NAIAIS 2011: Day One and Only, mid-morning

Mid-morning of Day One and Only for automakers at the 2011 NAIAS saw intros from Chrysler, Buick, Ford and GMC.

Through a thick French accent, Chrysler’s introduction of an all-new 300 sedan looked the same but we are promised it is all-new from the ground up and includes a center display that is “almost an iPad.” A constant tone of “best-in-class” resonated through the presentation but at this point about its only competition is the Dodge Charger, everyone else (domestically) has moved away from rear-drive sedans.

“The all-new 2011 Chrysler 300 is an icon of American ingenuity and symbolizes the greatness Detroit-designed vehicles offer the streets, highways and boulevards of the world,” said Olivier Francois, President and CEO — Chrysler Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “From its premium materials, state-of-the-art connectivity features, new chassis architecture and best-in-class power, the all-new Chrysler 300 embodies the brand’s new attitude in every detail. And to ensure our all-new Chrysler flagship delivers more than unmistakably bold and powerful American style to our customers, the Chrysler 300 team benchmarked the craftsmanship, technology and refinement of the segment’s best sedans to deliver a new world-class quality and performance symbol at an attainable price.”

The all-new 2012 Buick Verano compact luxury sedan, the brand’s third new model in the past two years and first in the compact luxury segment, was revealed at the North American International Auto Show.
Verano goes on sale in the fourth quarter of 2011, the latest model in a product renaissance that began with the Enclave and continued with the LaCrosse and Regal. Like them, Verano is distinguished by luxury and technology, including 10 standard air bags, an available heated steering wheel and a next-generation radio system with OnStar-powered connectivity that enables seamless communication between the Verano and the driver’s smart phone.
An Ecotec 2.4L and six-speed automatic powertrain combination is standard and delivers an estimated 177 horsepower (132 kW) and 170 lb.-ft. torque (230 Nm), 0-60 mph performance of 8.0 seconds and an estimated 31 mpg on the highway. A 2.0L turbo engine will be offered in the future.
“Verano expands our lineup, continues Buick’s momentum and gives us a great opportunity to attract a new generation of customers with a product that delivers on their expectations for design, performance and technology,” said John Schwegman, vice president of Buick marketing. “It is a smart choice that delivers unexpected luxury in a compact sedan – and it will compete head-to-head with competitors from Audi and Lexus.”

Ford Motor Company today unveiled its vision for a sleeker, sportier and more stylish compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) at the 2011 North American International Auto Show. The Ford Vertrek concept previews the company’s ambition for a next-generation, global compact SUV that could lead the industry in both design and fuel efficiency.
The Ford Vertrek concept is based on Ford’s global C-segment platform, which includes the all-new Ford Focus range launching early in 2011 in North America and Europe, plus the latest C-MAX and Grand C-MAX multi-activity vehicles. It represents the vision of the company’s top design and engineering talent on how best to attract and satisfy future sport utility vehicle customers around the world.
“Vertrek concept is a no-compromise solution we feel utility vehicle customers will embrace around the world,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. “It is a revolution compared to what is typically seen in this segment in North America and is a stylish evolution compared with products outside North America. This new design is sleeker and more fuel efficient and delivers the capability, including people and cargo volume, customers demand globally.”

The GMC Sierra All Terrain HD concept is an exploration of heavy-duty truck capability combined with greater off-road versatility. It is highlighted by a bold exterior design, enhanced all-terrain suspension and premium details expected of a GMC – all designed to enable greater access to off-road destinations.
The new 2011 Sierra HD underpins the All Terrain HD concept, with a modified, production-based 4WD chassis and the Duramax diesel/Allison 1000 six-speed powertrain. The enhanced suspension and unique body dimensions, including increased ground clearance and wider track, as well as greater approach/departure angles, deliver off-road capability while maintaining HD levels of payload and trailering capacity.
“The Sierra All Terrain HD concept takes GMC’s outstanding new HD platform to the next level, marries it to the legendary Duramax diesel/Allison transmission, and provides a heavy-duty expression of GMC’s premium All Terrain package,” said Lisa Hutchinson, GMC product marketing director. “It delivers the exceptional capabilities of the Sierra HD – hauling, towing and performance – and applies them to the toughest driving environments. It’s the ultimate professional-grade tool for construction crews, ranchers and adventurers whose activities aren’t limited by where the pavement ends.”

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