2004 Detroit Auto
Show Coverage (1/4/2004)
Nissan Crosses Over with
Nissan unveiled the Actic concept car at Comerica Park
in Detroit on Sunday night. The Actic is a compact crossover blending minivan
and sedan with a flexible interior. The Actic came of the drawing boards of
Nissan Design America in San Diego. Nissan sees it as a response to a new
mindset and a new way of living and does not want to categorize its exterior.
The interior has modular three-across seating and offers six seating variations
with center seats that can be folded down, creating a big center console with a
lot of storage. The
Actic has a roof with six glass panels and is equipped with a new computer,
19-inch wheels and run-flat tires. —Henny Hemmes
Brings Down the (Opera) House
Motors packed more than 2000 credentialed scribes, photographers and television
reporters, as well as some not-so-credentialed media, into Detroit's historic
Opera House Sunday to unveil the much-anticipated sixth-generation Corvette.
Invoking terms like "heritage," "race-bred," "classic" and so forth, executives
such as GM design chief Ed Welburn, Chevrolet General Manager Brent Dewar and GM
Vice Chairman Bob Lutz stood before the audience for a twenty-minute
presentation on the storied history of America's favorite roadster. Then they
rolled out a new 'Vette dressed in classic red and media flooded the stage to
gawk, snap and ask about Chevy's most-protected project. Gary Cowger says GM
does not expect to increase U.S. sales volumes past the 30,000- to 40,000-unit
says that the company is, however, anticipating a spike in Corvette sales in
Europe because of an improved distribution network and the Corvettes' sixth-gen
refinements, which were needed to appeal to Euro demands. Speaking of demands,
Cowger said the C6 is as good as any, pointing out that he has a much-used C5 in
his garage. "I asked (the Corvette development team) 'What are you going to do to get me to
replace my current Corvette? They exceeded our demands.'"
about the imbedded headlamp treatment, Cowger said that the headlamps are a
"natural progression" for a car that "for much of its history did not have pop-up
lights. Every indication we get is that people love them." Dewar says GM's
goal with the Corvette is to use it to "get back to leadership in the United
States." Although the car will not directly add any volume to GM's market share
in terms of sales, it should reinforce the heritage, craftsmanship and "passion,"
Chevy officials want the brand to be known for, he says. Dewar's goal is
3 million units annually in coming years. "We've taken it to the next level..."
2005 Chevrolet Corvette by Henny Hemmes (1/1/2004)
C6 takes its first bow at Detroit.
Tundra a Hybrid, Too
Motor Corp. said Sunday it is considering producing a fuel-efficient version of
its full-size pickup in coming years by equipping it with a hybrid-electric
powertrain. The Japanese automaker unveiled a concept version of its upcoming
Tundra full-size truck, which goes on sale next spring in the United States, at
the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Sunday. The truck will be
built at the company’s San Antonio, Texas, plant and will be bigger, more
powerful and have greater tow capacity than its predecessor, according to Jim
Press, Toyota Motor Sales USA’s executive vice president. Press says the truck
is a “possible platform for a (V-8) hybrid system. It’s under serious
consideration.” The concept, dubbed FTX, carries many design cues promised to be
included in the production truck, including a hybrid powertrain much like the
one Toyota is considering for its forthcoming truck. “Under the hood,” Press
says, “the (concept) is powered by a large-displacement V-8 hybrid gas-electric
engine that pumps out loads of torque while delivering V-6 fuel efficiency.