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2005 New York Auto Show, Part III


2005 New York Auto Show Index by TCC Team (3/21/2005)

 

 

Porsche Goes to the Dogs

Elayne Boosler

Elayne Boosler

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Carmakers have often been accused of staging dog-and-pony shows at auto shows, but while Porsche had no horses on hand during its event at Javits Center, there were plenty of hounds. The automaker announced a new program called Cayenne for Canines, a charity effort lending support to animal shelters around the U.S. Porsche will loan each participating facility a specially-equipped Cayenne for six months, and then donate money to help neuter and immunize dogs that would otherwise be euthanized for lack of a home. “Overwhelming and beautiful,” was how comedian and animal activist Elayne Boosler described the campaign. Peter Schwarzenbauer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, declined to put a dollar figure on the project, suggesting only that “the more they (shelters) get adopted, the more we pay.” The project will begin in 10 major cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Miami, then roll out across the country.

Comedian Boosler couldn’t maintain her serious mood for long. Referring to recent news reports suggesting Porsche is getting ready to announce a family-oriented, four-door sports car, the Panamera, she joked, “That’s like a stripper in sensible shoes.” For his part, Schwarzenbauer insisted he’s laughing off the news reports – and spy shots, like the one TheCarConnection has obtained. The Panamera, he insisted, is “purely speculation.” And while Porsche has acknowledged working on a fourth model line, any decision will not be made, said the CEO, until “the end of the year.”

 

Volvo Boldly Goes to Space with Branson

Sir Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson

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With its traditional emphasis on safety, Volvo is usually seen as the ultimate, down-to-earth brand. But a new promotional effort has the Swedish automaker kissing the sky, quite literally. Volvo recently partnered with British business maverick Sir Richard Branson to offer the proverbial “lucky winner” a ride into space on Branson’s new Virgin Galactic rocket cruiser. The planned price for a seat on a suborbital flight will be $200,000, but Doug Ramsburg, of North Glenn, Colo., will be going up for free. And until the rocket is ready to rock, he’ll have a new XC90 V-8 for his planetary travels. “We all dream of going into space one day. And those that don’t,” said Sir Richard, “well, I think that’s kind of sad.” Branson believes that companies such as his Virgin group need to take over, “if space travel is to become commercially viable. It’s not going to work if sponsored by the government.”

 

Charger Could Become a Real Cruiser

Dodge Police Charger

Dodge Police Charger

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Ford Motor Co. has long had a solid lock on the country’s police cruiser business with its rear-drive Crown Victoria , but it will soon face a fast challenger. Chrysler Group plans to get its new Dodge Charger certified for full pursuit, then market the four-door muscle car to police departments across the country, said vice president Eric Ridenour. While Chrysler is not yet taking orders, he and other executives hinted there’s already a waiting line for the SRT8 version of the new four-door Charger. The target for launch of a police edition is autumn 2005.

 

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8

2006 Dodge Charger SRT8

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As for the Charger SRT8 unveiled in New York , it’s due about the same but with a somewhat higher pricetag, though no official pricing information was released. However, Ridenour promised that number would be a great value considering the SRT8’s star attraction, the 425-hp version of the 6.1-liter HEMI V-8. With that engine, the stoutest Charger will be capable of a 0-60 mph acceleration time of about 5.0 seconds, Chrysler says, as well as a quarter-mile time of 13 seconds and a 0-100-0 mph time in the mid-16-second range. The Charger SRT8 is distinguished from base and other HEMI versions by its five-spoke, 20-inch wheels, front-end trim and a decklid spoiler that conjures the memory of the Chargers of the Sixties.

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