No. 934
February 21, 2018
 

About The Autoextremist@PeterMDeLorenzo Author, commentator, influencer. "The Consigliere." Editor-in-Chief of Autoextremist.com.

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On The Table


Wednesday
Jan142009

ON THE TABLE

January 14, 2009

 

arrowup.gifWolfgang Bernhard. The mercurial and supremely talented auto executive/Renaissance Man is back in the mix, big-time, taking a consultant role with Magna International. This dovetails perfectly with the rumors flying around that Chrysler is about to part itself out to Magna and Nissan-Renault. Stay tuned.

arrowup.gifSen. Bob Corker. You’ve got to hand it to the Senator from Tennessee. He came to the Detroit Auto Show Tuesday on the invitation by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox (who invited all U.S. senators to take time to see the show), and he stuck to his guns and expressed his position clearly and confidently to the assembled media. We respect the guy. Oh yes, he flew Northwest to Detroit. In coach.

The U.S. Manufacturing Base. Publisher’s Note: Lost in the temporary fog of euphoria with GM’s announcement of its plans to build a battery pack assembly facility in Michigan and its partnership with the University of Michigan to create an advanced battery development facility in Ann Arbor was the fact that the company that would be supplying the lithium-ion battery cells is LG Chem of South Korea. If the brainiacs in Washington want to investigate this situation further - seeing as a big deal was made in the hearings in December about “keeping the bridge loan money” here in the U.S. - they would also discover that the United States is currently incapable of making their own lithium-ion cells at any significant volume and performance levels. After all these years of being dependent on foreign oil, the U.S. finds itself right back in the same situation when it comes to lithium-ion cells. The electrification of the automobile may be upon us, but the U.S. isn’t ready to take advantage of it by any stretch of the imagination. Not Good. – PMD

GM. Rumblings suggest that GM is thinking of doing the same kind of “pep rally” media presentation at the growing-in-importance Washington D.C. auto show (which is coming up soon) as they did in Detroit. Memo to GM: We’re quite sure there are better ways of getting your point across other than a faux “pep rally.” Or should we say a mo-faux “pep rally.” Please don’t do it. Especially there.

arrowup.gifarrowup.gifarrowup.gifFreeman Thomas. Publisher’s Note: The quintessential maverick designer who heads up the Ford Strategic Concepts Group in California has been wowing automotive experts with his talent for years. After previous stints at VW with J Mays and a stint at Chrysler Design where he did even more great work but was thrust into an untenable executive management role - which was a total waste of his talent - Freeman has finally found his comfort zone at Ford. Reunited with J Mays, Thomas is appreciated for the kind of pure creative vision he brings to the table every day, and Ford is rewarded with superb work like the Lincoln Concept C as a net result. - PMD

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Ford. The buzz around Ford during media days was non-stop. The reason? Besides the fact that the company was clearly the star of the Detroit Show, it was because its executives were out and about talking with the media and proudly conveying the Ford story to anyone who would listen. This contrasted sharply with other car companies who generally sequestered their executives in meeting rooms for carefully orchestrated interviews. One GM PR official even commented to me about it, as we were standing right in the middle of the Ford display.

arrowup.gifarrowup.gifarrowup.gifFord. Publisher's Note: Finally dispensing with J Mays' off the mark Passat tribute, the new Taurus finally gets the design and the refined packaging the car has deserved all along. Certainly not a design breakthrough by any means, but in terms of value, contemporary packaging, features and a list of goodies a mile long, the new Taurus will be a formidable competitor in the market. With every home run product that Ford comes up with, it's clear that momentum is building for the folks in Dearborn. Not encumbered with the scrutiny that comes with the bridge loans that GM and Chrysler have to deal with, Ford is standing on the gas and distancing themselves from the "Old Detroit Two" and things are going to get very interesting from here on out. - PMD

(Photos courtesy of Ford)

 

(Photos courtesy of GM)
The new 2010 Buick LaCrosse, which was introduced to the media in Detroit on Sunday, is a contemporary entry aimed at adding to GM's product momentum. The LaCrosse features standard FWD, optional AWD and two choices of direct-injected V-6 power: a 3.0-liter with 255 horsepower and a 3.6-liter with 280 horsepower, both with six-speed automatic transmissions. The new LaCrosse will be built at GM's Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kansas, and will be available beginning late summer/early fall.


(Courtesy of GM)
The all-new Cadillac SRX made its formal debut in Detroit this week. Clearly mirroring Cadillac's "art and science" design language inside and out, the SRX crossover is a smaller and sleeker package. And contrary to previous reports (ours included) the SRX does not share anything with the Saturn VUE.  None of the chassis or exterior elements of the SRX are shared with the VUE or the Chevy Equinox. The new SRX was co-developed with the Saab 9-4X - the tell-tale being that the new Cadillac uses the Haldex advanced AWD system first used by Saab that sends torque front-to-back and also side-to-side (Saab calls it "cross-wheel drive" on the 9-3). SRX is also going to use Saab's 2.8-liter turbo V-6 as an optional engine. Outside of the base 3-liter V-6 and 6-speed, there is nothing common, even in suspension bits, with the VUE. The approach taken on SRX was to spin it off into a new, sophisticated program for Cadillac. The new Cadillac SRX will be available late spring.

(Courtesy of Ford)
The 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 was also unveiled this week in Detroit. Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) delivered more power - 540 horsepower with 510 foot-pounds of torque - and new gearbox enhancements to the GT500, plus a standard 3.55:1 rear axle ratio for slightly better highway mileage. New bodywork featuring functional details including a hood air extractor that helps remove engine heat and a “Gurney Flap” spoiler to tune rear downforce gives the new Shelby a much more aggressive look. A dramatically improved interior completes the package. The 2010 Shelby GT500 will be in dealer showrooms in the spring.

(Courtesy of Ford)

(Courtesy of Ford)
The 2010 Lincoln MKT, a new premium crossover, will be priced at $44,995 (including destination) for the front-wheel drive model; and $49,995 equipped with a premium engine and all-wheel drive. The Lincoln MKT boasts standard luxury features, quality interior appointments and design, class-leading fuel economy and a distinctive new exterior that embodies a fresh interpretation of Lincoln design heritage. The MKT offers two fuel-efficient engine choices: a proven 3.7-liter V-6 designed to deliver an estimated 268 horsepower or a new Twin turbo 3.5-liter V-6 with EcoBoostTM able to deliver an estimated 355 horsepower while delivering best in class fuel economy. The 2010 Lincoln MKT three-row crossover will be available in dealer showrooms in late summer 2009.