Frankfurt Preview: Lots of debuts and a green push for GM

Click the new Aveo to enlarge it

The biennial Frankfurt Motor Show is the largest auto show in the world and General Motors will be there in a big way. GM's European brand Opel is based in Russelsheim just down the road from Frankfurt, so this is their hometown show. The GM stand will have plenty of stuff that is new to the world and to Europe with an emphasis on making their cars more environmentally friendly. GM already announced plans to had more efficient models to most of their European lines in the form of ecoFLEX models similar to what VW is doing with their BlueMotion line.

Also debuting in Frankfurt will be the HydroGen4 which is the European version of the Chevy Equinox fuel cell vehicle which will be used for the Project Driveway program. GM is building over 100 of these fuel cell crossovers that will be put into the hands of customers in North America and Europe for field testing over the next couple of years. The first Equinoxes will delivered to customers this fall.

The Chevy Volt will be continuing its world tour with a stint in Frankfurt and the original gas and fuel cell variants will be joined by the debut of a new E-Flex vehicle with a diesel range-extender. The diesel model is expected to be badged as an Opel and where a different body style. A redesigned version of the Opel Agila super-mini and the revamped Aveo will also have their first public showings in Frankfurt.

[Source: General Motors]

Eleven World and European Premieres, Extensive Environmental Initiative

  • New HydroGen4 fuel cell vehicle, Volt electric car
  • More than 700 million euros for new engines and transmissions until 2012
  • Opel/Vauxhall: Electric car concept, ecoFLEX initiative, new Agila
  • Chevrolet: New Aveo generation, distinctively designed HHR
  • Saab: New 9-3 generation with top-of-the-line Turbo X model
  • Cadillac: BLS Wagon, new generation of Cadillac CTS luxury sedan
  • Corvette: More power for Coupé and Cabrio
  • HUMMER: H2 is film star in "Transformers"

In essence, the environmental strategy of General Motors Europe is to reduce CO2 emissions in the short term and introduce new propulsion technologies in the long term. The goal is to offer customers vehicles that can operate on many different energy sources. "The multi-tiered approach includes accelerating the development of electrically powered vehicles, stepping up efforts to replace fossil fuels and increasing the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines," explains Carl-Peter Forster, GME President. GM Europe will invest 700 million euros in new engines and transmissions in the next five years alone, with the first models already at the IAA. Carl-Peter Forster continues: "Opel's surprise for this year's IAA also symbolizes the versatility of our extensive environmental initiative. A concept car which combines electric propulsion and a turbo diesel engine in a way that is fundamentally different to previous hybrid propulsion designs."

Highlights of General Motors' environmental strategy include two vehicles that are making their European premieres in Frankfurt: the HydroGen4 fuel cell vehicle and the Volt electric car.

GM HydroGen4: Heading toward long-term goal of "Zero Emissions"

The GM HydroGen4 is the European version of the Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell. In fall 2007, the first of these fuel cell cars – a global fleet of more than 100 vehicles is planned – will be on the roads in the USA. The HydroGen4's fuel cell stack consists of 440 series-connected cells. The entire system produces an electrical output of up to 93 kW. With help from a 73 kW/100 hp synchronous electric motor, acceleration from zero to 100 km/h takes around 12 seconds. The front-wheel drive vehicle's top speed is around 160 km/h.

GM Volt: Purely electrical propulsion in the mid-term

The GM Volt is a good indication of what low-emission mobility could look like in the mid-term. This concept vehicle is based on General Motors' electric vehicle architecture E-Flex and is always electrically powered. A second engine is only on board to produce additional energy and thereby extend the operating range.

The E-Flex strategy is based on combining various propulsion systems in the same vehicle architecture, depending on what energy source is readily available in the driver's area. The concept has already been presented in two further versions: at the Detroit Motor Show in January 2007, it debuted with a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbo gasoline engine designed for operation with gasoline or E85, a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. And at the Shanghai Motor Show in April 2007, GM presented the electric concept car with hydrogen fuel cell propulsion.

Opel at the IAA: ecoFLEX initiative and new Agila

  • ecoFLEX versions spotlight new environmental strategy
  • World premiere in Frankfurt: New Opel Agila
  • Model year 2008: Vectra and Signum greatly enhanced

Part of Opel's environmental strategy includes the introduction of low-emission ecoFLEX versions in Opel/Vauxhall's high-volume model lines. These cars combine economy and driving fun with low consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. The premiere model in the Opel/Vauxhall ecoFLEX range is a Corsa 1.3 CDTI, which produces just 119 g/CO2 per kilometer. The Corsa ecoFLEX debuts at the IAA 2007 and is available from 2008.

Natural gas is another alternative fuel. Opel currently offers two models ex works with this especially environmentally friendly and economical form of propulsion: the Zafira CNG and Combo CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) consume just 5.0/4.9 kg of natural gas per 100 km (138/133 g CO2/km respectively). The seven-seat Zafira CNG emits just under 20 g CO2 per kilometer and seat.

New Agila: Friendly, dynamic, flexible

  • Format: Five doors, five fully fledged seats
  • Function: Versatile thanks to practical details
  • Design: Balanced proportions, distinctive lines
  • Powertrain: Two gasoline engines, one turbo-diesel, automatic transmission

With five doors and five seats, the new Opel Agila is not only as practical as its predecessor, which sold around 440,000 units across Europe, but is now also much more dynamically designed. The smallest Opel makes its market debut in spring 2008 and boasts Opel-typical balanced proportions, soft curves and a distinctive side graphic. Passengers still sit high and upright, but the roofline has been dynamically lowered and now blends into a smooth arc toward the rear. This helps create the Agila's aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.35 – a relatively low figure for a vehicle of this size. The urban car is now 20 centimeters longer, six centimeters wider, but seven centimeters lower than its predecessor.

The entry-level engine is an almost one-liter, four-valve, three-cylinder unit that produces 48 kW/65 hp. The 1.2-liter four-cylinder unit produces 63 kW/86 hp and is available with an automatic transmission for the first time. The most economical engine in the Agila range is the 1.3-liter common-rail turbo-diesel, which produces 55 kW/75 hp.

Model year 2008: Greater selection and more extensive equipment

Opel goes into model year 2008 with a lot of innovations and presents a fresh, cutting-edge product portfolio. The most important enhancements include the considerably higher level of equipment for the Vectra, Vectra station wagon and Signum. The 206 kW/280 hp top performers Vectra OPC and Vectra station wagon OPC are available with a six-speed automatic transmission for the first time. In the Corsa range, the 110 kW/150 hp Corsa GSi fills the gap between the Corsa Sport and the Corsa OPC.

Other additions include:

  • Corsa 1.3 CDTI now also with Easytronic transmission
  • Antara 2.0 CDTI with 127 hp and diesel particulate filter
  • New special edition Astra TwinTop model "Endless Summer"
  • New light alloy wheels, more versatile infotainment systems, fresh colors

Detailed model year overview:

Chevrolet at the IAA 2007: More models, more excitement

From bold minicar concepts, the world premiere of the Aveo to the excitingly styled HHR, Chevrolet – the brand with the characteristic bow-tie logo – displays the great diversity of its brand at the IAA 2007. The highlight – the new Aveo fastback – is joined by the popular, cost-saving and especially environmentally friendly LPG models. Several Chevrolet country organizations - in France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, for instance – offer a retrofit program to LPG for various vehicles.

World premiere: New Aveo with fastback

The key characteristics of the Kalos' successor unveiled to the public for the first time at the IAA are its distinctive exterior design, high-quality interior and a new, more economical gasoline engine. Just like the notchback variant, the new model will be called Aveo throughout Europe in the future. The front-wheel drive vehicle will be at dealerships in March 2008.

The fastback Aveo boasts Chevrolet's new design style with its characteristic large, horizontally split radiator grille with color-keyed crossmember that prominently displays the brand logo. There are two gasoline engines available for the new Chevrolet: a new 1.2-liter engine with 84 hp and the existing 1.4-liter unit, which now has an output of 98 hp and is available with automatic transmission.

German premiere: Eye-catching HHR

The HHR is an absolute exception in the compact class segment with is unusual look that echoes both a Hot Rod and a classic Corvette. The HHR's distinctive exterior, especially its high roof line and accentuated fenders, was inspired by the innovative 1949 Chevrolet Suburban. The Chevrolet Suburban was the first true multi-purpose vehicle of its time. A large, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 175 hp perfectly complements the four-door HHR's elegant yet casual appearance.

Detailed model year overview:

Saab at the IAA: 30 years of turbo technology

  • New 9-3 generation with progressive, sharper look
  • Thoroughly sporty special edition model Turbo X
  • Leading position in European "Flexfuel" vehicle segment

In September 1977, Saab took the automobile world by surprise when it presented its first model with turbocharging at the IAA. Exactly 30 years on, the Swedish premium brand is celebrating this anniversary with the Turbo X, the most powerful Saab to date and top-of-the-line car in the completely newly designed 9-3 model line. The spotlight is also on Saab's leading position with its BioPower range in the fast-growing European "Flexfuel" vehicle segment.

Turbo anniversary: Turbo X "Black Power"

The Swedish premium brand celebrates its 30-year anniversary in turbo technology with the unveiling of the Turbo X. The completely black Turbo X is a thoroughly sporty special edition model, whose design echoes the legendary black Saab 99/900 turbos. The new Turbo X is available as a limited edition, top-of-the-line model with sophisticated four-wheel drive, an output of 206 kW/280 hp and a maximum torque of 400 Nm, setting new performance standards for the brand: the Turbo X takes just 5.7 seconds to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h.

World premiere: First public appearance of new 9-3 range

Following the interior enhancement in model year 2007, the successful Saab 9-3 range now gets a new face. This completes the new edition's design and technology advancements. The 9-3 now boasts a progressive, sharper look that is inspired by the Saab brand's Scandinavian design tradition and by the acclaimed Aero X concept car.

Most important details of new Saab 9-3:

  • Distinctive appearance with completely newly designed, unmistakable front, as well as new side and rear styling: Saab-typical headlamp zones with "eyebrow" look, clamshell-shaped hood, new bumpers, flared sill extensions and 'frosted' rear light design
  • 1.9-liter turbo-diesel engine with two-stage turbocharger and 132 kW/180 hp
  • Two powerful BioPower models (E85 Flex-Fuel) with 129 kW/175 hp or

147 kW/200 hp

Detailed model year overview:

Cadillac, Corvette and HUMMER at the IAA: BLS Wagon makes world premiere

  • BLS Wagon: First Cadillac station wagon
  • Cadillac BLS Flexpower: E85 bioethanol propulsion
  • 1.9 TiD: Innovative high-tech diesel engine for BLS
  • Cadillac CTS: New luxury sedan generation
  • Corvette C6: More output for Coupé and Cabrio

The new Cadillac BLS Wagon is the star of the Cadillac stand. The US luxury brand also presents the new generation of the CTS sedan - the BLS Flexpower - to IAA visitors, as well as the more powerful Corvette Coupé and Cabriolet. Fans of current "Transformers" film will be impressed with HUMMER Autobot Rachet. The complete model year 2008 with the STS luxury sedan, SRX crossover, "full-size" Escalade SUV and high-performance XLR-V roadster is also on display.

Cadillac BLS Wagon: Also with environmentally friendly bioethanol

The new BLS Wagon is not only the first station wagon in Cadillac's 100 plus-year history – with two new engines it also heralds a new era in propulsion variants for the brand. There is a new 2.0-liter Flexpower unit that runs on environmentally friendly E85 bioethanol fuel, and a 1.9-liter high-tech two stage turbo-diesel engine with 132 kW/180 hp and 400 Nm.

Cadillac CTS - new 2008 generation

The new Cadillac CTS boasts progressive design, powerful engines, intelligent technology and highest quality workmanship. From its bold body to its tailored, hand-crafted interior, the CTS continues Cadillac's design language and marks a change in the otherwise more conservative luxury sedans. Two modern V6 gasoline engines provide the propulsion for the performance-oriented car: a 2.8-liter engine, and a new 3.6-liter unit with direct injection and variable valve timing.

Corvette: new V8 engine with even more output

The Corvette goes into model year 2008 with an "LS3 small block" V8 engine enlarged to 6.2-liter displacement. The aluminum unit produces 321 kW/436 hp and torque of 586 Nm (preliminary values). LS3 and optional six-speed automatic transmission combine to create the fastest automatic Corvette ever: zero to 96 km/h (0-60 mph) takes only 4.3 seconds, and the car has a top speed of 306 km/h. GM engineers have also made chassis and interior enhancements to the sixth Corvette generation.

HUMMER H2: Film star from "Transformers"

The HUMMER H2 character from the new "Transformers" film has turned the SUV into a film star, and will wow every fan of the archetypal American cult brand. The car can be seen on a screen at the IAA 'transforming' from the HUMMER H2 rescue vehicle into "Autobot Rachet".

Detailed model year overview:

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