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November 25, 2015

Marc Petit, President and CEO of Taxelco, Pierre-Luc Desgagné, Vice President - Corporate Affairs and Secretary, General Hydro-Québec, Benoit Dorais, Mayor of South-West borough, Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal, Alexandre Taillefer, Managing partner, XPND Capital, Manon Brouillette, President and CEO Videotron, Claude Foisy, Vice-President Québecor Groupe Média Affichage
(From left) Marc Petit, President and CEO of Taxelco, Pierre-Luc Desgagné, Vice President - Corporate Affairs and Secretary, General Hydro-Québec, Benoit Dorais, Mayor of South-West borough, Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal, Alexandre Taillefer, Managing partner, XPND Capital, Manon Brouillette, President and CEO Videotron, Claude Foisy, Vice-President Québecor Groupe Média Affichage.
Taxelco, founded by XPND Capital, is unveiling Téo (Transport Écologique Optimisé) an all-electric car taxi company in Montreal, which will begin three month testing period on November 26.

"With Téo, we plan to show that a green project can be economically, socially and environmentally beneficial, while respecting all regulations," said Alexandre Taillefer, entrepreneur, investor and Managing Partner, XPND Capital. "In launching this service, we're doing our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we're raising the visibility of Montreal, which today joins the select club of cities with an electric taxi service."

Kia Soul EV and Nissan LEAF vehicle are two of the options that will be offered as part of Teo
Kia Soul EV and Nissan LEAF vehicles are two of the options that will be offered as part of Teo.
Téo will have two services available; Téo Taxi, which will offer Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul and Tesla vehicles; and Téo Black, which will offer luxury Tesla vehicles. Initially, the service will have 50 taxis with 50 drivers. The service will officially roll out in March 2016.

"The two services will meet Montrealers' different transportation needs," saaid Marc Petit, CEO, Taxelco. "Téo Taxi offers a unique and highly personalized service that encourages interaction between the driver and customer. Téo Black caters mainly to a business clientele, with competitive pricing that will make it a popular service across the city."

Téo will offer a mobile app, which will make it possible for customers to share a taxi ride and book movement before hand. A tablet will be available in the taxi, as well as free wifi service in all vehicles and phone chargers available. Availability of vehicles will be optimized through geolocation data, charge cycle data and central management of peak demand periods.

“Nissan is delighted to have been chosen as a partner and supplier of electric vehicles for Montréal’s electric taxi pilot project,” said Christian Meunier, President, Nissan Canada Inc. “The Québec EV market is a priority for Nissan because over 50 per cent of Nissan LEAF vehicles sold in Canada are sold in Québec.”

Those interested in the Téo service can visit:

November 23, 2015


Motor Trend magazine named its car, truck and SUV of the year award winners. The Car of the Year award winner was the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, other finalists included: Audi TT, BMW 7 Series, Honda Civic, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mercedes-AMG GT S, and the Toyota Mirai.

The Truck of the Year award winner was the Chevrolet Colorado, repeating as champion, having won the award in 2015 as well. Other finalists for the award were: Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Canyon, GMC Sierra 1500, Nissan Titan XD, and Toyota Tacoma.

The SUV of the Year award winner was the Volvo XC90, topping the other finalists, Honda Pilot, Lincoln MKX, Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, and Nissan Murano.

“Everyone at Volvo Cars is exceptionally proud to win the Motor Trend SUV of the Year award,” said Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Cars of North America. “The all-new XC90 is a strong indicator of things to come at Volvo.”

November 23, 2015

2016 Chevrolet Volt
2016 Chevrolet Volt.

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt was awarded Green Car of the Year at the Los Angeles Auto Show; the award was presented by Green Car Journal.

“Chevrolet’s all-new Volt is a milestone, building on an already-technologically advanced ‘green’ car and delivering what buyers have longed for, including an impressive 53-mile (85 km) driving range on a single charge,” said Ron Cogan, Editor and Publisher, Green Car Journal and “A visually appealing design, increased five-passenger seating, and an array of on-board electronics combine with the Volt’s inherent efficiencies to make the 2016 Chevrolet Volt a real winner.”

Other contenders: Audi A3 e-tron, Honda Civic, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Prius. The award was judged by an 11 member panel which focused on fuel efficiency, Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board certifications, performance, affordability, availability and accessibility.

“Chevrolet has long stood for offering affordable and innovative electrification options for Canadians, and that is exactly what the next-generation Volt brings to the table”, said Laura Pacey, Chevrolet Brand director for Canada. “This recognition as Green Car of the Year, is further testament that Chevrolet is committed to being a leader in technologically advanced, environmentally friendly, electric vehicles in Canada.”

November 16, 2015

2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Toyota has announced that it will produce the RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid at its Cambridge North Assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario beginning in 2019.

“The RAV4 and the RAV4 hybrid are great products for TMMC,” said Jim Lentz, CEO, Toyota Motor North America. “RAV4 is a leader in the fastest growing segment of the North American auto industry. We forecast that the segment will continue to demonstrate strong growth with the RAV4 being a major player.” Mr. Lentz went on to say “producing additional RAV4s, a more upscale, more complex, higher content vehicle, fits well with TMMC’s well-earned reputation for quality.”

Cambridge North plant will receive new investments including Toyota’s New Global Architecture, which involves new production equipment and processes.

“With a new platform and the latest technology, TMMC will have the flexibility to respond to the evolving needs of the automotive marketplace,” said Brian Krinock, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC). “Bringing TNGA to Canada will propel us to the next generation of automotive manufacturing and provide the basis for our longstanding commitment to employment stability.” Mr. Krinock also observed that “when we implement this project in 2019, we will have been making vehicles in Canada for thirty years. This investment will revitalize our plant and create the foundation for our future success.”

November 16, 2015

Source: DesRosiers Automotive Consultants (DAC).

According to a recent DesRosiers Automotive Consultants study of 1,500 light vehicle owners, over 57 per cent of respondents stated they believe winter tires should be mandatory; 31.5 per cent disagreed and 11.3 per cent weren't sure either way.

While the results were not greatly influenced by gender, age, income or education, there were significant variations in respondent sentiment based on region. Quebec, which mandates winter tire use had the highest level of agreement at 90 per cent while B.C had the lowest at just over 40 per cent.

November 3, 2015


Hankook tires released the results of its Get a Grip Winter Tire Safety Poll recently. It found that 64 per cent of Canadians use winter tires, with usage being 97 per cent in Quebec (where it is law), 86 per cent in Atlantic Canada, 47 per cent in Alberta, 42 per cent in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and 41 per cent in British Columbia.

Women are more likely than men (47 per cent to 41 per cent) switch to winter tires recognizing it's criticality to road safety.

While the majority of Canadians use winter tires, 42 per cent don’t know when to switch over to them.

"Forty-two per cent of Canadians indicated that they didn't know when to switch to winter tires," said Jeff Bullock, Hankook spokesman. "The correct answer is when the temperature drops below seven Celsius. Winter tires are made from a type of rubber that can perform in cold temperatures."

Another important factor that is usually missed is the checking of tire pressure, which 68 per cent of Canadians did not know is the most important factor in tire safety.

"The tire's air pressure is the most important safety consideration no matter what time of year it is," said Bullock. "When you see stats like one third of Canadian drivers only check the tire pressure twice a year or less, that's concerning. If you think about it, the tire is the only thing keeping your car on the road. Tire pressure checks are an early warning system. If that pressure gets too low, or you get a flat while driving, you can lose control of the car. It's very dangerous, especially in winter conditions."

November 3, 2015


Six 2016 model year Fiat Chrysler Automobile vehicles have been named Consumers Digest Best Buys.

"In the inaugural year of Consumers Digest's review and recommendation of subcompact SUVs, it's notable that the Jeep Renegade was the only model in the segment that emerged as a Best Buy during the first phase of our evaluation process," said Rich Dzierwa, Editor-in-Chief, Consumers Digest.

Best Buy winners include: Jeep Renegade (sub-compact SUV), Jeep Grand Cherokee (mid-size SUV), Dodge Challenger (sporty cars), Dodge Durango (full-size SUV), Chrysler 300 (luxury cars) and Fiat 500 (subcompacts) .

Consumers Digest picks its "Best Buys" by selecting vehicles that offer best value for money within their respective segment; value is determined by purchase price and ownership costs, as well as comfort, performance and utility among other factors. Consumers Digest automotive editors drive "Best Buy" contenders in a range of circumstances and conditions to evaluate acceleration, ride quality, fuel economy, fit and finish, styling and interior ergonomics.

November 3, 2015


Neil Cawse, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Geotab Inc., has been named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario winner.

"Neil's business was based on GPS technology—a novelty at the time," says Colleen McMorrow, Partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year national program director. "He faced initial customer reluctance to use GPS tracking due to driver privacy concerns. Despite this, Neil created demand for his product through customer education, and he created market share and a legacy by proving to businesses that his product is valuable."

October 27, 2015


Enterprise Holdings released a Canadian Automotive Survey recently. The survey found that 59 per cent of Enterprise customers in Canada considered buying the vehicle they drove as a rental. Seventy two per cent of drivers aged 25-34 make the test drive decision. Also, 69 per cent of customers reported that a positive experience with a particular vehicle changed their view of the car make or model.

"Car rental is one of the best ways to introduce consumers – and prospective buyers – to different manufacturers and new car models," said Paul Belfer, Vice-President of Canadian Fleet Acquisition, Enterprise Holdings. "Our manufacturing partners have long found our fleet as a great testing ground for new technology. Now, this survey shows Canadians view our vehicles in the same way, as an opportunity to drive a new make and model that may influence a future purchasing decision."

Another survey finding was that 47 per cent of Canadians customers rent vehicles for personal use compared to 37 per cent of American customers. Americans though are more likely than Canadians to rent a vehicle for business use (41 per cent versus 31 per cent).

"This insight into personal versus business use and the difference in the North American markets also helps us tailor our car rental programs," said Belfer.

Other findings are: Canadians (42 per cent) experience new vehicle technology through driving rentals cars; 38 per cent of Canadians think their selection of rental cars says something about them; more Canadians than Americans (16 per cent versus 10 per cent) rent compact vehicles.

October 27, 2015


The Volvo XC90 has been named Woman’s World Car of the Year and awarded the Supreme Trophy. "With the XC90, Volvo Cars begun a relaunch of its brand. This award is a testament that we have come a long way already and that we have succeeded in making the XC90 attractive for a very important audience, so we are of course both honoured and delighted," said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO, Volvo Cars.

The Women’s World Car of the Year determined by votes by women judges from 13 countries. The judges comprise automotive journalists who assess each vehicle based on individual experience and knowledge while maintaining a women’s perspective from a vehicle purchasing standpoint. The judges submit a short list of preferences and a official list is then drawn comprising five cars from each category. Judges then place final votes by awarding points for: engineering, appearance, comfort, storage and value for money.

October 27, 2015


Honda of Canada Manufacturing (HCM) began mass production of the 10th generation 2016 Honda Civic in Alliston, Ontario. The plant is now the global lead for Civic production, and as such is the first in the world to launch Civic production.

“Civic is a vehicle that Canadians have grown to trust. This tenth generation model will continue to set a new benchmark in the compact class with fun-to-drive performance, fuel efficiency and safety performance, together with a new level of refinement,” said Jerry Chenkin, President and CEO, Honda Canada Inc. “Canadians can also take pride in knowing that every Civic coupe, sedan and Si model sold in Canada is made right here in Ontario, for Canadians, by Canadians.”

Honda Canada will also be responsible for the development of processes and tooling that form the manufacturing base at all Honda plants globally building the new Civic.

“Our team also set a new benchmark, taking on the incredible challenge of being the lead plant for the global launch of this new Civic, and we’re committed to delivering world-class Civic quality for our customers here in Canada and around the world,” said Dan Smith, President, HCM.

Honda has been manufacturing cars in Canada since 1986, when it opened the Alliston plant.

October 19, 2015

Selection of vans that took part in the challenge
Selection of vans that took part in the challenge.

The ninth annual Canadian Truck King Challenge took on an increasing number of entries this year, as mid-size vans, full-size vans, mid-size pick-up trucks and full-size pick-up trucks were represented for 2016 model year. Along with the expanded number of categories this year, defending segment winners can return to defend a win. As such, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel (which won the 2014 competition), the Ford Transit 250 (which won the 2015 competition), as well as Nissan NV200 (which won the mid-size van competition for 2015) returned back to defend their titles.

Selection of full-size pick-ups that took part in the challenge
Selection of full-size pick-ups that took part in the challenge.
“To have the 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel bring home the Canadian Truck King crown for a second time is truly rewarding,” said Reid Bigland, President and CEO, FCA Canada. “Faced this time around with a notable pair of new and refreshed competitors, Ram’s mix of power, capability and fuel economy helped it rise to the top spot. With its class-exclusive 3.0-litre EcoDiesel engine, best-in-class 420 lb-ft of torque, best-in-class fuel economy of 8.0 L/100 km and 9,200 lbs. towing capacity, Ram 1500 EcoDiesel has what it takes to stay ahead in a fiercely contested segment.”

Selection of mid-size pick-ups that took part in the challenge
Selection of mid-size pick-ups that took part in the challenge.
Both the Ram 1500 Ecodiesel and Ford Transit 250 repeated as winners in full-size pick-up and full-size van categories, respectively. The Nissan NV200 lost this year to new entry the Mercedes-Benz Metris in the mid-size van category. The winner in the new category of mid-size pick-up truck was the GMC Canyon diesel.

The final breakdown by score was as follows:

Mid-size vans:
Nissan NV200 (73.52)
Ram ProMaster City (73.74)
Mercedes-Benz Metris (75.69)

RAM 1500 EcoDiesel
RAM 1500 EcoDiesel.
Full-size vans:
Ford Transit (73.90)
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 (69.13)
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x2 (73.20)
Ram 1500 ProMaster (62.64)

Mid-size pick-ups:
Toyota Tacoma TRD (72.04)
Chevrolet Colorado (73.73)
GMC Canyon SLT Diesel (75.64)

Full-size pick-ups:
Chevrolet Silverado High Country 5.3L V-8 (80.40)
Ford F-150 XLT 2.7L EcoBoost (81.30)
Ford F-150 Platinum 3.5L EcoBoost (80.30)
Ram 1500 Laramie 3L EcoDiesel (82.97)

Watch for a full write-up about the 2016 Canadian Truck King Challenge in the next issue of Fleet Vans and Trucks in December 2015.

October 19, 2015

Mercedes-Benz B-Class vehicles have been added to the car2go fleet
Mercedes-Benz B-Class vehicles have been added to the car2go fleet.

Car sharing company, car2go, introduced 75 Mercedes-Benz B-Class four-door vehicles in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, as part of a pilot program.

“As our members embark on new life chapters – whether moving to a new residence or growing their family – we want to continue providing an affordable and convenient transportation option that allows them to go wherever life takes them,” said Paul DeLong, President and CEO, car2go N.A. “The Mercedes B-Class will allow us to explore how the four-door aligns with our members’ needs, and will also give our members the exciting opportunity to take one of Daimler’s world class products for a spin. As the leader in the Canadian carsharing market, we’re committed to providing our members with a product that makes their lives easier, and we believe that the four-door could be another exciting move in that direction.”

The B-Class vehicles will be wrapped in car2go's blue and white colour scheme and can be rented by car2go members for the same cost (41 cents per minute) as the smart fortwo vehicles now in use. The vehicles are equipped with car2go technology allowing use of the company’s smartphone app for the process.

For more information or to register to become a member of car2go, please visit

October 19, 2015


Future medium-duty conventional car Class 4/5 commercial vehicles will be developed and assembled jointly by General Motors Co. and Navistar as a result of a long-term agreement.

“Bringing medium-duty conventional cab trucks back into the portfolio strengthens Chevrolet’s commitment to providing commercial customers with more choices and one-stop shopping for a versatile lineup of trucks, vans and crossovers,” said Ed Peper, U.S. Vice-President, GM Fleet and Commercial sales.

The trucks will be developed jointly using Navistar’s rolling chassis configurations and manufacturing capabilities, and GM’s commercial components and engines. Production will begin in 2018 and be manufactured at Navistar’s facility in Springfield, Ohio. Navistar plans to add 300 jobs and invest over $12 million to the facility to produce the new trucks.

“Our collaboration with GM is another example of our customer-centric, open integration approach – providing our customers with the best technologies available,” said Bill Kozek, President, Truck and Parts, Navistar. “By working with an industry-leading partner like GM, we’ll be able to enhance our medium-duty product portfolio and leverage our scale and expertise in manufacturing medium-duty trucks.”

October 13, 2015

2016 Nissan Titan XD
2016 Nissan Titan XD.

The Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) announced the 25th annual Truck Rodeo winners for 2016 with the “Truck of Texas” award going to the all-new 2016 Nissan Titan XD. This is the first time a Nissan truck has won the title. Nissan also won Best New Powertrain with the Nissan Cummins® 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel and Aisin; Best Off-road Pickup with Titan XD Pro-4X; Best Luxury Pickup Truck with Titan XD Platinum Reserve; and Best Mid-size CUV with Nissan Murano Platinum.

“Of the hundreds of thousands of miles driven during the development of the all-new 2016 TITAN XD, the miles driven by the truck experts of the Texas Auto Writers Association were the most critical miles driven to date as we prepare to launch our new truck,” said Fred Diaz, senior vice president, Sales & Marketing and Operations, U.S.A., Nissan North America, Inc. “This prestigious Truck of Texas award gives us tremendous validation heading into the TITAN XD launch in December. We are humbly honored to accept this award.”

The “Sport Utility Vehicle of Texas” award went to the 2016 Ford Explorer, the "Crossover Utility Vehicle of Texas” was won by the 2016 Volvo XC90, and Ford trucks were awarded the “Truck Line of Texas.”

Texas Auto Writers Award members evaluated 88 vehicles among many brands at the Texas Truck Rodeo, which took place at the Knibbe Ranch near San Antonio, Texas, on October 7-9.

"The members of the Texas Auto Writers Association always enjoy the Texas Truck Rodeo," said Michael Marrs, TAWA president. "It's a unique chance to compare vehicles back-to-back in a timely manner on the same course and provide honest, real-time feedback to our industry partners. The Nissan Titan with the Cummins Diesel engine really impressed TAWA members at this year's event; there's no doubt that innovative powertrains, impressive designs and new technologies paid off for the Titan."

Category winners:
Truck of Texas: Nissan Titan XD (Cummins Diesel)
SUV of Texas: 2016 Ford Explorer
CUV of Texas: 2016 Volvo XC90
Truck line of Texas: Ford
Heavy duty pickup truck: 2016 Ram 2500
Best commercial vehicle: 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo and Passenger van
Luxury pickup truck: 2016 Nissan Titan XD Platinum Reserve
Off-road pickup: 2016 Nissan Titan XD Pro-4X
Full-size pickup: 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel
Midsize pickup: 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off-Road & TRD Sport & Limited
Best technology: Ford Pro-Trailer Backup Assist
Best connectivity: Volvo Sensus
Best powertrain: Nissan Cummins 5.0L V8 Diesel & Aisin
Off-road utility vehicle: 2016 Jeep Wrangler
Full-size luxury SUV: 2016 Lexus LX 570
Mid-size luxury SUV: 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4
Compact luxury SUV: 2016 Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE LUX
Full-size SUV: 2015 Dodge Durango RT AWD and Citadel AWD
Mid-size SUV: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited Diesel
Compact SUV: 2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and Limited
Full-size CUV: 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD
Mid-size CUV: 2015 Nissan Murano Platinum
Compact CUV: 2015 Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
Luxury CUV: 2016 Volvo XC90 T6

September 18, 2015


Jim Pattison Lease has partnered with Groupe Park Avenue as a lead partner in Location Park Avenue in Montreal, Quebec.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our company and thanks to Location Park Avenue’s established presence, strong team of employees and market know-how, Jim Pattison Lease can leverage its national scale and fleet programs to successfully grow our presence in the Quebec market,” said Steve Akazawa, President, Jim Pattison Lease. “We look forward to supporting current and prospective customers, maintaining the same levels of excellent customer service as well as providing Quebec businesses with access to an enhanced product offering.”

Location Park Avenue will now become Location Park Avenue-Jim Pattison Inc., and will offer Jim Pattison Lease fleet support and service programs. Existing management at Location Park Avenue will be led by Jim Pattison Lease.

Full terms of the partnership were not announced. Groupe Park Avenue has 20 locations.

“Jim Pattison is an ideal Canadian partner for Groupe Park Avenue, sharing the same strong entrepreneurial values and commitment to customer service,” said Norman E. Hébert, President and CEO, Groupe Park Avenue. “Thanks to this partnership, we can now focus on continuing to grow our retail automotive business organically and through strategic acquisitions, while ensuring that our corporate leasing business flourishes and stays 100 per cent Canadian-owned.”

September 8, 2015


Mister Transmission is expanding into Quebec with the opening of 20 new locations over several years. A long-term development agreement with MMO Group (Vast-Auto Distribution's auto care franchising division) has been established.

MMO Group now has master franchise rights for the province of Quebec for Mister Transmission. It will be tasked with developing the brand and increasing its presence in the region.

"We are always searching for ways to strategically exploit our current automotive franchising expertise and resources to differentiate ourselves. We believe this partnership with Mister Transmission provides a unique specialization that will diversify our franchise portfolio without competing with our current brands," said Daniel Malandruccolo, Vice President, MMO Group. "It is a very welcoming arrangement, they provide automotive aftermarket management expertise in Quebec, and we supply our brand with over 50 years of tools for success," says Randall Moore, President and CEO, Mister Transmission (International). "We are very proud to be new partners with MMO Group, and can foresee them exceeding the forecasted growth plans."

August 17, 2015


NAFA will host a ride and drive at the ICAR circuit in Mirabel, Quebec on September 10. The ride and drive is Hosted by the Quebec Chapter of NAFA, and will take place from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Over 70 vehicles from 12 OEM manufacturers will be available to test drive on a road circuit and on an offroad circuit. Networking opportunities will also be available.

TO view more information and to register, visit:

August 11, 2015


General Motors Canada is investing $13 million in the St. Catharines Powertrain facility in St. Catharines, Ontario. The investment will produce more variants of the company’s 3.6 litre V-6 engine built there.

“This new investment in our St. Catharines Powertrain facility will provide us with more options and capability for the future,” said Stephen Carlisle, President and Managing Director of General Motors of Canada. “It’s another example of how GM is living up to its commitments and building solid capability for the future in Canada.”

The GM St. Catharines plant produces a range of V-6 and V-8 engines as well as transmissions for a range of GM products.

August 11, 2015


Ranger Design Inc., has announced the launch of a line-up of steel safety partitions for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The bulkhead partitions are built from heavy gauge steel and aluminum, and are available in several models.

The partitions are rattle free and can reduce noise, improve climate control and allow for the front seat to travel to its maximum distance.

According to Ranger, “the new Swing Door Van Partition features: full seat travel, 19-inch door opening, easy installation thanks to new installation brackets, excellent visibility due to perforated window in door center panel, and is ready to ship from the Ranger factory in five business days.”

August 4, 2015


The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario are investing a total of $100 million in the Toyota Motor Manufacturing (TMMC) plant in Cambridge, Ontario. The investment is in addition to Toyota’s funding $421 million at the plant to launch the next generation Lexus RX350 and 450h vehicles.

"Over the past three years, we have invested more than $1 Billion in capital expenditures at our Canadian manufacturing facilities,” said Brian Krinock, President, TMMC. “The spending we are announcing today, along with recent investments in other aspects of our Canadian operations, demonstrates our ongoing commitment to this country, to our Team Members, and to the community in which we do business. The new technology we're bringing here will ensure Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada continues to lead the way."

The two government investments are facilitated by the Federal Automotive Innovation Fund and the Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Fund, which support the introduction of advanced technology at TMMC and strengthen Toyota's Canadian automotive manufacturing operations generally.

Minister of State, the Honourable Gary Goodyear, said "Canada's automotive sector is a global leader in vehicle production and our Government is proud to support projects that promote Canada as a destination for future automotive investment. Our Government will continue to support policies that help create well-paying, high-quality jobs and grow the Canadian economy."

The Honourable Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure added, "Our government is proud of Toyota's success in building vehicles in Ontario, with its industry-leading track record for quality and innovation. Our partnership allows Toyota to build on that success by securing their future in Ontario and leveraging new, innovative technologies to strengthen their exports and increase their competitiveness. These types of investments in Ontario's auto sector are crucial in generating significant economic activity and ensuring we continue to compete for the next generation of vehicle production."

July 28, 2015

Duramax 2.8L diesel engine
Duramax 2.8L diesel engine.

General Motors announced that the 2016 GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado will be equipped with a new 2.8 litre Duramax diesel engine. The engine provides a SAE-certified 181 horsepower and 369 foot/pounds of torque. It can tow up to 3,492 kilograms for 2WD (3,447 kg for 4WD).

“A diesel engine was part of the Canyon’s portfolio plan from the beginning, meaning the chassis, suspension and other elements of its architecture were engineered to support it,” said Scott Yackley, Assistant Chief Engineer. “That means there are no compromises with the Canyon diesel. It offers exceptional capability delivered with a confident feeling of control.”

Technologies included on the diesel models include a six-speed automatic transmission with a centrifugal pendulum vibration absorber in the torque converter to help reduce powertrain noise and vibration. A diesel exhaust brake, an integrated trailer brake controller, and an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case on 4WD models are standard.

Diesel engines will be available on SLE and SLT crew cab models in 2WD or 4WD. A trailering package is standard and includes a hitch receiver and seven-pin connector, automatic locking rear differential, 3.42 rear axle radio and four-wheel disc brakes.

July 24, 2015


LeasePlan Corporation NV, parent company of LeasePlan Canada, has been sold by its 100 per cent shareholder Global Mobility Holding BV (a joint venture of Volkswagen AG and Fleet Investments BV) to a consortium of long-term investors. The sale is valued at nearly 3.7 billion EUR; the deal is expected to close at the end of 2015 pending approval by regulatory and anti-trust authorities.

"The Consortium supports LeasePlan’s existing long-term strategy and growth ambitions, and has full confidence in LeasePlan’s management," said Jeff Hartley, President, LeasePlan Canada. "Most importantly, they support our ongoing commitment to our clients worldwide to continue providing high quality and innovative fleet management products and services. This agreement will have no impact on our current working relationship with our clients so they can continue to rely on our ongoing commitment to make fleet management and driver mobility easier."

The Consortium is composed of a group of long-term investors and includes Dutch pension fund service provider PGGM, Denmark pension fund ATP, GIC, Luxinva S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs and investment funds managed by TDR Capital LLP.

“Established in 1963, we have grown to become the world’s leading global fleet management and driver mobility company,” said Vahid Daemi, CEO and Chairman of the Leaseplan Managing Board. “ Today, our global franchise manages some 1.5 million multi-brand vehicles and provides global fleet management and driver mobility services in 32 countries. The change of ownership announced today marks a new era for our company and will enable LeasePlan to continue our successful journey and focus on executing our long-term strategy and growth ambitions. We remain fully committed to providing high quality and innovative fleet management and driver mobility services to our clients worldwide.”

Vahid Daemi will continue as CEO, and Chairman of the Managing Board at Leaseplan.

Eric-Jan Vink of PGGM, said on behalf of the Consortium: “As market leader in the global fleet management business, LeasePlan offers an attractive long-term investment opportunity. We are investing in the future of a company with an unmatched portfolio of market-leading assets, a highly knowledgeable and dedicated employee base and a sound strategy for the future, under highly experienced management. The Consortium looks forward to supporting the management team as they focus on growing the business.”

June 30, 2015


Element Financial Corporation will acquire GE Capital fleet management operations in the United States and Mexico as well as Australia and New Zealand for $8.6 billion CDN.

“Adding these very high quality businesses to our existing fleet operations firmly establishes Element as a leader in the North American fleet management industry,” said Steven Hudson, CEO, Element Financial Corporation. “But more importantly, by combining these businesses we’re being given an unprecedented opportunity to bring together the systems, technologies, products and people that have helped to define excellence in the fleet management industry in North America for more than five decades.”

The transaction covers assets, employees, systems, offices, agreements, intellectual property and other assets.

Also, Arval, an owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas, as well as an Element founding partner in the Element-Arval Global Alliance, has entered into a memorandum of understanding to acquire GE Capital’s fleet operations in Europe.

“We see the opportunity to expand our fleet management operations into Australia and New Zealand as an excellent fit with our established North American operations,” said Bradley Nullmeyer, President, Element Financial Corporation. “In addition to strengthening our ability to support international fleet customers through these transactions, we believe the economic scale of Element’s expanded fleet management enterprise will enable us to accelerate the development and deployment of the next generation of advanced fleet analytics and data benchmarking tools. These expanded and enhanced service offerings will further differentiate Element Fleet Management in the market and deliver incremental cost savings for our fleet customers.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory and other approvals. The North American portion of the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2015; in the 4th quarter of 2015 Australia and New Zealand will close.

June 24, 2015

Mercedes-Benz Thornhill
Mercedes-Benz Thornhill.

Mercedes-Benz Canada celebrates the opening of a new flagship retail facility in Thornhill, Ontario.

The dealership embodies the Auto Haus design concept with over 40 showroom vehicles, 32 service bays, six detailing bays, six vehicle drives-through as well as dedicated AMG Performance and Smart centres. It also includes a 36,000 sq-ft pre-owned vehicle showroom.

“We have been privileged to be an integral part of this strong and vibrant community for almost 27 years,” said Philipp von Witzendorff, VP & Head of Toronto Retail Operations. “The mantra of our brand is ‘The Best or Nothing’, and it is our consummate objective to live by these words in every single aspect of the day-to-day operations of this dealership. We initiated this massive undertaking because our customers deserve the best products and service possible and this goes hand-in-hand with an excellent overall dealership experience. We are very proud of this new flagship location but we are even more excited about the opportunity to provide an entirely revamped level of service to our customers in Thornhill and its surrounding areas."

June 22, 2015

Mike Whelan
Mike Whelan.

Mike Whelan, Senior Manager of Integration Services at Wheels, Inc., passed away June 3, 2015 after a long battle with cancer. He was 46 years old.

Mike joined Wheels in 2000 as a Senior Account Executive, and spent most of his career at Wheels managing our Canadian / North American Operations. He made many wonderful contributions to our company and our clients – our teams in the U.S. Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico will miss him very much.

Mike is survived by his two daughters, Amanda and Kaitlyn. If you would to make a donation, please do so in Mike’s honor to the American Cancer Society at

June 16, 2015

Ranger Design Inc., has partnered with Legend Fleet Solutions and will stock and ship Legend UltraGrip floors. The floor option is compatible with Ranger’s full scope of commercial van products.

“We are very excited to work with Legend” said Jay Cowie, Product Manager for Ranger Design. “Teaming up with them will now allow our customers more options and offer them one stop shopping saving them time and shipping costs.”

The Legend UltraGrip floor is precut, offers anti-slip protection, and is constructed with a rigid heavy duty, non-porous rubber coated surface.

June 2, 2015

Ford Sync 3.
Ford Sync 3.
Ford Motor Company has announced it will launch the next generation SYNC system this summer on 2016 Ford Escape and Ford Fiesta models.

“SYNC always has been about providing a safer way for our customers to connect their smartphones in order to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Mark LaNeve, Vice-President, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford Motor Company. “Customers continue to tell us they want this technology, and they want it to be fast and easy to use – like a smartphone. SYNC 3 delivers on that request.”

The new system is designed to be easier to use and faster. With changes and improvements focussed on simplification of the command structure for voice activated controls, integration of Siri eyes-free capability, and improvement of the interface, which now uses capacitive touch screen technology. Also, software updates can now be had over a Wifi network.

June 2, 2015

LeasePlan Canada new web site
LeasePlan Canada new web site.
LeasePlan Canada created a new web site with PDF downloads of key services, user-friendly navigation, and search functionality.

LeasePlan’s goal for the new site is present; to build a clean, informative site. The company describes the site as more interactive and intuitive for visitors.

Several drop-down menus outlining each product and service are displayed. The site is optimized for desktop and mobile browsing, The new web site can be seen at

June 2, 2015

NAFA’s Quebec Chapter will hold a ride and drive at the ICAR circuit in Mirabel, Quebec on September 10. Vehicles from a range of OEMs will be available.

Participants will have the choice of an on or off-road circuit. As usual, a full slate of NAFA and fleet industry representatives will attend.

May 19, 2015

NAFA Ontario will host the 2015 Charity Golf Tournament at Copper Creek Golf Club in Kleinburg, Ontario Thursday, May 28. For the third year funds raised will go to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. The 2014 fundraiser had sponsors and participants raise $25,800 for charity.

“We have over 30 corporate sponsors from across the fleet industry along with several unique prize packages that are available for an additional donation, including a keg of St-Ambroise beer from McAuslan Brewery, a television from North Toronto Auction and a duffle bag full of golf balls and a cash prize from FCA Canada,” said Mike Cole, Ministry Of Transport.

Over 140 golfers are expected to play. The planning committee included Jennifer Chapman, Foss National Leasing; Mike Cole, NAFA Vice-President for Canada; Chris Hill, Fleet Challenge; Jo-Anne Lamontagne, Mercedes-Benz Canada; Jeff Meggitt, York Region; and Stu Ralph, North Toronto Auction.

For more information, contact: Jennifer Chapman, at

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