Dallas Auto Show, part one
The Dallas Auto Show media day always falls right after our production cycle ends for the week so unfortunately you have to read about what you missed, not what you can expect. That said, most of these vehicles will arrive in dealerships in the near future.
Nissan displayed the new GT-R 480hp twin-turbo supercar (that just recently beat both Porsche 911 Turbo and Z06 Corvette in a heads-up competition) next to the next-generation Maxima, whose body lines are a bit smoother yet still embodies a performance sedan philosophy.
Ford showed up with a host of new and concept vehicles. The barrage was led by the next F-150 pickup, set to arrive this fall, as well as a Dallas Cowboys edition Shelby GT500 Mustang. Also shown were the Transit Connect and Verve concepts, which will both most likely arrive on U.S. shores in the next couple of years in production form. Lincoln walked us around its latest sedan, MKS, and showed the concept MKT, which is made almost entirely from recycled materials.
HUMMER debuted its newest Shreveport creation, the H3T pickup, which will be offered with choice of inline five-cylinder or Alpha V-8 powertrains.
One of the most anticipated vehicles at this year’s show went almost undetectable as Dodge brought a black-on-black Challenger SRT-8 production car. Think Darth Vader with a big block HEMI. And they’re all sold out for the first model year.
A vehicle that will be available for purchase this fall is the Chrysler Aspen 2-Mode Hybrid SUV that offers fuel economy improvements of up to 40 percent in town and about 25 percent in overall driving. No pricing announced just yet but they feature the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 with MDS mated to a transmission with two electric motors designed to offer boost at either low- or high-speed operating ranges on an all-wheel-drive chassis.
The big news from Chevrolet? It is finally launching its new eight-passenger CUV, tagged Traverse. This vehicle will be built at the Spring Hill, Tenn., plant that Saturn quit using recently. Traverse will be powered by Chevy’s new 3.6-liter V-6/six-speed automatic transmission powertrain combo that is proving popular in all of the other GM fullsize crossovers. The automaker also had the new ZR1 super-Corvette in the display area.
Other vehicles making a splash at this year’s Dallas stop included: Aston Martin brought the new DBS (set to star in the next James Bond flick); Hyundai showed the new Genesis coupe alongside its sedan siblings; a collection of cute little Smart cars drew a lot of attention and Scion had its big wall of custom cars as part of a multimedia display.
Dallas Auto Show, part two
Dallas Auto Show media day festivities did not end at the Dallas Convention Center. OnStar and XM Radio joined together with GM to invite journalists to Gilley’s Dallas for its announcement of new enhanced services, and threw in a little entertainment afterward. Here is their official press release:
GM and OnStar Lead the Way with New Navigation Services
GM’s new navigation services include OnStar download to
navigation system and MapQuest functionality
Dallas – OnStar has announced the introduction of two new navigational services to complement and enhance its existing Turn-by-Turn service, the most widely available navigation system on the market. These features solidify GM’s leadership in navigation with more vehicles on the road with embedded navigation systems and more options than any other automaker.
The first new service is OnStar Destination Download, which enables OnStar subscribers with screen-based navigation systems to quickly input their destination while on the go via the simple press of a button. The second service, OnStar eNav, allows subscribers with a Turn-by-Turn Navigation-capable vehicle to find and save destinations on MapQuest.com and have those destinations sent to their vehicle’s OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation system.
“Through OnStar and onboard navigation systems, GM is transforming the category with the broadest range of options to suit customer preferences,” said OnStar President Chet Huber. “With 3.1 million model year 2008 vehicles equipped with some form of factory-installed navigation, GM is delivering on our commitment to redefine the availability and functionality of navigation systems in the United States and Canada.”
To initiate OnStar Destination Download, users simply press the OnStar blue button to connect with an advisor. Once subscribers provide the advisor with their destination, the destination is downloaded to their navigation screen within seconds. Press the “Go” button on the navigation system to begin the route.
Typically to use a screen-based navigation system, drivers have to bring their vehicle to a stop and place it in park. With OnStar Destination Download, subscribers can have the address of their destination sent directly to their navigation system while still driving, providing a safe, easy and immediate solution.
In addition, OnStar brings more than 10 million point-of-interest records, refreshed every month, to the navigation system. This supplements and greatly enhances the point-of-interest data loaded on navigation DVDs.
OnStar Destination Download will be available on over 80 percent of GM’s screen-based navigation vehicle volume or 325,000 Model Year 2009 vehicles. In total, 22 different GM vehicle models will offer this new service.
OnStar’s second new service offering, OnStar eNav, allows subscribers to plan their travel destinations on the MapQuest site ( HYPERLINK “http://www.mapquest.com” \o “http://www.mapquest.com/” http://www.mapquest.com) and then send those destinations to their OnStar system. When ready to retrieve those directions, subscribers simply press their vehicle’s OnStar phone button to access voice-guided commands through which they can select their route. Turn-by-Turn navigation will then launch to guide them on their way.
“At MapQuest we strive to provide our users with easy-to-use features that will save them time and ensure that they find their destination,” said Christian Dwyer, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MapQuest. “OnStar eNav is a great addition to our suite of ‘Send To’ capabilities offering users the convenience of researching and planning online and sending results to a user’s preferred device or system.”
OnStar eNav will be available retroactively on 2.7 million current Turn-by-Turn capable GM vehicles. Later this year eNav will also combine with OnStar Destination Download to download destinations directly to the vehicle’s screen-based navigation system.
OnStar and MapQuest conducted a pilot of eNav beginning in June 2007 with approximately 3,000 customers. A survey of pilot participants showed that 95 percent of them would use eNav at least monthly and 93 percent of the participants agreed that eNav should be offered by OnStar.
“From the pilot we learned that many of our subscribers like to pre-plan their trips, especially when visiting new areas,” said Huber. “They appreciated the simplicity of eNav and used it to plan thousands of routes.”
Also available to subscribers with screen-based navigation systems is XM NavTraffic, XM’s real-time traffic information service is now available in 80 major North American markets. This service feeds comprehensive road condition data such as accidents, traffic backups and road construction to the subscriber’s navigation screen. The availability of XM NavTraffic will greatly expand in model year 2009 to the same 22 GM vehicles equipped with screen-based navigation that also feature OnStar Destination Download. XM NavTraffic made its GM debut on the 2005 Cadillac CTS.
Where available, XM NavTraffic subscribers can view a color-coded overlay on their navigation screen indicating the average speed of travel along their planned route.
“GM and OnStar are demonstrating their commitment to providing their drivers with the best in technology, with this impressive expansion of XM NavTraffic across 22 vehicles in the 2009 model year,” said Steve Cook, executive vice president, automotive, XM Satellite Radio. “XM NavTraffic provides the most comprehensive information and coast-to-coast updates every minute, ensuring that GM drivers will always have the latest and most detailed information at his or her fingertips. “
“Our varied connected navigation options mean something for everyone whether you drive a Cadillac CTS or a Chevrolet Cobalt,” Huber said. “As the leader in navigation our continual goal is to provide GM drivers with useful and convenient services that make the driving experience simpler, safer and more secure.”
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at http://www.gm.com.
About OnStar by GM
OnStar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services. OnStar is available on more than 50 MY 2008 GM models and includes one year of service. OnStar is standard on nearly all new GM retail vehicles in the United States and Canada. OnStar provides services to more than 5 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. More information about OnStar can be found at HYPERLINK “http://www.onstar.com/” http://www.onstar.com/.
OnStar Quick Facts
Subsidiary of General Motors Corporation, headquartered in Detroit, Michigan
Established in 1995; first customer in 1996
Over 5 million subscribers
Over 88 million cumulative service interactions since 1996
OnStar is now standard equipment on most GM retail vehicles sold in the U.S. & Canada
Announced a joint venture in November 2007 to bring OnStar to China in 2009
English, Spanish and French-speaking advisors on-call 24 hours a day
An OnStar advisor interacts with a subscriber an average of once every two seconds
Monthly snapshot of services (based on a 3-month rolling average December 2007 through February 2008):
2,300 Automatic Crash Responses
11,000 emergency calls
6,000 Good Samaritan calls
700 stolen vehicle location assists
61,000 remote door unlocks
32,000 roadside assistance
596,000 Turn-by-Turn Routes
More than 2.7 million OnStar Vehicle Diagnostic monthly e-mails sent
67,000 GM Goodwrench remote diagnostics
31 million OnStar Hands-Free calling minutes