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January 26, 2005
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2005 Detroit Auto Show:
Moderation at the North American International Auto Show
By Steve Litscher
Editor in Chief

(January 14, 2005)

2005 Detroit NAIAS

GM Sequel Concept Car

Mercury Meta One Concept Car

Volvo 3CC Concept Car

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2005 Detroit Show
Photo Gallery
Official Web site:
The 2005 Detroit North American International Auto Show can be summed up with a single word: moderation. And that's not a bad thing, but it is a little anti-climatic, especially when it follows on the heels of last year's super show where we saw 800-horsepower cars from Chrysler, 600-horsepower cars from Ford, and all sorts of tricked-out, no holds barred performance oriented goodies.

So while we weren't treated to oodles of carbon-fiber-skinned, mega-horsepower, autobahn-storming-supercars, we did get a solid look at what the auto manufacturers have in store for us.
The immediate trend appears to be mid-sized, hybrid-powered vehicles. There wasn't a press conference that didn't discuss the advantages of a hybrid-based system and how hybrids were becoming more important to not only the manufacturers but the consumers as well.

GM introduced its follow-up to previous years concepts, the GM Sequel. The Sequel utilizes a unique chassis that incorporates a hydrogen-electric drive system that offers instantaneous response. All of the drivetrain is electric; pressing on the gas is like turning on a light-switch - the power is applied instantaneously. And GM hinted that the Sequel is fairly close to being a "real car," which is truly exciting news as it hints that hydrogen technology might not be as far away as we once believed.

GMC showed off its Sierra Hybrid truck, which combines an electric motor for increased fuel economy and decreased emissions. The Sierra's batteries are able to hold a charge for forty-two hours, and with 4 AC outlets, the Sierra may be a contractor's dream. Imagine being able to run a 120-volt air compressor, a laptop computer, and countless other power tools for hours -- all without a generator. Campers should also recognize the benefits of this design.

Mercury introduced its Meta One, a hybrid that goes one-step further by offering a diesel and hybrid drive configuration. The twin-turbo diesel-electric hybrid V6 cranks out 431 pound-feet of torque, while generating respectable fuel economy figures. Inside, the passengers are treated to high-tech features including a wireless portal, Sirius satellite radio and traffic information, an advanced navigation system and leather covered memory foam seats.

Volvo's 3CC concept utilizes a 2+1 seating configuration and incorporates a unique chassis (complete with 3000 lithium-ion batteries sandwiched in the floor) that can accept any number of powertrain configurations including, you guessed it, diesel, gas or hybrid. Despite its sporty shape, the 3CC has a limited top speed of just 85 mph.

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