2000 Detroit Auto Show V

January 12, 2000
2000 Lexus LS 430 concept

2000 Lexus LS 430 concept

A MORE PERFECT LS? Perhaps now more than ever does the Lexus flagship echo Mercedes-Benz, in both design and execution. And, as when the original LS 400 debuted more than a decade ago, the 2001 LS 430 may once again prove that the copy is better than the original. The heavily borrowed styling, for example, acheives an industry-best 0.25 coefficient of drag, assuring unmatched silence at speed, says Lexus. With its slick 4.3-liter V-8, 0-to-60 time of 6.2 seconds (claimed by them) and optional air suspension, plus hallmark M-B touches such as a driver’s seat cushion adjustable for length, adjustable rear seats and power door closers, the Lexus leaves little to be desired. Agility? That’s on the menu too, says Lexus General Manager Bryan Bergsteinsson. Pricing hasn’t been set, but you can be assured it would "be competitive" when it reaches showrooms this fall – the only question is, competitive with which Benz?

 

2000 Nissan Sentra concept

2000 Nissan Sentra concept

2000 Nissan Pathfinder concept

2000 Nissan Pathfinder concept

NISSAN GETS FAST AND CLEAN WITH PATHFINDER, SENTRA The entry-level from Japan’s number-two carmaker and its standard-bearing sport-ute are in for major freshenings, from the looks they sported at the Detroit show. As is the case with the 2001 Infiniti QX4, the less-upmarket Pathfinder gets a 250-horsepower V-6 engine, minor exterior tweaks and a revised instrument panel. The new underhood unit bests the lethargic 170 horsepower engine of the old model by a whopping 80 ponies. The engine is of a DOHC design similar to that of the Maxima. The 2000 Sentra is based on Nissan’s new global front-drive platform. You can have it with a choice of a 1.8-liter four that Nissan claims will be the cleanest four-cylinder on the road, or a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. As with the Altima and Maxima, the 2000 Sentra will be available in three trim levels: XE, GXE and SE. The SE comes with a sport tuned suspension, 16-inch wheels and a decklid spoiler.

 

2000 Mitsubishi Montero concept

2000 Mitsubishi Montero concept

2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder concept

2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder concept

Montero

Eclipse Spyder

2000 Mitsubishi SSS concept

2000 Mitsubishi SSS concept

2000 Mitsubishi SST Spyder concept

2000 Mitsubishi SST Spyder concept

SSS

SST Spyder

MITSU BRINGS A QUARTET Of the four vehicles Mitsubishi brought to the Detroit show, half are already moving toward an assembly line. The all-new Mitsubishi Montero brings four-wheel independent suspension, third-row seating and new styling inside and out to the SUV rat race. The much anticipated droptop version of the new Eclipse also made an appearance, and shows up at dealers in the spring with the choice of either in-line four or V-6 engines. For concepts, Mitsu brought out the SSS "enhanced utility sedan," which purports to combine the packaging prowess of a sport-ute with the sporty dynamics and styling of a sedan. Last but first on display was a Spyder version of the SST coupe (shown last year in Detroit) that presaged the new Eclipse look.

 

2000 Subaru Forrester concept

2000 Subaru Forrester concept

SEEING THE FORESTER FOR THE TREES Dirt-road buffs and Vermonters will surely sniff out this new Forester, which Subaru will revamp for 2001. It’s a mild facelift, meant to impart a more upscale appearance. New taillamps, headlamps, grille treatments and a six-disc in dash CD changer are a few highlights.

 

A VEDDY BRITISH BOND -- JAMES BOND If you've found it hard to watch Agent 007 driving around in a BMW during the course of his last two spy flicks, fear not. Bond will be back in his traditional Aston Martin the next time his adventures wind up on the silver screen, according to comments made at the North American International Auto Show. The dapper spy may also have a wider range of Aston models to choose from, added the London Daily Mail. The newspaper is reporting that the exclusive British automaker is getting ready to launch production of a "Baby" Aston. The company is currently trying to decide where to build the ultra-luxury sedan, and both the British Midlands and Cardiff, in Wales, are front-runners in the site selection process.

 

BEEN DOWN SO LONG IT LOOKS UP TO GM General Motors has been slashing its work rolls for more than a decade in its bid to cut costs and boost profits. But even if the automaker continues to see its U.S. market share shrink, the cutbacks have likely come to an end, noted Vice Chairman Harry Pearce. In an interview with TheCarConnection.com, Pearce said GM actually may need to start hiring as a result of its increasingly aggressive efforts to grow overseas. "When you make that global commitment, you do need more people." The automaker also needs to increase its engineering ranks to take on tasks such as environmental and safety engineering, as well as GM's new Internet and onboard electronics programs. "These people are a new breed of cat," Pearce said. They often come from outside the auto industry, and in many cases, GM is setting up operations out West, rather than in Detroit. "If you don't find a way to let those people work out there," said Pearce, "you won't keep them."

 

2000 GM Precept concept

2000 GM Precept concept

ALTERNATIVE FUEL HORSERACE "It's going to be a horserace," said General Motors Vice Chairman Harry Pearce, as automakers from around the world race to come up with alternative powertrains that can meet customer expectations. GM's prototype Precept could be one of them. This diesel/electric hybrid, formally unveiled on Tuesday, has about the same interior space as Chevy Lumina, but gets three times the fuel economy, or 80 mpg. It's one of the vehicles coming out of the industry/government consortium, the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles. A key goal for PNGV is making sure this new technology will be affordable, once it reaches market. But with its sophisticated design and features -- and materials like titanium -- that could be difficult for GM to achieve with Precept.

 

Ghosn Nissan

Ghosn Nissan

GHOSN WITH THE WIND "It's still too early" to see if the massive cutbacks announced by Nissan last October are achieving their objectives, cautioned the troubled Japanese automaker's COO. But Carlos Ghosn added that "there are good signs," despite the criticism his Nissan Revival Plan initially took. It will ultimately lead to five plant closings and 21,000 job cuts. "I didn't hear anyone challenge that the plan was needed," said Ghosn, as he headed off to tour the North American International Auto Show. He intends to issue a "six-month report card" early in the spring.

2019
The Car Connection
See the winners »
2019
The Car Connection
Commenting is closed for this article
 
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.