Issue: Feb 2007


CSM Worldwide Trendwatch: Top Auto Trends on Display at NAIAS



by Michael Robinet

Every year the world's leading automakers make dozens of vehicle debuts at the North American International Auto Show, making it arguably the world's most important auto show. This year's edition is no different, and with approximately 60 new production and concept vehicles on the show floor for 2007, it's possible to distinguish several leading vehicle trends. The forecasting team at CSM Worldwide have compiled their top 10 trends coming from this year's edition of NAIAS, and which new vehicles to watch to see examples of these trends.

"Future success in the vehicle market will be strongly correlated with those manufacturers that efficiently integrate leading-edge technologies that consumers value," said Michael Robinet, vice president, Global Vehicle Forecasts. "Better solutions involving safety, powertrain efficiency and the driving experience will be tomorrow's differentiators."

CSM Worldwide's Top 10 NAIAS Trends and example vehicles to see at NAIAS:

Styling: Taller shoulders, slimmer greenhouses, wider stance, lower hood
and taller rear end -- Ford Interceptor and Lincoln MKR concepts.

Stability: AWD integration combined with stability-control improvements --
Volvo XC60 and Cadillac CTS.

Bodystyle and Glass: 4-door cabriolets, folding roofs and glass-noise
abatement -- Mercedes-Benz Ocean Drive concept and Toyota FT-HS concept.

Cockpit Integration / Interior Material Choice: Pop-up navigation systems,
central entertainment/navigation controls, and instrument/door panel
material upgrades -- Chrysler Group minivans and Cadillac CTS.

Seating: Flexibility and enhanced ingress/egress are keys; lighter, more
functional seats can be found across various segments -- Chrysler Group
minivans and the Ford Airstream concept.

Exterior Lighting: Headlamp capability/styling as a differentiator, rear
lighting advances and other exterior lighting improvements with mirrors,
running boards and CHMSLs -- Lincoln MKR concept and the Jeep Trailhawk
concept.

Interior Lighting: Interior ambient lighting (below the belt line) and
instrument panel illumination -- Chrysler Nassau concept and Jaguar C-XF
concept.

Passive Safety Improvements: Lane departure systems, rear
detection/cameras, airbag integration, and tire-pressure sensing -- Lexus
LS 460 and Chrysler Group minivans.

Engines: More with less through greater use of turbochargers,
superchargers and diesels, as well as internal combustion engine
technology integration such as direct injection, variable valve and multi-
displacement systems -- Chevrolet Volt concept and Toyota FT-HS concept.

Transmissions: An increase in the number of forward speeds, particularly
6-speed automatics, as well as the use of DCTs/CVTs -- Mitsubishi Lancer
and Nissan Rogue.


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