As the truck market continues to increase, so do General Motors Corp.'s offerings in the high-profit segment. GM says it will introduce the Chevrolet Equinox, an all-new compact sport utility vehicle, in 2004.
The Equinox will be Chevy's first "crossover," combining features of a passenger car and an SUV, and will be built in Canada and share its platform with the Saturn VUE sport utility.
"The compact SUV market is the fastest-growing segment in the industry, thanks to products that have set new standards for the class," said Marketing Director Margaret Brooks. "We intend to further raise the bar."
Chevrolet is coming a bit late to the segment, following two generations of the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester crossovers. It also follows the upcoming Nissan Murano, Chrysler Pacifica and Ford CrossTrainer SUVs.
Entry-level and luxury crossovers are seen as hot segments in the auto industry in coming years, and car makers want to grab as much market share as they can.
The Equinox will be built at CAMI, a joint venture between GM and Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp.
Terril Yue Jones
Convertible New Beetle
It has been a long time coming, but Volkswagen finally is releasing a convertible version of the New Beetle it introduced as a hardtop for the 1998 model year.
First pictures of the factory-produced ragtop Bug were released this month.
The topless Beetle will hit showrooms this year, initially as a GLS model with a 2.0-liter gas engine rated at 115 horsepower. Next year, an entry-level version, the GL, will come to market.
Also scheduled for the U.S. next year: GLS and top-of-the-line GLX models with turbocharged 1.8-liter engines rated at 150 horsepower.
Volkswagen of America says pricing hasn't been set yet.
The auto maker is building the convertible alongside hardtop models at its Puebla, Mexico, plant.