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|After years of ceding much of the car market to Asian competitors, Detroit's Big Three are preparing to roll out an array of new cars that they hope will bring buyers back to their showrooms to look for something besides trucks.
General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. plan to unveil new versions of aging or unpopular models at the North American International Auto Show, which begins later this month in Detroit. DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group will show off a concept car that likely will be the replacement for the once hot-selling Chrysler 300.
The new cars, most of which won't debut until next fall, are critical to the survival of their makers, which have lost billions of dollars this year as consumers shifted away from trucks and sport utility vehicles to more fuel efficient cars made by the competition.
Perhaps the most important new car model is the 2008 Chevrolet Malibu, which many industry analysts predict will be good enough to take on the gorillas of the key mid-sized segment - the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord.
It's designed to take a chunk of the market from Camry, the perennial top-selling car in America. Through November, Toyota sold 408,906 Camrys, a 2.6 percent increase over strong sales numbers for the first 11 months of 2005.
The Malibu shows signs of GM returning to its roots, producing distinctly American cars that touch buyers' emotions rather than giving them cheap copies of Toyotas or Hondas.
GM also says the Malibu will compete with Camry on price, but won't reveal how much it will cost yet. The lowest-priced Camry starts at $18,720.
The problem for GM is that Toyota and Honda aren't standing still. Honda is readying a new, futuristic looking Accord, while the redesigned Camry looks far sleeker than its predecessors.
History of the car invention:
There were hundreds of designs, which could fulfill transportation functions and which quite often are named as first in history. Long disputes regarding the priority among different countries, inventors and designs have forced to develop four necessary and sufficient conditions for the definition of a priority.
The first - the promotion of the idea of the transport vehicle with the purpose mentioned above. The second - the preparation of the legal documents, which give copyright to the inventor or inventors on the given idea. The third condition - the realization of an efficient pre-production model based on this idea and the completion of tests marked periodically in the mass media and certificates. And the fourth - launching the item in production for its sale to the consumers independent of the founder of a product. The conditions specified here are equally applied both to the automobile as a whole, and to its component parts and sub-assemblies.
These phrases sound a little bit formal (in the case of the acceptance of the conditions formulated here) but allow the elimination of applicants inappropriate to them and to name the founder of the proto-automobile. His name is German engineer Charles Benz.
Benz, having since 1871 owned a factory for producing gas engines, has got a patent DRP 22256 on the high-speed two-stroke engine on the 25th of October 1882. In 1885, he made the three-wheeled automobile with an internal combustion engine of his own design, but he did not go beyond the limits of the factory with this automobile. When on the 29th of January 1886, he applied for the patent DRP 37435 on the self-mobile crew as such, then it become possible to demonstrate its child to the public. Its departure took place on the 3rd of July 1886, and the local newspaper “Noiye Badishe Lindestsaitung” wrote about this event and even stated its estimation.
Thus, Benz fulfilled the first three conditions of priority. He demonstrated his automobile at exhibitions, but there was no demand for it. Emil Rozhe from Paris became the first buyer in 1887. This case has forced the inventor to start the production of the batch of the same vehicles for sale. That model was called the “Model III”. From 1886 to 1894, Benz produced 25 such automobiles. Thus he fulfilled the fourth condition, and already at this stage he had the position as the pioneer of the first automobile.
Further, the inventor could stop the work in this direction. But he developed his business, and in 1926, his factory was united with the firm "Daimler" founded by another inventor "Gotlib Daimler". The firm “Daimler-Benz” exists even now by producing the automobiles "Mercedes-Benz".
Many of the engineers and inventors who worked in the field of the automobile industry, rather easily satisfied the first three conditions of the priority. But the execution of the fourth condition quite often was possible after some decades when the situation for use of the design offered by them in a batch production ripened. For example, the disk brake mechanism suggested by English engineer Frederick Lanchester on a pre-production model of an automobile of his own design, was claimed after half a century, when a "chain reaction" of his application began.
At the end of the 19th century, the automobile industry was still in its infancy. There were a wide variety of designs, and there was an active search of initial engineering decisions. Important among them was the assembly scheme put forward in 1891 by the factory "Panar-Levassor" (France): the engine - ahead, driving wheels - back. The invention of the spraying carburetor in 1892 by V. Maibahom (Germany) also became a turning point in automobile history. And it is necessary to consider the pneumatic tire offered in 1895 by rubber manufacturer E. Michelin (France) as the third major innovation of this period. All three for many years have defined the common concept of the automobile.||