Tuesday, January 06, 2004

More New Cars

One more note on the LA autoshow...ALL the cars have been released by the media before the show begins! If that's not a way to destroy the specialness of a show, I don't know what is. Once again more evidence that the LA autoshow is the worst run show on the planet.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited--This is the Wrangler with a longer wheelbase. Jeep has had the reputation as of late of making SUVs that are too small, and hence old fashioned. It's a reputation that seems to be deserved considering that the SUV market is filled with bloated, and bigger than ever behemoths. In Europe, there are many examples of luxury cars with longer wheelbase versions, such as those of Jaguar, and Rover. I don't know if American buyers are going to go for this though. They need to see the difference, and more length will need to be explained to them by the dealer salesman. They might be better off with making a whole new Wrangler, with a longer wheelbase, and avoid getting accused of merely freshening up something very, very old.

Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible--Call me optimistic, but I think this is going to be a huge hit. If I were a kid, I would want this as my family car. There is nothing else on the market that is this big, this strange looking, and a convertible. It's the ultimate toy car. It has zero practicality, but would make any weekend with the brats wonderful. It's the kind of car you write about decades later, when you're trying to remember the great moments you had with your parents. Of course, as a young single member of the yuppie scum class, I would never buy it.

Chrysler Crossfire Convertible--I suppose a convertible is justified of a coupe, if the coupe has been selling well. I believe allpar.com has sales figures for the Crossfire. Considering that the Crossfire is based largely on Mercedes mechanicals, making R&D costs ultra-low, so whatever sales there are, there is a chance for big profits. I think the Crossfire is a beautiful car, if a little foo-foo, and Convertible is selling to the same demographic. Should do well.

Chevrolet Nomad--This is simply the worst concept of all the American and European manufacturers. It is as ugly in the exterior as your average Japanese concept car. The front is a '53 Corvette, atop a jelly bean body, with a Nomad grafted rear end. In short, hideous. I like the interior though. Hopefully this is from the Zarella incompetence era of GM and not from Lutz. Looking at what Lutz did with the Corvette, I'm confident that this is dark leftovers from the past.

Dodge Slingshot--Maybe it's the Marxist in me, but can't everyone own a sports car? I kind of like this pocket rocket. I've heard the souped up Neon that is currently on sale is the fastest sub-compact, stock on the market, and if Dodge builds something like this, it would only continue the tradition. It's always cool to see a car company go after the SPEED market aggressively, and I'm glad to see it here.

Ferrari 612 Scaglietti--Named after Enzo's bookie, just kidding. I believe this is the replacement for the 456, the previous 2+2 Ferrari. I love the interior, the exterior will have to grow on me. Of course with this marque name, Ferrari could paint it purple, and put Homer Simpson "speed holes" in the hood, and it would still sell out. Who wouldn't want to own a Ferrari? Especially one you can put your kids in.

Hummer H3T--This concept was at the Detroit autoshow and the LA autoshow, so I'll see it this weekend. It's a concept, so whatever is produced from this, will be not as glamorous. It is well done. I'm always wary of "fad" trucks like the Hummer, and I think that vehicles like this one, the Porsche Cayenne, and the VW Touraeg, are just part of the SUV of the month club. Yuppies, after leasing them, will move onto the next "cool" car. It doesn't help that a military-type vehicle like this, is designed by Fifth Avenue, artist types, who really don't know how to make a long term, classic American car. Rather they make vehicles that appeal to seasonal tastes, like clothing. You can't do that with a vehicle that costs hundreds of millions of dollars to develop and market. Lay the Hummer to rest, and concentrate on the bread and butter: the car.

Hyundai Tucson--I can't find photos of this vehicle, only a painting. The Santa Fe is a bit strange looking of an SUV, but it sells well. This SUV is smaller. That's a good move. Hyundai would be very foolish to make anything larger than the Santa Fe and try to move upmarket, like the insane Kia Amanti. People buy luxury for the name brand, not just for the leather seats.

More tomorrow...by the way, all these links are to Auto Index, which I have linked in my link section as well. A fantastic site, it has every press release for every new car sold in the WORLD. All links, unless otherwise stated, are the property of the website they link to.

I plan on covering EVERY release from the Detroit show, so get ready....

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