Now thatCorp. and Motor Corp. are producing their all-new fullsize pickups, it appears the attention getters at this year’s North American International Auto Show will be more practical and sporty than macho and muscular.
Knowing consumers spent an entire year anxiously watching the price of regular unleaded at the corner service station, auto makers are smartly steering their Detroit rollouts away from the over-indulgent.
Group brings out its highly anticipated redesigned minivans, codenamed: RT. Slightly larger than its predecessor, the fifth-generation RT turns the tables on Chrysler’s trademarked Stow ‘n Go seating by offering second-row chairs that swivel 180 degrees.
also shows its hand on the car side with the Dodge Avenger midsizer and the Chrysler Nassau concept vehicle, which is based on the large-car LX platform. Another concept, the Jeep Trailhawk, is based on the new Jeep Wrangler.
DaimlerChrysler brands Mercedes-Benz and Smart show cars at opposite ends of the size spectrum. The tri-star brand unveils the Concept Ocean Drive, a 4-door convertible based on the S-Class, while Smart displays its next-generation ForTwo minicar, set for U.S. introduction in early 2008.AG continues the retractable hardtop craze with a sunny version of the 3-Series.
Midsize luxury and economy cars dominate GM’s NAIAS lineup this year, including the redesigned ’08 Cadillac CTS sedan.
Chevrolet uncovers its long-awaited ’08 Malibu, which is expected to be GM’s highest volume car in 2007. A convertible concept version of the new Chevy Camaro also should stoke the fires of anticipation for the coupe, slated for ’09 production.
On the more practical side, the hybrid-electric Chevy Volt concept premiers in Detroit, signaling GM’s interest in plug-in hybrids.
GM’s Saab unit also unveils its BioPower Hybrid Concept – a Saab 9-3 convertible that runs on bio-ethanol fuel (E100). In addition, the concept can run on electric power only, courtesy of the 2-mode hybrid system GM co-developed with DaimlerChrysler and.
Motor Co. takes the wraps off refreshed versions of its Ford Five Hundred fullsize sedan and the stalwart Ford Focus.
For ’08, the Five Hundred receives an upgrade under the bonnet with the addition of the acclaimed Duratec 35 3.5L V-6, a 2007 Ward’s 10 Best Engines winner, that produces 260 hp, a 30% increase over the 3.0L V-6 it replaces.
also brings three concepts to the Detroit show: the Lincoln MKR, Ford Airstream and Ford Interceptor.
AmericanMotor Co. Inc.’s Acura division shows its “Advanced Sports Car Concept.” Acura says the concept will “provide a glimpse at the next-generation Acura exotic sports car.” Honda also uncovers the next-generation Honda Accord coupe.
Although much of the industry is thinking small,remains focused on its fullsize pickup and will debut in Detroit the biggest version yet of its Tundra lineup: the CrewMax.
Toyota’s Lexus unit premiers an all-new V-8-powered version of its IS midsize luxury car. The ’08 IS-F will have unique styling and substantially more power than its 204-hp 2.5L V-6 and 306-hp 3.5L V-6 brethren, Toyota says.
North America Inc. uncovers its Bevel concept small multi-purpose vehicle, penned at Nissan Design America in La Jolla, CA, as well as the production version of Nissan’s upcoming Rogue small cross/utility vehicle.
The Rogue goes on sale next fall as an ’08 model with whatdescribes as “exceptional handling, all-wheel-drive capability and interior space that combines innovation and versatility.”
Motors North America Inc. will show the new ’08 Lancer compact car, which arrives in early 2007 at U.S. Mitsubishi dealerships, and the Prototype X concept, which will hint at the design direction of the next-generation high-performance Lancer Evolution model.
North American Operations unveils a concept car named Ryuga, which means “gracious flow” in Japanese. A sketch of the concept shows gullwing doors and the 5-point grille Mazda has said will be seen on future production models.
Motor America finally will debut its new large CUV, the Veracruz, while Kia Motors America displays the unibody-derived Kue concept cross/utility vehicle.
Volvo Car Corp. rolls out its XC60 concept, a cross/utility vehicle representing a sleeker, scaled-down version of the popular XC90 CUV. Volvo says the XC60 is a hint at the next-generation XC model.
Porsche AG lifts the cover on the refreshed ’08 Cayenne cross/utility vehicle, which goes on sale in Europe in February. The base Cayenne’s 3.2L DOHC V-6 is enlarged to 3.6L and now produces 290 hp, up from 250 hp in the previous model, Porsche says.
And what would the Detroit auto show be without sheet metal that borders on the outlandish? The Dodge Viper arrives at the show with a power upgrade in the range of 600 hp. Word is Lexus also has plans to unwrap “an exotic sports concept” in Detroit.