2005 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/8/2005)
Lexus LF-A Rushes to 200 MPH
2005 Lexus LF-A concept
New Beetle Breeds Hot-Rod Volkswagen
2005 Volkswagen Ragster concept
The fenders, bumpers, headlights, taillights and 19-inch wheels are newly designed and give the car an aggressive stance that matches the hot-rod look. The interior has been equipped with racing-car bucket seats, sports steering wheel with integrated engine start button, and ragtop control. The center console has a unique design as well and the cargo area is uninterrupted and has a completely flat floor.
VW’s CEO Says “Oops!”
Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now Volkswagen’s CEO, Bernd Pischetsrieder, thinks the big Phaeton luxury sedan was a big mistake. “It was, to put it mildly, a misjudgment,” said Pischetsrieder. Developed by his predecessor, Ferdinand Piech, the “saloon car” will continue in production for at least another four or five years, and after that, there’s likely to be a successor vehicle. But don’t expect another sedan, stressed Pischetsrieder. Exactly what he has in mind he isn’t saying, but the one thing that might carry over is the Phaeton name. “At least then, people will know how to spell it.”
Q&A: VW CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder by TCC Team (1/9/2005)
Putting things right at the “people’s car” company.
VW Will Build A
Honda CR-V Spawns Acura RD-X
2005 Acura RD-X concept
Likely to share some components with the Honda CR-V, the RD-X will employ Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which aims to provide all-weather traction with increased handling precision. No details regarding the powertrain for the production version were given, other than it will have in the vicinity of 200 hp. A hybrid powertrain is a strong possibility — if not standard, as an option. Performance hardware includes large Brembo brakes with slotted rotors.
The RD-X’s profile is attractive but unsurprising for a crossover SUV with a strong emphasis on performance, catered toward buyers who lead, as Honda of America head Tom Elliott termed, “active lifestyles” — a term that’s used with virtually all new SUV intros. There are a few concept-car departures that won’t make it to the production version, like the use of miniature cameras in place of rear-view mirrors. LEDs are used for both the headlights and taillights.
The real surprises come inside, though, where the eye-catching upholstery — of dark red crocodile-embossed leather combined with ivory-colored suede — brings a warm but not too garish appearance, and the floor is covered with rosewood. A tie-down system and grooves help cater to those active folks who will be stashing their gear in the back. A low moonroof — similar to what’s offered in the current Nissan Maxima — spans over the front and back seats. The tall-back front buckets and seating are rally-inspired and positioned close together. The RD-X uses a master Interface Dial, much like the RL sedan, which operates like a mouse and controls navigation, climate control, and audio. The RD-X is equipped with a hard-drive- and DVD-based digital music system, which will allow the driver to hook up portable devices and upload MP3s, creating a personal in-car music library.
Although there were a lot of details left out, it was made clear that the RD-X is slated for production at the Marysville,
Nissan Has AZEAL for
2005 Nissan AZEAL concept
With an aggressive, sharply sloped roofline and a smooth silhouette combined with chiseled corners and 19-inch alloy wheels the little coupe brings an especially muscular presence. Like the tC, the AZEAL has a glass-panel roof for an open appearance. Other design features include on the outside include prism-style fog lamps, front brake cooling ducts, special rocker-sill lighting, and dual exhausts.
“AZEAL captures the essence of emotional, aspirational vehicles like the G35 coupe or Nissan 350Z but in an entry-level segment,” commented designer Ken Lee.
The concept included an especially flashy interior, with Wasabi Chartreuse (bright green) ventilated performance seats with adjustable center armrest, a Sinister Gunmetal interior similar to that of high-end audio equipment, and a retractable navigation screen. A port is provided to easily attach a PDA or MP3 player.
Although we can’t vouch for what would be under the hood of a production version, the AZEAL show concept is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission and limited-slip differential helping to put the power to the road through the front wheels.
The entry-level sporty coupe would likely be built on the platform of the next-generation Sentra, which will be introduced in calendar year 2006, along with a production version of this small 2+2. As the Sentra will introduce more cost-saving design sharing with small-car experts Renault, we’ll wager that the production version of this fashionable coupe will do the same. —Bengt Halvorson
JCI Has Pushbutton Fold-Flat Seats
Johnson Controls has come up with a new system that stows the seats in a minivan and converts the van's rear area into cargo space in a matter of minutes by folding the second and third-row seats flat top of the vehicle's floor pan. The system is called FastForward Seating and be operated with the push of a button operated on either on a key or from a control built into the rear area of the vehicle. The system will fold the seats in only ten seconds, according to Keith Wendell, president of the JCI's Automotive Group. In addition, storage tubs are located on the floor, in front of the second-row seats and behind the third row seats. The tubs hold cargo both with the seats upright or folded flat, Wendell said. Wendell said JCI is still shopping the system around to vehicle makers and parts of the system are already showing up in some vehicles. The whole system should be ready for the 2008 model year. "At Jonhson Controls we know that in order for us to be successful, we must make our customers successful. We do this through innovation," Wendell said at a press conference introducing the system just before the curtain went up at the North American International Auto Show in
GM Ready to Stop Chery Imports
General Motors Corp. will go to court to block any effort by Chery Motors of Wuhu