He spoke at a rowdy October 2003 ceremony in Newark, Delaware, marking the launch of an all-new Dodge Durango sport utility vehicles, and drew thunderous rounds of cheers and applause when he said it would have "the best SUV quality in the world."
At the time LaSorda, who joined Chrysler from General Motors in January 2002, was the automaker's executive vice president for manufacturing.
Since he became the chief operating officer and No. 2 executive at Chrysler in May 2004 he has toned down that rhetoric.
But tough talk about the cut-throat nature of the auto industry is something LaSorda -- who will succeed German engineer Dieter Zetsche in January as CEO of DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler division -- is no stranger to.
He has been touted as the only son of a union leader to become a top executive at any of Detroit's traditional Big 3 automakers. His father worked for Chrysler in the arduous years leading up to the U.S. government's bailout of the company in 1980.
"He's a plant rat. He's somebody who came up through the manufacturing ranks and has had great rapport with the workers," David Cole, who heads the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research said of LaSorda.
"He's connected well with the union, the shop floor people, the union leadership," Cole added.
As CEO that would set LaSorda as a breed apart from other Detroit auto executives and it could give Chrysler an edge over its rivals in potentially critical contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year.
LaSorda, 51, is a native of Windsor, Canada, a small city just across the river from Detroit where Chrysler is the biggest employer.
"A REAL STAR"
He began his career in 1977 as a labor relations man at GM but went on to become one of the company's top manufacturing experts, seeing to it that GM adopted many of the same efficient and so-called flexible, lean techniques employed in Toyota's factories.
After cutting his teeth on Japanese lean-manufacturing practices at the GM/Suzuki CAMI Automotive Inc. joint venture in Canada, where he was vice president of production, LaSorda moved on to set up and run General Motors' ultra-lean assembly plant at Eisenach, in eastern Germany, in 1991.
That plant, which requires fewer than 18 hours of input for every car it produces, has become the benchmark for GM's plants worldwide.
At Chrysler, Cole said he had done much the same, and a lot of heavy lifting rebuilding some assembly operations from the ground up.
"He understands flexible, lean manufacturing and is a real star," Cole said.
Asked about his management skills, Burnham Securities analyst David Healy said LaSorda had a reputation as a good operations chief who had "sort of been in Zetsche's shadow" since he joined Chrysler.
But Michael Robinet, a Canadian like LaSorda who tracks the auto industry for CSM Worldwide of Farmington Hills, Michigan, said he had the leadership skills and all the other right stuff to make his move into the corner office at Chrysler.
"Tom grew up in a household which certainly valued hard work and he understands the worker side of the equation. But now he lives in the environment where the profit and loss and the product and the efficiency is very important," Robinet said.
"It's important for him to have that perspective. I'm excited as a Canadian to have him at the top of Chrysler Group," he said.