Most concept vehicles never make it into the hands of the masses. In fact some never even make a worldwide debut. The Nissan Crossbow is a concept that was only introduced to our European and Japanese counterparts, and while it's definitely not the All-American SUV, it has some off-road personality. It's fair to start with the high ground clearance, which gives the axles and the three-link front and five-link rear suspension components the ability to clear rocks and other obstacles. For passenger convenience, the sill section drops down and retracts automatically to form a step. The front bumper holds two towhooks and has a removable panel in the center which, when removed, reveals a built-in winch. The exhaust exits flush with the rear bumper, thus maximizing departure angle. The wheel arches are large to allow maximum articulation. And the tires use Michelin's new PAX system which, after a puncture, allows the vehicle to be driven safely at 60 mph for about 300 miles. It's all about the details.
With an indisputable offroad reputation, the Jeep name continues to outdo itself with new ideas, while continuing to hold onto Jeep's rich heritage. The Willys2 concept features approach and departure angles and ample ground clearance and incorporates cutting-edge plastic technology and a lightweight aluminum frame. The vehicle's ultramodern interpretations of injection-molded plastic bodies save up to 50 percent in manufacturing costs and weight and is nearly 100 percent recyclable. This carbon-fiber material adds up to huge weight savings that can only happen with injection-molded plastics. The Willys2 weighs approximately 3,000 pounds, is powered by a 1.6L, supercharged in-line four-cylinder engine (160 hp,155 lb-ft), and has a longer-than-Wrangler wheelbase of 95 inches.
*Honda America, manufacturer of passenger cars, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, and engines, has decided to produce a light truck based on Honda's innovative Model X concept vehicle. Production will begin in late 2002 at the company's Liberty, Ohio, plant.
*Pep Boys will purchase pretty much all of the tires manufactured by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.
*GM will produce approximately 20,000 units of its newly introduced Hummer H2 next year.
*The Ford F-Series trucks will celebrate record sales again this year. January sales reports and Ford Motor Company call it America's Best Selling Truck.
*Ford is building a state-of-the-art business center on the Dagenham Estate in East London. The plan is to create a world-class, high-tech diesel engineering and manufacturing center.
*Hyundai has selected Montgomery, Alabama, as the site for its first U.S. assembly plant. The Korean automaker will employ 2,000 workers and production will begin in 2005.
*Another Alabama plant, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, has begun its $220 million investment by making V-8 engines. The first phase of motors will power Toyota's Tundra.
*Mercury showrooms will see a version of the Ford Escape to boost brand sales.
*Delphi-made Quadrasteer will be available as an option on the '03 31/44-ton Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon XL, 1500HD Silverado, and Sierra with crew cabs and short boxes.
*According to a story in Automotive News, Chevrolet and Ford are more competitive than ever. This year's sales figures mark the ending of an era. After 15 years, Chevrolet took the sales lead. The automotive reporter questioned whether Chevy could hold it for the year.