Indeed, the Buick Enclave crossover will replace the Buick Rainier, a traditional body-on-frame SUV. It is expected to go on sale in early 2007.
The Enclave crossover concept unveiled at the Detroit show is "99 percent" similar to the production version, says Robert Lutz, GM's vice chairman and global product chief. Pricing is not available, but it aims to compete with the Lexus RX 330 and Acura MDX.
Honda's Acura Division unveiled its RDX Prototype, a near-production version of a crossover that will go on sale this summer. It will be built at Honda's Marysville, Ohio, plant. Acura expects to sell about 35,000 to 40,000 a year.
The RDX meets "another unserved need that we see. It's fairly small now, but we see big growth," says John Mendel, American Honda's senior vice president of automobile operations. Indeed, he cited industry forecasts that the crossover segment will explode "500 percent over the next five years."
Joining the rush, Ford Motor Co. unveiled the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers that will go on sale in the fourth quarter. Ford did not disclose prices. The MKX will take on the Lexus RX 330 and Infiniti FX35. The Edge will compete with the Nissan Murano, Subaru Tribeca and Toyota Highlander.
Mazda Motor Corp. priced its CX-7 crossover, which debuted at the Los Angeles auto show this month, at $24,310, including shipping. The CX-7 is targeted to go on sale in the spring but could be out as early as February.
Mazda projects sales of 40,000 units a year. But John Parker, Mazda's executive vice president, says they could go even higher.
"I don't see any reason CX-7 can't be 50,000," he says.