Chrysler Food Fight

Food Network star Bobby Flay skewers Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda during the introduction of the auto maker’s redesigned minivans.

As LaSorda helps Flay prepare a pair of dishes in a live demonstration to reflect brand attributes – a spicy salsa for Dodge; a rich ganache for Chrysler – the celebrity chef compliments the executive’s culinary skills.

“It looks like you’ve spent time in a hot kitchen,” Flay says.

Without missing a beat, and to the delight of the large crowd, LaSorda ad-libs: “Kitchen’s been pretty hot lately. Thanks for reminding me.”

A food theme dominates Chrysler’s minivan debuts. Referred to as the auto maker’s bread and butter, the ’08 Dodge Grand Caravan drives out of a giant bread wrapper, and the ’08 Chrysler Town & Country comes out of a block of margarine.

Chrysler has sold more than 11 million minivans since its first-generation product was launched in 1983.

Icy Reception

The Mercedes-Benz exhibit features an ice rink here at the show, where skaters zip in and out of parked cars.

In a slick promotional stunt, the auto maker scatters warning signs all over the slick surface. The signs tout its trademark all-wheel-drive system.

“Caution,” the signs read. “Real Ice! 4Matics Only.”

Car Guy and People Person to Boot

The airplane guy is a car guy after all. Questioned for bringing in an industry outsider when he hired Alan Mulally from Boeing late last year as Ford’s new CEO, Chairman Bill Ford declares here that his handpicked successor is “the right guy” and “a car guy.”

Ford goes on to assure Mulally also is a “people person,” adding that while Mulally appreciates Ford’s heritage and culture, he has been instrumental in tearing down the things that “have been holding us back.”

Says Bill Ford in summation: “I have never enjoyed working with anyone as much as I have with Alan.”