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The 2008 Detroit Auto Show goes green

Old 01-12-2008, 09:16 AM
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Default The 2008 Detroit Auto Show goes green


The 2008 Detroit Auto Show goes green

Unlike the days of big and powerful, this year is all about clean and efficient

By Ron Amadon, MarketWatch
Last update: 9:00 a.m. EST Jan. 12, 2008


DAMASCUS, MD (MarketWatch) -- The Barenaked Ladies will perform at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show. If the experts are correct, that may also be an accurate auto sales forecast for the year.

With the slowing economy, the credit crisis, dwindling home prices, predictions of $4 a gallon gasoline this summer, and talk of a possible recession, analysts are predicting a major sales slowdown. The Detroit News reported many industry officials agree that U.S. auto sales will fall below the 16-million mark for the first time since in 1988. Some say that figure could fall to 14-million.
However, let us forget all that for a few minutes and gather together in the bright lights of Cobo Hall in the Motor City, smack dab in the middle of winter, to celebrate the new cars and concepts that the automakers have to offer. Unlike Kermit the frog, it will be easy to be green at this year's show.

Green cars and trucks will be the dominant feature, in sharp contrast to shows of old when the big and powerful made headlines such as the upcoming Chevy Camaro and the Dodge Challenger.

This year, it's electricity and hydrogen, and before it's all done we are sure someone will again make the claim that vehicles can really run fine on seaweed.

Among the greens:

Toyota, famous for its Prius, will debut a hybrid pickup truck called the A-Bat. Viewed from the side, it looks like a shrunken Honda Ridgeline. The A-Bat has a gas-electric power system, plus solar panels that would juice up the navigation unit and information displays.

Chrysler will unveil three concept vehicles. The Chrysler ecoVoyager is a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle good for up to 300 miles. The Dodge ZEO concept is an all-electric sport wagon with a 250-mile range. In addition, the Jeep Renegade concept looks like something out of Star Wars in design. It features a lithium-ion battery pack and a small displacement clean-burning diesel engine. Chrysler claims 110 miles per gallon.

Cadillac will show the Provoq crossover concept, a hydrogen fuel-powered vehicle that made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show. From a body style standpoint, it looks like something ready for production. It too has a solar panel in the roof to help power accessories. The Saturn Vue will get a scaled-down version of the hybrid system used in the Chevy Tahoe, and will be ready for market soon.

On the diesel front, BMW will show off two models. Yes, BMW! The automaker says they are clean enough to be sold in all 50 states. The diesels show up in the X5 and the 335. Look for 19/25 miles per gallon.

Muscle cars still there

Meanwhile, on the other side of the auto jungle, there will be some tire-burning models at the show. Chevy will unveil the most powerful (and most expensive) Corvette yet, the ZR1. Look for at least 620 horsepower from the supercharged 6.2-liter V8. Torque will set your right foot to itching - 600 pound-feet at 4000 rpm. Zero to 60 in under four seconds. And a six figure price tag for the limited edition car.

We might all have a cow over this. Chrysler had asked Detroit officials to herd cattle down a city street to show off a new Ram pickup. Who cleans up later is open to debate.

Ford will show off a slimed down, unibody version of the Explorer - slimmed down enough that the top engine would be a V6.

Hyundai's under $30,000 luxury car, the Genesis, will be unveiled. This one is rear wheel drive.

Mazda is expected to show off a new rotary RX8. We have the existing model in our driveway and it is still a sweet automobile.

Mitsubishi will brag about a wild looking GT car, the Concept RA. Nissan shows a jazzy-looking minivan concept (yes, it can be done), wh
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:59 PM
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Default RE: The 2008 Detroit Auto Show goes green

Hmmm...I have a very bad feeling about all of this. Solar panels? Oh boy will that be expensive for the initial purchase, and the saddest fact is that it still has to have another energy source since the sunlight isn't consistent enough.
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