efficient, segment-exclusive EcoDiesel V-6. With 420 lb-ft of torque and up to 28 'Real MPG' highway, the EcoDiesel is a true game-changer. In fact it helped make Ram 1500 the Motor Trend 2014 Truck of the Year - and the only consecutive winner in the history of the award."

"Half-ton truck customers have been asking for a diesel engine and Ram is the only truck manufacturer to answer the bell and deliver not only best-in-class fuel economy but also 9,200 pounds of towing capability," said Reid Bigland, President and CEO Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. "In a brutally competitive truck industry, the Ram 1500 is the only vehicle to ever win the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award two years in a row, reaffirming the fact that we have the best truck on the road."


Truck of the Year is one of several coveted honors Motor Trend bestows on automakers, including Best Driver'sCar, Sport/Utility of the Year, and Car of the Year. For more information on our 2014 Truck of the Year, visit motortrend.com.

About Ram Truck Brand
The Ram Truck brand continues to establish its own identity and clearly define its customer since its launch as a standalone vehicle brand. Creating a distinct brand for Ram trucks has allowed the brand to concentrate on how core customers use their trucks and what new features they'd like to see. Whether focusing on a family that uses its half-ton truck day in and day out, a hard-working Ram Heavy Duty owner or a business that depends on its commercial vehicles every day, Ram has the truck market covered. The Ram Truck brand has the most innovative lineup of full-size trucks on the market. Ram Truck has emerged as a full-size truck leader by investing substantially in new products, infusing them with great looks, refined interiors, durable engines and features that further enhance their capabilities. Truck customers, from half-ton to commercial, have a demanding range of needs and require their vehicles to provide high levels of capability. Ram trucks are designed to deliver a total package.



Wrangler top U.S. vehicle in resale value
Toledo-built Jeep deemed 3rd overall by Blue Book

BY TYREL LINKHORN BLADE BUSINESS WRITER Published 11/26/2013

The 2014 Jeep Wrangler is projected by Kelley Blue Book to retain 70 percent of its value after three years, the best among vehicles from a U.S. automaker.
KEEPING UP
Kelley Blue Book's list of the 2014 vehicles that will retain the highest percentage of their sales price after five years.
1. Toyota FJ Cruiser - 70%
2. Toyota Tacoma - 61.9%
3. Jeep Wrangler - 59.1%
4. Toyota 4Runner - 56.2%
5. Chevrolet Corvette - 53.5%
6. Toyota Tundra - 52.3%
7. Chevrolet Camaro - 51.9%
8. Honda CR-V - 50.7%
9. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - 50.6%
10. Dodge Challenger - 50.5%

The auto valuation company ranked the Wrangler third overall, behind a pair of Toyotas - the FJ Cruiser sport-utility vehicle, and the Tacoma compact pickup. The Toyota 4Runner and Chevrolet Corvette rounded out the top five.

It's the second year in a row the Toledo-made Wrangler has held the third spot, and the second year in a row the Wrangler's projected resale value has risen.

Kelley Blue Book expects the 2014 Wrangler to hold 70 percent of its value after three years and 59 percent after five years. In 2012, the firm predicted the 2013 Wrangler to hold 68 percent of its value after three years and 55 percent after five years.

The top three spots were unchanged from last year.

With four of the top 10 vehicles overall, and six category leaders, Toyota captured the best resale value award. The company's Lexus division was named best resale value in the luxury segment.

"While both Toyota and Lexus continue to deliver incredible resale value, we also are impressed with the strides made by Chevrolet, which tops domestic automakers with five combined awards, and Subaru with its Impreza making its way back to the top spot in its segment," said Eric Ibara, director of residual value consulting for Kelley Blue Book.

The domestic automakers had a much better showing this year than last. Joining the Wrangler and Corvette in the top 10 were the Chevrolet Camaro V-6, at No. 7, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 at No. 9, and the Dodge Challenger at No. 10. Last year the Wrangler was the only domestic vehicle in the top 10.

The FJ Cruiser's projections are especially impressive. Kelley Blue Book says the FJ Cruiser should retain 81 percent of its value after three years and 70 percent after five years.

The average new car in 2014 is expected to hold about 40 percent of its original value after five years. With the average new car costing approximately $31,000 today, that means a buyer could expect to get back $12,400 after five years.

The base price of 2014 Wranglers ranges from $22,395 for a Sport model to about $31,000 for a Rubicon.

Kelley Blue Book bases its five-year values on the assumption of the car being in average condition with 75,000 miles.

The Kelley Blue Book rankings differed somewhat from the ALG Inc. rankings, which were also announced this month. ALG put Honda at No. 1, followed by Toyota at No. 2.

The Wrangler was third in ALG's new off-road utility segment, trailing the FJ Curiser and 4Runner. The Wrangler, previously included in the compact utility segment, wasn't ranked by ALG last year.


 2014 Cherokee ranks as most
fuel-efficient Jeep to date

BY TYREL LINKHORN BLADE BUSINESS WRITER Published Sept. 6, 2013

The 2014 Jeep Cherokee is now officially the most fuel-efficient Jeep ever offered in the United States.

The front-wheel-drive Cherokee with Chrysler Group LLC's 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine returned 31 miles per gallon on the highway in testing by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

That matches what company officials predicted when they unveiled the new Toledo-built model in New York earlier this year.

"I think everybody's very happy. We met what we expected we would be able to do with the vehicle," company spokesman Kathy Graham said Thursday.

The EPA has now made public all Cherokee ratings, with the exception of the off-road-oriented Trailhawk model. Chrysler said EPA testing isn't expected to be finished on that model until sometime next week.

Jeep is trying to broaden its customer base with the Cherokee, and delivering better fuel economy is a significant part of doing it. The Cherokee is far more efficient than the Liberty, which went out of production in mid-2012. In two-wheel drive trim, the 2012 Liberty was rated at 22 mpg highway.

The Cherokee has several advantages over its predecessor in the efficiency department.

One glance at the two vehicles side by side is enough to see the Cherokee is vastly more aerodynamic than the squared-off Liberty. It also benefits from the option of a smaller engine.

The most recent Liberty was available only with a 3.7-liter six-cylinder that wasn't particularly efficient or powerful. Cherokee comes standard with an inline four-cylinder, with the option of a new 3.2-liter V-6. Cherokee also makes use of a new nine-speed automatic transmission. The Liberty came only with a four-speed automatic.

The EPA said the four-wheel drive Cherokee with the four-cylinder returned 28 mpg highway. The V-6 Cherokee is rated at 28 mpg highway in front-wheel drive trim and 27 mpg highway in four-wheel drive trim.

In the EPA city cycle, the four-cylinder Cherokee returned 22 mpg when equipped with front-wheel drive and 21 mpg when equipped with four-wheel drive. The V-6 Cherokee was rated at 19 mpg city for both front-wheel and four-wheel drive.

The company said Wednesday that it expects the Cherokee to begin arriving in dealerships later this month. As of Thursday, Chrysler hadn't yet started shipping any Cherokees to dealerships.

At up to 31 miles per gallon, the Cherokee barely tops the smaller Patriot and Compass models to be the most efficient Jeep sold in the United States.

The upcoming 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel is also projected to return 30 mpg highway.

More importantly, Jeep has put itself in the same league as its top segment rivals, including the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Chevrolet Equinox.

The EPA rates both the base-trim, front-wheel-drive Escape and Equinox at 32 mpg highway, and the CR-V at 31 mpg highway.

The Cherokee gets a combined city-highway rating of 25 mpg, compared with 26 mpg for the other three vehicles.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.





MONROE SUPERSTORE TO HOST FREE RAMINATOR MONSTER TRUCK SHOW

MONROE, MI, August 13, 2013 The Monroe Superstore will display the Raminator monster truck presented by Hall Brothers Racing Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17. The Raminator will smash vehicles to end the show. This will be a free event open to the public.

Spectators can take photos with the truck and driver, Mark Hall. Mark will also be autographing gear and talking with fans. The Raminator will smash vehicles in front of the Jeep Off Road Course on the south side of the dealership Saturday at 1 p.m.
There will also be a hog roast and "Jacked-up Jeep and Truck Contest" planned for Saturday from 11a.m ? 1p.m. The hog roast is free, but the Low Payment King asks that participants make a donation to Military Families of Monroe County. Entry into the Truck and Jeep contest is free.

See photos and video of last year's event.

A merchandise trailer stocked with Raminator t-shirts, hats, and other items will be available for visitors to purchase gear. A portion of merchandise sales will also benefit Military Families of Monroe County.
 The Raminator measures 12.5' wide, 21' long, 10' high, and weighs over 10,000 pounds. For more information about the Raminator and Hall Brothers Racing, visit www.HallBrosRacing.com.
The Raminator will be on display from 10am-6pm on Friday, and from 9am-3pm on Saturday. If you are unable to make the event, watch for pictures on our Monroe Dodge Superstore Facebook page!

The Monroe Superstore's FIVE-Star team is celebrating our 47th anniversary with thousands of satisfied customers from SE Michigan and NW Ohio.


Chrysler CEO visits Toledo assembly plant Marchionne celebrates Cherokee production
BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER  Published July 26, 2013

Chrysler Group's chief executive officer made a stop in Toledo on Thursday, but he kept the meeting in-house.

A company spokesman said Sergio Marchionne visited the Toledo Assembly Complex to meet with employees and celebrate the beginning of production of the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee sport utility vehicle.

Production of that vehicle officially began June 24, Chrysler said. It is not yet on sale.

Mr. Marchionne was last at the plant in November, 2011, to officially announce a $500 million investment Chrysler was making to overhaul the plant in anticipation of the new vehicle.

"The decision we made clearly demonstrates the confidence we have in the Toledo Assembly Complex, in its future, and, moreover, in the commitment and quality of work of the people who work here," he said at the time.

The company showed off the result of that work by giving media members a tour of the new production line last week and an update on the progress of the plant as it works toward building well over 200,000 Cherokees a year.

Thursday's event was not open to the media, however, and Chrysler said Mr. Marchionne's comments wouldn't be publicly released.

A Chrysler spokesman also declined to comment on a report this week from a Detroit newspaper that the current version of the Toledo-built Jeep Wrangler may hang around until 2018, about two years longer than previously planned.

Citing supplier sources, the Detroit News said Chrysler has decided to continue building the current generation Wrangler until mid-2018. The Detroit News report also said Chrysler was extending production of the current Dodge Avenger and Dodge Grand Caravan.

The report could not be verified by The Blade. One supplier source told The Blade that the Detroit News article was the first that they had heard of it.

Chrysler introduced the current version of the Wrangler for the 2007 model year, and two months ago built the one-millionth vehicle.

The vehicle was given an interior upgrade for the 2011 model year, and a more powerful and more fuel-efficient V-6 engine for the 2012 model year. Under Chrysler's product plan, an updated Wrangler is due around 2016.

Since Wrangler replaced the CJ, its earlier iteration, for the 1986 model year, Chrysler has brought out a new generation once every 10 years. That would be in line with the 2016 time frame. But Chrysler certainly isn't having any trouble selling the Wrangler. Sales hit a record last year that should be surpassed this year.

And if Chrysler has the capacity to make more, it could surely sell them. Orders have outpaced Toledo's production capacity, even as Chrysler has made small moves to squeeze more vehicles out of the plant.

Officials have said the company is looking at ways it could expand in Toledo to get more production, though Mr. Marchionne had said it wouldn't happen until at least 2015.



CHEROKEE ASSEMBLY SPEEDS UP Toledo plant making 150 Jeeps a day Full production due in Sept.
BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER Published 7/19/2013

The chief of Chrysler Group's Toledo Assembly complex said Thursday that the plant is on schedule as it ramps up production of the Jeep Cherokee and should reach full production sometime in September, shortly after dealers receive their first few models.

"We're right on track with where we expected ourselves to be, and we'll push the envelope as we go forward," plant manager Zach Leroux said.

Production of the Cherokee started June 24. Mr. Leroux said the plant is currently making 150 vehicles a day.

Right now, the plant is working a single shift. Once the second shift comes on and the plant reaches full speed, workers will be able to crank out 896 Cherokees per day, Mr. Leroux said, enabling Toledo to build more than 200,000 of the new sport utility vehicles each year.

Combined with the Jeep Wrangler, which is built in a separate part of the complex, Chrysler will have the capacity build more than 400,000 vehicles a year in Toledo. That will give Toledo the potential to be one of Chrysler's highest- producing assembly plants.

The improvements needed to launch the Cherokee have not come cheap.

During the last year, Chrysler spent $500 million on a major renovation and expansion project at the 12-year-old plant. The company brought in all new equipment, more robots, and advanced technology that should improve the fit and finish of the vehicles the plant builds.

Chrysler also has been hiring. The automaker added 1,100 jobs in Toledo for the second shift.

During a media tour of the plant on Thursday, Mr. Leroux said the first shift should reach its full capacity within three weeks.
Chrysler Group employees work on the new Cherokee line at the Jeep Assembly complex in Toledo. Production of the new model began June 24, and workers eventually will be able to produce 896 vehicles a day. Chrysler Group employees work on the new Cherokee line at the Jeep Assembly complex in Toledo. Production of the new model began June 24, and workers eventually will be able to produce 896 vehicles a day. THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Some second-shift workers are already training in the plant, with others joining soon. They'll start by being paired up with first-shift workers to learn their jobs, and by August will split to their own shift.

Mr. Leroux said the two shifts should both be up to speed by sometime in September.

Some of the biggest changes at the plant, which used to build Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro SUVs, are in its increased automation.

In the body shop, robots whip doors, hoods, fenders, and lift gates into position and attach them onto the body shell ? jobs that were formerly done by hand. Chrysler needs just four workers in that area now.

Another new part of the assembly line is the flexible decking line, a three-level line where suspension components are attached to the chassis and the chassis is affixed to the body. Toledo is the first Chrysler Group assembly plant to use the process, which was developed by Chrysler's parent company, Fiat.

Chrysler also added a high-tech metrology lab to the complex. The 25,000-square-foot addition is sparkling white from floor to ceiling and filled with high-tech gadgets that give engineers a closer-than-ever look at how parts are fitting together.

"What our customers want is a vehicle that's smooth, it looks good, it sounds good, it functions properly. ... That's what we're trying to meet here in the metrology center," said Jim Cole, senior manager for metrology at the Toledo Assembly complex.

In the lab, Chrysler is able to check its own processes as well as parts delivered from its suppliers. If there's a problem in the way parts are fitting together, the lab is able to determine where the issue is and how to fix it.

Though it was brought in for the Cherokee, it also will be used for Wrangler.

Chrysler still hasn't said exactly when the Cherokee will hit U.S. dealerships. Jeep brand Chief Executive Officer Mike Manley has said he expects sales to start in September but has not given a specific date.

Mr. Manley previously told The Blade the company believes the Cherokee could become Jeep's top-selling model worldwide.

Chrysler said Thursday the Cherokee will eventually be sold in 150 countries. The Wrangler sells in 84 countries. The Liberty was sold in 58 countries.

Including destination fees, the Cherokee starts at just under $24,000.




Cherokee production under way in Toledo, New Jeep expected in showrooms in August
BY TYREL LINKHORN, BLADE BUSINESS WRITER Published 6/29/2013

Normal production of the 2014 Jeep Cherokee is under way in Toledo and the vehicle should begin showing up in showrooms in late August, Chrysler officials said Friday.

Workers at the Toledo Assembly Complex had been building pilot models of the all-new Jeep for some time. Those vehicles, meant to test the plant's tooling and the model's engineering, won't be sold to the public.

Chrysler said Friday that production of salable Jeeps began this week.

Early this year, Chrysler officials said normal production would begin May 23, but sources said several issues pushed back that date. With production starting this week, Chrysler is about a month behind in launching the vehicle.

However, company officials still say the vehicle remains on track to be in dealerships within the originally planned time frame. From the start, Chrysler has said the Cherokee would go on sale in the year's third quarter. As long as buyers can get their hands on the all-new Jeep by Sept. 30, Chrysler will meet that promise.

Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for Chrysler Group LLC, said the automaker expected to begin selling Cherokees in late August or early September.

"That's pretty much what we said a year ago and we're still in that range," Mr. Bigland said at a media event at Chrysler's Chelsea proving grounds. "Clearly the vehicle can't come soon enough. It's a huge segment."

The Cherokee will slide into the heart of Jeep's lineup, replacing the Liberty, a vehicle that has been out of production for nearly a year. Not having an entrant into the midsize sport utility vehicle segment ? one of the largest segments in the United States ? has been difficult for Chrysler.

"Every month right now, we're overcoming about a 7,000-unit deficit at Jeep for what we sold last year at this time with the Liberty, and we've been for all intents and purposes out of Liberty this year," Mr. Bigland said. "The minute this thing starts hitting, it's going to give us an immediate boost for our sales."

The more carlike Cherokee represents a bit of a new direction for Jeep as it attempts to lure in more mainstream buyers with contemporary, if not slightly controversial, styling and better fuel economy. Chrysler says the Cherokee should turn in up to 31 miles per gallon highway. The best the Liberty, with all the aerodynamics of a house, could muster was 22 mpg.

To help with that, the Cherokee also will be Chrysler Group's first vehicle to get a new nine-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep says the front-wheel drive Cherokee will start at $23,990, including destination charge. Four-wheel drive versions will start at $25,990, including destination charge.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Mike Manley, Jeep brand chief executive officer, said he expects Chrysler to eventually sell 150,000 Cherokees in the United States, which would double the number of Libertys sold in 2012, the model's last full year.

One forecasting analyst previously told The Blade he expected Cherokee sales to be in the range of 80,000 to 100,000 vehicles per year in the United States.

Mr. Bigland said there's a lot of anticipation and optimism about the Cherokee from the brand's dealers.





Chrysler Group LLC Announces $1.7 Billion Investment for Next Generation Jeep SUV; Plans to Add Second Shift of Production at its Toledo, Ohio, Complex

*       Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO confirms future plans for Toledo Assembly Complex at event with Ohio Governor

*       More than 1,100 jobs to be added on second shift in late 2013

*       Investment includes $500 million to expand plant, adds body shop and upgrades at Toledo facility

*       State-of-the-art Metrology Center part of expansion

*       Announcement brings total U.S. investment to more than $4.5 billion since June 2009

Toledo, Ohio , Nov 16, 2011 - Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it will invest $1.7 billion to support the development and production of the next generation Jeep® SUV in 2013, including $500 million at the Toledo Assembly Complex (Ohio). As a result, the Company will add a second shift of production or about 1,100 jobs, bringing total employment at the complex to over 2,800.

Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne, along with Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, UAW Regional Director Ken Lortz, and other local officials joined employees to celebrate the news.

Marchionne confirmed that the new Jeep D-segment SUV would be built in the Toledo facility for export to markets all over the world.

"Earlier this year, I promised that I would have good news to share about our Toledo operations, so I am pleased to be able to make this announcement, which further demonstrates our commitment to the special relationship that Chrysler and the City of Toledo have shared," said Marchionne. "Over many decades, Chrysler has become a part of this community's fabric. With this investment and the addition of more than a thousand jobs, we continue to play our part in contributing to the city's industrial and social development. Most importantly, this investment recognizes the support of the UAW and the role that our skilled and dedicated workforce has played in producing some of the finest, most recognized vehicles on the road today.

"I want to thank Governor Kasich and Mayor Bell for working with us to make the business case for this investment. I would also like to thank Congresswoman Kaptur and all of the federal, state and local officials for their ongoing support," said Marchionne.

The $500 million investment in the Toledo plant includes a 260,000-square-foot expansion of the existing body shop and upgrades to all other areas of the assembly plant. In addition, Chrysler will add a state-of-the-art, 26,000-square-foot Metrology Center, which will help improve vehicle quality by verifying key measurements to ensure accurate fit and finish. The remainder of the $1.7 billion will be invested in other Chrysler Group facilities in the U.S., supplier tooling and other related development costs.

Work on the plant will begin in the fourth quarter of 2011 and continue through 2012. The Toledo North Assembly Plant currently builds the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro.

"This announcement continues the momentum that the Chrysler Group has experienced," said General Holiefield, Vice President and Director of the UAW Chrysler Department. "Not only is the company continuing to invest in its facilities, but it is adding jobs and securing the future of our current workforce by demonstrating its commitment to the workers who have contributed to the Company's remarkable turnaround."

The second shift of production is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2013. When positions are available, they will be posted at
www.chryslercareers.com, where applications can be submitted online. No applications will be accepted at the plant.

About the Toledo Assembly Complex
The Stickney Plant was built in 1942 and acquired from Autolite in 1964 for use as a machining and engine plant. In 1981, it was converted for vehicle production, building the Jeep® Grand Wagoneer until the summer of 1991. The facility became the Toledo Assembly Plant when Chrysler Corporation acquired American Motors Corporation (AMC) in August 1987.

In the fall of 1997, Toledo North Assembly Plant was built for the production of the Jeep Liberty, which launched in April 2001. The 2007 Dodge Nitro launched in August 2006 and the 2008 Jeep Liberty launched in July 2007. In 2005, the Toledo Supplier Park was built to include body, paint and chassis operations in partnership with Kuka, Magna and OMMC, respectively, in brand new buildings on the same site as Toledo North Assembly and the former Stickney Assembly with Chrysler handling the final assembly of all three major components for the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Production of the 2011 Jeep Wrangler began in August 2010. In the first quarter of 2011, Chrysler Group assumed responsibility for the paint operations, previously managed by Magna.

 


 

Eight Chrysler Group LLC Vehicles Take Home a Consumers Digest 'Best Buy' for the 2012 Model Year

  • Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram and Fiat brands all have vehicles recognized as Consumers Digest automotive "Best Buys" for 2012 model year
  • Eight awards more than doubles "Best Buys" honors received in 2010 and in 2011
  • November marks the 19th consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains

November 2, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Consumers Digest announced its annual automotive "Best Buys," and vehicles from Chrysler Group LLC received eight of them, more than doubling the number of "Best Buys" Chrysler Group vehicles received in 2010 and 2011. In the past year and a half, the Chrysler Group has introduced 16 all-new or significantly refreshed models, and many awards have been rolling in ever since.

The Chrysler Group vehicles that received Consumers Digest automotive "Best Buys" for the 2012 model year are:

Chrysler: 300, Town & Country
Jeep®: Grand Cherokee
Dodge: Durango, Grand Caravan, Challenger
Ram: 1500
Fiat: 500

"It's a tremendous honor to have so many vehicles named as 'Best Buys' by Consumers Digest," said Doug Betts, Senior Vice President ? Quality, Chrysler Group LLC. "We have gone to great lengths to enhance the craftsmanship and quality of all of our vehicles. These awards are evidence that we're producing cars, trucks, crossovers, minivans and SUVs that customers ? and critics ? appreciate."

As testament to the improvements made to Chrysler Group's vehicles in terms of quality and desirability, the Company earlier today announced that vehicle sales are up for the 19th consecutive month.

The Consumers Digest automotive "Best Buys" issue is an annual publication in which editors judge vehicles on many build quality and performance attributes such as ergonomics, fit and finish, utility, acceleration, fuel economy and many more. They also look at cost of ownership variables such as resale value, warranty, maintenance costs and annual operating expenses. The top vehicles in 12 separate categories are then chosen as "Best Buys" by the publication.

Chrysler 300
Once limited to premium import vehicles costing twice as much, the new segment-exclusive eight-speed automatic transmission expands the world-class power and fuel-efficiency of the 2012 Chrysler 300, 300S (V-6) and 300 Limited models and offers class-leading fuel efficiency

Packed with a 363 horsepower 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine including innovative Fuel Saver Technology, a five-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Auto Stick, performance-tuned suspension and larger performance disc brakes, the V-8 models deliver world-class power and refinement.

Chrysler Town & Country
The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country minivan builds upon the dramatic, and well received, changes made in the previous model year. Already imbued with innovative technology, unparalleled functionality, classic design, and a long list of standard convenience and safety features, enhancements in refinement make the 2012 Town & Country a true stand-out in the minivan segment.

Improvements for 2012 include standard leather seating and rear-seat DVD for all models, new Sapphire Blue interior lighting scheme and a combination leather and wood steering wheel for Limited models.

Jeep Grand Cherokee
The 2012 Jeep® Grand Cherokee delivers with even more refinement and features that can be appreciated on the road and off. Since its introduction, the 2012 Jeep® Grand Cherokee has captured more than 30 awards from an array of opinion-leading organizations making it the most awarded SUV ever.

The most capable Grand Cherokee ever with available Jeep Selec-Terrain? system, Quadra-Lift? air suspension, and front and rear independent suspension also has V-6 and V-8 engine choices that offer class-leading driving range (550 miles with V-6) or class-leading towing capability (7,400 lbs. V-8). Jeep grand Cherokee truly is a no-compromises, go anywhere and do anything SUV.

Dodge Challenger
The 2012 Dodge Challenger delivers exactly what muscle car enthusiasts want ? a powerful and efficient engine lineup, a performance suspension designed for maximum grip, and athletic head-turning styling ? all executed with quality and precision.

The Dodge Challenger SXT model and Challenger SXT Plus package feature the lightweight, aluminum 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with 305 horsepower, responsive 268 lb.-ft. of torque and up to 27 mpg highway. With legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engines under their hoods, the 2012 Challenger R/T model delivers up to 375 horsepower, 410 lb.-ft. of torque and 25 mpg highway.

Dodge Durango
Durango has driving dynamics unlike what you typically find in a Sport Utility. No other SUV on the road compares with the all-new Dodge Durango's distinctive bold Dodge design that craftily houses a spacious three-row, seven-passenger functional, flexible and premium interior, covered in soft-touch materials.

Durango offers standard seven-passenger seating, best-in-class power, best-in-class towing, best-in-class driving range of more than 550 miles, more than 30 storage areas, 28 seating configurations and a rear cargo area of nearly 85 cubic feet that fits a six-foot couch with room for coffee table or a 10-foot ladder with the front passenger seat folded flat.

Dodge Grand Caravan
The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan continues to lead the segment it created. New for 2012, Dodge is offering a new American Value Package (AVP), which makes the best-selling minivan ever the most affordable minivan with a starting U.S. Manufacturers' Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $20,995 (all prices exclude destination).

Chrysler Group invented the modern minivan in 1983 with the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. Seventy-five minivan-first innovations and 13 million minivan sales later, the company still leads the way with the best, most innovative vehicle to move people and things.

Ram 1500
The Ram 1500 offers a variety of models for customers who rely on their trucks for work and play. In addition to the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 which produces 390 horsepower, 407 lb.-ft. of torque and 20 mpg, the 2012 Ram 1500 offers a flex-fuel capable 4.7-liter V-8 providing 310 horsepower and 330 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 3.7-liter V-6 generating 215 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque; five and six-speed automatic transmissions; part-time and on-demand four-wheel-drive transfer cases and 3.21, 3.55, 3.92 and 4.10 axle ratios.

The 2012 Ram 1500 is offered in Regular Cab, Quad Cab® and Crew Cab models, with three box lengths: 8-foot (Regular Cab), 6-foot-4-inches (Regular Cab and Quad Cab), and 5-foot-7-inches (Ram 1500 Crew Cab). Thirteen trim levels are available, each with a unique appearance: Tradesman, tradesman Heavy Duty, Express, Outdoorsman, ST, SLT, Sport, Sport R/T, Lone Star, Big Horn, Mossy Oak, Laramie and Laramie Longhorn.

Fiat 500
The 2012 Fiat 500 caters to a new generation of Americans who want their vehicle to be as engaging, individualized, ecologically responsible and technologically savvy as they are. This modern-generation Fiat 500 offers safety, fuel economy, quality and advanced technology perfectly balanced with iconic Italian style.

With its city-friendly proportions, engaging driving dynamics, all-new fuel-efficient 1.4-liter FIAT MultiAir® engine delivering up to 38 highway mpg and a best-in-class 30 mpg city (with manual transmission), standard state-of-the-art BLUE&ME? Handsfree Communication technology, seven standard air bags and new quality and refinement adaptations for the U.S. market, including an all-new six-speed automatic transmission, the 2012 Fiat 500 offers a unique ownership experience.

About Chrysler Group LLC 
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Mopar, SRT and Fiat vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group's culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat's complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger and Ram 1500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.



 

From: John Ouellette

Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011

To: Ralph Mahalak

Subject: Thank You!

 

Ralph, I wanted to Thank You for the Lion Tickets I won!  Biggest Crowd ever at Ford Field (67,000 plus)... The Place was Hopping!  Just to let you know...my Wife Heather went with Me to the Game and She says Thank You also!  Tickets were in a Family Section so everyone was well behaved!  I am Glad I was able to sing the Lions Victory Song a Few times as well!!!

 

Thank You Again!

John Ouellette








Chrysler's Slow and Steady Rebound Continues

Article published 10/27/2011 in Forbes Magazine, by Joann Muller

 

It's been a good week for Chrysler Group.  On Tuesday, Consumer Reports said all three of the car maker's brands are more reliable, including Jeep, the best of any domestic brand.  Then on Wednesday, the United Auto Workers union said its members had ratified a new four-year contract with Chrysler, ensuring the company's fixed costs will remain fairly stable.  As icing on the cake, Chrysler Thursday posted net income of $212 million for the third quarter, reversing a year-ago loss.

 

In fact, it's shaping up as a pretty good year for Chrysler, which just a little over two years ago barely escaped liquidation thanks to a taxpayer-financed bankruptcy restructuring.  Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne today nudged up his year-end predictions for Chrysler, saying the company was likely to see adjusted net income of about $600 million (up from an earlier forecast of $200 million to $500 million) and generate $1.2 billion in free cash flow, up from $1 billion as previously expected.  The net income figure excludes a $551 million loss to retire debt early.

 

"This house continues to be fully focused on financial performance and making outstanding cars and trucks by fully leveraging its alliance with Fiat," said Marchionne.

 

Fiat S.p.A., the Italian car maker, is now fully in control of Chrysler.  In July, it acquired the stakes held by the U.S. Treasury and the Canadian government since Chrysler's 2009 bankruptcy.  A UAW trust for retiree health care still owns 47 percent of Chrysler.  As Marchionne continues to lead a turnaround, the trust will be looking for ways to monetize its investment.  A public stock offering, once considered likely, is now on hold.



Pictured below:  Longtime Monroe Superstore customer and vendor, Paulette Wittich, while visiting the beach in Hawaii this year - wearing her "Imported from Toledo" T-Shirt.  Thanks for the awesome photos, Paulette!  


 


 

The Palace of Auburn Hills
6 Championship Drive
Auburn Hills, MI 48326

We need you!  Autism now affects 1 in 110 children, and 1 in 70 boys.

Please join Michigan Walk Now for Autism Speaks and help raise money to fund research into the cause, prevention, treatment and cure for autism.  This fun-filled day is our single most powerful event to raise funds for critical research and awareness.  Register today and help make tomorrow a better day for all who struggle with autism. 

To register, please visit
www.WalkNowForAutismSpeaks.org/Michigan

For more information please call 888.777.6227 x7365 or email: michigan@autismspeaks.org
Or contact Johnna Evans, Walk/Events Coordinator, at 614.551.5226, 
johnna.evans@autismspeaks.org




 

Article published in the Toledo Blade 6/16/2011

Chrysler aims to make big investment, add production at Toledo Assembly

State's OK sought to boost production at Toledo plant

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE - BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

 

Chrysler Group LLC has taken its first public step toward expanding its Toledo Assembly complex where Jeep Liberty and Nitro sport-utility vehicles are made.

It has filed an application for an air pollution permit with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to accommodate 2013 model year vehicles.

Details of the expansion are limited in the draft air quality permit, but the company does say it wants approval to release additional pollution up to a production rate for the plant of 327,000 vehicles annually - more than 350 percent of the plant's 2010 production of 91,973 vehicles.

The adjoining plant in the assembly complex which makes Jeep Wranglers last year produced 144,685 vehicles, a trade report shows.

A spokesman for Chrysler also declined to comment on the permit application or the proposed plant expansion.

Officials from Gov. John Kasich's office referred questions to the state Department of Development, which issued a statement. It said in part:

"As a normal course of business, the Ohio Department of Development talks with major Ohio employers, Chrysler Group included. Yes they do have a current application with the Ohio EPA; however we are not in a position to discuss exchanges between the company and the Department at this time."

Local development officials either did not return phone calls seeking comment or would not comment on the proposal. Toledo Mayor Mike Bell could not be reached and his spokesman had no comment.

How much money Chrysler will invest in Toledo Assembly is unclear. But a sizable sum is expected. The company spent $600 million to build the first part of the assembly complex and $900 million to build the rest of it, all within the past 13 years.

Chrysler officials have hinted for nearly two years that its Toledo Assembly complex was due to receive an additional investment to expand production there. Sergio Marchi-onne, Chrysler's chief executive officer, told The Blade in January that he expected to make an announcement about the Toledo plants "within six months." He has said nothing more about it since then.

Experts expect the facility that makes Liberty and Nitro vehicles will be upgraded to make new vehicle lines and more vehicles which Chrysler's owner, Fiat SpA, has indicated it wants to make in North America.

The Liberty/Nitro plant is Chrysler's only assembly plant in North America still working just one shift per day.

Chrysler's five-year business plan indicated that the Nitro's continued production after the 2011 model year was an undecided question.

The plan indicates that the 2013 Liberty would be among the automaker's first vehicles to use a smaller platform from Fiat that is to underpin at least eight high-volume mid-sized cars, crossovers, and SUVs between now and 2014. However, details of the new Liberty have not been announced.

The automaker's permit application, filed last week, indicates that an expansion of the body shop in the Toledo plant "is necessary to accommodate the 2013 model year vehicle platform. During the expansion, the automated welding process ... will be updated replacing some but not all welding equipment."

Since emerging from bankruptcy in June, 2009, Chrysler has announced more than $3 billion in investments to its various manufacturing facilities, including the announcement Wednesday of $114 million to restart part of an idled engine plant in Trenton, Mich.

But none of that money has so far flowed to its plants in Toledo. The automaker's Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance plant in Dundee, Mich., has received nearly $330 million in upgrades and additional work.

Local officials with the United Auto Workers could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but have actively sought additional work from Chrysler since Fiat took over.

Mike Jackson, head of North American vehicle forecasting at IHS Automotive in Northville, Mich., said the Fiat platform opens up a range of Chrysler vehicles that could be produced in Toledo.

"What's interesting here is along with the plan to leverage global architecture, they have a tremendous amount of flexibility," he said.

The Ohio EPA said it would hold a public hearing and information session on the draft air permit from Chrysler at 6:30 p.m. July 14 in the West Toledo YMCA auditorium.

The air quality permit applications also seek approval to add a "new foam injection process" that would put foam into vehicle cavities to add sound deadening to future vehicles as they move along the production line.

Business writer Sheena Harrison contributed to this report.


Chrysler's Toledo Assembly Complex

Size: 3.6 million square feet.

Acreage: 312

Employees: 2,400 from Chrysler and on-site suppliers.

Products: Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty, and Dodge Nitro.





Article published in The Monroe Evening News, May 25, 2011

                                              

Jeep tour to aid veterans and their families BY CHARLES SLAT

Star-spangled Jeeps will caravan into Monroe in late July as part of a literal cross-country drive to raise funds for wounded veterans, war dead and their families. The "Crossing of Ameri­ca" will feature two "Spirit of Liberty" Jeeps decorated with a flag motif by auto­mobile artist Kiwi Terry and will begin on Friday aboard the USS Midway in San Diego harbor. It will end on Sept. 8 on the deck of the USS Intrepid in New York harbor to mark the 10th An­niversary of 9/11.
The tour will cover more than 12,700 miles through 43 states and the District of Columbia during its 105­day trip and include a stop July 27 at the Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Superstore. During the stop in Monroe, members of the public and others will have a chance to bid on driving the Jeeps as part of the fundraising campaign. People can also donate per mile driven along the route.
The effort is organized by the Spirit of Liberty Foundation and The Trag­edy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).
"Everyone will be given the chance to drive one of these Jeeps and show their love for our country by helping those who have sacrificed so much," said Ralph Mahalak Jr., co­owner and sales director of the dealership. Those who are successful bid­ders will be able to drive the specially decorated Jeeps on the dealership's 18-obstacle off-road track or along part of its route from the dealership to the Toledo plant where Jeep Wranglers are built.
"We have commitments from high-profile Americans who have agreed to drive the Spirit of Liberty Jeep across America," said Richard Rovsek, who is spearhead­ing the effort. "Part of the value of the vehicles is they will be the most celebrity driven vehicles ever."
Actor Harrison Ford and astronaut Alan Bean are among those who have com­mitted to drive part of the route.
"We are part of the larg­est ever star-driven effort to create awareness and raise funds to support wounded warriers, fallen heroes and their families," said JP Ma­halak, co-owner and general manager of the Monroe su­perstore.
At the end of the tour, the two Jeeps will be auctioned to the highest bidder.
"All of the money raised will go directly to support the wounded warriors, and their families, and the fami­lies of fallen heroes," Mr. Rovsek said.




Article Article published at MonroeNews.com on Apr 22, 2011
'Pure Monroe' tourism campaign takes shape

A "Pure Monroe" ad campaign will be launched May 2 that piggybacks on the state's "Pure Michigan" tourism promotion theme and includes the voice of actor Tim Allen in radio spots to tout the area as a "hidden gem" in southeast Michigan.
Financed by local corporate and business contributions, the effort will feature radio and television spots, billboards and newspaper ads to lure tourists to the region.
"This began from kind of a brainstorming session a group of us had over a year ago," said H. Douglas Chaffin, president and chief executive officer of Monroe Bank & Trust. He said the group included Annette Phillips, president of Mercy Memorial Hospital System; Dr. David Nixon, president of Monroe County Community College, and Lonnie Peppler-Moyer, publisher of The Monroe Evening News.
"We all four recognized that since we are not from Monroe originally we have a different perspective on this community" than lifelong residents, he explained.
He said the area's substantial assets, including the River Raisin National Battlefield Park, Sterling State Park, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, Lake Erie shoreline, River Raisin Heritage Trail System and major corporate partners such as DTE Energy and La-Z-Boy Incorporated are advantages rarely found in comparable locales, not to mention the existence of a local community college and locally operated bank, hospital and newspaper.
"There are a lot of things we see as a huge benefit in this community that honestly doesn't happen anywhere else," Mr. Chaffin said.
It was decided to find a mechanism to help spread that word and the concept of a Pure Monroe campaign was pitched to Travel Michigan as a companion to its Pure Michigan initiative.
Corporate and in-kind contributions are fueling the effort, which will include promotional advertising that runs from May to August both this and next year.
"It's going to include print advertising, billboard, cable TV and local and out-of-market radio," he said. So far, $40,000 has been raised for the two-year effort and significant in-kind contributions have been made.
In addition to the use of Mr. Allen's voiceover talents, 30-second radio and TV ads narrated by Dr. Nixon, who has a vast broadcasting background, will be included in the campaign.
The ad by Mr. Allen already has been previewed at various community events, but will be aired publicly for the first time during a special tourism-related broadcast on Monroe native Paul W. Smith's morning show on WJR. The May 2 show will be broadcast live from Monroe County Community College and feature interviews with community leaders.
Created in collaboration between Pure Michigan and the Monroe team, the ad describes the area as a hidden gem and makes reference to the historic 1812 battlefield.
"I think everyone that hears it thinks it's a great representation of the community and reflects the positive things that go on here," Mr. Chaffin said. "Whether you grew up in Monroe or lived here just a month or two, it has a certain emotional tug. It appeals to everybody."
It's not clear how the success of the effort will be measured, because not all the advertising buying decisions have been determined yet, Mr. Chaffin said.
Besides the four original companies, other partners in the effort include La-Z-Boy, DTE, the Monroe County Intermediate School District; Monroe County Convention & Tourism Bureau, Monroe County Historical Society; Monroe County Community Credit Union; Monroe Downtown Development Authority; Buckeye Cable System; Charter Communications; Education Plus Credit Union; Floral City Beverage; Homrich Inc.; Mannik & Smith Group; Monroe Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep Superstore; MY 98.3; the War of 1812 Steering Committee and WNWO-TV.
Companies or individuals that want to make financial or in-kind contributions, may do so through the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce or MBT. Checks may be made payable to "Pure Monroe."
More information on contributing may be obtained by contacting Michelle Dugan, chamber president, at (734) 384-3366 or Mary Jane Town at MBT at (734) 240-2510.

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