posttrib
SMOOTH 
Weather Updates

Chicago Auto Show puts sexy into small cars, subcompacts

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel engine is unveiled Chicago AuShow Thursday Feb. 7 2013 Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel engine is unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

storyidforme: 44251205
tmspicid: 16399499
fileheaderid: 7369056

Updated: February 8, 2013 8:44AM



Small and subcompact cars are already popular sellers, but the 2013 Chicago Auto Show may just make them sexy.

Witness Brian Deegan, Rally race-car driver and biggest Motocross bike winner in X-Games history, touting the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST race car, and hybrid luxury sedan innovator Henrik Fisker telling The Economic Club of Chicago that Chinese imports, gasoline-alternative vehicles and instant car sharing will soon come to America.

Deegan, who grew up driving a Ford 150 truck in Omaha, Neb., said during a media appearance Thursday that the Rally turns a small car into a “cool” car and represents the future of a small car with high performance.

Deegan has raced a Ford Fiesta at the X Games for the past three years.

Fisker, whose controversial Fisker Automotive won initial Obama administration backing and boasts actor Leonardo DiCaprio among its investors, told the Economic Club, which met at McCormick Place convention center alongside the Auto Show, that he has sold “close to” 2,000 of his $100,000, eco-friendly Karma cars. One is owned by singer Justin Bieber.

Fisker has run into troubles recently, including losing the U.S. Department of Energy loan for failing to meet certain requirements and losing its battery supplier, at least temporarily, to bankruptcy.

Fisker is seeking a partner or more investors and has introduced a more affordable model.

He still believes in risk.

“It is possible to challenge the big, established brands,” he said. “Yet it is difficult.”

Other notables on the Chicago Auto Show list:

♦Jaguar’s first all-wheel drive sedans, the 2013 XJ and XF, powered by 3-liter, V6-supercharged engines.

♦A redesigned 2014 Toyota Tundra, a full-size pickup truck, with ergonomically improved driver controls, safety features that keep the driver from going off-track and Bluetooth wireless technology to make hands-free calling.

♦The Corolla Furia Concept, featuring a more sleek design, flared fenders and a blacked-out grille.

♦Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the fastest- moving version so far with 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, a variety of driving choices reflecting the weather, terrain and road conditions, and weight-saving elements such as a carbon fiber hood and an aluminum frame.

♦Ford Transit Connect wagon, in five-seater and seven-seater versions, boosts new fuel efficiency with the made-in-Chicago EcoBoost engine. Its family friendly features include sliding doors, fold-flat second and third row seats and more than 100 cubic feet of cargo space.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.