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DAILY EDITION: Sept. 9, 2003

Pontiac Calls Grand Am Replacement G6

2003 Pontiac G6 concept

2003 Pontiac G6 concept

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The new mid-size Pontiac that replaces the Grand Am in 2005 will be called the G6, according to General Motors. "It is so new and different from the Grand Am that it demands a name that is equally new,” said Lynn Myers, Pontiac-GMC general manager in a release. The G6 is based on the Epsilon platform shared by the Saab 9-3, and shares the name of the concept car shown here (and shown at this year’s Detroit auto show). The production version bows with V-6 power at January’s Detroit show. Also, Pontiac says the replacement for its Montana minivan will be dubbed Montana SV6, for “sport van V-6.” The Montana will be shown early next year.

Spy Shots: ’05 Pontiac Grand Am by Brenda Priddy (9/1/2003)
A concept lookalike barreling ahead into production.

DaimlerChrysler To Build E-Class in China

DaimlerChrysler has penned an agreement with its Chinese automotive partner Beijing Automotive Industries Holding Corp. to begin building 25,000 E-Class and C-Class cars in China each year. The company has sold its Jeep Cherokees in China, but the new deal will allow it to move into the lucrative, booming Chinese luxury market. DaimlerChrysler will spend more than a billion to expand its existing production facility with Beijing Jeep Corp. to accommodate the production.
Spy Shots: ’05 Hyundai Crossover

2005 Hyundai Crossover

2005 Hyundai Crossover

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Often misidentified as the next Kia Sportage (or its replacement), these photos are actually of the upcoming Elantra-based JM crossover. Smaller than the popular Santa Fe, the new JM is expected to be powered by a 2.0-liter four, with an optional 2.7-liter V-6 available as an option. Front-wheel drive will be standard, with an all-wheel-drive option available. See more inside TCC today:

Spy Shots: 2005 Hyundai Crossover by Brenda Priddy (9/8/2003)
A Kia-alike sibling for the Santa Fe.

by TCC Team

2003 Frankfurt Auto Show Index by TCC Team (9/8/2003)

Volvo S40: Small Isn’t Less

2005 Volvo S40

2005 Volvo S40

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Despite its diminutive dimensions, almost two inches shorter than the car it replaces, Volvo’s new S40 is a sedan for those who want more, declared the automaker’s CEO, Hans-Olov Olsson. “They don’t compromise much. They might go smaller, but they don’t want less.” The second-generation S40 shares the same “architecture,” meaning many of its basic components, with the new Mazda3, but Volvo’s offering will come loaded with plenty of premium features, from its integrated phone to stability control. Long known for its basic, boxy designs, the new subcompact boasts a surprisingly muscular and aggressive stance, clearly influenced by the successful XC90 crossover vehicle. The interior, meanwhile, has the sort of simple yet elegant feel of a B&O audio system, and boasts some interesting innovations, such as the Aqua Ice interior option, which features a lightly tinted clear plastic skin over the center stack allowing you to see the electro-mechanical guts of the climate and audio systems. “If you want to be innovative, there’s no use looking at what the competition is doing,” designer Henrik Otto explained, during a preview of what’s to come at the Frankfurt Motor Show. “You need to look at what they aren’t doing or using.” As one would expect from Volvo, the automaker promises the S40 will be at the top of its category in terms of safety. Among its design features: the use of four separate grades of steel to help manage crash load forces. Ultimately, expect a wide range of four- and five-cylinder engines, and a diesel. All-wheel drive will be added next year. The new S40 will start rolling into dealer showrooms late this year. Volvo hopes to sell around 70,000 a year, with a base price of 20,000 Euros.

Spy Shots: 2005 Ford Focus by Hans Lehmann/Hidden Image (9/8/2003)
Europe gets a refresher course in space.

Mazda3 Proof of New Strategy?

2005 Mazda3

2005 Mazda3

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The new Mazda3 sedan and five-door wagon will go on sale in Europe this month, then roll out in the U.S. and Japan. The “C-class” Mazda was designed to present a more up-market feel than its competitors, part of the automaker’s strategy to move out of the Japanese second tier. “Arguably, it may be the most important launch” of several recent products to come from Mazda, according to the automaker’s global product development chief, Joe Bakaj. The U.S. introduction is scheduled for late November or early December, and once it hits stride, Mazda is hoping the new car will generate at least 70,000 sales annually. The Mazda3 is yet another spin-off of Ford Motor Co.’s new global C1 platform, which is also being used for products like Ford European crossover vehicle, the C-Max, as well as the Volvo S40. But company officials stress that unlike past efforts to create common global platforms, their new “architecture” strategy permits them to sharply differentiate individual vehicles so that customers won’t even recognize they come from the same family.

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