While this week's New York auto show will host the world debuts of significant Mercedes-Benz and Jeep vehicles, two entry-level Japanese concepts will likely capture most of the attention.
Toyota's youth-oriented line, Scion, will unveil a concept that depicts design possibilities for the brand.
Nissan will introduce a sleek, tuner-inspired concept aimed at the same buyers. Nissan has said it may add two vehicles below the entry-level Sentra within 18 months.
Other show highlights include Mercedes-Benz's R-class wagon; the tall, seven-passenger Jeep Commander; a GMC-based Isuzu pickup; and a Suzuki concept that shows the styling direction for the next Grand Vitara.
Here are the world debuts scheduled Wednesday, March 23, and Thursday, March 24, at the New York show.
Cadillac adds another performance variant with the 2006 XLR-V. The vehicle is expected to pack a supercharged 400-plus hp V-8.
Chevrolet will extend its high-performance SS stable with the addition of the 2006 Malibu SS and Malibu Maxx SS sedans as well as the 2006 TrailBlazer SS. (See story, Page 31).
Dodge expands its SRT performance line with a Hemi-powered derivative of an undisclosed 2006 model.
Ford's headliner in New York is a high-performance version of the Mustang. Engineered by Ford's Special Vehicle Team, the next-generation Mustang Cobra is expected to go on sale in 2006. In a nod to high-performance Mustangs of the 1960s, the 2007 model will carry the Shelby name.
Ford also will display the Sport Trac Adrenalin concept in New York. Powered by a 390-hp, supercharged 4.6-liter V-8, it teases at a performance version that could be coming for Ford's next-generation Sport Trac.
Ford has confirmed that the redesigned Sport Trac - slated to go on sale in 2006 after moving to an updated Ford Explorer platform - will get a V-8 engine.
A 350hp 4.6-liter V-8 powers the Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin concept.
Jeep will unveil the 2006 Commander, a seven-passenger SUV that is based on the Grand Cherokee platform. The vehicle is several inches taller than the Grand Cherokee. The Commander's boxy styling draws on cues last seen on the Cherokee, which was discontinued in 2001. Sales begin this fall.
Jeep also will introduce a second vehicle, a Hemi-powered derivative of a current model.
With a model line limited to the Ascender SUV, Isuzu's struggling dealers have been praying for a second vehicle. Their prayers get answered with the world debut of a compact pickup that is scheduled to go on sale in June or July.
The unnamed 2006 Isuzu pickup is based on the GMC Canyon and will be built in the United States. Two models are planned: a two-wheel-drive, extended-cab pickup with a 2.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a crew cab with four-wheel drive and a 3.5-liter five-cylinder engine.
After showing several concepts, Mercedes-Benz finally will unveil the production version of the R-class wagon. U.S. buyers will get the long-wheelbase model; a shorter version will be sold in Europe.
Two V-8s will be offered here: a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-8 and a 302-hp, 5.0-liter V-8.
The 2006 R class will be assembled in Vance, Ala. Sales begin this fall.
Mitsubishi will unveil the freshened 2006 Lancer Evolution, an awd performance sedan.
The Nissan Sport Concept has a tuner look with the large rear spoiler and robust fender lines.
Nissan reveals another clue as to how it will respond to Toyota's Scion line.
The Nissan Sport Concept, a three-door hatchback concept, may be the first car in a series of small, stylish, affordable vehicles aimed at the youth market.
Nissan says the intent with the Sport Concept is to create an attainable vehicle for young buyers.
Toyota's Scion youth brand will unveil a concept vehicle called t2B.
Toyota will not divulge any information about the vehicle. But the automaker rarely shows a concept vehicle without some production possibilities in mind.
Suzuki's X2 concept debuting in New York is expected to resemble the redesigned 2006 Grand Vitara that goes on sale this fall. The next-generation Grand Vitara will be slightly larger than the current model, and it will be powered by a 2.7-liter V-6 engine.
Kathy Jackson, Diana T. Kurylko, Mark Rechtin, Jason Stein, Amy Wilson and Rick Kranz contributed to this report