Now you see ’em, now you don’t.
That may be the subplot of this year’s North American International Auto Show underway in Detroit, as some brands and key models go missing after a year of industry turmoil. And the shakeout isn’t over, according to The Detroit News.
Pontiac and Saturn are gone for good. Saab is being wound down. And Hummer was a last-minute no-show.
The absence of several other automakers, the emergence of social media as a roll-out device and product cadence at others has created a lengthy list of cars and crossovers that auto show visitors, unfortunately, won’t be able to view. A look at some of the vehicles missing in action:
- The redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV is the most notable no-show. Chrysler LLC actually unveiled it last year at the New York Auto Show, but has pulled it from subsequent auto shows. Chrysler’s sales are in a slump, and the company’s new management doesn’t want any more reasons for consumers to postpone a purchase of the current Grand Cherokee. So look for the new Grand Cherokee to resurface just before it goes on sale this fall. The 2011 Grand Cherokee will be more crossover-like and feature Chrysler’s new flex-fuel Phoenix V-6 engine. The 3.6-liter engine puts out 280 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. That’s a 33% bump in horsepower and an 11% boost in torque over the departing V-6. When paired with a five-speed automatic, it is also more efficient with an 11% increase in fuel economy.
- BMW AG has released images of the sixth-generation 5 Series sedan, but is waiting until the Geneva Auto Show in March to show it publicly. It shares styling and a newly developed vehicle architecture with the BMW 7 Series. It will debut with one eight-cylinder and one six-cylinder engine, and a 5-speed manual gearbox. BMW’s new eight-speed automatic transmission will be optional. The new 550i and 535i will go on sale this spring, followed by a 528i with a 3.0-liter in-line six with 240 horsepower.
- The 2011 Volvo S60 sedan was previewed in Detroit a year ago as a concept but won’t be formally unveiled until the Geneva show. In the meantime, the new S60 can be found on Facebook. It’s been downsized slightly to move further from the S80 flagship. And Volvo’s volume sedan is still a quintessential Volvo, with gads of safety gear, including pedestrian-detection technology. It applies the brakes if it detects you’re going to make unwanted contact with someone in the crosswalk.
- Porsche enthusiasts cringed when an SUV joined the lineup a few years back. And some are taken aback at the prospect of the Panamera — the first four-door Porsche ever. But when you are a boutique sports car maker, the only real way to grow is to creep into new market segments. Even when your family tree is growing to include Volkswagen AG’s multiple brands. And the Panamera still looks and drives like a Porsche.
- The redesigned Infiniti M sedan goes on sale in the first quarter and will be offered with a 3.7-liter V-6 or 5.6-liter V-8 engine. It remains the Infiniti flagship with a more spacious and luxurious interior. A gasoline-electric version of the M sedan will go sale in March 2011.
- Suzuki Motor Co.’s sporty Kizashi sedan has an attractive base price of $18,999 and loads of standard gear: a 2.4-liter high-output engine, eight air bags, push-button keyless start, dual-zone climate control, nine-speaker audio system with steering controls, electronic stability control and ABS, projector beam headlamps, power windows, doors and mirrors, and ambient and footwell lighting. It’s being pitched as an affordable alternative to the Acura TSX, Nissan Altima, even the Audi A4. Look for a V-6 and hybrid model down the road.
- The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a new compact crossover with a four-cylinder engine slotted below the Outlander but with a higher profile than the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. It will launch in Japan, where it’s called the RVR, followed by European and North American markets. Based on the Mitsubishi Lancer platform, the mini crossover will be about 170 inches long, or 14 inches shy of an Outlander.