Chicago Show Debuts Include Ralliart
2007 Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart
The Chicago Auto Show begins next week for the media and
the public. And among the introductions you'll see here next week on
TheCarConnection are a handful of trucks, including the critical new Toyota
Tundra and the updated Chevrolet Avalanche we showed you last week. Coming too
to Chicago are the new Lexus ES330, the Hyundai Entourage minivan and Accent
three-door hatch, a pair of Dodge trucks we'll tell you more about early next
week, and this Mitsubishi Galant Ralliart, details of which we'll bring you in
next week's coverage of the show. The media days begin Feb. 8 - stay tuned for
all the Chicago
introductions here at TCC.
2006 Chicago Auto Show Preview
Tundra, Avalanche, Entourage, Nitro - and more trucks?
Dodge Nitro Blows into Chicago
2007 Dodge Nitro
This week's Chicago
auto show will host the
production-version launch of the 2007 Dodge Nitro sport-ute. Based on the Jeep
Liberty platform, the Nitro gets full-size options for its mid-size ute body,
including a choice of V-6 engines, 20-inch wheels and sport suspension.
Available in three models-base, SLT and R/T-the Nitro comes standard with a
3.7-liter V-6 with 210 hp. The performance R/T edition gets a new 4.0-liter V-6
with 255 hp and 275 lb-ft of torque. And standard on the R/T, optional on the
SLT, is a suspension-and-wheels package with 20-inch rims and more tightly tuned
ride motions. The standard gearbox on base vehicles is a six-speed manual, while
a four-speed automatic is an option; the SLT gets the four-speed standard, while
the R/T gets a standard five-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive is offered on all
models. A new Load 'N Go floor slides 18 inches to and fro for easier loading of
the cargo area and it's capable of holding up to 400 pounds (or three Eva
Longorias and some change, if you must). ABS, ESP, and side curtain airbags are
standard, while a navigation system, CD changer, DVD entertainment system and
Sirius are options.
IIHS: SUV Changes Have Dropped
Changes in the ride heights of
sport-utility vehicles have cut the number of deaths in car-SUV crashes, a new
study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said on Friday. The
study, cited by the New York Times, says the number of deaths in cars
involved in side-impact crashes with SUVs fell by almost 50 percent after
automakers began to reduce ride heights and install blocker beams on the front
ends of sport-utes that better match up with the bumper systems on passenger
cars. The changes are the result of an agreement in 2003 between automakers and
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to mitigate the effects of
car-SUV crashes. The reduction in deaths with frontal crashes between cars and
SUVs was less - 18 to 21 percent fewer deaths would be reported, the IIHS
estimates. The study cited data from 2001 to 2004, covering 2000-2003 models,
some built prior to and some reflecting the design changes.
Threatens Jeep Wrangler
1999 Ford Libre
The unexpected collapse of Haden Prism LLC threatens to set
back the roll-out of the 2007 Jeep Wrangler. Haden was one of three suppliers
partnering with the Chrysler Group to jointly build and operate the automaker's
new plant in Toledo,
. Haden was in charge of the
paint shop, while Hyundai Mobis will handle chassis operations, and Kuka will
run the body shop. With pilot production set to begin on February
, all seemed fine until Haden's 60 employees reported for work
last Friday. They were ordered out of the paint shop, which was then padlocked
by sheriff's deputies. While at least two dozen U.S.
suppliers have been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Haden
declared under Chapter Seven, which immediately shut down all of its operations.
Chrysler spokesman Jason Vines insisted "the impact is basically zero," since
the automaker reserved the right to take over the paint shop in the event of
just such an emergency. But it may still take a week or more for Chrysler's
lawyers to untangle the legal issues. Eventually, the automaker hopes to find
another supplier to step in for Haden, and is reportedly already talking to Durr
Industries. The German firm lost out to Haden during the original
Jeep Plant Hit By Supplier
Chrysler hopes for no delay in launch of new Jeep Wrangler.
Zetsche Tightens Control on
Dieter Zetsche, DaimlerChrysler
AG's chief executive officer, continues to open up more space between his new
administration and the reign of his predecessor Juergen Schrempp. Zetsche told a
panel discussion sponsored by a Stuttgart newspaper that he
had no problem with publishing the salaries of individual board members,
according to Reuters.
Up until this year, German public corporations, unlike their
counterparts in the U.S., were not required to publish
the salaries of top executives. The disclosure law, however, has recently
changed in Germany as part
of a package of economic reforms and German corporations now have to disclose
the salaries of members of a company's board of management. "I don't have
a problem with it. I think it is right that it be published," said Zetsche, who
also recently announced the size of the board of management would be reduced
from 12 to nine members.
German corporations, however, if they are so inclined, can move to
ask shareholders not to disclose board of management salaries. DaimlerChrysler's
neighbor, Porsche AG, has succeeded in winning approval from shareholders for a
proviso that keeps confidential the salaries of board
Zetsche Tightens Control on DC (2/5/2006)
New DC CEO is putting more distance between his and the
Bush Takes Ethanol Message on
George Bush's State of the Union message ran about 51
minutes on national television, but the most memorable part of the speech
revolved around the U.S. "addiction" to oil - specifically imported oil - is
getting a lot more airplay as Bush pushed the message in a cross-country
"In order to stay competitive,
America must end its dependence on oil. When you're hooked on oil from the
Middle East, it means you've got an economic security and a national security
issue. And I spoke last night to some exciting opportunities here in America. I
believe - I know that technology is going to enable us to diversify away
from being dependent on hydrocarbon, from oil," Bush said in a speech in
Nashville, Tenn., the day after first raising the issue.
"Let me talk about cars, and
one area where we can achieve a lot of independence. We use a lot of foreign oil
in our automobiles, and we drive a lot, and people say, well, CAFE this and CAFE
that. Actually, we have increased CAFE standards for certain types of vehicles
during my administration, and that's important, as is giving people choice, and
marketplace function is important. But most important of all, it seems like to
me, if you recognize the fact that being dependent upon oil is a problem for the
long term, then why don't we figure out how to drive our cars using a different
type of fuel?" Bush asked.
Bush Takes Ethanol Message on
Follow-ups to State of the Union press for break from oil
Collins Among Nissan
Nissan North America
knows which of its 60 top executives will not follow the company in its move
from Los Angeles to Nashville. Jack Collins
will be one of 12 senior execs not making the trip. The 59-year-old executive
will retire rather than move with the company to Tennessee, Automotive News reports. A Nissan
spokesperson would not confirm the other 11 execs who have already let their
decisions be known to Nissan's transition team. The News says that Nissan gave those 60
execs until last week to decide whether to move or not - with 48 accepting the
relocation, three retiring, and nine leaving the company. Other employees have
until April 15 to decide whether to move to Tennessee.
The New Camry: Your Opinion,
2000 Ford Contour
I don't know - I really like that Ford Fusion.
It's a decent step forward, but
it's still an appliance. 30.5%
Is there any better way to take
over the world? 18.9%
It's swing and a miss. Hello,
Accord Hybrid! 9%
Why wouldn't you buy an Avalon
I'm giving up four-wheelers until
Lundi Gras. 2%
more poll results
FROM THE SOURCE headlines from the
latest press releases
of America, Inc. and Google recently presented the future of vehicle
navigation at the 2006 International
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las
Vegas, and it's closer to virtual reality than
ever before. Volkswagen, Google,
and graphics chipmaker, nVidia, are working on an in-car navigation map system
and display that is 3-dimensional and more real looking than
anything that's available today. Driver and Passenger
will be able to instinctively recognize where they are in relation to
the surrounding topography, especially in urban areas that are depicted with
depth and accurate size relationships between buildings and roads. Volkswagen, working
through its Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL), in
Palo Alto, Calif., together with
Google and nVidia, is also working on other advancements,
including automatic personalized content updates for its vehicle navigation
|American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc.
|Ballard Power Systems Inc.
|DaimlerChrysler AG (ADR)
|Dura Automotive Systems
|Ford Motor Company
|General Motors Corporation
|Goodyear Tire & Rubber
|Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR)
|Johnson Controls Inc.
|Magna International Inc.
|Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (ADR)
|Sonic Automotive Inc.
|Sirius Satellite Radio
|Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR)
|TRW Automotive Holdings
|Tower Automotive Inc.
|United Auto Group Inc.
|XM Satellite Radio Hold.