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Glass is Highlighted at Detroit Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public this Saturday in Detroit, is highlighting numerous glass options available on the latest vehicles and concept cars.

2009 Ford F-150

At the top of the list of highlights is Ford's 2009 F-150, which was recognized as the 2009 North American Truck of the Year; Carlite officals say the vehicle achieves part of its cabin comfort thanks to a highly engineered Carlite windshield. Carlite also announced this week that Ford's 2010 Lincoln MKT and redesigned 2010 Ford Taurus will utilize its SoundScreen windshield, as will the new Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, Mercury Milan and Milan Hybrid, and Lincoln MKZ.

"Carlite is proud to be a part of the F-150's continued success," says John Heller, vice president of automotive glass sales for Carlite. "Part of what makes this vehicle so popular is its ability to keep wind and road noise from entering the passenger cabin."

The noise-reducing windshield uses a sheet of specially developed acoustic vinyl sandwiched between two layers of glass, which is said to reduce noise levels by as much as 6 dB at certain frequencies and 2 to 3 dB overall.

2010 Kia Soulster

Energy efficiency-with a focus on solar panels and moonroofs-also is a prevailing factor at this year's event.

Toyota's 2010 Prius is just one of the many vehicles on display with this option. The vehicle is available with a sliding glass moonroof, packaged with solar panels, located over the rear seating area.

As popular as glass and glass options have proved to be, there's at least one vehicle on display this week that features just the opposite-no glass. The Mercedes McLaren SLR Stirling Moss edition has no windshield nor roof. The 2007 model of this high-end vehicle, worth $500,000, made news last January when it was recalled for faulty windshield installations. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

Kia retained the glass in its new concept vehicle, the Soul'ster, but shortened the windshield in order to give the vehicle a "sportier and hunkered-down appearance," according to the company.

2010 Mazda3

Mazda didn't necessarily change the glass options on its new 2010 Mazda 3, but in its redesign of the sporty compact car, the company made small adjustments to the upper forward corners of the A-pillars, outside mirrors, windshield wipers and taillamps, in an effort to smooth the air flow along the sides of the car.

While there are many launches and concepts on display during this week's media event-and the public show, opening Saturday-several manufacturers were also absent in light of the down economy and trouble in the auto manufacturing arena.

"Rolls Royce, Nissan/Infiniti, Suzuki, Land Rover, Porsche and Mitsubishi did not attend," says Dale Malcolm, technical manager for Dow Automotive, who attended the event early this week. "Some Mitsubishi vehicles were on display, but with minimal signing. Honda only displayed previously introduced vehicles with no press conference."

Malcolm notes that green also is a trend at the show. The year's event has a "ride and drive" area designed to highlight the latest green vehicles; the 70,000-square-foot area features a track designed with panoramic nature surroundings.

"There were lots of 'green' vehicles with lots of displays of current and future alternate fuel technologies," Malcolm adds. He also notes that attendance was down from previous years.

CLICK HERE for more information on the North American International Auto Show. Be sure to read the March/April issue of AGRR magazine, which will feature a full review and photos of the show.

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