Chicago Auto Show preview
Tundra, Cruze diesel and a new Kia will take center stage in Chicago
Toyota will make a big splash at the Chicago Auto Show this week with the introduction of its redesigned Tundra pickup.
The full-sized truck will be positioned upscale, avoiding a direct face-off with the Detroit 3 pickups, say company sources.
Also in Chicago, General Motors will roll out its first diesel car since the 1980s, a version of the Chevrolet Cruze.
Kia will reveal a production vehicle that likely will be a five-door hatchback variant of its redesigned 2014 Forte compact. The company also will show a premium crossover concept that it says hints at the brand's future design language.
Chrysler will unveil a new line of full-sized commercial vans.
For some carmakers, performance will be a theme. Nissan will focus on its Nismo subbrand, and Volkswagen will roll out a performance trim level of the Beetle.
Here are the highlights.
Chevrolet will show the Cruze diesel, GM's first diesel car since the 1980s. The car will get a 2.0-liter direct-injected turbodiesel engine developed jointly by GM's diesel center in Turin, Italy, and powertrain engineers in Pontiac, Mich.
GM is said to be gunning for an EPA rating of at least mid-40s mpg on the highway. The car is expected to get only minor exterior changes, but engineers have done extensive work to mitigate engine noise. Production is scheduled to begin in April.
Chrysler Group will introduce its new line of full-sized commercial vans. The Ram ProMaster is built on the same platform as the Fiat Ducato in Europe. It shares many of the Ducato's dimensions and gets its front-wheel drive powertrain.
Chrysler also will show its 2013 Mopar car, a limited edition version of an existing Chrysler Group sedan that has been fitted with special Mopar trim and badging.
Kia has two global debuts planned for Chicago, the Cross GT concept vehicle and a production model.
The Cross GT "hints at the future of Kia's design language in the form of a premium Crossover Utility Vehicle ... that is larger than the new 2014 Sorento," the company says.
No details have been released about the production model, but it will likely be a five-door hatchback variant of its redesigned 2014 Forte compact.
Nissan will unveil plans to step up availability of its Nismo performance subbrand at the Chicago show.
Nissan wants to make Nismo packaging available on more models.
Chicago will see the new Juke Nismo, which is also available in Europe, and Z Nismo version of the 370Z.
Nissan also will show a new GT-R sports car, referred to as a "Track Edition," that is offered as a lighter-weight variation of the car for racing performance.
The big unveiling at Chicago will be the 2014 Tundra full-sized pickup. The scheduled redesign is more of a re-engineering, with much of the platform and powertrain carried over with minor updates. As for the sheet metal, sources say Toyota is going for a chiseled, athletic look.
Toyota knows it can't go toe-to-toe against the Detroit 3 in the pickup arena. So its price-content strategy is to move slightly upscale -- aiming more at recreational buyers than at pickup purists in need of a work truck.
There will not be a diesel or heavy-duty version, at least at launch.
VW says it plans to unveil a performance trim level for the Beetle at the show.
Mark Rechtin, Mike Colias, Larry P. Vellequette, Ryan Beene, Gabe Nelson, Lindsay Chappell