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Detroit stars head down under

RX Evolves: The RX-8 four-seater sports car is Mazda's latest development of the RX-Evolv concept car.

The latest concept cars will be in Sydney for this year's motor show

8 Aug 2001

By JUSTIN LACY in DETROIT

FOUR of the Detroit Motor Show's most popular concept cars are coming to Australia to make their southern hemisphere debuts at this year's Sydney Motor Show from October 12-21.

Mazda's radical RX-8 design study heads the list and will compete for attention with Nissan's Z sports car, Volvo's Adventure Concept Car (ACC) and the Volkswagen Microbus.

Show organiser, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), says the decision to show the latest concept cars and models here is recognition of the importance the world's motor industry places on the Sydney motor show.

"It confirms Sydney's status as the most important show in the southern hemisphere," the chief executive of the FCAI Peter Sturrock said.

The RX-8 is a further development of the RX-Evolv concept car that was displayed at last year's Sydney show, although it still features the innovative "Freestyle" door system, which combines both front and rear hinged doors with no centre pillar, and the compact Renesis rotary engine.

Nissan's Z-car is in near-production ready form and is set to go on sale in Australia in late 2002. The six-cylinder, rear-wheel drive sports car is designed to be the spiritual successor to the original Datsun 240Z of the 1970s and is part of a push by Nissan to overhaul its conservative image.

Volvo's ACC is a design study for the company's planned entry into the booming worldwide market for sports utility vehicles. The Swedish car-maker says the ACC's shape is designed to offer optimal protection for occupants in a crash, while not being unnecessarily aggressive in a collision with another car.

The Volkswagen Microbus is the latest concept car to be confirmed for the Sydney show after a standout performance in Detroit. It is intended to be a modern interpretation of the venerable Kombi, which became a worldwide hit with hippies and surfers in the 1960s.

However, the Microbus differs by featuring a water-cooled front-mounted engine rather than the air-cooled rear-mounted engine used by the Kombi.

The four Detroit stars are amongst an estimated 55 new, upgraded or previewed models that will be seen at Sydney's Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre in October.

Maserati's new 3200GT-based Spyder is one of those production cars, making its southern hemisphere debut just three weeks after its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany. The convertible's appearance in Sydney is part of the international launch planned by the Italian manufacturer.

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