The next four years will further separate the haves from the have-nots among Japanese automakers.
Those with deep pockets will continue to add models at a rapid pace, especially sport wagons and other trucks. Those without enough resources will struggle to survive in North America.
Isuzu is down to two models. Mitsubishi is operating in crisis mode, struggling to stay afloat. A $4.1 billion bailout was negotiated in May, a portion of which will help pay for two new vehicles that will be assembled next year at Mitsubishi's plant in Normal, Ill.
At the other end of the spectrum, Toyota plans a product blitz across most of its vehicle range, including a redesign of the Camry, the No. 1-selling car here. Lexus is looking at a $100,000 model to rival the Mercedes-Benz S class.
Both Honda and Nissan are targeting a new segment here, minicars. Honda also will dip its toe into the booming pickup segment for the first time. While Honda's entry will be mid-sized, Toyota's next Tundra is bigger, aimed directly at the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado.
Here is a look at the product plans of Japanese automakers for the United States for the 2005-08 model years. They are compiled from automaker and industry sources.
|RL redesigned||RSX redesigned (or 2007)||TL, TSX freshened||MDX redesigned|
|MDX freshened||CUV sport wagon debuts|
|Odyssey redesigned||Possible Fit minicar debut||Possible Latitude minivan or sport wagon debut (or 2008)||Accord, CR-V, Element, Pilot redesigned|
|Accord, Pilot freshened|
|G35, Q45 freshened||M45 restyled||Possible GT-R coupe debut (or for Nissan)|
|FX35, FX45 freshened||Possible Q45 redesign|
|GS 330, GS 430 redesigned (or 2006)||IS 300, LS 430 redesigned||ES 330 redesigned||Possible flagship debut|
|Possible LX 470 redesign (or 2008)||VX 430 sport wagon debuts|
|Mazda6 wagon, hatchback debut||MX-5 Miata redesigned||RX-8 convertible, coupe debut||Tribute redesign|
|Tribute re-engineered||Possible MX-Flexa minivan debut|
|Possible premium sport wagon debut|
|Eclipse redesigned||Outlander redesigned||Lancer redesigned|
|Raider pickup debuts||Endeavor freshened|
|Eclipse convertible debuts|
|Possible Cube minicar or Platina or Tiida compact debut (or 2006 or 2007)||Sentra redesigned (or 2007)||Altima redesigned|
|Altima freshened||Maxima freshened|
|Frontier, Pathfinder, Xterra redesigned||Possible Actic sport wagon debut (or 2007)|
|tC coupe debuts||xA, xB replacements debut|
|Outback, Legacy redesigned||Forester, Impreza freshened|
|Aerio freshened||Grand Vitara redesigned||Compact car debuts||Aerio redesigned|
|Forenza wagon, Reno hatchback debut||XL-7 redesigned|
|Camry Solara convertible redesigned||Echo replacement debuts||Camry, Tundra redesigned||Corolla, Matrix redesigned|
|Avalon, Tacoma redesigned||Corolla freshened||FJ Cruiser SUV debuts|
|RAV4, Highlander redesigned||Sequoia restyled|
|Possible Land Cruiser redesign|
RSX: A redesign is slated for the 2006 or 2007 model year. The company may add the 215-hp performance Type R model before then.
TSX: A freshening is planned for the 2007 model year.
TL: A freshening is slated for the 2007 model year.
The redesigned awd 2005 Acura RL is equipped with a 300-hp V-6.
The awd technology distributes torque between the front and rear wheels and between the left and right rear wheels. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard; a stick is not offered.
NSX: No major changes are expected in the coming years. Redesigning Acura's two-passenger sports car is not a high priority.
CUV: The 2007 CUV sport wagon will draw styling cues from the RD-X, a sporty, aggressive-looking concept. The CUV will be developed on the Civic platform. The concept was shown at the 2002 Detroit auto show.
MDX: A freshening is due for the 2006 model year; a redesign is scheduled for the 2008 model year, possibly fitted with a 3.8-liter V-6.
The Honda Jazz, pictured, is expected to be renamed the Fit when the minicar goes on sale next year.
Supplier sources say it likely will be powered by a 1.3-liter inline four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. It will be priced around $12,000.
Civic: The car is due to be redesigned for the 2006 model year.
Accord: The Accord will get a hybrid version this fall. It will mate a V-6 with cylinder deactivation technology to the automaker's integrated electric motor-transaxle unit. The hybrid Accord will deliver slightly more horsepower than the 240-hp Accord, but it will have about the same fuel economy as the four-cylinder Civic.
The Accord will be freshened for the 2006 model year and redesigned for the 2008 model year.
S2000: No major changes are planned.
Element: A redesign is expected for the 2008 model year.
CR-V: Added horsepower is expected for the 2005 model year; a redesign is slated for the 2008 model year.
Pilot: A freshening is planned for the 2006 model year. A redesign is expected for the 2008 model year; it could include a new 3.8-liter V-6 engine.
Pickup: Honda's first pickup goes into production in the spring as a 2006 model, but Honda is not going the full-sized truck route.
The mid-sized truck is geared for personal use. Key features include a 3.8-liter V-6 engine mated with an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system. The unibody truck features a five-passenger cabin and a 5-foot cargo bed with exterior bed speakers.
Latitude: Honda is debating which vehicle to add: a minivan smaller than the Odyssey or a sport wagon similar to the Toyota Matrix and Pontiac Vibe.
Either way, the five-passenger vehicle tentatively has been named the Latitude and will be based on the next-generation Civic platform. It may be offered with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 3.0-liter V-6 engine. It could arrive for the 2007 or the 2008 model year.
Odyssey: The redesigned 2005 Odyssey minivan goes on sale in September. Bigger than its predecessor, it is equipped with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes about 250 hp, up from the current 240 hp.
The vehicle also will be equipped with Honda's variable cylinder management technology that allows for the deactivation of three of the engine's six cylinders to deliver improved fuel economy. A hybrid model may be added.
G35: The sedan and coupe receive a freshening and slight horsepower boost for the 2005 model year.
I35: Debate still rages as to whether the last front-wheel-drive Infiniti model will be killed.
The sleek Infiniti M45 concept shows the styling direction for the 2006 sedan.
Q45: Infiniti's flagship model is freshened for the 2005 model year. It has new front and rear fascias, restyled hood and grille, new headlight design, restyled trunk deck lid, integrated fog lamps and LED taillights.
The Q45 may be redesigned for the 2008 model year.
GT-R: The Nissan Skyline GT-R muscle car is coming to the United States, possibly as early as the 2008 model year. What isn't certain is whether it will be sold under the Nissan or Infiniti brand.
Most sources believe the redesigned supercoupe will be an Infiniti. This year, Nissan Motor Co. trademarked the name Infiniti GT-R. There are no specifics on the car. Speculation on the engine is that it will be a turbocharged V-6 with as much as 400 hp.
FX35, FX45: The two sport wagons are due for a freshening for the 2006 model year.
QX56: Sources say there will be some interior changes for the 2006 model.
Rodeo: It has been dropped; 2004 was the last model year.
Axiom: It was dropped at the end of the 2004 model year.
Ascender: No major changes are scheduled, but sources say there could be a diesel model.
Trooper: A seven-seat SUV is due for the 2007 model year. The redesigned Trooper will be developed on the Isuzu pickup platform and assembled in Thailand.
The Lexus LF-C concept hints at the styling for the redesigned 2006 IS 300.
Awd will be available with a choice of two six-cylinder engines, including the new 245-hp 3.0-liter. Toyota executives say the next IS powerplant will be a V-6, not a redesign of the aging inline-six.
ES 330: A redesign comes for the 2007 model year. While the IS 300 replacement will be about the driving experience, the ES 330 will be about jamming as much luxury into an entry-luxury vehicle as possible. The engine displacement could grow to 3.5 liters.
GS 330, GS 430: The redesigned car will debut as a 2005 or 2006 model. The wheelbase grows 2 inches.
The GS 430 will be powered by a choice of a 4.3-liter V-8, likely a massaged version of the current edition, and the new 245-hp, 3.0-liter V-6. A six-speed automatic is standard. The V-6 will offer optional awd.
LS 430: A redesign is slated for the 2006 model year. Lexus boss Denny Clements says the new version "will be 1989 all over again," referring to the splash Lexus made at its debut with its innovations.
Designwise, expect the LS 430 to carry even more of the LF-S concept cues than the redesign of the GS 430. The concept was shown at the Tokyo motor show.
SC 430: No significant changes are expected.
Flagship vehicle: Lexus may enter the $100,000 price club, with a vehicle that likely would be powered by a V-10 or V-12. Hybrid power is a possibility as well.
While designers are drawing concepts, no decision has been made as to whether the vehicle will be a sedan, coupe or sports car. Although some execs want a V-12 version, a V-8 engine mated to a hybrid powertrain is more likely. It could arrive for the 2008 model year.
RX 330: A hybrid model called the RX 400H will go on sale this December. It will be built in Kyushu, Japan. A redesign comes in March 2008, likely as a 2009 model.
VX 430: Lexus will add a sport wagon that will be positioned above the RX 330. A 2007 model year arrival is expected. Styling cues will evolve from the LF-X concept displayed at the 2003 Tokyo motor show.
GX 470: No significant changes are expected.
LX 470: A global redesign of the Land Cruiser platform is slated for March 2005. But the LX 470 may not migrate to the new platform. Instead, the redesign for the United States may be delayed until the 2008 model year, when the LX 470 could become a bells-and-whistles version of the Sequoia.
Mazda3: No major changes are planned.
Mazda6: No major changes are planned. A wagon and a five-door hatchback joined the lineup this summer.
In Europe Mazda has shown a high-performance sedan that may come to the United States as a MazdaSpeed model. MazdaSpeed is the automaker's performance brand.
MX-5 Miata: Forget the Ibuki show car from the Tokyo show in October. The redesigned 2006 rwd Miata will keep most of its svelte shape but borrow a few styling cues from the RX-8's front-end design. But that is all it will get from the RX-8. The Miata will retain its piston engine.
RX-8: A convertible and two-door coupe are planned midway through the four-door car's cycle - in spring 2006 as 2007 models.
The MX-Flexa concept, above, could be Mazda's answer to the Toyota Matrix.
MPV: A redesign is planned for the 2007 model year, developed on the Mazda6 platform. That platform also will spawn the next generation Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans.
B series: The aged pickup that Ford shares with Mazda soldiers on. Since the Ranger won't be redesigned until 2009 or later, expect no changes on the Mazda side either.
Tribute: The sport wagon was re-engineered for the 2005 model year. A redesign is planned for the 2008 model year, developed on the Mazda6 platform. The Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner will share the platform.
Premium sport wagon: Expect this to arrive as a 2007 model, derived from a stretched version of the Mazda6 platform. It will be equipped with a 3.5-liter Ford-based V-6. This will have the highest price point of the Mazda lineup, starting at about $27,000.
The vehicle will be much larger than the Tribute - more like a Honda Pilot - and likely will have a third row of seats.
Lancer: Plans call for it to be redesigned for the 2008 model year. The car will be lighter and will be powered by the new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that was developed by the joint venture of Mitsubishi Motors Corp., Hyundai Motor Co. and the Chrysler group.
A source says the Lancer will not get the new 2.0-liter engine until about six months later because of cash constraints at the company.
Eclipse: The Eclipse will be redesigned for the 2006 model year. Company executives say the production vehicle's styling is close to that of the concept Mitsubishi unveiled at the Detroit auto show in January. A convertible will follow for the 2007 model year.
Galant: The interior will be redesigned for the 2007 model year. The Galant was due to get the new 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine in 2007, but sources say that that plan has been scrapped because of cutbacks.
Diamante: It will be killed after the 2004 model year.
Outlander: A redesign is planned for the 2007 model year, developed on the new Lancer platform. The model will be slightly bigger and sportier, and it will be tuned for tighter European-style handling. It will be equipped with a new 3.0-liter V-6, replacing the current 2.4-liter inline four.
Endeavor: The sport wagon will be freshened for the 2007 model year. Horsepower will be increased.
Montero Sport: It will be dropped after the 2004 model year.
Montero: The seven-seat SUV was due for a redesign for the 2007 model year. But sources say the vehicle will be scrapped after 2006 in the United States because the company cannot afford the cost of meeting government safety and emissions standards.
Mitsubishi's 2006 pickup will share design cues with this concept.
Most of the specifications will be the same for the two trucks, but sources say the Raider is sportier. A concept was shown at the Detroit auto show in January. The Raider will be equipped with a 210-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 and a 230-hp, 4.7-liter V-8. Mitsubishi will not get the Hemi V-8.
Nissan is considering one of the following three small cars for U.S. sales: the Cube, top, Tilda, middle, and Paltina, bottom.
Although Nissan Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn has said the small, boxy Cube will be exported to North America, executives and suppliers in the United States and Japan say there is no decision that it will be sold here. They say the Cube minicar may be too small and underpowered for this country. The Cube is nearly 2 feet shorter than the Sentra, the smallest car Nissan sells here.
Instead of the Cube, Nissan and supplier sources say the company may ship the compact Platina to this country. The timetable isn't nailed down; sources say it could debut in the 2005, 2006 or 2007 model years.
The car is assembled at Nissan's plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Launched in April 2002, the Platina is based on alliance partner Renault's Clio.
Nissan sources say the company also is looking at exporting the Tiida to the United States instead of the Cube or the Platina. The Tiida is a new compact sedan that will go on sale in Japan this fall. The same timetable is under consideration.
Sentra: The redesigned Sentra, based on the Renault Megane II platform, is due for the 2006 model year. But company and supplier sources say it may be delayed until the 2007 model year.
They say the exterior is too bland, and the vehicle has not fared well with U.S. focus groups.
Altima: The Altima was freshened for the 2005 model year. A redesign is due for the 2007 model year, at which time a hybrid will be offered. The hybrid will be a combination of a Nissan four-cylinder engine and hybrid components supplied by Toyota.
Maxima: The sporty sedan is due for a freshening for the 2006 model year.
350Z: The interior will be upgraded for the 2006 model year.
Actic: The Actic is a sport wagon concept Nissan introduced at this year's Detroit auto show. The five-door vehicle was meant to be a hint of smaller, entry-level sport wagons planned for Nissan and Infiniti. It was due for either the 2006 or 2007 model year, but sources say it may be delayed or killed.
Murano: Interior upgrades are expected for the 2006 model year.
Quest: No major changes are expected, but Nissan plans to offer a lower priced vehicle in the mid- $20,000 range for the 2005 model year.
Nissan's redesigned 2005 Xterra shares a styling theme with the Titan pickup.
Pathfinder: The redesigned 2005 Pathfinder also is based on the F-Alpha platform. The Pathfinder and Xterra share Nissan's new 250-hp, 4.0-liter V-6.
The Pathfinder features independent double wishbone front and rear suspensions. With the addition of a standard third-row seat, there is room for seven passengers.
X-Trail: A fuel cell-powered version of the fwd, entry-level SUV may be introduced in the 2007 model year. The X-Trail is currently sold in Canada.
The redesigned 2005 Nissan Frontier, top, and Toyota Tacoma, bottom, are big -- nearly the size of the Dodge Dakota pickup.
Armada: Nissan's full-sized SUV is due for interior upgrades for the 2006 model year.
Titan: Nissan is studying whether to add diesel and medium- and heavy-duty versions.
xA: Expect a shortened cycle lasting four years. That means the end of the xA could come in the 2007 calendar year. A replacement along with a new name will debut for the 2008 model year.
xB: No major changes are planned, but it might get a power boost.
A car this unusual likely will be dropped rather than redesigned after its model cycle. Scion realizes it needs to come up with a bold shape by the time the Nissan Cube, Platina or Tiida arrives. The replacement will debut for the 2008 model year.
The sporty 2005 Scion tC coupe fits the niche vacated by the Celica.
Matrix Rally: The current-generation Matrix may evolve into the Matrix Rally for Scion.
Forester: The SUV receives a freshening for the 2006 model year.
Impreza: A freshening is planned for the 2006 model year.
Outback, Legacy: The Legacy sedan and Outback sport wagon were redesigned for the 2005 model year.
Baja: The current-generation pickup will continue at least through the 2009 model year. No major changes are planned.
Sport wagon: A seven-passenger vehicle based on a new platform debuts in the spring as a 2006 model.
The sport wagon will introduce Subaru's design theme. It will have a European flavor and some elements that appeared on the 2004 Detroit show cars, the B9Sc roadster and the R1e city car.
The sport wagon was benchmarked against the BMW X5 for performance, the Acura MD-X for interior styling and the Lexus RX 330 for exterior design. It will be priced higher than the Outback. Production is planned at the Lafayette, Ind., assembly plant.
Aerio: Both the interior and exterior receive a freshening for the 2005 model year. The car will be redesigned for the 2008 model year.
Compact car: A small car about the size of the Aerio will be added for the 2007 model year. The car will be sporty and aimed at youth, possibly with a high-performance engine.
Forenza: A wagon will be added to the line this fall.
Reno: This new addition to the Suzuki line is a five-door hatchback, the only one in the Suzuki family. The 2005 model goes on sale in October.
Verona: No major changes are expected.
Vitara, Grand Vitara: The Vitara will be dropped after the 2004 model year, but the Grand Vitara will be redesigned for the 2006 model year. It will be slightly bigger than the current model. A more powerful 2.7-liter V-6 engine will replace the 2.5-liter V-6.
XL-7: The XL-7 will be redesigned for the 2007 model year. A larger, mid-sized vehicle is planned.
Echo: The small car will continue through 2005 until a new model arrives for the 2006 model year.
Corolla: A hopped-up XRS edition just hit dealerships, with a 170-hp engine from the Celica.
A freshening is planned for the 2006 model year and a redesign for the 2008 model year. The redesigned car will be slightly larger on the inside and will keep the high H-point. The A-pillar and C-pillar get more rake so the car looks more like a fastback.
A hybrid option will come with the redesign, though probably not at launch.
Celica: The launch of the Scion tC made this car unnecessary. It goes away after a shortened 2005 model year.
Prius: No changes are expected.
Camry: A redesign comes for the 2007 model year in typical Toyota fashion: bigger, wider, faster, cheaper.
A hybrid version might arrive before the redesign since the current Camry platform already will spawn hybrid offshoots in the Highlander and Sienna. Toyota in Japan might offer four- and six-cylinder hybrids, but the United States likely will get only the six-cylinder hybrid.
Camry Solara: The coupe was redesigned for the 2004 model year. A redesigned 2005 convertible just reached dealerships.
Avalon: A redesign of the big sedan for the 2005 model year will have more modern styling. The company wants to make the Avalon sportier, but that came too late in the development cycle to affect the upcoming model. It may be 2010 before Toyota makes a true competitor to the Nissan Maxima.
MR2 Spyder: Slow sales have killed this model after the 2005 model year.
Supra: There is a debate within Toyota whether the company should produce a high-performance sports car or offer a sporty hybrid model.
Matrix: A redesign is slated for the 2008 model year. Toyota might market a vehicle that looks like the Japan-market Corolla Fielder, a tall wagon.
Sienna: A hybrid is expected in the 2006 calendar year.
RAV4: A redesign comes for the 2006 model year. U.S. executives want a V-6 model, but Toyota in Europe has the clout and prefers one engine, a four-cylinder. The vehicle's size will remain about the same.
The FJ Cruiser concept, above, is the inspiration for a 2007 Toyota SUV.
Highlander: A redesign comes for the 2006 model year. The wheelbase will be stretched for better third-row access.
4Runner: No changes are planned.
Sequoia: The full-sized SUV will be restyled for the 2007 model year and may get the bigger 5.4-liter V-8.
Land Cruiser: On paper, the SUV is too pricey for the Toyota line, but the nameplate's brand equity is too strong to kill it in the U.S. lineup. Given the typical seven-year truck cycle, the global redesign should come next spring, as a 2006 model.
Tacoma: Toyota's redesigned 2005 Tacoma gets bigger; it is nearly the size of the redesigned 2005 Dodge Dakota. Two wheelbases are offered: 110 and 127 inches. The cabin is 4 inches wider. Two engines will be available: a 164-hp, 2.7-liter four-cylinder and a 245-hp, 4.0-liter V-6.
Tundra: The redesigned 2007 Tundra will be a true full-sized pickup, likely with a 5.4-liter V-8 engine. It will be assembled in Indiana and Texas.
If the FTX concept is any guide, the next Tundra could be 19 feet long, nearly 7 feet wide, and 6½ feet high, with a 150-inch wheelbase.
Don't expect a three-quarter ton version before the redesign. When the heavy-duty version comes (likely for the 2008 model year), it likely will have a Hino diesel engine as an option.
Staff Reporter Diana T. Kurylko contributed to this report