This is a little off topic because these
are Chrysler concept vehicles but they
both seemed interesting enough to post.
Below is the article if you do not
care to see the pictures. You should
see the pictures:
Jeep will show its answer to the Hummer H2 at
the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Jeep Rescue is one of three new concept
vehicles, cars that may or may not make
production, which DaimlerChrysler's (nyse: DCX -
news - people ) American brands will display at
the Detroit show in January.
Although similarities between the Rescue and the
H2 scream out in profile, Jeep is disguising its
concept as an emergency services vehicle designed
to drive through the most demanding conditions.
Chrysler officials are not commenting on the
Rescue's production plans, but there's no reason
not to build the vehicle as an SUV for civilians,
considering how the H2's profitability is equaled
or rivaled only by the Cadillac Escalade and
Escalade ESV among General Motors' (nyse: GM -
news - people ) vehicles. Perhaps Chrysler is
trying to keep a low profile after last year, when
it dropped a lawsuit that claimed the H2's grille
infringed on the classic seven-slotted Jeep
grille. The company also knows GM is in an
advantageous position to make profits on the H2;
GM farms out its production to AM General, the
original Hummer manufacturer, thus dodging its own
enormous factory and labor costs.
Why shouldn't Jeep want a cash cow like the Hummer
H2 (shown here)?
The Rescue's dimensions are very similar to those
of the H2: It is 80 inches wide, only 1.2 inches
narrower than the H2, and its 123-inch wheelbase
(the distance from the center of the front wheel
to the center of the rear) is only two-tenths of
an inch longer than the H2's.
Like the H2, which shares mechanical architecture
with the Chevrolet Suburban SUV and,
fundamentally, the Chevrolet Silverado pickup, the
Rescue concept rides on a truck platform--that of
the Dodge Ram. This truck basis gives the Rescue
off-roading credentials, and the vehicle comes
with a folding windshield and removable doors and
The heart of this "ultimate search and rescue
vehicle" is a 305-horsepower Cummins diesel--not
as impressive as the 316-horsepower V-8 that the
H2 shares with the Suburban and Escalade. However,
the Rescue's engine shames the H2's on torque, the
turning force that determines a vehicle's towing
capabilities: 555 foot-pounds versus 360
foot-pounds in the H2. The Rescue also has
remote-control winches for towing, along with 3D
topographical mapping software and a navigation
Other goodies include a VHF radio, digital video
recorder, satellite transmission capability and a
satellite phone. And get this: The Rescue has
cameras under the chassis that display what the
axles are about to run into--useful for
off-roading in a tall vehicle like this. Ground
clearance is variable in the Rescue, as the
vehicle comes with a custom-built suspension whose
ride height is adjustable. Are the H2's 17-inch
wheels impressive? No. Rescue comes with titanic,
37-inch wheels with run-flat tires. From the
cockpit, you can change the tire pressure to
adjust traction on different surfaces.
Should Jeep build this vehicle? Only if it wants
to make a lot of money.
At the Detroit show, the Rescue will team with the
Dodge Sling Shot and another concept from the
Chrysler division to preview DaimlerChrysler's
future designs. The Sling Shot, a sporty-looking
compact car, features the sort of right angles on
its rear end that are characteristic of Renault's
edgy designs. The Sling Shot's triple exhaust is a
nice touch, as is its instrument panel, where the
bigger gauges are paired and encased with the
smaller gauges in a way that resembles a belt with
two differently sized pulleys.
If the Rescue is Jeep's Hummer, the Sling Shot
(shown here) is Dodge's Renault.
As with the Rescue, DaimlerChrysler has not made
an announcement about production plans for the
Sling Shot. They describe it as a "sports car,"
but its performance characteristics are more like
European small cars (such as Renaults) than
American ones. The Sling Shot will use a
three-cylinder gas engine borrowed from
DaimlerChrysler's Smart brand. Based on that
engine's characteristics and the vehicle's
power-to-weight ratio, Dodge estimates the Sling
Shot will be able to go from 0-60 mph in about ten
seconds. While that's nothing special, like a
European car, it can do that and still get about
45 miles to the gallon.