Lineup lighter for Chicago show
For second year in Second City, event is less eventful
For the second straight year, the Chicago Auto Show will suffer the effects of a tough economy and scaled-back spending. Chicago has never had every automaker, but some noticeable names are missing this year.
Hyundai, Volkswagen and Chrysler Group will not have press conferences or debuts.
But Toyota, Ford and Chevrolet are expected to use Chicago to roll out several updates of current models that will land in dealerships in the coming months.
Chevrolet plans to introduce its next-generation Silverado heavy-duty pickup, Ford is expected to show a reskinned Edge crossover, and Toyota will unveil a freshened Avalon mid-sized sedan.
Additionally, Honda will roll out a concept version of the next-generation Odyssey minivan. Kia will show off a plug-in hybrid.
The two-day press preview begins Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Here are the primary world debuts scheduled.
• 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD pickup
• 2011 Ford Edge
• 2011 Ford Transit Connect, electric
• 2011 Toyota Avalon
• Honda Odyssey
• Kia Ray
"HD" stands for "heavy duty." The 2011 Silverado HD 2500/3500-series pickup family is expected to ride on a re-engineered chassis and offer a more fuel-efficient, higher-torque diesel engine. Judging from spy photographs, the exterior will feature new sheet metal from the windshield forward, along with a new grille and front fascia.
Sales of new Chevrolet and GMC heavy-duty pickups will begin this fall. But the 2011 GMC Sierra 2500/3500 heavy-duty pickups will not be displayed in Chicago.
The timing for the next-generation Chevy and GMC heavy-duty pickups coincides with moves by the competition. The redesigned heavy-duty 2010 Ram pickup, formerly the Dodge Ram, went on sale last fall. The re-engineered, restyled 2011 Ford F-series Super Duty goes on sale this spring.
Lincoln used the Detroit show to unveil the reskinned 2011 MKX crossover, so the expectation is that the 2011 Ford Edge will be unveiled in Chicago.
Using the MKX as a guide, the Edge's sheet metal will be new from the windshield forward, as will the rear tailgate and taillights. A freshened interior is likely, too.
Ford has talked about the electric Transit Connect commercial van going on sale this year, so the Chicago show is likely for the unveiling. Ford currently sells an electric Transit Connect in Europe.
Honda will debut a concept version of the next-generation Odyssey. The redesigned minivan goes on sale in the summer or fall.
In a news release, Honda said the new Odyssey will provide enhancements in innovation, quality and safety and greater fuel efficiency.
This is an important vehicle for Honda, especially when it comes to bragging rights. The Odyssey was the best-selling minivan in 2008 and 2009.
Last year Honda sold 100,133 Odysseys, down from 135,493 a year earlier but topping the Dodge Caravan/Grand Caravan by 9,467 units.
Toyota's redesigned 2011 Sienna minivan also goes on sale this month.
Kia will unveil a concept that shows how the automaker's design direction could be applied to a two-mode hybrid. Kia earned plenty of accolades last year for the design of the Soul crossover and Forte Koup, and this hybrid concept should follow that path.
The concept, called Ray, was styled by Kia Design Centre America in Irvine, Calif.
The Avalon will be freshened for the 2011 model year. Sales begin this spring.
Minor exterior changes are expected. But the Avalon's interior has been redesigned, and higher-quality materials will be used to create a more luxurious feel and appearance.
Sales of the Avalon need a jump start. Toyota sold 95,318 in 2005, but sales have tumbled each year since. Last year, Avalon sales slid 37 percent from 2008, to 26,935 units.