The vast majority of GoodCarBadCar.net readers aren’t from Canada. The vast majority of Canadian GoodCarBadCar.net readers aren’t from Nova Scotia. Nevertheless, in deference to the homeland, this post is all for GoodCarBadCar.net’s Halifax readers, with some gossip that might interest observers from away.
In the last couple years, an upheaval in the U.S. automotive industry wreaked havoc on the dealer networks of General Motors and Chrysler. This resulted in Carroll Pontiac Buick GMC Hummer closing up on the Bedford Highway and Forbes Chevrolet Cadillac permanently vacating the premises on Portland Street. McPhee, the owner of Forbes as well as its own GM dealership and Halifax Chrysler, was royally messed up. Steele Chrysler moved in to take over Bayers Lake-based Halifax Chrysler. This you know.
As for the Fiat connection, well, this is where it gets interesting. Nova Scotia’s only Fiat franchise was awarded to Halifax Chrysler. After speaking to a couple sales reps in Bayers Lake, however, I learned that Chrysler Canada/Fiat/Sergio Marchionne wasn’t happy with the showroom situation out there. Carroll’s old store on the Bedford Highway, right beside Atlantic Acura, had been closed for a while. Steele Chrysler’s showroom on Kempt Road is a terrible affair. As you might’ve then guessed, Steele Auto Group will be taking over the spot on the Bedford Highway for Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep.
The 500, incidentally, will be parked right where Hummer used to be in its own Fiat-specific corner.
Now things get interesting. Fiat Canada sold nine cars in the waning days of February, surely all of which were pre-sold Prima Edizione 500s. Halifax Chrysler will be getting three Fiat 500s, all of which are fully loaded $22K+ cars, all of which are sold, two of which were sold to “Italian brothers”. It’s likely that the handover won’t even be dealt with in Bayers Lake. After the 500s roll off the truck, they’ll be taken to one of Steele’s more urban locations where the sale will be finalized. Apparently one of these first three 500s sold is going to Halifax’s first owner of the first-generation smart fortwo, a car this owner still has. Allegedly.
Saying he’d been in close contact with Fiat – which I’m guessing doesn’t mean Fiat HQ in Turin – this once-upon-a-time Fiat salesman who is no longer eligible to sell a 500 says fewer than 2000 500s have been built for Fiat’s North American dealers at this point. While he’s certain that’ll change rapidly, the thought of 50,000 continental Cinquencento sales, let alone 50,000 annual sales solely in the U.S., still seemed impossible once he considered the limited appeal of one specific model.
This great new Chrysler 300 every reviewer seems to admire so? Chrysler Canada dealers can’t get their hands on them, says this salesman, at least not dealers in this locale. Same goes for all 2011 Chrysler/Dodge cars. Minivans and trucks? There’ve been tons made, tons sold, and many more are on the way.
The Good 12-winning Jeep Wrangler will be promoted with big incentives come mid-April. So for the 900 or so Canadians who plan on buying a Wrangler in March and haven’t yet done so, I tell ye wait. Wait on that.
The 2012 Fiat 500 is currently featured on the Canadian website with 5.99% financing. So you might want to wait on that, too, potential Fiat buyers. The 500 is another Good 12-winning product from Chry… er, Fiat… oh, whatever ya call it. Says my “source” (attempting to speak like a reporter is so tedious), Fiat wants to ramp up the 500 slowly so they can see how buyers react to different trim levels before they decide to build thousands of 500s in Lounge trim when Sport or Pop is more sought after. Supply, therefore, will be weak for some time.