Nick Scheele 2003 New York showREADY, SHOOT, AIM
Nick Scheele 2003 New York showEnlarge Photo
As part of the turnaround plan announced in January 2002, Ford announced it would roll out about 65 new North American products during a five-year offensive. Scheele reiterated that goal during the keynote speech at the New York Auto Show. But now he’s confident he can actually achieve it. The automaker is completely reorganizing its product development process, he announced, replacing six “loosely-tied” groups with one North American operation. Combined with other efficiency measures, it should result in “twice the number of products compared to the traditional rate of introduction,” and without having to increase Ford’s design and engineering headcount. Since the goal of launching 65 products hasn’t changed, it left some observers confused. But a Ford source later explained that 15 months ago, Ford’s top management laid out a plan they could then “only hope to achieve.” With the new product development process, they now feel confident they’ll live up to their word.
2004 Ford Escape HEVFORD’S FIRST HYBRID HITS THE
2004 Ford Escape HEVEnlarge Photo
Hybrids can’t get by simply promising better fuel economy, cautioned Ford Division General Manager Steve Lyons, as the automaker’s first gasoline/electric vehicle, the Escape HEV, took center stage at the New York Auto Show. Hybrids also need to deliver great design, performance and an affordable price, he insisted. The Escape version, he promised, will do all that. It features an 65 kilowatt I-4 gasoline engine, or roughly 100 horsepower, mated with a 28 kw, or 45 hp, electric motor. The vehicle will be able to operate in purely electric mode, run solely on gasoline, or combine both to deliver peak acceleration similar to the Escape V-6. The government rates the new vehicle at 35 mpg in the City cycle, and the Escape HEV will quality as a SULEV under current emissions rules.
2003 Honda FCXTCC DRIVES THE
2003 Honda FCXEnlarge Photo
TheCarConnection got a good, firsthand look at what could be the car of the future, or at least Honda’s interpretation of it, when it went for a drive in the FCX fuel cell vehicle. Equipped with a 75 kilowatt fuel cell and an energy-storing ultra-capacitor, the Honda hatchback “accelerates up to 30 faster than a Civic and about as well as a Civic above 30,” noted Stephen Ellis. The manager of alternative fuel vehicles at Honda, he accompanied TCC on a drive up the West Side Highway. The biggest news: the FCX was virtually indistinguishable, while driving, from a Civic — except for its near silent operation. Honda has notably subdued the whining noise other fuel cell vehicles suffer from due to the compressors that pump fuel into the fuel cell stack. Storing about nine pounds of compressed hydrogen onboard gets about 175 miles range, and larger, higher pressure tanks are under development. Despite the progress Honda has made with the FCX, Ellis cautioned that it could be a decade before significant numbers of this or a future fuel cell vehicle hit the road.
2003 Chrysler 300C ConceptCHRYSLER REVEALS “A NEW
DEFINITION” OF DESIGN
2003 Chrysler 300C ConceptEnlarge Photo