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2006 Chicago Auto Show: Last Words


2006 Chicago Auto Show logo

2006 Chicago Auto Show logo

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2006 Chicago Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (2/6/2006)

 

TCC Team
Publisher

2000 Chrysler Town & Country

2000 Chrysler Town & Country

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Biggest Story: Could it be anything other than the new Toyota Tundra? TheChicago show was once the nation’s biggest, and it’s beginning to regain some traction lately, than to previews like this one.

Best New Concept: Dodge Rampage. Reports of the death of the domestic pickup could be greatly exaggerated — at least if this is a sign of things to come.

Best New Vehicle: The 2008 Toyota Tundra. During Detroit’s winter of discontent, could anything be so distressing as the sight of the first Japanese truck with the potential to really become a mainstay in the domestic-dominated pickup segment?

Predictions: With Toyota and Honda clearly in the lead in the hybrid market segment, the Big Three need something to prove their own environmental credentials. Well, Kermit the Frog was right: it isn’t easy being green. Unless we see a big surge in the number of E85 fuel pumps across the U.S., and fast, Detroit’s sudden passion for ethanol will prove little more than a short-lived flash in the pan.

 

 

Marty Padgett

Editor and producer

 

Biggest Story: By my internal sensors, it was the “well, okay” reception for the Tundra. As one fellow journalist put it, “Well, it’s important for them.” The not entirely handsome Tundra surely will come in hybrid and heavy-duty versions, so there is reason for concern. But the domestics are already planning on those models and are rolling out updated versions of their own segment leaders. For now, it seems, the most likely victim of the new Tundra’s success will be the Nissan Titan.

2005 Lexus LF-Sh concept

2005 Lexus LF-Sh concept

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2005 Lexus LF-Sh concept

2005 Lexus LF-Sh concept

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Best New Concept:
Honda’s Civic Si four-door is a natural. So why haven’t they done one before? Oh, wait, it’s because this is the first four-door to actually look the Si part. Never mind.

2007 Chevrolet Avalanche

2007 Chevrolet Avalanche

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Best New Vehicle: A split vote between the Chevy Avalanche and Hyundai Entourage. The Avalanche gets good marks for taking the right idea and thoroughly vetting it in the second generation. Take a look inside and you’ll see how serious GM is about good interiors. With the Entourage, it’s easy to see the minivan and the cloned Sedona taking over for Ford and GM in the minivan race they can’t seem to compete in — at a lower price with a better look than the updated Nissan Quest or the dowdy Sienna. That market game is down to Odyssey, Caravan, and Sedona/Entourage, by most any measure.

Predictions: The Chicago show has spent 16 years trying to end-game around Detroit’s first-tier status, and they just may do it in the next two years with the addition of more space at

McCormick Place
. The domestic brands have outgrown Cobo and there’s no solution in sight. Meanwhile, Chicago’s convention center is cavernous, convenient, and it’s surrounded by a first-rate city. With the move of the L.A. show to November, my prediction is that Detroit will get de-emphasized and the auto industry will move more in the direction of year-round introductions, beefing up their presence at Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and maybe even Miami to avoid the hassles of wedging themselves into Cobo right after the holidays.

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