RSS icon Home icon
  • 2008 Chicago Auto Show Focuses on a Sustainable Future

    Posted on February 10th, 2008 ninarussin

    By Nina Russin

    GMC Sierra Hybrid at the Chicago Auto Show

    GMC Sierra Hybrid at the Chicago Auto Show

    When the going gets tough, the tough get hybrids. While the Chicago Auto Show didn’t have  the green car focus of Los Angeles last November, sustainable energy was part of almost every press conference.

    Troy A. Clarke, president of GM North America, set the stage with his keynote address at the annual Midwest Automotive Media Association breakfast.

    “The buyers say who wins and loses,” said Clarke. Recent GM focus groups indicate that customers don’t want to sacrifice full-sized utility for fuel economy. While small, fuel efficient cars might be the easiest road to a sustainable future, General Motors is forging an alternate route: hybrid, full-sized sport utility vehicles and trucks.

    The automaker revealed two in Chicago: the 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid, and 2009 GMC Yukon. Both vehicles use the same two-mode system as the Tahoe: they run on pure electric power at low speeds, and on four or eight cylinders on the highway, depending on engine load. Like the Tahoe, the Yukon Hybrid offers V8 power with fifty percent better fuel economy than a comparable gas-powered vehicle. The two-mode system on the Sierra pickup yields forty percent better gas mileage. Most of the improvement is in stop-and-go driving, since the gas engine cuts out at idle.

    Despite its unusual power train, the Sierra Hybrid has the same hauling capabilities as its gas-powered cousin. The truck will come in either two- or four-wheel drive configurations with an available crew cab. Towing capacity is 6100 pounds.

    General Motors also took the wraps off the Chevrolet Traverse, a mid-sized crossover with three rows of seating and a 4500 pound towing capacity. The Traverse rolls into showrooms at the end of the year. Like its Saturn counterpart, it will appeal to families with active lifestyles via a interior that can be reconfigured for large cargo, and a high level of standard safety features: stability control, traction control, and side curtain airbags for all three rows. The automaker did not announce pricing.

    A new-generation Chevy HHR is on the boards for the 2010 model year: it will be the automaker’s first E-85 compatible four-cylinder car.

    The Denali XT concept, designed in Australia, is an E-85 compatible hybrid that appeals to sports car fans with aggressive styling. Designer Brian Nesbitt described the concept as “industrial sculpture.” Its low roof and large wheel arches give the Denali XT a lean, mean look, in keeping with its pickup truck roots. The concept truck can carry up to 1100 pounds of cargo in its bed, and tow up to 3500 pounds. A convertible midgate extends the cargo area for longer items.

    Toyota 1/X concept

    Pronounced “1/Xth,” Toyota’s hybrid concept has vast economy gains over current models due to its extremely lightweight body. The concept was first shown at the Tokyo Motor Show; it makes its North American debut in Chicago.

    The 1/X has the interior space of a production Toyota Prius, but weighs a third as much: 926 pounds. The body is made of lightweight carbon fiber reinforced plastic. The roof is a bio-plastic produced from kenaf and ramie plants: the material improves heat insulation, emits less carbon dioxide, and increases the amount of light entering the car.

    Power comes from a 500 cc flexible fuel engine paired up with a plug-in hybrid unit. The lithium ion battery can be recharged at home. Driving range is 600 miles on a four-gallon tank of gas. According to the manufacturer, the 1/X has the same acceleration and performance as the current Prius.

    BMW clean diesel

    BMW is bringing a fleet of clean diesel cars to the states that can pass emissions in all fifty states. Diesel versions of current models will see a twenty-five percent boost in fuel economy. Unlike hybrids, the improvement for diesel applies to highway as well as city driving.

    BMW also unveiled a new generation of M3s, including a sedan, coupe and convertible. The BMW  1 Series tii concept car is a tribute to the 2002, BMW’s legendary two-door compact first introduced in 1968. Power comes from a 300 horsepower twin turbo engine. The body is made primarily of carbon fiber reinforced plastic to save weight. Alcantara upholstery keeps the driver positioned in the seat during aggressive turns. Fins on the hood that optimize air flow are a tribute to the 3.0 CSL: the BMW that won the twelve hours at Sebring race in 1975.

    Hyundai fuel cells

    Hyundai is initiating fleet programs to test fuel cell versions of the mid-sized Santa Fe and compact Tucson sport-utility vehicles. At the same time, the Korean automaker is testing third-generation fuel cell technology in a vehicle called the iBlue.

    The fuel stack is under the car’s floor, to maximize interior space and maintain a fifty/fifty front-to-rear weight distribution. Hyundai hopes to have production fuel cell cars on the road within ten years.

    New production cars include a refreshed Sonata that goes on sale later this month, and the Elantra Touring: a five-door crossover vehicle that competes against the Toyota Matrix, Dodge Caliber and Mazda3. The Elantra Touring goes into production later this year.

    Dodge SRT Challenger

    The 2009 Dodge SRT Challenger, a tribute to the classic muscle car with a modern twist, appeals to drivers who would rather save time than fuel. The Challenger has a top speed of 170 miles-per-hour, and it gets there in a hurry, thanks to the most powerful naturally aspirated hemi engine Chrysler has ever made. The Challenger accelerates from zero-to-sixty miles-per-hour in 4.9 seconds.

    A 425-horsepower engine produces 420 foot-pounds of torque, making the  SRT Challenger an even faster ride than the original. Of course, it’s also a little more expensive: $37,995 as opposed to $3000 for the 1970 model.

    SRT stands for “Street and Racing Technology: the division produces high-performance versions of Dodge and Chrysler production cars. Brian Nielander who oversaw design calls the SRT Challenger “the holy grail version of the car.”

    Jim Press, Vice President and Chairman of Chrysler commented: “Goosebumps, right?… When you get inside, it makes you richer and younger than you really are.”

    The 1970 Challenger was known for its exceptional straight-line performance, but like most muscle cars, it had marginal brakes and didn’t corner well. Not true for the 2009 model. High performance Brembo brakes stop the car as quickly as it accelerates: it can go from sixty to a dead stop in 110 feet: zero to a hundred and back to zero in 16-1/2 seconds. The Challenger rides on 20 inch wheels with Z-rated tires.

    A five-link independent rear suspension gives the Challenger a more compliant ride than competitive models with solid rear axles. Engineers lowered the Challenger’s ride height and gave it a specially tuned electronic stability program to enhance cornering. On the skid pad, it pulls .9 Gs.

    The instrument panel includes “performance page:” on-board telemetry that allows the driver to record and store performance data at the track.

    The model comes with a monster sound system as well: thirteen speakers and 552 watts, plus Sirius satellite radio, MyGig programmable hard drive, available navigation and Bluetooth connectivity.

    Standard safety features include antilock brakes, electronic stability program, traction control, side and side curtain airbags, and high intensity discharge headlamps. The SRT Challenger rolls into dealerships this spring, but don’t be surprised if Dodge’s hot new muscle car is hard to find: the manufacturer had 4300 pre-orders the first day after plans for production were announced.

    Vans for work and play.

    A new Volkswagen minivan called the Routan combines the automaker’s “fun to drive” attitude with a configurable interior geared towards active lifestyles. Volkswagen is using its microbus heritage to appeal to boomers who want the practicality of a minivan, but not its soccer mom image.

    “The Routan meets our (customer’)s functional and emotional needs,” said Stephan Jacoby, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of North America. The van’s Euro-style exterior and  two rows of leather captain’s chairs give it an upscale appearance, while features such as a rear seat entertainment system, touch screen navigation, power folding third-row seats and power tailgate appeal to urban commuters who play hard on the weekend.

    The base model runs on a 197 horsepower V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers can upgrade to a four-liter V6 rated at 251 horsepower, with 259 foot-pounds of torque. Standard safety features include all-season tires, traction control and electronic stability program. Pricing begins under $25,000.

    The Routan is part of the automaker’s effort to move from a niche player to a major supplier here in the states. Volkswagen hopes to sell 800,000 cars a year in the United States by 2018.

    Ford is bringing the Transit Connect, a small commercial van currently sold in Europe stateside. First introduced in 2003, the Transit Connect has the ride and handling of a passenger car, but enough cargo space to move goods for small businesses. With a 6’8″ clearance height, it fits in a parking garage, and the wheelbase is small enough to fit into the average parking spot.

    Sliding doors on both sides, and rear doors that open 270 degrees on the XLT model make the car exceptionally easy to load and unload. To demonstrate, Ford invited My Chef Catering of Naperville, Illinois, a wine distributor, and blues musician Eddie Shaw to load up models and bring them onto the convention floor. The My Chef was able to load in enough food to feed a pack of several hundred journalists, while Eddie Shaw, brought in his band, the Wolf Gang, and all of their gear.

    Fuel economy averages 22 miles per gallon for city and highway driving.

    Mid-sized pickup from Suzuki

    Suzuki is shifting gears from small cars to mid-sized trucks, hoping to attract motorcycle and ATV owners who need vehicles to haul their toys. The production four-wheel drive Equator rolls out this fall. In the meantime, Suzuki unveiled three concepts: the Equator RMZ, Equator Quad, and Equator Quay.

    The Equator RMZ is a high-performance desert-runner with a custom-built bike mount and off-road lighting package. The Equator Quad is a cross-country vehicle with an optional long bed for ATVs or motorcycles, safari-style front bumpers and all-terrain tires. The Equator Quay has a 6500 pound towing capacity for hauling boats, navigation system, and Windows media input.

    “The Equator is a truck entry to support the Suzuki way of life,” said Gene Brown, vice-president of marketing and public relations for Suzuki North America. “In the United States, Suzuki has an eighty percent brand awareness for its motorcycles.” The Equator is a response to the opportunity dealers see for outfitting Suzuki motorcycle owners with four-by-four pickups.

    Pet friendly cars

    Volvo, a company known for its innovative safety engineering, is partnering with Bark Buckle UP: a San Diego based educational initiative that promotes pet safety in cars. Spokesperson Christina Seltzer explained that it’s important to properly restrain animals in cars to prevent secondary accidents after a collision.

    “EMTs were telling us that one of their biggest problems is dogs jumping out of vehicles after a collision,” she said. The dogs run into traffic where they may be hit, causing a second accident, and often causing more injury to themselves. In addition, a frightened dog may attack strangers, including EMTs who are trying to help the accident victims.

    Many states, including California, will cite drivers who have unrestrained animals in the car. In an accident, an unrestrained animal can injure other passengers. A sixty pound dog can cause an impact of 1200 pounds. Bark Buckle UP recommends using a carrier for smaller dogs and cats, and a kennel or crate for larger dogs.

    The Volvo 240 wagon was the first car with an integrated dog cage. The current XC90 sport-utility vehicle has crates that integrate into the cargo area to hold logs in place.

    The ultimate sport-utility vehicle

    Class eight trucks aren’t typically described as lifestyle vehicles, but that may change, thanks to the new Lonestar from Navistar International. The manufacturer that produced the first school bus and one of the first sport-utility vehicles, the International Scout, unveiled a class eight tractor that’s a living room on wheels.

    The Lonestar tractor runs on a new diesel engine for maximum fuel efficiency. Navistar is offering forty-two factory accessories, so the truck driver can customize his cab, much as a biker customizes his Harley.

    The average truck driver puts about 100,000 miles per year on his rig: it’s a home away from home. The Lonestar has a cockpit reminiscent of a Lexus, with cushy leather upholstery and steering wheel mounted controls. In back, the galley area has a couch, television, refrigerator option, sleeper berth and wood floor.

    Game day

    Bridgestone, the official tire of the NFL, wrapped up media days with an appearance by Tennessee Titan, Eddie George, and the introduction of two new Potenza high-performance tires.

    Bridgestone collaborated with Eddie George on two Eddie George Experience projects: Tour de Nash- a competitive walk and ride across his home town of Nashville, Tennessee, and a weight loss program for NFL moms.

    The Chicago Auto show celebrates its hundredth anniversary this year, occupying 1.3 million square feet at the McCormick Place convention center. The show opens to the public on Saturday February 10 and runs through February 17. Show hours are 10 a.m. till 10 p.m. daily through February 16, and 10 a.m. till 8 p.m. on the 17th: admission is ten dollars for adults, five dollars for kids 7-12 and seniors 62 and older. Kids six and under get in free.

     

    49 responses to “2008 Chicago Auto Show Focuses on a Sustainable Future”

    1. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to return the favor.Im trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    2. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass favor.

    3. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass favor.

    4. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to return the favor.Im attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    5. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    6. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to return the favor.Im trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    7. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. Youre incredible! Thanks!

    8. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass favor.

    9. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    10. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to return the favor.Im attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    11. Youre so cool! I do not believe I have read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing thats needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    12. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to return the favor.Im trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    13. Im impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thats both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Im very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

    14. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to return the favor.Im attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    15. Youre so cool! I do not believe I have read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing thats needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    16. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to return the favor.Im attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    17. Im impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thats both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Im very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

    18. Im impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thats both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Im very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

    19. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. Youre incredible! Thanks!

    20. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass favor.

    21. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It’s always exciting to read through articles from other writers and use a little something from other web sites.

    22. You are so interesting! I don’t think I’ve truly read something like that before. So wonderful to find someone with unique thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!

    23. What’s up, this weekend is fastidious for me, as this time i am reading this fantastic educational post here at my home.

      My webpage: garcinia cambogia studies

    24. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. Youre incredible! Thanks!

    25. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to return the favor.Im attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    26. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to return the favor.Im trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    27. Excellent web site you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours these days. I really appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    28. very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

    29. I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

    30. Youre so cool! I do not believe I have read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing thats needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    31. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    32. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    33. Youre so cool! I do not believe I have read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing thats needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    34. Im impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thats both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Im very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

    35. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to return the favor.Im trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

    36. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to return the favor.Im attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    37. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass favor.

    38. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. Youre incredible! Thanks!

    39. Youre so cool! I do not believe I have read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing thats needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    40. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    41. Youre so cool! I do not believe I have read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing thats needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    42. Youre so cool! I do not believe I have read through something like this before. So nice to find someone with unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing thats needed on the internet, someone with some originality!

    43. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. Youre incredible! Thanks!

    44. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    45. Currently it sounds like Expression Engine is the preferred blogging platform available right now. (from what Ive read) Is that what youre using on your blog?

    46. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. Youre incredible! Thanks!

    47. Im impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thats both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Im very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

    48. Im impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog thats both equally educative and amusing, and let me tell you, youve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Im very happy I came across this in my search for something regarding this.

    49. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my site thus i came to return the favor.Im attempting to find things to improve my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    Leave a reply