2005 Frankfurt Auto Show Index by TCC Team (9/5/2005)
New From Planet Toyota
Toyota, which can by now justly be regarded as the world’s automaker, will unveil two new production models, the second-generation of the Yaris hatchback and the latest version of the RAV4, the leading example of the small 4x4/SUV wanabee.
Underlining Toyota’s international stance, the new Yaris, which will go on sale early in 2006, will be produced at the company’s plant at Valenciennes in northern France. It was also designed in France, at the Toyota European design studio, ED2, which is situated in the more creatively stimulating south of the country. Toyota describes the new car as “more grown up” than its predecessor, which almost certainly means it is bigger all around.
The new RAV4, which will also be available early next year, is the third generation of the car that started the trend for the urban 4x4 for the family. Toyota promises it will offer “significantly enhanced driving pleasure and performance, improved quality, wider application of advanced technology, greater interior space, and a creative modular interior design.”
Another ED2 design is the Endo concept car, which is another take on the kind of city car the world will need if gas prices continue their upward spiral. It’s unlikely, however, that the other concept on show will ever really catch on. It’s the i-unit, transportation for just one person that allows the occupant to “interact with his or her surroundings.” The design is inspired by a leaf, “a natural expression of life on earth” and it can be driven in either a standing or recumbent position.
Unfortunately, it requires the driver to wear one of those one-piece silver suits reminiscent of 1950s science-fiction movies; it’s obviously designed for the younger female driver.
Toyota’s luxury arm, Lexus, will show a new hybrid, the GS450h sedan, to follow on to the RX400h SUV, introduced to Europe this year. The new sedan has a 3.5-liter gasoline engine producing 300 hp that gives acceleration from 0-62 mph in less than six seconds. At the same time, the high efficiency of the hybrid system means that fuel consumption and carbon dioxide exhaust emissions levels are comparable with those from sedans with conventional four-cylinder, two-liter gasoline engines.
Also on show at Lexus will be the new version of the IS compact sedan, which will for the first time follow European market trends by offering a diesel engine in an avowedly luxury sedan. The car features no less than ten airbags, and will offer the first twin-chamber front passenger airbag, which gives greater protection to the neck and shoulders in an impact. This car will also be available early next year.
Cadillac’s Compact BLS
Another early ’06 entry into the compact luxury sedan class is the Cadillac BLS. Shown at Geneva
as a concept that fooled nobody in terms of its future production plans, the BLS is now a production reality. It will be available in 175, 210, and 255 hp gasoline-engined variants and will have a diesel option — in the shape of a 150 hp turbocharged unit — right from the start. Cadillac is being aggressive in European markets and the acceptance or otherwise of the Europe-only compact will be watched closely. Based on Saab components, the BLS will make its Cadillac identity clear by its exterior design and interior luxury.