Mitsubishi ASX Concept
2001 Ferrari 360 Spider
2001 Ferrari 360 SpiderEnlarge Photo
FERRARI’S RED BARCHETTA. Ferrari chief Luca di Montezemolo revived relations with design house Pininfarina to make an open-air version of the 550 Maranello, a challenging task because the 550's design was never intended to yield an open-air variant. Only 448 of these special 550 Barchetta Pininfarinas will be built, and only 131 will be sold in the United States. Ferrari also previewed the convertible version of the 360, called the 360 Spider. With an all-aluminum structure, the car is claimed to offer nearly the same performance as the coupe and minimal weight gain. Ferrari North America CEO and president Stuart Robinson said that the downturn of the auto industry will likely not affect Ferrari: orders are still coming in at the same rate as last year, every vehicle has a waiting list (three to four years for the 360!), and in 2000 the automaker sold 1100 cars in North America. For 2001, Ferrari hopes to up the total to 1150. Robinson remarked, "Because we have a waiting list, we don't see the ups and downs. We may see some names drop off the list, but if they do someone else will take their place."
DAEWOO CLIMBS UPSCALE. Daewoo revealed two upcoming production vehicles to the Detroit crowd, a compact multipurpose wagon tentatively called the U100, and the next-generation version of the Leganza luxury sedan, both shown previously at the auto show. The U100, already sold elsewhere as the Rezzo and Tacuma with a 121-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, will undergo a few changes for the U.S. market before its debut. Jim Thomas, the head of Daewoo's U.S. sales operations, says that the U100 will give "balanced flexibility between passenger and cargo-carrying duties." Expect a high-tech continuously variable ZF transmission, electronic brake-force distribution, and a very flexible cargo/seating layout.
2002 Daewoo Leganza
2002 Daewoo LeganzaEnlarge Photo
The next-generation Leganza, still about a year away, was shown on the stand badged “Magnus." The Leganza gets sharper lines in the rear, although the front retains the familiar Daewoo grille and oval theme. Inside, the Leganza gets a new dash, better sound deadening, and a step-gate shift knob for the automatic transmission. Most exciting what's underhood - an all-new, aluminum 2.5-liter in-line six engine with variable valve timing that makes 180 hp. The engine is part of a new family of modular powerplants designed by Daewoo. For improved crash protection, Daewoo boasts the first-ever use of oval-cross-section impact beams. Also shown on the Daewoo stand was the Lanos Sport, which will be sold in a limited edition of only 2000 vehicles.
Mitsubishi ASX Concept
Mitsubishi ASX ConceptEnlarge Photo
WAKE UP AND DRIVE, AGGRESSIVELY. Two concepts took the stage for Mitsubishi: one very close to production, and the other a more aggressive, radical design. The ASX SUV crossover concept marks Mitsubishi's entrance into the compact sport-ute market. ASX (which stands for Active Sports Crossover) is said to offer sport sedan handling in a flexible SUV package. A ground clearance of 9.6 inches allows rugged off-road performance, and the 2.4-liter gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine makes more Earth-friendly power. A next-generation four-speed automatic and a viscous-type all-wheel drive system manage the power. The ASX will go on sale in Japan this summer, with its U.S. release following later in the year.