You could be at home preparing for the holidays. Or you could be wondering who you'll rent out your 6x8 "spider hole" to, now that the last tenant has taken a very public powder (he won't be getting his security deposit back, you seethe). But if you're even only vaguely connected to the auto industry, you're most likely preparing for the winter onslaught that is the dueling Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows. And, likely, you're also figuring out a way to get your Schnauzer a set of media credentials. (Doesn't Dog Fancy have an Animal COTY award?)
Despite a nasty calendar that wedges L.A.'s press days in between the holidays and puts you in Detroit too late to see Lions being thrown at Christians, this year's pair of shows promises to be the very best yet. After all, in what auto-show season has there been a brand-new Mustang, a new Corvette, more sedans than you can hail for a ride to the airport and a new Hummer concept that could be in production before Schwarzenegger is out of office? The excitement is palpable; we can almost feel the elbows of international journalists being wedged into our solar plexi.
Much of what you'll see at Detroit is already showing up on Web pages already — especially ours. Pull it all together in one place and you have our omnibus Detroit and L.A. show preview. We've lumped them together because we hope you'll be too busy celebrating to discern a difference — plus we're sure most, if not all, of these concepts appearing first at L.A. will make an appearance in Detroit as well. L.A. show debuts are noted where appropriate.
Return here as often as you can — for frequent updates as news breaks, and for the killer egg nog too. And stay tuned starting Dec. 29 as we bring the Los Angeles show to you, and Jan. 4 as Detroit opens its doors.
A Mustang Reinvented
The 2005 Mustang is being prepared for an international debut at the Detroit show in January. Shown here heavily camouflaged, the new Mustang has small Shelby-like rear quarter windows — similar to those found on the 1965 and 1966 Shelby 2+2 Fastback GT350. This Mustang coupe, upon closer examination, is as production-ready as they get, including gauges, and the finished interior. A V-6 for the base car and V-8 for the GT are sure bets — as is more information as soon as it's available.
'Vette Enters Sixth Gen
You've seen this 'Vette before — right here at TCC in a Web-first spy shot.
Chevrolet's new Corvette was caught in San Francisco by a sharp-eyed reader. The new 'Vette sports fenders extended fore and aft that extend into the doors, a la the '63-'67 'Vette. Door-handle cutouts in the rear fenders and a squared-off gas filler door are part of a crisper, sharper profile. Ultra low-profile run-flats on new five-spoke rims and drilled rotors hint at a new performance level. Expect the new Corvette to be introduced at the Detroit show, and to arrive in dealer showrooms by next fall.
Pontiac Calls Grand Am Replacement G6
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 the 2003 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.
Hummer Gets Smaller With H3T
The Hummer brand may be getting a bit nicer — at least that's the message General Motors Corp., which owns the rights to develop and sell Hummer consumer vehicles, will be sending next month as it unveils its next Hummer concept, a small pickup dubbed H3T, at the 2004 Greater Los Angeles Auto Show. The show opens to media on January 2 in Los Angeles and General Motors will use the show to present its heftiest brand's future direction, as seen through the lens of a scaled-down concept. Although just a concept, Ed Welburn, General Motors North American vice president of design, says the H3T represents a "youthful, smaller, more affordable" direction than today's Hummer. Clay Dean, design director for Hummer, describes the brand's next step even more aggressively, saying the H3T is "a little more environmentally responsible" than what the brand is known for. Unlike Hummer's current vehicle lineup, which includes the Hummer H1 originally built for the military, and its smaller counterpart H2, the H3T is built on a compact pickup truck frame, is drastically smaller, sports a turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine with 350 hp and, as a result, could get upwards of 22 miles per gallon, according to General Motors officials.
Hummer Gets Smaller With H3T (12/9/2003)
Hummer looks for next hit with "environmentally responsible" concept; analysts, environmentalists skeptical.
Honda Sketches Detroit "SUT"
Honda has released the first sketch of the sport-utility truck it will show at the Detroit auto show. As TCC has reported, in keeping with Honda's approach to light trucks, the vehicle will take aim at a niche segment, rather than the heart, of the huge U.S. pickup market. Derived from the same global unibody platform now used for vehicles such as the mid-size Honda Pilot and Acura MDX sport-utility vehicles, the new Honda will feature a ute-like, five-passenger cabin mated to a short pickup bed. In basic concept, it will be similar to Ford's Explorer Sport Trac, though that vehicle rides on a conventional, truck-like frame. Honda promises that the SUT will set a new standard for fuel efficiency, low emissions and safety performance in the light-duty truck segment. The new vehicle is expected to be produced at one of the two Honda truck plants in North America.
Honda Promises Safety for All by Joseph Szczesny (11/3/2003)
Free airbags and stability control get thrown in as Honda seeks to share space with Benz and Volvo.
Mitsu, Dodge Sharing Dakota
Japan's fourth-biggest automobile company, Mitsubishi Motors, announced Tuesday it will work with its DaimlerChrysler Corp. partner, Chrysler Group, to jointly develop a mid-size pickup truck to be built in Michigan starting in 2005. The project marks the first time Mitsubishi Motors North America has sold a pickup in the United States since 1996, when it sold a truck called the Mighty Max, according to U.S. consumer research group Kelly Blue Book. Mitsubishi will join Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler's Dodge division and General Motors Corp. as automakers selling pickups in the United States. The company, of which DaimlerChrysler Corp. owns a 37-percent stake, will get a version of the Dodge Dakota mid-size pickup, which will be built at DaimlerChrysler's Warren, Mich., plant. The Dodge version of the truck is being redesigned and the new version will go on sale in 2004. Mitsubishi's Cypress, California, design center will design the Mitsubishi truck off the Dakota platform, using many of the elements found on the Dodge product.