Friday, February 16, 2007

Chicago International Auto Show

I went yesterday afternoon with my friend Sean. Some observations below. Some pictures will follow when I get a chance to upload them.

  • Chrysler may be losing money hand over fist but their designs are influencing the rest of the industry. The Mercedes-Benz CL6.3 AMG has a nose that is very squared off and aggressive. Of course, those are sister companies. But the Honda Accord coupe concept was also agressive and squared off.

  • Totota had a some faux car bodies from the NASCAR series that they are entering. The grills on the cars were actually stickers on the body forms. On one car, the brackets attaching the rear spoiler were labeled "R" and "L." Right and Left. The union employees that set these displays up couldn't figure that out?

  • Toyota did have the FT-HS on display. The body is clearly not production ready. The front panel and rear panel will never pass insurance industry tests. But the technical details are awesome and the rims on that car kicked-ass.

  • Nissan showed a Altima Coupe concept car. Beautiful! The spokes model (Beautiful!) said they are considering a convertible. One question... a top of the line Alitma, redesigned this year, costs just a few thousand less than a Maxima. The Altima has lots of new bells and whistles and amenities. Why is Nissan making two cars that are essentially competing with each other?

  • The new BMW 335 coupe (and sedan) are technically awesome and I'm sure they drive like the best BMWs out there. And they are much better looking that their older brothers, the 7-Series and 5-Series. But they still are not pretty cars. I don't plan to replace my '99 sedan for a while but if I do, and I can afford another BMW, I will be looking for a used 330Ci.

  • Why did Jeep zip-tie close the hoods of their Wranglers?

  • Ponticac is introducing the G8. A good looking sedan with huge performance possibilities. A rear driver, it will have an optional 6 liter V8. And the preproduction car at the Chicago Auto Show is an attractive car (Dodge inspired grill included). If Pontiac brings that car out as presented they will begin to atone for a decade of plastic cladding on their cars.

  • Sticking with GM, how is it that Pontiac can bring out the G8 by 2008 but Chevy won't have the Camaro that they presented last year until mid-2009? There is no wonder that GM is losing money. Despite their sunk costs they can't get exciting new products to market when they are desired.

  • MB had a fire-engine red C230 sitting on the floor. It had a proper 6 speed manual transmission. Clutch pedal included!! I didn't know MB even offered a manual tranny any more. It was a happy discovery.

  • Volvo had a couple of 6 speed manuals on the floor. One, in an S60R sedan had what could only be described as a roller ball gate. Reverse was to the right of the the 5-6 notch but there was no extra resistence between the 5-6 notch and reverse. It was incredibly hard to hit 5th gear consistently. Sean and I both kept pushing past 5th and we both have been driving manuals for a decade and a half.



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