2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part XIII

January 10, 2006



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


Camaro Was Sent Back to Drawing Board


The Chevy Camaro concept was undoubtedly one of the stars of the 2006 NAIAS, but it could have looked very different. GM’s product boss Bob Lutz admitted the retro-styled 2+2 had been sent back to the drawing board after the original finished version had been seen by one highly influential viewer.


“We felt good about it but we didn’t feel great about it. Sometimes it needs someone else to look at it,” said Lutz. “Rick Wagoner said ‘that looks just like the old one and why would we want to do that? Let’s get some modern flair into it so we’re not repeating the past.’ Ed Welburn had been working with one group of designers so he put a second team on to it. And right away, the moment there was competition, things started to get a little more exciting. We have gone with a compendium of the two teams’ work that has the best elements of both cars.”



Next-Gen Caddy Gets Pedestrian Protection


A next-generation Cadillac will be first GM vehicle to get active pedestrian protection, product boss Bob Lutz has confirmed. He wouldn’t be drawn on what model will get the system – likely to the sort of pop-up hood seen on the Jaguar XK – but said: “Any sporting car with a low bonnet is going to struggle without active ped-pro.” That’s sparked speculation the vehicle in question would be the XLR roadster.


<[email protected]@[email protected]@>Lutz added that small cars are going to keep getting bigger until someone comes up with a low cost active pedestrian protection system. “B-segment cars are virtually turning into C-segment cars because the hoods have to be higher. That means the base of the windscreen has to be higher, which means the windscreen finishes higher, which means the whole car has to be bigger or it looks odd.” Lutz used the 2005 Renault Clio III – recently voted European Car of the Year – as a good example.



Caddy CTS: Mistakes Were Made


Cadillac designer Chip Thole has admitted the quality of the CTS cabin wasn’t up to scratch, and that the company "made mistakes" with the materials used.


Talking to a group of European journalists at a NAIAS breakfast briefing, he confirmed he had heard the criticisms, some of which had come from people in the room. But he said the BLS – the smaller sedan due for launch in the next few months across the Atlantic – wouldn’t suffer the same fate. “The fact that the BLS is a car lower down the product range doesn’t mean interior quality will be the same or worse,” said Thole. “It’s a Cadillac, therefore it’s a premium product, therefore people expect quality particularly in Europe. The Americans are demanding too because they see the same European interiors that you do.”


Thole’s admission was backed up separately by GM product boss Bob Lutz. “We made due note of it (the interior materials and quality) and future models will have more pleasing interiors,” he said.



Compass, Patriot or Both?


There was never an intention to build both the Jeep Compass and Patriot, it was an either/or exercise. That’s the admission from Chrysler Group’s executive vice president of global sales and marketing, Joe Eberhardt. “When we took both proposals to clinics, reaction to them was split right down the middle,” he said. “At that point we sat down and said ‘what do we do now?’” Eberhardt confessed designers could have taken the best bit of both cars to create a single product, but there was a danger of crafting something that appealed to no one. “The alternative was we could build both of them.”


Will there ever be a flagship SRT version of the Jeep Compass? Don’t hold your breath, said Joe Eberhardt. “We’re still debating it, but at this point I would say no.”


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



Jeep Wrangler Four-Door At NY In April


The eagerly anticipated four-door version of the new Jeep Wrangler will make its world debut at the New York Auto Show in April. The news was revealed by senior vice president of Chrysler Group design, Trevor Creed. There had been speculation the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center event would see the car’s debut, but Creed’s statement during a one-on-one interview marked the first time it had been officially confirmed.


Like its standard two-door sibling, the new model will be powered by a 3.8-liter gasoline engine, plus an all-new 2.8-liter diesel for Europe.


Preview: 2007 Jeep Wrangler (1/9/2006)
Squared off, powered up, and ready to rocks.


More Photos:




European GMs to Get Hybrids


Hybrid engines will appear in the Chevrolet Captiva and Opel/Vauxhall Antara SUVs by 2009.


Both cars are built on the same platform as the next Saturn Vue, so it’s natural to assume they’ll get the same hybrid system that’s in the Green Line version of the Vue, unveiled at the 2006 NAIAS. But that’s not right, said Nick Reilly president and CEO of GM Daewoo, based in South Korea . “It will be a version of the two-mode hybrid system that was unveiled in the Tahoe. It’s going to be two or three years away, and that’s going to be the first application of the unit (in those two brands) because it’s something that’s not being done by other people.”


So what about in other cars? Reilly confirmed: “There’s work going on across the product range and there will be four or five applications across the two brands of Vauxhall and Chevrolet.”



GM Europe Getting Smaller SUV?


A second SUV could soon be on the way from Chevrolet’s South Korean operation. The model would sit underneath the Captiva – due to make its world debut at next month’s Geneva Motor Show.

Speaking at NAIAS 2006, president and CEO of GM Daewoo, Nick Reilly, said: “Potentially there’s a smaller SUV. It could be something new, or it could be something from South Korea which could be based on the T2X concept.” That was unveiled at the Seoul Motor Show 2005 as an unbadged silver car on the GM Daewoo stand. But, crucially, since that event it’s been resprayed blue and now wears Chevy badges.



Concept Seat Has EZaxis


A concept seat to boost passenger access into the third row of chairs has been launched at NAIAS by interiors firm Johnson Controls.


Called EZaxis, the base section tips up so it’s vertical and flat against the seat back. Then the whole thing swings in towards the center of the car, allowing free walk-through access to the rear. David Busch is principal designer of the prototype, and said it had already received much attention from car makers. “It’s the hit of the show for us. It will be ready for 2009 and 2010 vehicles.”


Busch also confirmed Johnson Controls was working on system that would automatically lower second- and third-row head restraints when they weren’t needed. They can be considered a safety risk because they block the driver’s view behind. “We’re looking at a pressure sensor system that would see the head rest rise up when someone sits in a seat,” he said. “As soon as the person gets out of the chair, it will slide down again giving the driver a clear view through his mirror.” Busch couldn’t give any time frame for when the system might be available.


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.

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

2006 Detroit Auto Show, Part X (1/10/2006)
Audi Roadjet becomes Q5, Subaru concept and Maserati.

2006 Detroit Show, Part XI (1/10/2006)
GM Value Pricing, Mitsu Eclipse and Concept-CT, CX-7 pricing, Scion xB 3.0.


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