2006 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/7/2006)
Camaro, By The Numbers
1999 Ford Expedition
Under the skin, GM has turned to the next-generation Zeta “architecture.” The automaker cancelled the original Zeta program last year, but rather than calling off the platform entirely, it quietly started over, aiming to drive cost out of the rear-drive chassis. The four-wheel independent suspension on the new version uses MacPherson struts up front and a multilink system in the rear. The Camaro’s wheelbase measures 110.5 inches, total length 186.2 inches, with a width of 79.6 inches.
In concept form, Camaro boasts a 400-horsepower 6.0-liter LS2 engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. In a nod to modern realities, the Corvette-derived powertrain features GM’s Active Fuel Management system, which shuts off half the cylinders when loads are light. A production version would likely start with a six-cylinder engine in a base model going for “just a little more than the Solstice,” according to Lutz, which would mean something in the low-$20,000 range. But “any V-8 General Motors produces today is potentially slated for this car.”
Standing aside the show car, a broad smile on his face, Lutz repeatedly insisted Camaro is nothing more than a concept. Right now. “We have to run the numbers,” he added. “We can’t just go by emotion. Though if we did, this is the next car I would build.” But when pressed, GM insiders acknowledged the odds are extremely high that the concept will evolve into a production Camaro by around the ’09 model year.
Ford’s Fields: Prove It
Later this month, Ford Motor Co. will unveil a dramatic turnaround plan expected to lead to the closing of nearly a dozen plants and the elimination of around 35,000 jobs. Yet despite such draconian efforts to cut costs and bring capacity in line with sales, investors and analysts have proved surprisingly skeptical, and ratings agencies continuing to downgrade Ford debt. That comes as no surprise to the man crafting the turnaround plan, Ford’s President of the
Along with the automaker’s number-two executive, Jim Padilla, the two outlined a variety of changes they believe will not only stabilize Ford’s slumping market share, but eventually help rebuild sales and earnings. Padilla pointed out that Ford is not nearly in as bad shape as its cross-town rival, General Motors, which is mired deep in the red. Ford earned $2.1 billion during the first nine months of 2005, he stressed, and while North American automotive operations lost money, “when you roll in finance earnings…which come on the back of selling cars and trucks…
The upcoming cuts at Ford come almost precisely four years after the automaker announced a previous turnaround plan. The reality, admitted Padilla, is that the 2002 effort underestimated the degree of change then sweeping over the industry. Ford treated the situation “like we did in the old days – batten down the hatches and we’ll get through it.” But the reality of what’s happening in the auto industry, said Padilla, “is not a cyclical change, but a secular change. We’re now forced to look at every aspect of the market.”
Jaguar Getting Help from Ford
In one of several product introductions at the
RDX Confirmed for Summer
2007 Acura RDX
The raked-back stance, dual exhaust tips, HID headlamps, and big 19-inch wheels give the compact crossover an aggressive and elegant appearance. The interior has seating for five, with fold-down rear seats and a cockpit theme for the front, along with a deep center console that allows laptop computer storage. The RDX also features a navigation system with voice recognition, real-time traffic alerts, and a hands-free phone link. There’s also a DVD audio system for entertainment. Front, side, and curtain airbags are standard, and the system is aided by rollover sensors.
Curiously, the RDX lands in a market segment — premium performance-oriented small crossovers — that seems set to take off in a big way but currently has little or no competition. For now, the RDX will take on the BMW X3.
The production version of the RDX will go on sale this summer and be assembled at Honda of America Manufacturing in
In a related note, the brand has announced that it will get its own
Kia Shows Urban Crossover with Soul
2006 Kia Soul concept
The small crossover—which picks up some styling cues from the earlier Mesa concept—is geared toward young urban dwellers who want a vehicle with the flexibility for weekend mountain-biking jaunts or road trips, along with easy parking for the city. The more aggressive appearance is helped by a wide track, large wheel flares, front brush guard, wrap-around windshield, and prominent roof rails on top. A panoramic roof slides back to open up much of the roof when desired.
The B-pillar-less and rear-hinged back doors (called “freestyle doors” here) allow more cargo and passenger ease, and the rear liftgate is claimed to have the flexibility of a backpack, with a fold-out pouch area for a wetsuit or muddy boots.
A notebook computer and game monitor are housed in the glove compartment and can swing out on a tray. Separate video monitors fold out for rear-seat passengers, and there’s a multimedia system that includes Bluetooth telephony, USB ports, and wi-fi. There’s also an adaptive cruise control system.
The Soul concept is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with five-speed manual transmission, and we were told that if such a vehicle were to be produced that it would use a platform readily adapted from one of Kia’s existing small cars. Although the car shown was unfinished and strictly a concept, Kia officials said that there’s a lot of interest in seeing this one through, hinting that a production vehicle may in the works.
New Optima Revealed
2006 Kia Optima
The Optima now has more interior than most of its mid-size competitors, including the Accord, Camry, Altima,
Power is provided by a new 161-hp, 2.4-liter four, with a 185-hp, 2.7-liter V-6 optional. A five-speed manual is standard with the four-cylinder model, with a five-speed automatic optional on the four and standard on the V-6. Front and rear anti-roll bars are standard for improved handling.
Six airbags—including full-length curtain bags—are standard on the Optima, as are active front headrests and a tire-pressure monitoring system. Anti-lock brakes will be optional, as is stability control and Brake Assist.
An available Appearance Package option includes larger wheels, aluminum trim inside, and other appearance upgrades, and combined with the EX model the package includes sporty black trim accents and leather seats.
The Optima will begin arriving at showrooms later this spring. —Bengt Halvorson
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 Show, Part VII by TCC Team (1/9/2006)
GM planning big price cuts, Aston Rapide, Volvo C30, XK pricing.
2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part VIII by Bengt Halvorson (1/9/2006)
Jeep Compass, Toyota Camry, Nissan Sentra and Urge.