2003 North American International Auto Show bannerEnlarge Photo
2004 Ford SVT F-150 LightningFORD LOOSES LIGHTNING BOLTFord topped off the F-150 introduction by unveiling a concept version of the SVT Lightning. With a 500-horsepower supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 engine, 22-inch wheels Brembo brakes and a low roofline, the Lightning has an extremely powerful attitude. And for even more power, the supercharger has a patented system called SuperCooler that, in bursts of up to 45 seconds, can give the driver 50 extra horsepower. Connect all that to a six-speed manual transmission and an independent rear suspension, and let’s hope this is more than a “hint” of what Ford is planning for the next production SVT Lightning. —Doug Weisz
2004 Ford SVT F-150 LightningEnlarge Photo
FORD SAYS FLEXIBLE F-150 PLANTS SAVE GREEN
With this new generation of the F-150, Ford is changing over all of its F-Series assembly plants to a Flexible Manufacturing System. Ford claims the main benefit of the new system is that it enables the company to build to customer orders more quickly and more efficiently. In upgrading of the Rouge assembly plant, Ford will also create a “greener” manufacturing facility. The renovated Rouge plant will be more efficient in terms of power usage, and it will have systems to purify the by-products of vehicle production. —Doug Weisz
PADILLA: F-150 STYLING WILL SPREAD
As he unveiling Ford’s new line of F-150 pickups, Ford Vice President, Jim Padilla hinted that many of the F-Series design cues will show up on other Ford trucks in the coming years. Specific, Padilla pointed to the F-Series front end and stated that it will become a familiar face as other new Ford-brand trucks are unveiled. In more general terms, Padilla talked about Ford trucks of the future having higher belt lines and wider stances. —Doug Weisz
FX45 PRICED AT $44,225
Two years ago, Infiniti asked, “what if a SUV performed like a sports car?” when unveiling its FX45 concept. Well, we don’t really know the answer yet, but on Monday, Infiniti unveiled their production FX45 and set pricing. The luxury crossover SUV will come with a standard 4.5-liter V-8 engine that will produce 315 hp. That model will cost $44,225. A V-6 version called the FX35 will come in either all-wheel drive or two-wheel drive with a standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine. The all two-wheel drive model will cost $34,200, $1500 more for the all-wheel drive model. Both will go on sale Jan. 24.
2003 Infiniti Triant conceptTRIANT A TRIUMPH FOR INFINITI?
Is the Triant a triumph? The Infiniti concept – er, styling exercise – made its world debut in Detroit on Monday in the form of a 2+2 sports coupe crossed with an SUV. The vehicle features gullwing doors and 20-inch wheels. Sensors in the door determine whether an object could block the door from opening. Inside a sweeping center console holds the controls for vehicle’s nerve center. When the doors are shut, small panels slide in to place to cover the console for security purposes. The interior crosses classic lines with high-sheen synthetic materials on the IP and dash. The vehicle also raises and lowers itself 60 mm depending on road conditions – 30 mm down for sports car mode, 30 mm up for off-road mode. When necessary, the rear seat back slides forward 60 mm to double available luggage space. High-intensity headlamps are linked to a GPS which allows headlight beams to be aimed around a corner when turning. Infiniti considers the vehicle to be the little brother of the FX45. —Bill Rapai
2003 Infiniti Triant conceptEnlarge Photo