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2002 Detroit Show, Part III


2002 Detroit Auto Show logo

2002 Detroit Auto Show logo

2002 Detroit Auto Show by TCC Team (1/7/2002)


sponsored by Toyota

 

DETROIT SHOW IN TOP GEAR
Turnout for this year's North American International Auto Show was down a bit, reflecting the decision by many foreign journalists not to come to the States right now. Despite that, most observers give the event high marks for the flood of new product on display. "You walk around the show and see the unrelenting focus of (carmakers) on bringing out new and better vehicles," said GM CEO Rick Wagoner. "It shows just how competitive the environment is."
2002 Detroit Auto Show by TCC Team (1/7/2002)

 

PAYING THE PRICE FOR NOTHING
GM's zero-interest loan programs created plenty of added business before the deals expired at the beginning of the year, but "more than 50 percent and less than 75 percent" came from pull-forward sales. In other words, consumers who purchased or leased vehicles ahead of their original plans in order to take advantage of the savings. "The rest are plus sales," Wagoner added. Pull-ahead sales need be subtracted from the volume the automaker might have originally expected in the first and second quarter of 2002, meaning sales will slip more than anticipated in the coming months. But there could be a counter-balancing trend, Wagoner and other industry observers suggest. The so-called zero-zero programs at GM and other carmakers may have stimulated the economy enough to draw more new buyers into the market. Wagoner told TheCarConnection that in recent years, industry forecasters have repeatedly underestimated U.S. demand, suggesting, "the traditional (forecasting) models don't work" anymore.

 

JEEP EXPLORES THE RAZOR'S EDGE
With a team of young acrobats in the background performing on bikes and scooters, Chrysler took the wraps off four new concept vehicles Tuesday at Detroit's Cobo Center. And according to product development chief Richard Schaum, "three have real production possibilities. Indeed, several sources tell TheCarConnection at least one is already in the Chrysler production schedule.

2002 Dodge M80 Concept

2002 Dodge M80 Concept

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Think of the Dodge M80 as the "son of the Power Wagon," a massive, hard-edged truck the automaker rolled out more than a year ago, said Chrysler Group design director Trevor Creed. Based on a shortened version of the Dakota, it features a five-foot bed and a "back-to-basics" interior. It's powered by a 3.7-liter V-6.

 

2002 Jeep Compass concept

2002 Jeep Compass concept

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The Jeep Compass is an edgy spin-off of the new Liberty SUV. It features many traditional Jeep cues, including the seven-bar grille, but the trapezoidal rear is unlike any SUV Chrysler has ever put into production before. It's designed to create the feeling of a European rally car, according to Creed

 

2002 Dodge Razor concept

2002 Dodge Razor concept

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The Dodge Razor is another back-to-basics design, this time in the form of a classic European sports car of the '50s and '60s. The orange slice-colored coupe has a long, menacing nose and a short rear that doesn't even offer a trunk lid. Razor is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter in-line four engine putting out 250 hp. Since the car weighs in at only 2500 pounds, "You get a big dose of performance here," declared Creed.

Jeep Willys II concept 2001 Tokyo

Jeep Willys II concept 2001 Tokyo

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The final vehicle, the Jeep Willys 2, actually first premiered in Tokyo last October. Smaller and less expensive than the Liberty, Willys breaks with tradition in that it is not designed to handle the most rugged possible trails. Since less than 10 percent of SUV owners ever actually go off-road, that's really not a problem — but would result in a significantly lower price, noted Creed.

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