2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Index by TCC Team (9/5/2005)
Ford Motor Company is in upheaval again, and it was outgoing Premier Automotive Group executive and new Ford chief of the Americas Mark Fields who presided over the company’s interlinked press conferences. Ford and its various arms presented five new models in Frankfurt
, four of which were production vehicles and one a truly exciting concept that will shape the company’s future in sheetmetal. “Design will absolutely be a differentiator in the years ahead,” said Fields, who is headed back to Dearborn
to take over the company’s operations in its home market.
First off the block at the Ford party was the stunning new Jaguar XK. Crafted in the same aluminum-bonded idiom as the XJ sedan, the new XK is lighter and 31 percent stiffer than the outgoing steel-bodied XK8. A lookalike for Jaguar’s ALC concept of last year, the new XK has a sleekly aggressive shape and a special hood that has been developed to meet new European requirements for pedestrian-impact safety. The base engine for the XK will be a 300-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 coupled to a paddle-shifted six-speed automatic. So equipped, the XK will accelerate to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds and to a top speed of 155 mph. Coming from Jaguar’s Castle Bromwich plant, the new XK goes on sale in the U.S.next year, followed by a convertible version later in 2006. Pricing has yet to be announced.
The second-generation Volvo C70 convertible arrives in the spring of 2006, and shares nothing with the outgoing car save the name and the production facility. Though it’s based on a platform shared with the S40 (and Mazda’s 3), the new C70 is nearly as large as the outgoing convertible, seats four adults and has two times the torsional stiffness of the old car. The only engine offered in U.S.
versions will be a 220-hp turbo five; two other fives and a turbodiesel will be offered in other markets. The new three-piece convertible hardtop was developed in conjunction with Pininfarina, and incorporates side-curtain airbags in the door panels. Volvo expects to sell half its annual production of about 16,000 C70s in the U.S.
each year, with the U.K.
taking another quarter of the total number.
Lowercase name theirs, Ford’s iosis suggests a whole new way of looking at the company’s European range of vehicle and their styling. It is “kinetic,” the company says, and the ultimate expression of the future look of Ford. The four-door coupe bears a certain likeness to a drawn-out Mazda RX-8, particularly around the wheel arches, but its glass areas and its nose are trimmer and more dynamic. A pair of angled, pivoting doors allows easy access to the smallish back seats. Since the doors are light — they’re made from carbon fiber — they can be easily rotated up and out of the way by motors embedded in the door frames. Three cameras take the place of rearview mirrors.
On the more practical side of business, Ford showed a near-production ready replacement for the current Galaxy minivan, which today is built in a joint-venture with Volkswagen. Not so the replacement vehicle, Ford says; it’s going it alone in the family hauler segment with the next generation, which gets interior niceties like second- and third-row flat-folding seats. To be built at Ford’s Genk
plant in Belgium, the Galaxy sports a fixed glass roof and an adjustable roof rack. No powertrain information was released.