Detroit 2008: Steve Saleen presents... a bargain Chinese pickup!

Laugh if you must, the wares that CHAMCO were showing off at the Detroit Auto Show were certainly a lot more humble than what you'd find at Lexus. China America Cooperative Automotive is seriously considering bringing pickup truck to the United States that they've retained the services of Steve Saleen to help guide them through the federalization process. The goal is to have the vehicle on sale here by 2009. Styling-wise, CHAMCO's un-named truck isn't going to win any EyesOn awards, but at $13,500, who cares? Besides, it could have looked a lot more grotesque, but it's not entirely a toad.

The equipment levels will meet market expectations, with power steering, windows, locks, and mirrors. Not a cupholder in sight, though. Materials inside the Anony-Truck will have you reliving the glory days of 1985, when truck interiors were seemingly blow-molded on the same production line as 2-liter soda bottles. Power comes from a 2.7-liter four cylinder serving up 150 horsepower and 180 lb-ft of torque through either a five speed manual or four speed automatic. Chortle now, but keep in mind another automaker from Asia that got its start with cheap little un-named pickups -- Toyota. For CHAMCO, it could be a smarter entry point than cars, anyway. The Ranger can only carry on for so long, and everyone else has pushed up the size and price of their once-small trucks.


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