2004 Detroit Show, Part IV

January 5, 2004

 

2004 Detroit Auto Show Coverage (1/4/2004)

 

Nissan Crosses Over with Actic

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

 

'Vette Brings Down the (Opera) House

2005 Chevrolet Corvette with Rick Wagoner

2005 Chevrolet Corvette with Rick Wagoner

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General 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 range.

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Dewar 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.'" 

When asked 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..." —John Stoll

Preview: 2005 Chevrolet Corvette by Henny Hemmes (1/1/2004)
The C6 takes its first bow at Detroit.

 

Next Tundra a Hybrid, Too

2004 Toyota FTX concept

2004 Toyota FTX concept

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Toyota 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.
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