2005 Greater LA Auto Show & North American International Auto Show
Vince Bodiford at the show:
Not since the glory days of the venerable muscle car era has power taken such centre stage at the North American International Auto Show. Real power in real cars, not just the concept and dream cars. Chevrolet revealed its 500 horsepower (that's right, five hundred brake horsepower) Corvette Z06, which itself was the thundering answer to the 500bhp Dodge Viper SRT10.
Not to be left out of the spotlight, Jaguar revealed what is perhaps the most beautiful car ever out of Coventry - the all new Advanced Lightweight Coupe. If you want to know what the future holds at Jaguar, this car is the answer.
Trucks continue to dominate the scene as Detroit battles it out with an ever expanding list of rivals from Japan. Honda and Mitsubishi both revealed production pickup firsts, with products that are already a threat to the established models from Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge.
John LeBlanc at the show:
At the show in Detroit carmakers certainly were pushing the limit of the definition of "concept". Some of the so-called concepts introduced at this year's Detroit show, like the Saturn Aura, Audi Allroad Quattro, or Mazda MX Crossport, are really just thinly disguised production vehicles that are well on the way to being launched as a production car. Strip off some of the gratuitous fake chrome, narrow the exaggerated wings, and reduce the wheel diameters by a few inches, et voila! Guaranteed something eerily similar will magically appear in a showroom near you.
One of the reasons for this recent trend is that most manufacturer line-ups are now fairly complete. Five or six years ago every vehicle segment had not been "busted" yet. Today, the public's pulse on niche products has been thoroughly taken. Although I'm still waiting for a seven- seat, all-wheel-drive convertible with a built-in snowplow, but that's just me.
With the dearth of any truly "conceptual" vehicles, the focus at the 2005 Detroit show seemed to have been on cars that we will be able to purchase sooner rather than later.
Despite the buzz about "real" cars making a comeback in 2005, there were still plenty of new production SUVs announced. Cars like the Range Rover Sport, Saab 9-7X, and Mercedes M-class ensure that every infinitesimal niche in this already crowded segment will eventually be filled.
Ironically, Mercedes' Smart booth, which was brimming with folks trying out the not-for-sale-in-America Smart ForTwo and Roadster, was positioned directly across from the Mitsubishi booth, which was drawing crickets. This despite Mercedes putting on hold plans to launch the micro-cars in the American market. Hmmm, maybe they should rethink that one.
Vince Bodiford, our North American correspondent, will be reporting from the Detroit Show, as will John LeBlanc. Meanwhile...
The Land Rover stand could easily steal the show with the new Range Rover Sport and facelifted Range Rover making their public debut. Driving enthusiasts will be drooling over the M5 and M6 on the BMW stand as well as marvelling at the rotating roof on the limited edition Ferrari Superamerica. Mercedes will show its all-new M-class too. There is so much else to see including new sportscars from Mitsubishi and Nissan as well as a sports SUV crossover thingy from Mazda. Makes you wonder if the American brands are going to get a look in. Then again, there is the Chrysler Firepower for starters...
The 2005 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), one of the world's most prestigious automotive events, expects to showcase more than 65 exciting new vehicle introductions. The Detroit Auto Show is premier venue for manufacturers worldwide to reveal their production and concept vehicles, and for the world to get a first-ever glimpse of the hottest automotive trends in SUVs, trucks, sport cars and luxury vehicles (Note from Ed: notice the order these vehicles are listed in - telling for the US market in particular).
The 2005 Detroit Auto Show dates for the Media Preview are January 8 - 12, 2005, the Charity Preview is January 14, and the Public Days are Saturday, January 15 - Sunday, January 23, 2005. The Car Enthusiast will provide in-depth coverage from the show floor, including images of the hottest vehicle reveals and interviews with top industry leaders,.
Bill Cook, senior co-chairman of the NAIAS 2005 said, "From our discussions with the automotive manufacturers and news reports, we've learned that this year's NAIAS is going to be yet another banner year featuring exciting new automotive products and technologies from nearly every industry category."
WORLDWIDE PRODUCTION INTROS:
- BMW 5-series AWD - an all-wheel-drive version of BMW's midlevel 5-series sedan.
- Cadillac STS-V - a performance version of Cadillac's flagship STS sedan, redesigned for 2005.
- Chevrolet Corvette Z06 - 500-horsepower performance version of the sixth-generation Corvette, redesigned for 2005.
- Dodge Charger - the return of a legendary name from the muscle-car era on a HEMI-equipped, rear-drive, five-passenger saloon.
- Ferrari Superamerica - a 12-cylinder convertible version of the 575M Maranello coupe that was designed by legendary Italian design house and perennial Ferrari partner, Pininfarina.
- Ford Fusion - Ford's new midsize car for the US (not to be confused with the European Fusion, which is basically a tall Fiesta).
- Ford F-150 Harley - a Harley-Davidson version of the F-150 pickup truck.
- Honda Ridgeline - Honda's first-ever pickup truck.
- Infiniti M45/M35 - two new luxury/performance sedans to slot just beneath the flagship Q45.
- Kia Rio - a completely redesigned entry-level saloon that's bigger and more powerful than the current model.
- Land Rover Range Rover Sport - a completely new sport utility vehicle and a fifth nameplate for the brand, slotting between the LR3 and Range Rover.
- Lexus GX 470 - a luxury utility with more performance and technology.
- Lincoln Zephyr - a new entry-level luxury saloon for Ford's luxury division.
- Lincoln Mark LT - a luxury vehicle that combines a sport utility vehicle cabin with a pickup bed.
- Mercedes-Benz M-class - a redesign of the Alabama-built M-class sport utility vehicle introduced eight years ago.
- Mitsubishi Eclipse - all-new, more powerful fourth generation of this popular sporty coupe.
- Mitsubishi Raider - Mitsubishi created unique styling inside and out for this midsize truck based on the Dakota.
- Saturn Sky - a new two-seat, rear-drive sports roadster.
- Subaru B9 Tribeca - the first Subaru 7-passenger vehicle.
- Toyota Avalon - a completely restyled full-size saloon with more performance and luxury.
- Porsche 911 Carrera, Carrera S Cabriolet - convertible versions of the redesigned 911.
- Chrysler Firepower - an elegant grand tourer riding on the Viper chassis and powered by a 6.1-litre version of the Hemi V8.
- Ford Explorer Sport Trac - a concept that signals the next-generation version of the sport-utility vehicle with a pickup bed.
- Infiniti Kuraza - an exploratory look at future sport utility vehicle interior design.
- Jeep Gladiator - a Jeep pickup.
- KCD II - the second concept vehicle from Kia's California design centre is a rugged sport utility with three rows of seats.
- Lexus LF-A - exotic sports car concept vehicle.
- Mercury Meta One - a rolling showcase of promising active safety technologies.
- Nissan AZEAL Coupe - a fresh interpretation of the "pocket rocket" - an affordable, high-performance, entry-level coupe with an emphasis on personality and aggressive styling.
- Saturn Aura midsize saloon - a new entry into the midsize saloon segment for the GM division.
- Suzuki Concept X - Suzuki's first-ever midsize sport-utility vehicle concept.
- Volvo 3CC - an innovative and stylish environmentally friendly car with three seats and powered by lithium-ion batteries.
NORTH AMERICAN PRODUCTION:
- Aston Martin Vanquish S V12 - the fastest-ever Aston Martin.
- Audi A6 Avant - the estate version of the redesigned A6.
- BMW 530xi - the 5-series Sport Wagon combines the performance of a car with all-weather confidence.
- Hyundai Sonata - the first vehicle to be produced at the new Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama.
NORTH AMERICAN CONCEPTS:
- Mercedes-Benz Grand Sports Tourer Vision B - first shown in Paris, a compact sports tourer with compact exterior dimensions, but roominess inside.
- Rolls Royce 100EX - this experimental car from Rolls Royce, the inspiration for a 2007 convertible, celebrates Rolls Royce's centennial.
Entering its 17th year as an international event, the North American International Auto Show is one of the largest media events in North America. The NAIAS is the only auto show in the United States to earn the distinguished sanction of the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles, the Paris-based alliance of automotive trade associations and manufacturers from around the world.
Details will be added as we receive them. In the meantime feel free to browse the stories and image galleries below.