As the traditional auto shows struggle to maintain their relevance in the digital age, automakers are turning to other venues to promote their latest and greatest. Automakers display their new concept cars at Pebble Beach, their electrified future at the Consumer Electronics Show, and Volkswagen and Porsche have announced their plans to attend the South by Southwest tech and culture festival scheduled for March 11-20 at Austin, Texas.
Volkswagen will use the festival to unveil the ID. Buzz, the electrified update on the Microbus, which goes into production later this year at the VW assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Porsche will showcase its design process at the festival, sharing not only vehicle design but inviting creators of music, film, tech and gaming to present their projects.
VW offers ‘home in a box’ for van
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, which produces the Caravelle, California Beach Tour and Caddy vans for Europe, has unveiled its BusBox series designed to provide a “mobile home in a box” for those who use their vans for camping.
For Caravelle owners, the box includes a bed, mattress, kitchen (with 2-burner stove), and storage for gear and for water. There’s also a KombiBox version for Caddy owners as well as a version without a mattress.
Ford shows Everglades Bronco
Traditional auto shows aren’t dead yet. The Chicago Auto Show staged its press preview this past week (the show is open to the public February 12-21). Among the attractions this year is the 2022 Ford GT in Alan Mann Heritage livery. The red-and-gold supercar is being showcased next to the 1966 AM GT-1 racer.
Ford notes that the Alan Mann version is the seventh in its GT heritage series.
Ford also unveiled a $53,000 Everglades special edition of its Bronco equipped with a snorkel and 10,000-pound winch.
Cadillac sets prototype program for 2023
Cadillac has released teaser images of its next GTP racing car, which it says will be unveiled this summer and will make its competitive debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2023 in anticipation of a return after 21 years to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The car, to be propelled by a Cadillac hybrid powertrain, is being developed jointly by Cadillac Racing and racing car manufacturer Dallara.
Nissan unveils Project Hardbody
Showcasing the potential for its newest Frontier pickup truck, Nissan unveiled three concept versions at Chicago, including Project Hardbody and Project 72X.
The Hardbody is a tribute to the iconic D21 Hardbody of the past while the 72X is a modern take on the Datsun 720 of the 1970s and ‘80s.
Nissan also displayed Project Adventure, an overlanding version of the 2022 Frontier.
Singer adds classic 911 Turbos
Porsche specialist Singer Vehicle Design reports that more than 70 people already have reserved copies of its Turbo Study, its latest reimagined Porsche, this time a 911 Turbo, complete with the iconic whale tail rear spoiler.
Company founder Rob Dickinson recalls his first ride in a Porsche 911, as an 11-year-old in 1976 in a black 930 Turbo with red tartan seats.
“Forty-five years on from that life-changing moment I’m excited to present the results of our study that aims to capture the awesome thrill of Porsche’s first ‘supercar’ while reimagining its performance and refinement and collaborating with owners to take both to new heights.,” he added. “I believe it’s a fitting tribute to a car that changed my life and many others.”
The Singer versions are based on the 964-generation 911 but have carbon fiber coachwork, twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter flat-6 engines producing more than 450 horsepower and linked to 6-speed manual transmissions, among other components.
BMW shows off electric SUV, the iX M60
Highlighting the BMW display at Chicago was the all-electric and high-performance iX M60, which made its North American debut earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. The iX M60’s battery-and-motor powertrain provides 610 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque and is underpinned by air suspension. Range is estimated at 280 miles for a vehicle with an MSRP of $105,100. Sales are set to being in June.
Also featured was the new $65,900 i4 M50, with 536 horsepower and a 245-mile range.
Lotus launches Advanced Performance group
British automaker Lotus has announced the addition of an Advanced performance division that will do everything from offering driving instructions, assembly-plant tours to producing accessories and even limited edition and bespoke vehicles for customers.
Heading the division is Simon Lane, formerly of the Aston Martin Q special-vehicle program.