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2006 New York Auto Show, Part I

2006 New York Auto Show Coverage by TCC Team (4/10/2006)







Lexus Rolls Out V-8 Hybrid LS


2007 Lexus LS600h

2007 Lexus LS600h

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Lexus continued to redefine the hybrid on Wednesday, as it rolled out the LS600h, the world’s first V-8 gasoline-electric vehicle. The sedan starts with a 5.0-liter V-8 mated to the newly-renamed
Lexus Hybrid Drive
system. With its two-stage torque converter and CVT, the package pumps power to all four wheels. A new, larger battery pack will store more energy than prior Lexus models, which should improve both performance and mileage. Boasting more than 430 horsepower out of its dual powertrain, the LS600h “will deliver power and performance on par with a V-12, while also delivering fuel economy on a par with the best V-8s,” declared the division’s general manager, Bob Carter. While precise specifications have yet to be finalized, Lexus tech specialist David Hermance hinted that the sedan will launch from 0-60 in “the low fives,” compared to the high-five-second range for the “base” LS460.


Carter called the hybrid LS Lexus’ “ultimate flagship.” That means it will be heavily loaded up with features such as LED headlamps — an industry first — and the Advanced Pre-Collision System. The technology uses a mix of radar sensors and two forward-facing cameras to detect an imminent collision. A third camera mounted on the steering wheel watches to see if the driver is aware of the situation. Pre-Collision can, among other things, sound a warning, automatically apply the brakes, and adjust steering settings to make it easier to avoid a collision. The LS600h will also offer a system that can automatically park the sedan, with minimal driver intervention. Only the long-wheelbase version of the hybrid will be sold in the U.S., providing rear passengers with an extra five inches of legroom and even an optional massaging footrest. Sales should launch by early spring 2007, and Carter said he expects the LS600h to account for about 10 to 15 percent of overall LS-series sales.



Ford Takes Three-Pronged Approach to Performance


Mark Fields

Mark Fields

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Ford plans to beef up its performance portfolio, Mark Fields, the automaker’s President of the Americas, told a New York Auto Show audience on Wednesday. Central to the strategy is a renewed emphasis on the SVT line, which had been neglected in recent years. “The plan is to offer one performance car and one truck, going forward,” Fields explained, with the pair likely to generate from 5000 to 10,000 annual sales. A version of the Mustang and another SVT makeover of the F-Series pickup will be the latest offerings. Then there’ll be “personalized performance,” allowing customers to buy from a broad catalog of performance parts and accessories. The third leg of Ford’s performance strategy is the Ford Racing unit.

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