Tuesday, March 07, 2006

GM and Toyota battle for #1-Here's a look at what each has planned

by: Peter Johnson

2007 Toyota Camry Whenever Toyota replaces the Camry it's big news. The Camry is the best selling family sedan in North America. The 2007 Camry is going to set a new benchmark for performance, refinement, and efficiency within its class. To be introduced later this year, the 2007 Camry will be available with a hybrid power plant producing over 190hp. A 3.5L V6 producing 268hp will also be available. Toyota will be offering a 6-speed automatic transmission on V6 models that is lighter and cheaper to produce than the 5-speed auto it is replacing. Now that's progress. Pricing for the 2007 Camry will not rise compared to the 2006 model despite more standard features. Toyota has made a strong effort at making the 2007 Camry fun to drive. With increased torsional rigidity, the Camry moves with confidence through twisty back roads. The interior is first rate and no longer looks as dull as the previous generation. This is a car to watch as it shows Toyota has not forgotten about passenger cars.

2007 Toyota TundraToyota is serious about building trucks. So serious in fact that the Tundra will be built in a new plant in the heart of truck country, San Antonio, Texas. The 2007 Tundra is going after the heart of the pick-up truck market and taking on the best from Ford, GMC, and Dodge. The Tundra will come standard with a 4.0L V6 and will have two V8 engines available, a 4.7L and 5.7L. Equipped with the 5.7L V8, the Tundra will be capable of towing 10,000 pounds. Although Toyota realizes truck buyers are a very loyal bunch, they still plan to produce 200,000 Tundra trucks in the first full year of production. This is up from 120,000 they are producing of the current model. Toyota sees some growth opportunities in the truck market and that may be a difficult pill for the competition to swallow.

2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC SierraLike Toyota, Chevrolet (along with GMC) is preparing to introduce a revised line of pick-up trucks. Based on what is known as the GMT900 platform, GM is hoping that the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra can maintain its position as a leader in this class. The Silverado and Sierra twins will offer fuel saving features such as DOD (Displacement On Demand) and a 6-speed automatic transmission. GM was hoping to introduce an independent rear suspension on the 2007 models but they decided not to proceed with it due to budget cuts and a shortened development time. The 2007 Silverado and Sierra will be critical to GM's turn around plan over the next few years.

2006 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC YukonThe only 2006 on the list, the Tahoe and Yukon are vital to GM's turn around effort. Introduced in January, these vehicles show how serious GM is about building thoughtfully designed vehicles that offer increased fuel economy and refinement. The 2006 Tahoe and Yukon are thoroughly updated with enhanced interiors made with upgraded materials. The Tahoe and Yukon offer increased fuel economy due to a variety of enhancements including an available 6-speed automatic transmission and a more aerodynamic profile. GM is hoping the vehicles will sell due to how good they are rather than incentives. So far the Tahoe and Yukon have been a big success as GM is having a difficult time keeping up with demand.

2007 Saturn AURAAs GM launches a full assault on the full size SUV and truck markets, they haven't forgotten about the family sedan segment. GM is placing a bigger focus on its passenger cars as gas prices continue to rise and people question whether they need a SUV or pick-up. The 2007 AURA is based on the Epsilon platform shared with the Chevrolet Malibu and Pontiac G6. This is a very important product for Saturn, as it will showcase a new design theme for the brand. Replacing the L-series, the AURA will offer the same power trains as the Malibu and G6. Edgier styling and a more upscale image should help Saturn bring more people into their dealerships. Why is this vehicle important, you ask? Because it will test how serious GM is at taking on Toyota, Honda, Nissan and others for a bigger slice of the family sedan pie.

About the Author
Peter Johnson is the chief writer for all-about-car-selection.com. For more automotive articles of interest click here.

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