Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Automakers Go For Fresh Approach

April 16, 2003

Car-based sport utility vehicles, called crossovers, are nearly as well-mannered as family sedans but carry more, offer four-wheel drive and elevate drivers so they can see better, according to USA Today. Some wonder whether crossovers will reduce sedans to the status of a mere niche instead of the dominant position they held as recently as a decade ago, the newspaper said.In such a climate, it takes extraordinary cars to lure buyers. Car companies are trying to invent such fresh cars, according to USA Today.Some examples are on display at the New York International Auto Show. More are in the wings.Chrysler Group: The U.S. unit of DaimlerChrysler plans to make Chrysler its car brand and skew Dodge to trucks, crossovers and wagons, according to USA Today.Ford Motor: Ford will build at least 10 new models off the Futura platform in the next three years, across Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands. Mazda, in which Ford has a controlling stake, may also build some products off the platform, USA Today said.Suzuki: A bit player selling just two models in the margins of the auto industry, the Japanese affiliate of General Motors is rolling out nine vehicles the next five years in an attempt to triple U.S. sales, according to USA Today.Saab: Needing a foothold in what it sees as an emerging market for premium small cars (Volvo S40, for example), the Swedish automaker teams with corporate affiliate Fuji Heavy Industries for the Japanese-made, all-wheel-drive, 9-2 model on sale next spring, USA Today reported.
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