NAIAS 2011: Day One and Only, Let’s Call it a Day

Winding down this very long day of media introductions inside the Cobo Arena in Detroit, MINI, Jeep, Kia and Chevrolet put a wrap on the day’s events, and Jeep and Chevy each have anniversary parties this year.

The MINI Paceman Concept retains the familiar MINI family frontal appearance but adds its own distinctive flavor. Large headlights with chrome surrounds extend deep into the front wings, and together with the distinctively contoured bonnet, emphasize the imposing nose of the Paceman. The radiator grill is essentially the same as that of the Cooper S Countryman, with additional air intakes in the bumper to deliver improved brake ventilation and the incorporation of new deep set fog lights.
From the side, the MINI Paceman Concept features a fresh interpretation of the front wing and side indicator that attracts the eye from the A-pillars down to the unique design 19-inch front wheels. This rugged and sturdy design element is complemented by dark wheel arch surrounds with matching side skirts that emphasize the masculine, sporting nature of Paceman.
The familiar MINI shoulder line that rises towards the rear of the Paceman Concept also hints at its sporting intent. Less familiar is the glass and roof treatment. As the waistline rises, the flat roofline flows into a wide C-pillar that appears to be transparent. The windows appear to wrap around the car like a band of glass with the roof ‘suspended’ on top and painted in a striking, contrasting color. This is known as the ‘helmet’ roof. The coupé-style windows taper towards the rear and the whole effect is one of a dynamic wedge shape.
“In contrast to the more vertical design of the MINI Countryman, we’ve given the MINI Paceman Concept a horizontal emphasis and accentuated the width of the car more to underline the powerful appearance of the study,” explained Marcus Syring, Head of MINI Exterior Design.

Jeep – one of the world’s few, true icons – is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2011. To mark the occasion, the Jeep brand is creating distinctive, unique 70th Anniversary Edition models of each vehicle in its lineup.
“The Jeep brand’s legendary heritage and capability have made it iconic – well-known and loved throughout the world,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Since they were first produced in 1941, Jeep vehicles have been the authentic benchmark for off-road capability, having mastered more terrain, led more adventures and provided drivers more freedom than any other vehicle before or since.
“As part of our celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Jeep brand, we are creating stunning, premium special-edition models of each vehicle in our lineup that pay homage to the history of the legendary Jeep brand,” Manley added.
All Jeep 70th Anniversary Edition models will arrive in showrooms in the first quarter of 2011, and all will be available in a unique Bronze Star exterior paint, in addition to Bright Silver and Black.

Kia Motors’ design-led transformation has delivered eye-catching vehicles such as the Soul, Forte Koup, Sorento and Sportage that bear strong resemblances to the concept cars that preceded them, and today at the 2011 North American International Auto Show the brand’s U.S. design studio unveiled its latest design statement – the “KV7” concept. Conceived as a modern-day “activity van,” the KV7 concept challenges the notion that vans are strictly for family transportation and reveals a vision for a vehicle with the functionality to transport a large number of people and their belongings while also serving as a connected social hub for groups of friends and adventure-seekers.
The KV7 concept’s design stands in sharp contrast to the dramatically raked windshields and wedge-shaped noses found throughout the van segment, and builds on the philosophy of “embracing the box” established by Kia’s funky Soul urban passenger vehicle to create a unique and alluring design language that brings SUV-like qualities to the segment.
“From the outset, we felt the category was in need of an honest reassessment due to the fact that everyone seems so desperate to attach the word ‘sporty’ to their minivan, even though vans, at their very core are simply a box,” said Tom Kearns, chief designer, Kia Motors America. “Rather than reject the box we chose to celebrate it, just like we did with the Soul, and the result is a straightforward yet sophisticated vehicle that retains the functionality vans are known for and meets the changing and diverse needs of today’s consumers.”

Aside from the automaker’s early announcement of the all-new Sonic as its entry-level replacement vehicle (kicking Aveo to the curb), Chevrolet used the last press conference of the day to usher in the year of its centennial celebration.
Chevrolet marks its centennial in 2011 and kicks off a year of anniversary activities at the North American International Auto Show.
Chevrolet was founded in Detroit, in November 1911, by racer Louis Chevrolet and General Motors founder William C. “Billy” Durant, who developed cars that quickly earned reputations for performance, durability and value. Those traits remain at the core of Chevrolet, which is the world’s fourth-largest automotive brand.
From the very start, Chevrolet brought technology and features typically reserved for more expensive cars to its lineup of affordable cars and trucks. The first Chevrolet – the Series C Classic Six – offered an electric starter and electric headlamps at a time when both were rarities among even luxury cars. In the decades that followed, innovations such as safety glass, fuel injection, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control systems were used on Chevrolet models at the same time as more expensive vehicles. As one of the largest-selling brands in the industry, Chevrolet’s early adoption of landmark technologies fundamentally changed the way they were applied to new vehicles.

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  1. NAIAS 2011: Day One and Only, Let’s Call it a Day | Gear Diary