2004 New York Auto Show, Part II

April 12, 2005


2004 New York Auto Show Index (4/5/04)

Jeep highlights new Grand Cherokee and Liberty spinoffs

In what is the largest exhibit ever created for an Auto Show by Jeep, the division showcased a series of new vehicles at the Greater

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee

New York International Auto Show at what it calls " Camp New York ." The most notable introduction brought the third generation of the Grand Cherokee, featuring a more refined look, more capable on-road and off-road handling, and the first Jeep to feature a Hemi-powered engine. The 5.7-liter Hemi version puts out 325 horsepower and 370 pound feet of torque. The Hemi package will debut Chrysler’s new "multi-displacement system," a technology that shuts down four cylinders when power demands are light. The system is expected to reduce fuel consumption up to 20 percent, and should resonate with consumers at a time when gasoline prices are roaring towards record levels. Meanwhile, a more fuel-stingy 4.7-liter V-8 also will be available, along with a base 3.7-liter V-6, with 210 horsepower and 235 pound
2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade

2005 Jeep Liberty Renegade

feet of torque. All three engine variations are mated to a five-speed transmission. A Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo trim level has also been added.

The expansive — and expensive — exhibit at New York’s JacobJavitsCenter was justified, according to Jeep officials because the Northeast is the brand's top market — comprising 19 percent of total sales. The off-road recreation provided a backdrop for the new, 2005 Liberty Renegade, featuring a more rugged design and flatter hood. It rides on 16-inch all-terrain tires. Also unveiled was the 2005 Liberty Diesel, the first-ever mid-size SUV with a diesel engine for sale in the United States. The 2.8-liter diesel has 160 horsepower and 295 pound feet of torque, and will have 25-percent better fuel economy than the gasoline Liberty. (Al Vinikour)


Jeep lowers the bar

Right now, all Jeep models need be “Rubicon ready,” a demanding standard that effectively requires every product the Chrysler division offers to be capable of handling the torturous trail in California’s High Sierra. That’s made Jeep the SUV brand of choice for serious off-roaders, but it’s also limited the automaker’s appeal to less demanding customers, since it adds cost and limits such features as seating capacity — there will be no three-row version of the new Grand Cherokee, for example. Now, with plenty of potential buyers shopping elsewhere, Jeep may be ready to lower the bar, at least on some models, according to Joachim Eberhardt, DaimlerChrysler's global sales vice president. "We used to mandate Rubicon capability, but we've added a new dimension," said Eberhardt. Looking ahead, Jeep vehicles will be judged for their ability to surpass the best competitors in a segment, such asToyota's car-based RAV4 “soft-roader.” Said Chrysler’s marketing chief, "That will allow us more flexibility.” It has long been expected Jeep might want to enter that small, low-priced crossover segment, but Eberhardt suggested, "There's room to go up and there's room to go down," he responded. (Martha Hindes)


Land Rover’s great

expectations

Land Rover LR3

Land Rover LR3

Land

Rover presented its LR3, the third generation of the Discovery. On that occasion, Matthew Taylor, managing director of Land Rover, announced that with the new ute, the US market is expected to become the largest market for Land Rover. “By the end of 2005 Land Rover will have grown bigger in the US market than in the ‘home’ market, the United Kingdom. In 2003 the sales in the UK amounted to 50,000 while those in the USA were 35,000. “That is still a considerable difference, but with another new product, we might achieve that.” Taylor wouldn’t confirm what new product he meant, but TheCarConnection has learned that Land Rover has plans to bring out a small version to replace its Freelander, which will be renamed the LR2. It would arrive in two years and be roughly the size of the Hyundai Tucson or Suzuki Vitara. A concept version could appear at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. (Henny Hemmes)


Lots of room

Jaguar XJ8 LWB

Jaguar XJ8 LWB


Jaguar had a double dose of news to reveal in New York
. The first was the long-wheelbase version of the XJ sedan that debuted last summer. As with the original, shorter model, the XJ LWB is equipped with anormally-aspirated 390-hp, 4.2-liter V-8 with six-speed ZF automatic as the standard version. The LWB is five inches longer and weighs only 53 pounds more than the shorter sedan. Jaguar now offers the longest wheelbase and overall length in its class, providing a lot of head room and leg room on the rear seats. The automaker also showed a prototype XJ, dubbed Concept Eight, developed by Jaguar Cars’ Advanced Design. It adds in new luxury elements,
Jaguar Concept Eight

Jaguar Concept Eight

a new in-car entertainment technology, and new performance styling details. There are no laptops, plasma screens or satellite links, but handmade carpets, champagne, Waterford crystal, and essential oils to allow the passengers to enjoy the ride. Chief of Advanced Design Julian Thomson said, “The Concept Eight exudes British good taste and calmness with a very relaxed and contemporary feel.” The full-length tinted glass is surrounded by a strip of LED interior lighting providing a red glow visible from the roof, the center console, and under the front seats. The Jaguar designers also used wood and leather, but the wood has a matt finish and the leather on the lower instrument panel, doors, and console is nubuck that is buffed on the grain side for a velvety surface. One of the most notable exterior touches is the glossy “gills” on the front quarter panels. With Concept Eight, Jaguar aims to show a modern attitude towards the glamour of an expensive limo. (Henny Hemmes)

 

Volvo targets, kids, women (and men), and art aficionados

Volvo YCC in NY

Volvo YCC in NY

The other Ford division, Volvo, brought to North America the YCC concept first shown in Geneva earlier this year. During its European debut, Volvo noted that the car was developed by ladies for ladies. But facing criticism that this was a rather sexist attitude, Volvo tweaked its message and in New York, it suggested that the gull-winged prototype
Volvo Lego

Volvo Lego

was designed by ladies for ladies — and gentlemen. Whatever the potential market, the YCC boasts such features as a ding-resistant, full-body rubber bumper, door sills that roll out to keep clothing from getting dirty while entering or exiting, and a sealed engine compartment. The designers felt women, er, men and women, tend to forget to do things like change their oil, so a warning signal sounds when it’s time to head for the repair shop.

Alongside the YCC, Volvo unveiled a kid-friendly version of the XC90 that is one hundred–percent recyclable, corrosion-friendly...and constructed of Lego modelling bricks. How many bricks were used to build a full-size SUV? The correct answer will be announced at the vehicle dedication ceremony at Legoland in California on May 1. On the other side of the YCC was a V50 in bright colors in neo-pop cubism style, designed by the Mexican artist Romero Britto. The station wagon will be auctioned later this year, with the proceeds benefiting Best Buddies. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment. The special edition fits into the Volvo strategy that was started with the new S40: ‘for life’. (Henny Hemmes)


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