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2000 Detroit Auto Show III


Meritor sponsorship

Meritor sponsorship

MORE MERGER MANIA? Is there another merger in store for DaimlerChrysler? It may be a necessity, top company officials acknowledged during a series of interviews with TheCarConnection.com. "We are open," suggested board member Juergen Hubbert, when asked if his company is seeking a new partner. Asia seems a likely focus for DaimlerChrysler’s amorous intent, added co-Chairman Robert J. Eaton, who suggested "We can grow faster with a partner than we can organically." Last March, the newly-merged company backed away from a proposed deal with Nissan. The troubled Japanese automaker went on to sell a controlling, 37% stake to Renault for $5.4 billion. Hubbert acknowledged the list of potential partners has been shrinking, as other manufacturers move to form alliances. (General Motors inked a deal to buy a 20-percent stake in Fuji Heavy Industries last month.) Among the few left are Mitsubishi Motors which, ironically, came close to buying Chrysler Corp. a decade ago.

2000 Infiniti XVL concept

2000 Infiniti XVL concept

INFINITI MARCHES OUT REAR-DRIVE XVL The Infiniti XVL, the brand’s first concept car, may have been a rebadged version of a Nissan concept shown in Tokyo, but it was a fiscally responsible way of foreshadowing the future of Infiniti. That future includes rear-wheel drive and an increased emphasis on driving dynamics. Expect to see something along the lines of the XVL in showrooms in the near future to compete with the likes of rear-wheel-drive cars from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes. Also on display was the revised 2001 QX4, featuring a 240-horsepower engine, updated exterior styling and a revised instrument panel.

2000 BMW M3 convertible

2000 BMW M3 convertible

BIMMER RAGTOP, M3 DEBUT During its all-brand press conference (including their four-wheel-drive cousins at Land Rover), BMW introduced the next generation 3-Series convertible. It will go on sale in April of 2000 in Europe, powered by a 170-horsepower in-line six engine. The car is expected to go on sale shortly thereafter in the United States. Also on display at their stand was the M3 "show car," which is essentially the production version of the next M3. Expect more horsepower and even better handling than the current car. Also on display were the X5 3.0, the in-line six version of the X5, and the 323i touring wagon, seen for the first time in U.S. guise.

2000 Chrysler minivans

2000 Chrysler minivans

A GREAT LEAP FOR VAN-KIND Since it rolled out its first minivan more than 15 years ago, the Chrysler side of DaimlerChrysler has dominated this lucrative niche, building 8 million of the 17 million minivans that have been sold worldwide. But DC's share has been slipping as it has come under assault from an array of new competitors, such as the new Honda Odyssey. Now the empire is striking back with a completely-redesigned minivan line-up that DaimlerChrysler President Jim Holden described as "a great leap for van-kind." The new models feature a rang of engines, including a class-leading, 230-horsepower V-6. Though styling is evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, DaimlerChrysler is betting buyers will be lured over by such new features as a power-operated tailgate, dual power sliding doors, and three-zone automatic climate control. "If you want 40 percent of the market, you have to continue to innovate more than anyone else can do," Holden declared.

2000 Volvo V70 wagon

2000 Volvo V70 wagon

V70 WAGON SHARES VOLVO GENES When Gothenberg rolled out the S80, they promised that it would be the first Volvo sedan in recent memory without a wagon counterpart. What they didn’t mention at the time was that the S80 platform was designed from the start to be ultra-flexible. Thus the new V70 wagon, though derived from the S80, is justifiably billed as an "all-new" vehicle. Significantly roomier yet no bulkier than the current model, new family hauler comes in regular and Cross-Country flavors with a choice between two turbocharged five-cylinder engines.


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