Familiar Dodge pony resurfaces

Associated Press
Published February 7, 2008

CHICAGO - After a 35-year absence, the Dodge Challenger soon will be tearing up the roadways again.  Chrysler LLC is reintroducing the legendary pony car at the Chicago Auto Show. The Challenger has the long hood, wide stance and racing stripes of the original, which was introduced in the fall of 1969 as a 1970 model and phased out five model years later. Unlike the original, which had nine powertrain options, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 has just one: a 6.1-liter, HEMI V-8 with 425 horsepower. Chrysler says the Challenger can go from 0 to 60 in about 5 seconds and from 0 to 100 in less than 17 seconds.

Ethanol vow from GM

General Motors Corp. said Wednesday that half of its U.S. vehicle volume will run on ethanol by 2012, just as partner Coskata Inc. is expected to be ramping up ethanol production.

GM North America President Troy Clarke said GM will have 11 ethanol-capable vehicles on the market this year and 15 in 2009. Clarke also announced that GM will be producing its first four-cylinder ethanol-capable model, the FlexFuel Chevrolet HHR, in 2010.

"We don't only want to respond to the needs of the market. We want to anticipate them," Clarke said.

Clarke also said that Warrenville, Ill.-based Coskata, which announced its partnership with GM in January, has formed an alliance with ethanol plant engineering firm ICM Inc. to build its first plant, which is expected to open in late 2010.

Chevy adds crossover

Chevrolet is adding a crossover with three rows of seats to its lineup - the Chevrolet Traverse - which is set to debut at the show.

A crossover vehicle has most of the attributes of a truck-based sport utility vehicle but is more maneuverable and gets better gas mileage because it's built on car underpinnings.

The Traverse, which borrows its bold front end and styling from the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, will go into production in Spring Hill, Tenn., in the third quarter of this year.

Tall van from Ford

Ford Motor Co. is bringing a small but tall commercial van from Europe to the United States for use mainly in congested urban areas.

The Transit Connect van will debut at this week's Chicago Auto Show, Ford said, taking aim at the urban market with a more fuel-efficient option.

Ford says customers will be drawn to the van's fuel economy. With its standard, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Transit Connect will have an estimated fuel economy of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

A printer in an F-150

Ford Motor Co. will soon offer an in-dash computer with high-speed Internet access and a battery-powered inkjet printer on its F-150 pickups and commercial vans.