Buick and Mercury, armed with plans to revive their brands this decade, will vie for the spotlight at the Chicago Auto Show this week.
But while much hoopla is expected for Buick's and Mercury's car introductions, the truck side of the business will have the largest number of debuts. Among them will be Dodge's redesigned Dakota pickup, minivans for Chevrolet and Pontiac and a sport wagon for Hyundai.
Kia will unveil a body-on-frame pickup concept that looks production-ready. Toyota will introduce a big redesigned Tacoma pickup.
Here are the vehicles debuting at the Chicago show:
General Motors wants the spotlight on Buick. So while Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac will debut 2005 vehicles in Chicago, they will not hold press conferences.
On hand will be Robert Lutz, vice chairman of product development, and Gary Cowger, president of GM North America. They will introduce the mid-sized 2005 Buick LaCrosse sedan and talk about the future direction of Buick.
The LaCrosse shares GM's front-drive W-body architecture with the Pontiac Grand Prix. Sales begin this fall.
The 2005 Chevrolet Uplander will have its world debut in Chicago. The Uplander will replace the Venture minivan this fall.
The 2005 LaCrosse is the first step in Buick's new styling direction.
The 2005 Uplander is Chevrolet's new minivan.
Unlike today's pickup, the 2005 Dakota does not share the Durango's front fenders, grille, headlights and fascia. The front-end styling features a large, tall grille that draws on styling themes from the Ram pickup. The Dakota's interior looks richer than the 2004 model.
For the first time, a Denali model will be offered in the GMC Envoy line.
The fwd 2005 Tucson sport wagon will join Hyundai's line this fall. The vehicle is expected to be based on the Elantra platform. All-wheel drive will be optional. Four- and six-cylinder engines will be offered.
Jaguar will unveil Rocketsports Racing's XKR-based Speedster concept. Rocketsports is an independent company that produces performance vehicles and races Jaguars in Trans-Am racing events. The concept features a 550-hp engine and a restyled front end.
Kia Mojave concept
Kia is saying that the Mojave pickup debuting in Chicago is a concept, but the Korean automaker will gauge public response carefully. Kia does not have the assembly space to produce the vehicle, but that could change if the response is overwhelmingly positive.
The four-wheel-drive Mojave is a body-on-frame truck developed off the automaker's rear-drive Sorento platform. The Sorento's wheelbase was stretched 12 inches to create the Mojave. The extended cab pickup concept has seats for five. The Mojave also has a door behind the rear seat that opens into the pickup bed, as does the Chevrolet Avalanche.
All-wheel drive is one of the options on the 2005 Montego, Mercury's new flagship.
Like its sibling, the 2005 Ford Five Hundred, the 2005 Montego's styling has Audi-like lines. The intent, according to J Mays, Ford Motor Co.'s design boss, is to give both cars upscale European looks and features for a price thousands of dollars less than an Audi or BMW. Among the options is awd and roof-mounted airbags, components engineered by Volvo.
Under the hood is Ford's re-engineered 200-hp 3.0-liter V-6. Customers may choose between two automatic transmissions: a six-speed automatic and a continuously variable transmission.
The Montego, Five Hundred and the Freestyle, a station wagon-like vehicle, will be produced in the automaker's Chicago area assembly plant, beginning this fall.
Mini will introduce a limited edition model to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Mini's victory at the Monte Carlo Rally.
Pontiac's 2005 Montana SV6, top, follows GM's new philosophy of giving its minivans an SUV flavor. Styling changes on the 2005 Pontiac Vibe, top, include the front fascia and a grile, inspired by the 2006 Solstice roadster.
Toyota is planning two world debuts in Chicago: the redesigned 2005 Tacoma pickup and the 2005 Solara convertible.
The Tacoma is expected to be longer and wider than the current model, nearly the size of the Dodge Dakota pickup. A V-8 may be offered. Sales begin this fall.
The automaker also will unveil the 2005 Camry Solara convertible, which is based on the Solara coupe that went on sale last summer. The convertible will be shipped to dealers in March.
All-wheel-drive versions of the redesigned Volvo S40 sedan and V50 wagon will be introduced.