2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part VII

January 9, 2006

2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/7/2006)



GM Planning Major Price Cuts


Desperately hoping to slash profit-gobbling incentives by bringing sticker prices in line with what customers actually pay, General Motors will announce a virtually across-the-board price cut on Tuesday morning, company officials confirmed for TheCarConnection.com.


Company sources declined to provide specific details, though on the whole, the cuts are expected to amount to about $1000 or so on a typical GM product, or in the range of four to five percent. The precise figure will vary depending on individual models. Hot products, like the Chevrolet Corvette, should see little if any reduction, but prices will tumble more sharply on slow-selling models, like the Pontiac Grand Prix.


The automaker has been trimming back on the price of new and redesigned models, such as the Chevrolet HHR, Pontiac Solstice and, on Monday, the updated Chevy Tahoe. This so-called Value Pricing is meant to reflect the reality of the market, GM marketing director Mark LaNeve told TheCarConnection.com during an interview last week. It reflects the gap between what GM puts on its window stickers and what customers actually pay. The gap is filled in by incentives and dealing at the showroom. That not only costs a lot but also damages the GM brand’s image, LaNeve admits.


The announcement on Tuesday could be seen as “Value Pricing II,” suggested Dr. David Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research, in Ann Arbor, Mich. The “$64 billion question,” Cole cautioned, is whether the strategy will work. The real danger is that even after cutting prices, customers will continue to demand hefty rebates and other incentives. If that happens, it could make it even harder for the troubled auto giant to regain its footing.




Aston Plans for Rapide Deployment


2006 Aston Martin Rapide concept

2006 Aston Martin Rapide concept

Officially, the new Rapide is just a concept vehicle, but get Aston Martin CEO Ulrich Bez going and you realize the gracefully elegant sports sedan is just waiting for the go-ahead. Another entry in the emerging four-door coupe segment, the Rapide would become the flagship of the British marque’s lineup, priced around $250,000, Bez hinted. For that, a buyer would likely get Aston’s massive, 6.0-liter V-12, which makes 480 horsepower, and an elegant interior that belies the traditional spartan nature of a sports car. The Rapide concept featured an interior outfitted in wood, chrome and leather, with an unusual “Isoclima” glass roof that can be dialed anywhere from clear to opaque. Under the rear cargo floor, Aston outfitted the concept vehicle with a champagne cooler, glasses, and even a chessboard for leisurely picnics. Such features “might be a step too far,” admitted Aston design chief Marek Reichman, though the electronic roof – similar to one used by Maybach – is under study. Bez told TheCarConnection.com he is waiting to see the reaction to Rapide when the Detroit show opens its doors to the public. “If there is enough positive feedback, we will go ahead and built it.” Considering the warm response during the sports car’s debut, it could reach showrooms, “within 36 months or so.”



Volvo Sets Sights Low with C30


2006 Volvo C30 Concept

2006 Volvo C30 Concept

Notching in under the current Volvo “entry-level” model will be the new C30. Officially a “design concept,” don’t be surprised when a production version rolls out at the Paris show this fall. Based on the unusual three-seat 3CC concept that debuted in 2004, the new C30 is nine inches shorter than the S40 but a bit wider, making for plenty of usable space in both the front and rear seats. The concept model is powered by a 260-hp five-cylinder engine. It will launch from 0-60 in just six seconds, and hits a speed-limited 156 mph. In keeping with Volvo’s safety focus, the C30 is also designed to stop fast, thanks to oversized Brembo brakes behind its 19-inch wheels. Four adults can ride in comfort, Volvo officials claim, and they’ll be entertained by a 650-watt, five-channel Alpine audio system driving 10 speakers.



Jag XK Gets $75K Pricetag


2007 Jaguar XK Convertible

2007 Jaguar XK Convertible

Just as Jaguar’s new XK sports coupe gets ready to roll into showrooms, the automaker is adding a second model to the lineup. The convertible version features a three-layer ragtop that can operate in just 18 seconds. The XK convertible’s aluminum chassis and body are not only lighter than the old sports car, but 50 percent stiffer. The automaker intends to bring the coupe to market for $75,500, officials announced on Monday, while the convertible will carry a $6,000 premium. So far, Jaguar claims to have received about 4000 “firm” advance orders for the next-generation XK.

TCC Scrapbook:

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part I by TCC Team (1/8/2006)
Car and Truck of the year, Lexus LS has eight speeds, Enclave concept..

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part II by TCC Team (1/8/2006)
Shelby GT500, Ford Reflex, predictions for 2006 and Lutz on GM financials.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part III by TCC Team (1/8/2006)
Hyundai HCD-9 Talus, Santa Fe, and the death of the five-day car.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part IV (1/8/2006)
Nissan's next steps, Benz GL-Class, GM hybrids.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part V by Bengt Halvorson (1/8/2006)
Honda Fit, Ford Edge, and more from Bill Ford.

2006 Detroit Show, Part VI by TCC Team (1/9/2006)
The new face of Lincoln, Mazda Kabura, Infiniti G35 and MINI Clubman.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part VIII by Bengt Halvorson (1/9/2006)
Jeep Compass, Toyota Camry, Nissan Sentra and Urge.

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part IX by TCC Team (1/10/2006)
Camaro by the numbers, Acura RDX, Jaguar gets Ford help.

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