SEMA News—April 2013
By John Stewart
Chicago Auto Show Highlights
Automakers Predict Growth, Show Newest Models
Auto-sales analysts are predicting growth in car sales overall—some to levels as high as 15.4 million for 2013. That would be good news for aftermarket manufacturers and retailers, as unit growth in the types of vehicles that enthusiasts tend to customize continues to gain momentum.
Among the vehicles expected to lend growth potential for the pickup segment is the ’14 Toyota Tundra. Toyota unveiled a new exterior design that features a muscular front view and a wider, taller grille, with headlamps that interlock with the rest of the front fascia. The hood was raised by 1.6 in., contributing to the bolder appearance. A new bed design helps carry the character lines down the side, leading to a new tailgate that has an integrated spoiler and “Tundra” embossed into the sheet metal. A new bumper goes from one to three pieces, allowing for grade differentiation and lower replacement costs.
Chrysler debuted the all-new ’14 Ram Commercial ProMaster at the Chicago show. It is a fullsize van for the North American market and is an example of Ram and Fiat joining forces to expand the market internationally with offerings for businesses across the globe.
“As Ram takes a larger presence in the commercial truck market, the ’14 Ram ProMaster is a great addition, contributing to a one-stop shop of commercial-duty Ram trucks and vans,” said Fred Diaz, president and CEO of the Ram truck brand. Diaz cited durability, capability and low total cost of ownership as advantages for the Ram ProMaster commercial truck.
Inspired by the Fiat Ducato, the Ram ProMaster offers the North American segment the first six-speed automated manual transmission controlled by high-tech software that responds to road conditions. The ’14 Ram ProMaster’s powertrain features a 3.6L Pentastar V6 rated at 280 hp or a 3.0L, four-cylinder EcoDiesel engine rated at 174 hp and featuring an 18,500-mile oil-change interval.
Kia Motors America (KMA) rolled out an all-new Forte five-door. The Forte five-door SX’s European-inspired hatchback design is complemented by an all-new 1.6L, gasoline direct-injected (GDI), turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 201 hp and 195 lb.-ft. of torque, making the ’14 Forte five-door SX the most powerful Forte from KMA to date. The Forte five-door is expected to go on sale in the third quarter of 2013. Pricing will be announced closer to launch.
“We received very positive feedback after the all-new Forte sedan made its debut at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, and we expect the all-new Forte five-door will build upon that success,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing and communications
Ford countered with the ’14 Fiesta ST—in many ways a race car built for the street. With Ford’s global launch of Fiesta ST under way, Ford Racing will introduce the ST performance badge in the 2013 season of the Global RallyCross Championship and Global X Games events. The move is part of an expanded Global RallyCross program for Ford as it capitalizes on the popularity of the series and its increased visibility through X Game personalities that include Tanner Foust, Brian Deegan and Ken Block.
Fiesta ST is the result of a combined effort from Team RS in Europe and SVT in the United States. Available exclusively as a five-door hatchback in North America and with a six-speed manual transmission, Fiesta ST is projected to achieve up to 34 mpg. A new high-output variant of the award-winning 1.6L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine propels Fiesta ST with an estimated 197 hp and 214 lb.-ft. of torque. This compact performance machine sports a unique grille and chin spoiler with a new rear diffuser and fascia extensions. Bright-tipped dual exhaust pipes and a high-mount spoiler along with unique 17-in. wheels complete the package.
Built in Lordstown, Ohio, the ’14 Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel delivers a combination of segment-leading features and efficiency. Based on GM testing, the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel has demonstrated an estimated 42 mpg on the highway and best-in-segment range. The compact sedan’s new 2.0L turbodiesel engine produces an estimated 148 hp and estimated 258 lb.-ft. of torque, with 0–60 performance of 8.6 seconds. In addition, Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel’s emissions will be below stringent U.S. environmental standards, including Tier 2, bin 5 emissions standards.
“Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel fills an important role in Chevrolet’s diverse four-cylinder lineup and is primed to win over diesel devotees and compact-car buyers with its performance, torque and fuel economy,” said Perry. “We leveraged engineering expertise from around the globe to develop a world-class, low-emissions engine to give U.S. and Canadian customers a car that’s both fun to drive and practical at the pump.”
With a starting price of $25,695, including an $810 destination charge (excludes tax, title, license and dealer fees), Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, a 3.20 final drive ratio, a 140-amp alternator, an 800 cold-cranking amps battery, 17-in. alloy wheels, ultra-low-rolling resistance all-season tires, a rear spoiler, an aero performance package and leather-appointed seating. Other standard features include Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, a two-year maintenance plan and a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.