December 4, 2003
BY MARK PHELAN
FREE PRESS AUTO CRITIC
From the all-new 2005 Chevrolet Corvette to Honda's first pickup truck and an eagerly awaited updating of Chrysler's vital minivans, more than 60 new cars, trucks and concept vehicles will debut at the North American International Auto Show next month in Detroit.
Automakers will showcase the latest trends in everything from seating to all-wheel-drive and hybrid gasoline-electric cars. For the first time, the show will also have an area dedicated to tuner cars, the souped-up hatchbacks and sedans that have wowed a new generation of car lovers.
Automakers from around the world will bring new cars, trucks and concept vehicles to the show, but Detroit-based brands will make the biggest splash.
Ford Motor Co. will unveil its long-awaited Five Hundred full-size sedan and Freestyle crossover wagon.
Both cars will be available with front- or all-wheel drive and with a six-speed automatic transmission or a smooth and fuel-efficient, continuously variable transmission.
The Five Hundred and Freestyle go on sale in the third quarter as 2005 models.
Ford will also show the all-new 2005 Mustang coupe and convertible. The Mustang's looks borrow heavily from the car's classic 1960s and '70s styling, while modern engines, transmissions and mechanical and electronic systems bring the pony car galloping into the 21st Century.
Other new Fords at the auto show will include:
# A midlife upgrade of the Focus, with a new interior.
# A midlife upgrade of the Escape compact SUV.
# The Escape gasoline-electric hybrid.
# A special edition of the F-150 pickup.
Ford's Lincoln and Mercury brands will have four new vehicles at the show:
# The Mercury Mariner compact SUV.
# A Lincoln concept crossover wagon.
# A Lincoln concept luxury two-seat roadster.
# A luxury truck.
Other new models likely from European brands include:
# The Volvo S40 compact sedan and V40 compact station wagon, which borrow the styling of the company's larger models to create an extremely appealing entry-level model.
# The Aston Martin Volante, the convertible version of the new DB9 sports car. The DB9 coupe will also make its U.S. premiere at the show.
Auto show details
# What: 2004 North American International Auto Show, the 88th auto show in Detroit and the 16th year the show has been international in scope.
# Where: Cobo Center, downtown Detroit
# When: Public Jan. 10-19
Media preview Jan. 4-6
Industry preview Jan. 7-8
Charity preview Jan. 9
Charity preview tickets are $400, advance purchases only. Call 888-838-7500
# Public hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Jan. 10-18, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Jan. 19.
# Tickets: $12 adults, $6 for those 65 and older, children under 12 free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased at the Cobo box office or through Ticketmaster. E-tickets are available through the auto show Web site at www.naias.com
# Information: 248-643-0250