Acura ZDX Concept Revealed in New York

Acura has revealed a prototype of the high-riding ZDX four door coupe at the 2009 New York International Auto Show. The ZDX represents a new market segment for Acura, one that has great possibilities.

"The ZDX is truly a luxury performance coupe - plus," said Jeff Conrad, vice president of Acura sales. "The emotional coupe styling coupled with a luxurious and dramatic interior and surprising versatility, allows the ZDX to define its own segment and attract an entirely new customer."

The ZDX's sportiness is emphasised by the flowing lines, the sharp roofline, concealed rear door handles and daring fender flares. While the boot is roomy with space for plenty of luggage, its all-glass make is a continuation of the uniqueness of the concept car. Signing off the exterior are 9-spoke 20-inch wheels and dual chrome tailpipes.

Size-wise the ZDX concept is 192.4 inches (4.89m) long, 78.5 inches (1.99m) wide and has a wheelbase of 108.2 inches (2.75m). On the other hand the BMW X6, the closest competitor to the ZDX measures 192 inches (4.88m) in length, is 77.9 inches (1.98m) wide and its wheelbase is 115.5 inches (2.93m).

Premium leather upholstery features on the seats and the hand-stitched leather dashboard adds to the vehicle's design flair. Although not as obvious as in the X6, the Acura's rear seats also accommodate only two. A third person may take the middle area but not very comfortably.

Comfort and safety technologies include the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition, Bluetooth connectivity, a blind-spot information system and a rear camera.

The engine is an all-aluminium VTEC V6 coupled with a 6-speed automatic transmission and Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). The production ZDX goes onto dealership floors this fall/ autumn in the US.

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Buying American cars: It's finally catching on

Sales of cardigans at J.Crew have soared ever since Michelle Obama wore an ivory sweater with sequins to 10 Downing Street. Now, if she'd only buy a Chrysler.
I stole that joke from "Saturday Night Live."
But, here in Detroit, where bumper stickers read "Want Change? Buy American," driving a foreign-made vehicle is becoming an anathema.
A prime example is my brother-in-law, Joe Keenan, an interior-design consultant with expensive taste. For years, he has driven a Jaguar, but since Ford sold the brand in 2008, he's now in the market for a Lincoln MKS. (His first choice, a hybrid Ford Fusion, has a lead time of seven months.)
Because the decline in the auto industry has led to severe cuts to Detroit's arts and cultural institutions, Joe says he can't, in good conscience, contribute to the downturn.
In January, the GM Foundation, the charitable arm of the struggling car maker, told groups like the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Opera Theater and Mosaic, a youth theater group, not to expect any funding this year. Late last month, Chrysler Foundation followed suit, announcing that it, too, would suspend its arts philanthropy. The Ford Motor Co. has said it expects its giving to fall by about 40 percent from last year.
"Everyone in this town that drives a foreign make should write a check to the DIA or the Detroit Symphony and then another check to a local charity to make up for the lost funds from the Big Three," Joe says. "People in this town don't realize how much support the auto industry contributes to the arts and to the needy."
Dr. Bruce Garretson, an ophthalmologist with offices in Royal Oak and Rochester, has bought BMWs for almost two decades. This will be the first year he will buy an American-made vehicle. "Although I prefer the way a BMW drives," the father of two college-age sons says. "I believe that supporting Detroit is more important than my personal taste given our current economic condition."
Even though Dr. Diane McShane of Birmingham was in the market for a used vehicle for their family car, the internist says: "My husband would not look at anything except an American car. We bought a Pacifica."
Reflecting a similar trend, a statistic has been making the e-mail rounds lately that has galvanized consumers to buy local. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, the projection is: "If every household started spending just $10 per week of their current grocery budget on locally grown foods, we'd keep more than $37 million each week circulating within Michigan's economy."
In 2003, Ryan Anderson of Lincoln Park says he saw the writing on the wall. The following year, he started the Web site "I just figured if people would start pumping their money into the local economy, we just might improve," says Anderson, a Web site development and software consultant.
The site provides a directory of Michigan-made products and company listings and also is sponsoring a buy-Michigan pledge calling for spending the extra few bucks expected in paychecks from the economic stimulus package on in-state products.
The 36-year-old says: "The site was running steadily until about six months ago, when traffic shot up dramatically. Last month, March 2009, was our best month ever."
Who knows? One visit to the site and you might be eating Kellogg's brand cereal from Battle Creek and Jiffy Mix muffins from Chelsea for breakfast, Koegel's deli meats from Flint for lunch and Romano's pasta sauce from Shelby Township for dinner with a glass of Merlot from St. Julian in Paw Paw or a glass of milk from Guernsey Farms in Northville.
Now, if we could just get the members of President Obama's auto task force to dump their personally owned foreign-made vehicles. In February, Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson reported only two of the eighteen policymakers own American-made vehicles. Unfortunately, that track record is no laughing matter at all.

Jay Leno drives a Volt mule, likes what he sees

Jay Leno's free comedy show for Detroit was, by all accounts, a big success. 15,000 people, many of whom were unemployed auto workers, packed The Palace of Auburn Hills Monday night. The popular late night comic is a self-confessed car nut, so it's not surprising to hear that he made a stop to check in on General Motors while in the Motor City.

When asked about the possibility of GM entering bankruptcy, Leno, who has shown a large interest in electric and alternative vehicles, said, "GM's not bankrupt yet! I was there today actually, I saw a lot of good product." Of course, one of those promising vehicles is the Chevy Volt, which Leno was reportedly allowed to drive with design chief Ed Welburn in the passenger seat.

Prior to his appearance in Detroit, Leno was quoted as saying the following about Chevy's upcoming green car: "I think it will be great. I think you'll find that the Volt will be a superior package to the Prius." Unsurprisingly, according to reports in the Detroit News, Leno's brief stint behind the wheel did nothing to change his early impression.