Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Fuel-efficient Ram trucks in city showrooms

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The new, more fuel-efficient 2013 Ram 1500 trucks made their first appearances in local Chrysler dealer showrooms to an enthusiastic reception. "We have a long waiting list for the new models," said Gauthier Chrysler Dodge Jeep truck specialist Bob Hanson.

The big thing about the new Ram, Hanson said, is its fuel efficiency. It boasts a best-in-class 7.8L per 100 kilometres on the highway.

The results stem from the model's new 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 engine with 8-speed automatic transmission that pumps out 305 hp @6400 rpm and 269 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4175 rpm.

Further enhancing the Ram's fuel efficiency, Hanson said, is its active grille shutters and a new Active-Level Four-Corner Air Suspension system that helps to reduce aerodynamic drag. The Active-Level system, Hanson adds, also automatically measures load weight and adjusts its level to keep an even profile and adjust headlight aim under all loading conditions.

The starting price for the entry-level model is in the $28,000-$29,000 range (plus freight and pdi). The 2013 Ram is available in a choice of eight trims.

Trax selling out quickly

General Motors' 2013 Trax has only been in dealership showrooms since late January and the model is already virtually sold out.

"Our initial consignment was limited in number," said Dan East, Birchwood Chevrolet Buick GMC's general sales manager. "Right now, we only have one 2013 Trax left in stock. We're expecting a couple more this week and a couple more the following week."

East noted the new Trax -- a smaller version of the Equinox -- appeals to drivers of all ages. "We had one customer come in and buy two models: one for himself and a second for his parents," East said. "It's easy to get on and out of."

The 2013 Trax is available in four trim levels. The standard model is powered by 1.4L DOHC I-4 engine that produces 138 hp @4900 rpm and 148 lb.-ft. of torque at 1850 rpm. All but the base LS model are available with AWD.

"The 2013 Trax is super good on fuel," East said. The model gets 5.7 L per 100 km on the highway and 7.8 L per 100 km in city driving.

Up front, the model has a sporty appearance, with a prominent two-tier grille with Chevrolet's signature logo, dramatically styled halogen lights and body-in, wheels-out design.

The Trax comes with Onstar, Bluetooth, remote keyless entry and all the usual power features as standard equipment, East noted. The model also has 10 standard air bags. East pointed out GM is an industry safety leader in that category.

The model's selling price ranges from the low to high 20 thousands depending on which trim you buy.

"The key act about the 2013 Trax," East said, "is that it's the right size for comfort and for city driving."

New sales manager for Birchwood Chev

Birchwood Chev also has a new sales manager in Riley Saunders. As is the pattern with the Birchwood Group, Saunders is a longtime Birchwood Group team member who has risen up through the ranks. He began his career at Birchwood Chev on the sales floor in 2008. In October 2010, he was promoted to sales manager at Birchwood Kia on Regent. He was appointed to his new position in December.

"It's great to be back here," he said. "I live the GM brand. "And I love working for the Chipman Family. They're the reason I am in the auto industry."

Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg Appoints new business manager

William Luchak is moving up the corporate ladder at Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg rather quickly. Luchak started his career in sales at the Mercedes-Benz dealer in Edmonton just three years ago. In September 2011, he moved to Winnipeg to work for Brian Lowes at Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg. At the beginning of February, he was promoted to business manager.

"I'm honoured and excited about my new position," he said. "It's a great learning experience."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2013 F4

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