Auto makers are spending some cold days at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this month trying to heat up a cooling U.S. new car and truck market.
No fewer than 13 production vehicles and a like number of concepts are making world debuts in Detroit this year, as industry players launch the fight for market share in what is expected to be a tough 2003.
GiantCorp. unveils a long list of production models, including a bevy of Chevies, a couple of Caddies and new muscle for Pontiac.
Among them is Chevrolet's new Saturn Vue-based '05 Equinox cross/utility vehicle. It is powered by a China-built, 3.4L OHV V-6 and will be produced at GM's CAMI Automotive Inc. joint venture plant in Ingersoll, Ont., Canada.
Sharing Chevy floor space is the '04 Colorado, a beefier replacement for the compact S-10 pickup. Along with its GMC twin, dubbed the Canyon, it will be available in nine configurations when it hits the market in the fourth quarter.
Rounding out Chevy's offerings is the Epsilon-based update of the Malibu midsize sedan and new Malibu Maxx tall wagon. Both benefit from a number of standard features, such as adjustable pedals, power-adjustable driver's seat and a tilt-telescoping steering wheel. The sedan goes on sale in the third quarter; the Maxx a quarter later.
Cadillac is showing off two critical models, the new image-building XLR convertible and SRX CUV. Based on the next Corvette platform, the XLR gets a retractable hardtop and Northstar V-8. The Sigma-based SRX, with optional seating for seven, will be available in rear- and all-wheel drive. A V-6 is standard; a Northstar V-8 is optional.
Pontiac rolls out the production version of its Australian-built GTO. The rear-drive coupe, which first hit the stage in L.A. earlier this month, is based on the Holden Monaro and gets a 340-hp, aluminum-block V-8. Also bowing for Pontiac is a revamped Grand Prix for '04.
Concepts on tap include the Buick Centieme — the first peek at GM's Lambda platform for 2006, and rear-drive Chevy SS performance sedan.
Motor Co. answers the barrage with some big guns of its own: an all-new '04 F-150 pickup and a Mustang GT Convertible concept that hints at the upcoming '05 model.
The F-Series, on sale in the fall, features a new chassis, more aggressive sheet metal and modular interior that provides distinctive looks for each of five versions offered.
concepts include the V-10 powered 427 fullsize family sedan and Mercury Messenger V-12 sports coupe.
The emphasis atGroup is on Dodge. Alongside production-ready Dodge Magnum CUV and Durango SUV concepts are the more whimsical Kahuna minivan and muscular Avenger 5-door. The Magnum is the first look at Chrysler's rear-drive LX platform due in 2004. The all-wheel-drive Avenger offers a strong hint at future midsize car styling.
The big hitter among the foreign-based auto makers has to beMotor Co. Ltd., which rolls out its first fullsize pickup truck, a new Quest minivan, revamped Maxima sedan and '04 Infiniti FX45 luxury CUV.
Motor Co. Ltd.'s Acura marque launches its fourth sedan, an entry-level model based on the European-market Accord. The Japan-based auto maker also shows off a concept dubbed the Studio E, a panel-sided, multi-media equipped version of the Element CUV.
Also bowing is's new AM305, a V-8 powered Porsche 911 fighter. Billed as a concept, it is said to be virtually identical to the production car slated for sale in 2005. And AG rolls out its long-anticipated first Rolls-Royce, also aimed at the well-heeled set.
Motor Co. Ltd.'s OLV — or Outdoor Lifestyle Vehicle — offers a vision of the future of CUVs. It has removable roof panels, turning a conventional trunk into a pickup bed.
Motors Corp. chips in with a production version of its ‘04 Endeavor CUV. The V-6 powered model will be built in Normal, IL, and arrives in showrooms in March. It shares space on the show floor with the Tarmac Spyder Concept, MMC's latest sport coupe styling exercise.