North American International Auto Show 2015: Asian OEMs

Asian OEMs establish strong positions in truck and performance market



Nissan Titan
Nissan Titan

 The 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held from January 12 through January 25, 2015, with the show being open to the public starting January 17. A total of 808,775 people attended the public show, the highest attendance over a twelve-year period.

 With the truck segment becoming increasingly competitive, Asian automakers showcased an unusually large number of trucks during the North American International Auto Show. Nissan unveiled the full-size Titan XD, while Toyota debuted the mid-size Tacoma. The Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept was also unveiled, displaying a vehicle with truck-like storage and utility designed for customers unwilling to purchase a pickup.

 Asian automakers also displayed a number of prominent performance vehicles. The highly anticipated Acura NSX made its debut three years after its concept was originally shown. Lexus unveiled the latest addition to its F performance line with the GS F, and Infiniti showed the Q60 Concept as a precursor to a 2016 production model.

 This report is the third of three reports which focus on the vehicles displayed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. This report will focus on vehicles showcased by Asian OEMs, including Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Subaru and GAC Group. Two reports on the North American International Auto Show focused on models from US and European OEMs have already been released.

Related report:
North American International Auto Show 2015
US automakers display confidence with luxury and performance models (Jan. 2015)

European automakers focus on their strengths and prepare for the future (Feb. 2015)

Nissan showcases power and luxury with Titan pickup and Infiniti Q60 concept

 Both Nissan's and Infiniti's displays at the North American International Auto Show almost exclusively emphasized the models announced during their press conferences. In doing so, Nissan highlighted the importance of the Titan and Infiniti Q60 in its future plans.


2016 Nissan Titan XD Full-size Pickup

 The unveiling of the 2016 Nissan Titan XD represents Nissan's attempt to gain customers in the competitive full-size pickup segment by combining the power of a heavy-duty truck with the efficiency and cost of a light-duty pickup. It features a new Cummins 5.0-liter V8 turbocharged diesel engine capable of providing 310 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque. The engine is equipped with the unique Cummins M2 Two-Stage Turbocharger. Using two differently sized turbochargers, the system provides a small turbocharger for low air flow requirements and a large turbocharger for high air flow. The Rotary Turbine Control system helps eliminate turbo lag and provides torque consistently across the engine's power band. Future powertrain choices will include a gasoline V8 and V6. All versions will come with a standard six-speed Aisin automatic transmission.


Nissan Titan Nissan Titan Engine
Nissan Titan
Nissan Titan Engine


Nissan Titan Frame and Powertrain
Nissan Titan Frame and Powertrain

 The Titan XD has a maximum payload of over 2,000 pounds and maximum towing rating of over 12,000 pounds. Towing aid systems that are available include Integrated Trailer Brake Controller, Trailer Sway Control, and a trailer light check system. Another available system is a RearView Monitor and Around View monitor, which uses cameras around the Titan XD to help maneuvering in tight spaces. A new suspension system featuring a double-wishbone front suspension and rigid rear axle suspension is used for improved stability and comfort. In the interior, front and rear storage space has been increased by 33 percent and 28 percent respectively, over the previous generation Titan.

 Production of the Nissan Titan XD will take place in Canton, Mississippi. Sales will begin in the US and Canada in late 2015.


Infiniti Q60 Concept Coupe

 Making its debut in Detroit, the Infiniti Q60 Concept serves to preview both a future production model and a new family of engines. The Q60 Concept utilizes a 3.0-liter twin turbocharged V6 engine with direct injection which was first seen in the Q80 Inspiration shown at the Paris Motor Show. A seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive system are used in the concept.


Infiniti Q60 Concept Infiniti Q60 Concept Interior
Infiniti Q60 Concept
Infiniti Q60 Concept Interior


 The Q60 Concept is 184.6 inches long, 73.4 inches wide and 53.9 inches high. Character lines run from the grille to the tail spoiler give the Q60 Concept a confident image. An emphasis on the 21-inch wheels adds to the athletic profile. Leather used throughout the interior adds a sense of luxury. Two notable technologies in the Q60 concept are the Infiniti Direct Adaptive Steering drive-by-wire system and the Infiniti InTuition system, which saves up to four personalized driver settings for features such as seat position, seat temperature, audio and navigation.

 Infiniti is planning to launch a production model in 2016 heavily based on the Q60 Concept.



Toyota debuts Tacoma pickup; Lexus highlights performance-focused GS F

 While Toyota's press conferences focused on the same types of vehicles as Nissan's press conference, namely a pickup and a performance model, Toyota's exhibits had many more vehicles on display. The exhibits served to highlight the new models as being parts of an overall strategy, rather than cornerstones.


2016 Toyota Tacoma Mid-size Pickup

Toyota Tacoma
Toyota Tacoma

 The redesigned Toyota Tacoma made its debut amidst increasing competition in the segment from models such as the Chevrolet Colorado. Customers have a choice of a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter Atkinson cycle V6 with both direct and port fuel injection. A six-speed automatic transmission will be standard, though a six-speed manual is available for the V6 engine.

 The Tacoma contains several features which emphasize its functionality as a capable off-road vehicle. Available off-road systems include Automatic Limited Slip, Locking Rear Differential, Hill Start Assist Control, and Crawl Control. An integrated spoiler on the tailgate improves the vehicle's aerodynamics. The tailgate also has an easy lowering feature to prevent it from being damaged by sudden openings.

 The Toyota Tacoma is assembled at facilities in San Antonio, Texas and Baja California, Mexico and will be available starting in the fall of 2015.


2016 Lexus GS F Performance Sedan

 As the latest vehicle in Lexus' F performance line, the GS F is a combination of a luxury sedan with a track-ready performance vehicle. A 5.0-liter V8 engine that produces 467 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The engine uses both Otto and Atkinson combustion cycles to improve fuel efficiency based on the situation. Four different driving modes are featured on the GS F: Normal, Eco, Sport and Sport S+.

 With a weight of 4,034 pounds, the GS F weighs 300 pounds less than key competitors. A custom suspension combined with a braking system featuring 15-inch front rotors enhances the vehicle's handling and braking. The Torque Vectoring Differential system in the GS F uses two electro-mechanical clutch packs and features three operating modes. Standard mode provides a mix of agility and stability, Slalom mode focuses on steering response, and Track mode emphasizes stability at high speeds.


Lexus GS F Lexus GS F Interior
Lexus GS F
Lexus GS F Interior


 Luxury aspects of the GS F can be seen in the vehicle's interior, which uses Alcantara trim on the doors, center console and above the instrument panel. A 12.3-inch central video monitor with Remote Touch Interface is featured along with an analog clock. The GS F also has safety systems such as Pre-Collision System with automatic braking, Radar Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist, and Blind Spot Monitor.

 Sales of the Lexus GS F will begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.



Honda unveils long-awaited Acura NSX sports car

 Acura's exhibit revolved around the highly anticipated NSX, framing the model in the center of its display. An optimistic mood could be felt as crowds surrounded the vehicle throughout the show.


2016 Acura NSX Hybrid Supercar

Acura NSX
Acura NSX

 Three years after the concept model of the Acura NSX debuted at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, the production NSX was unveiled in Detroit. The NSX features a Sport Hybrid system with a twin-turbocharged engine and three electric motors, assembled in Honda's engine plant in Anna, Ohio. Specific numbers are currently unavailable, though the powertrain is expected to produce over 550 hp and provide zero-delay acceleration due to the electric motors. The engine is mounted in the middle of the vehicle to improve its weight distribution and is paired with a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission.

 Another key aspect to the NSX's performance capabilities is its lightweight multi-material body. The frame is constructed from aluminum, high-strength steel and other materials, while the floor is formed from carbon fiber, and the body panels are a combination of aluminum and sheet molding composite. Various vents and intakes are integrated into the body to create a completely passive aerodynamic system and provide necessary cooling to the engine. An all-wheel drive system uses torque vectoring to improve the vehicle's handling.

 The cockpit of the NSX continues the emphasis on the driving experience. A thin A-pillar and lowered instrument panel provides the driver with a clear view outside. The instrument cluster uses a dynamic display that changes information based on the mode selected in the NSX Integrated Dynamics System. Ergonomically designed seating adds to the comfort of the driver during prolonged travels.

 The Acura NSX will be exclusively manufactured at Honda's Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio and is expected to be available in late 2015. Exact pricing has not yet been specified, though it is expected to start at approximately USD 150,000.



Hyundai provides alternatives with Sonata hybrids and Santa Cruz concept

 Hyundai's exhibit had a very modern tone, with displays that explained the technology used in the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid and features of the Santa Cruz concept. A side area also displayed the variety of engines used in Hyundai vehicles, further emphasizing the theme of technology.


2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Sedan

 After unveiling a gasoline engine Sonata in 2014, Hyundai revealed both hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants of the model in Detroit. Both versions feature a 2.0-liter gasoline direct inject 4-cylinder engine capable of 154 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. The Sonata Hybrid combines it with a 38 kW electric motor which produces a total of 193 hp, while the Sonata Plug-in Hybrid utilizes a 50 kW motor for a combined 202 hp. The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid contains a 9.8 kWh lithium polymer battery pack for an all-electric range of 22 miles. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for both models.


Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Interior
Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid
Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Interior


Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain Display
Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Powertrain Display

 Both versions of the Sonata have undergone design changes to the front and rear fascias to reach an improved drag coefficient of 0.24. Other styling changes were made to the grille, front and rear bumpers, front fenders, and lights to help differentiate both hybrid variants from a standard Sonata.

 Available safety systems in both models include Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Warning, and Rear Cross-traffic Alert. Standard safety features such as a rearview camera, Electronic Stability Control, and Vehicle Stability Management are included for both models. Hyundai's Smart Trunk system, which allows hands-free opening of the trunk is also standard for both models.


Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

 Both the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be built at the Hyundai plant in Asan, South Korea. The Sonata Plug-in Hybrid will be available in the spring of 2015, while the Sonata Hybrid will be available in the summer.


Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

 As a vehicle with the driving attributes and footprint of a crossover, the Santa Cruz Concept was designed to target a younger demographic that required the space and utility of a truck, without the size and cost of a traditional pickup. The Santa Cruz Concept contains a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine which provides 190 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque while offering a fuel economy in the high 30 mpg range. An all-wheel drive system provides additional driving capability.


Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept Cargo Bed
Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept
Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept Cargo Bed


 The main feature of the Santa Cruz is its cargo bed. An integrated tonneau cover helps store and protect items in the cargo bed. For larger objects that require additional space, the Santa Cruz features a tailgate extension which lengthens the cargo bed to a size similar to that provided by a midsize pickup. Tie-down cleats are located on the wheel arches, roof, and bed rails to help secure cargo. Despite its compact size, the Santa Cruz has seating for five, which allows the vehicle to transport people as well as objects.

 Other notable features on the Santa Cruz include LED fog lamps with dual lens-free honeycomb headlamp projectors. The rear doors are hinged in the back to allow for easier access to the rear seats. Oversized wheels and Brembo brake calipers create a confident side profile image.



Subaru displays updated versions of Outback and Legacy

 While Subaru did not debut any new models at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, the company showcased its Outback and Legacy models in its exhibit. Subaru's display was fairly simple and focused more on its current vehicle lineup as opposed to any future models or technologies, though a side area did focus on Subaru's Starlink infotainment and connectivity platform.


2015 Subaru Outback SUV

 Debuting at the New York International Auto Show in April 2014, the fifth generation Subaru Outback was one of Subaru's highlighted models in Detroit. The Outback comes with a standard 2.5-liter flat-4 Boxer engine capable of 173 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque or an available 3.6-liter flat-6 Boxer engine with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. A new standard system is the Lineartronic CVT with a selectable manual mode that uses paddle shifters. The new CVT features changes that reduce friction, thereby improving fuel efficiency. Models with the 2.5-liter engine have a fuel economy of 28 mpg combined, while 3.6-liter engine models have a 22 mpg combined rating.


Subaru Outback Subaru Outback Interior
Subaru Outback
Subaru Outback Interior


 Handling of the Subaru Outback was improved through its new Active Torque Vectoring system and X-Mode system. X-Mode reduces individual wheel spin by adjusting engine outputs, CVT ratio positions, and the all-wheel drive system. The Outback has available Rear Vehicle Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and EyeSight driver assist. Standard convenience features include Welcome Lighting that functions as the driver approaches or leaves the vehicle, a 6.2-inch touch screen display and Starlink smartphone integration.

 The Subaru Outback is currently available starting at a price of USD 24,895. Production of the Outback in the US takes place in Lafayette, Indiana.


2015 Subaru Legacy Sedan

 The Subaru Legacy, which debuted at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, was another of Subaru's key models displayed in Detroit. The Legacy shares the same engine offerings as the Outback, with a standard 2.5-liter flat-4 Boxer engine that provides 173 hp and 174 lb-ft of torque as well as an available 3.6-liter flat-6 Boxer engine with 256 hp and 247 lb-ft of torque. The 2.5-liter engine provides a fuel economy of 30 mpg combined, while the 3.6-liter provides 23 mpg combined. All versions of the Legacy come standard with a Lineartronic CVT and all-wheel drive.


Subaru Legacy Subaru Legacy Engine Compartment
Subaru Legacy
Subaru Legacy Engine Compartment


Subaru Legacy Interior
Subaru Legacy Interior

 One of the Legacy's key features is its segment leading cabin space. The 2015 Legacy has a cabin space of 104.6 cubic feet, up from its predecessor's 103 cubic feet. Much like the Outback, the Legacy has available Rear Vehicle Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and EyeSight driver assist systems. A rear-view camera comes standard on the Legacy. The Legacy's standard interior features also match the Outback's, with a 6.2-inch touch screen display, Bluetooth connectivity, and Starlink smartphone integration.

 Pricing of the Subaru Legacy starts at USD 21,695. The Legacy is currently available and is produced at Subaru's plant in Lafayette, Indiana.



GAC Group returns to Detroit and shows off GS4 and Witstar concept

 Guangzhou Automobile Group made its return and became the first Chinese automaker in several years to debut a new vehicle in Detroit. While it did not have a place in the main exhibition hall, the Chinese automaker wanted to make a strong impression to an overseas audience with its model offerings.


2016 GS4 Compact SUV

 Despite being unavailable in the North America, the GS4 made its world debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. The GS4 offers a choice between a 1.3-liter or 1.5-liter turbocharged engine, representative of the company's new focus on turbocharged engines with smaller displacements. Both engines will be paired with a dual-clutch seven-speed automatic transmission and can come with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive options.


GAC GS4 GAC GS4 Interior
GAC GS4 Interior


 The styling of the GS4 is based on a technique the company calls "light sculpture 2.0", where the exterior lines of the vehicle provide a contrast between light and shadow. Other features on the GS4 include an adaptive frontlighting system, an electronic stability program from Bosch, and direct tire pressure monitoring systems.

 The GS4 will go on sale in China in April 2015 with pricing estimated to be approximately USD 16,000.


Witstar Plug-in Hybrid SUV Concept

 GAC Group also displayed its Witstar plug-in hybrid concept vehicle in Detroit. The Witstar has an I4 range extender combined with an electric motor to provide 127 hp and 168 lb-ft of torque. A 13 kWh lithium-ion battery provides the Witstar with an electric range of approximately 62 miles. The powertrain allows the Witstar to achieve a maximum speed of approximately 100 mph while achieving a fuel economy of 117 mpg.


GAC Witstar Concept GAC Witstar Concept Interior
GAC Witstar Concept
GAC Witstar Concept Interior


 One of the most notable features of the Witstar's exterior is its gull-wing doors. The Witstar also comes with a variety of sensors to support autonomous driving including a laser radar, millimeter wave radar, high-speed CCD camera, infrared camera, and GPS. The interior features wood paneling and rotatable front seats to allow for easier interaction with rear passengers.

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