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Detroit Auto Show: A Green Preview

The auto industry is still in austerity mode when it comes to car shows. The North American International Auto Show in Detroit begins press previews on Monday, and according to Jim Henry, reporter for CBS Interactive, “The list of 19 brands holding a press conference is shorter than the list of 26 that aren’t.”

But automakers are still thinking green, and the Detroit auto show will see a significant number of environmentally friendly debuts.

Two highlights are from Japanese companies. Toyota will present a new dedicated hybrid that, according to The Detroit News (and suggested by teaser photos) is a Yaris-sized subcompact. The paper said Toyota would put the hybrid into production soon, but Toyota admits only that the car is all-new and that it has some Prius styling cues. It could actually be badged as a Prius. We’ll know soon.

Honda will introduce the American version of the CR-Z hybrid coupe, which is a four-seater in the version going into production in Europe and Japan but a two-seater for North America. “A two-seater matches the sporty customers we’re going after,” said Chris Naughton, a Honda spokesman. The foreign-spec models use a 1.5-liter version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, and either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic. Mr. Naughton said he couldn’t confirm that American customers would get a transmission option, or even that the drivetrain would be identical to other CR-Z versions.

Read the full article at The New York Times
 

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Detroit Auto Show: A Green Preview

Honda will introduce the American version of the CR-Z hybrid coupe, which is a four-seater in the version going into production in Europe and Japan but a two-seater for North America. “A two-seater matches the sporty customers we’re going after,” said Chris Naughton, a Honda spokesman. The foreign-spec models use a 1.5-liter version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist hybrid system, and either a six-speed manual or a CVT automatic. Mr. Naughton said he couldn’t confirm that American customers would get a transmission option, or even that the drivetrain would be identical to other CR-Z versions.

Read the full article at The New York Times


It sounds like they are marketing this more as an economical car in Europe and Asia (not marketed toward "sporty customers"), and more of a sports car here in the states. Removing the rear seats from a car is a huge leap into "sporty" territory, especially in this market where practicality is selling. It completely transforms the purpose of the car. One could argue they are doing it for weight-saving measures, but the spokesman clearly stated that this move in the United States matches "the sporty customers we're going after." He then chooses not to comment on drivetrain options, even though the supposed options are already out in the open...
I am getting more convinced that we are going to have a higher power, faster, more fun CRZ than anyone else in the world.

Let's say they do come out with a quick CRZ in our market; performance specs would likely be comparable to the current Civic Si. The CRZ is being released this summer as a 2011 model. The Civic is due for a complete re-design for 2011 (they always go: New model-3 years, refresh-2 years, Re-Design). The current Civic Si had somewhat stagnant sales due the the 2008 gas prices, lack of automatic tranny, and the economy in general...
In this scenario, would the CRZ essentially be THE replacement in Honda's lineup for a 2011 Civic Si, or do you think Honda would still release a new Civic Si in 2011?
 
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