Milestones

20 years ago: These cars, trucks, and SUVs were introduced in 2001

The Aston Martin Vanquish was first produced for the 2001 model year.

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

The turn from 2020 to 2021 was just a few days ago but the changeover from 2000 to 2001 was 20, even though it might seem like "just yesterday". The second year of the 21st century was ripe with iconic model debuts, though some less iconic found their way in there. Let's take a look back at the cars, trucks, and SUVs that were introduced in 2001.

2001 Aston Martin Vanquish

Photo courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda

The Aston Martin V12 Vanquish was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2001, but that wasn't the first time it was seen. The company hinted at the model in January 1998 with the Project Vantage at the New York Motor Show. The car was designed by famed artist Ian Callum.

The Vantage had a carbon fiber and aluminum platform, a 5.9-liter V12 engine, and a six-speed gearbox with paddle shift capability. Its carbon/steel/aluminum subframe carried the engine and front suspension.

Vanquish shared its engine with the CB7 Vantage. Its exterior panels were hot-formed by a process called 'superforming', which was pioneered by the automaker in the late 1970s.

2001 BMW 7 Series

2001 BMW 7 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

The E65 generation of the BMW 7 Series was in production from 2001 to 2008. Development of the car started in 1996 and it wasn't until 2001 at the Frankfurt Auto Show that the car was revealed. It launched in Europe just eight short weeks later.

At the time it debuted, the new look of the model was a departure from the visual identity many BMWs were sporting at the time. Its kidney grille and similarly sized headlights, as well as squared off back end, created a design trend whose lineage clearly exists today in the company's lineup.

2002 Buick Rendezvous

2001 Buick Rendezvous

Photo courtesy of Buick

The Buick Rendezvous may have had most of its success because it was the SUV that Tiger Woods was billed to endorse. The corporate cousin of the Pontiac Aztek debuted in 2001 as a 2002 model. The Redezvous was the first truck Buick brought to market since 1923 and they did all they could to market it as having the comforts of an SUV with the handling of a truck.

The Rendezvous was the shot in the arm Buick needed at the right time. It served as the launching point for the brand's modern North American presence before its run ended with the 2007 model.

2002 Chevrolet Avalanche

2001 Chevrolet Avalanche

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

With Chevrolet Suburban and Cadillac Escalade underpinnings, the Chevrolet Avalanche seemed like it had the right stuff to make a lasting impact - and it did. The four-door, five- or six-passenger truck was part SUV with more comfortable appointments and styling. It also had a second row of seats that could be folded down in combination with the Convert-a-Cab system to make a bed.

The product's first buyers could get their Avalanche with either a 5.2-liter V8 or an 8.1-liter V8, making 285 or 340 horsepower, respectively.

Production of the Avalanche started in autumn 2001 and ended in April 2013, spanning two generations.

2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer

2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

From 1999 to 2001, the TrailBlazer was a Chevrolet Blazer trim level. Then, in time for the 2002 model year, the General Motors company gave North America its own Chevrolet TrailBlazer model. It came standard with a 4.2-liter inline-six-cylinder engine that produced 273 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Buyers could upgrade to a 5.3-liter V8 that achieved 302 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. All models had four-wheel drive.

Today, the Chevrolet Trailblazer is a small crossover that retains little, if any, of the heritage of its namesake.

2003 Honda Civic Hybrid

2001 Honda Civic Hybrid

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Mfg. Inc

The Honda Civic Hybrid squeaks in as one of the last models introduced in 2001. It debuted arrived in the Japanese market in December of that year. At that time, it was the most fuel-efficient five-passenger gasoline-powered production vehicle in the world.

This first-generation Honda Civic Hybrid is based on the seventh-generation Civic. It came to the U.S. in the spring of 2002 as a 2003 model year vehicle.

Today, the Civic Hybrid has been replaced by the fuel-efficient Honda Insight in the company's North American lineup.

2008 Honda Fit

2008 Honda Fit

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Mfg. Inc

The Honda Fit, known as the Honda Jazz in international markets, was introduced in Japan in 2001. It would slowly make its way into Europe, Australia, South American, South Africa, Southeast Asia, China, and Mexico before arriving on U.S. shores the better part of a decade later (as shown above).

The small and versatile car is known today for its fuel efficiency, numerous cargo configurations, flat-fold front seat, and easy maneuverability. Honda recently announced that the Fit is leaving the North American market.

2003 Infiniti G35

2002 Infiniti G35

​Photo courtesy of Infiniti 

The Infiniti G35 was unveiled in June 2001, sharing a platform with the Nissan 350Z. It made its North American dealership debut in 2002 as a 2003 model year vehicle. The rear-wheel drive sedan had little in common with its G-Series predecessor, the G20, instead taking a note from the BMW M vehicles.

The car was available with a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual when it was new. Its V6 achieved 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, and had 48-52 weight distribution. The AWD model of the G35 sedan is called the G35x.

2002 Jeep Liberty

2002 Jeep Liberty

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The Jeep Liberty was introduced as a stepping stone model in the company's lineup. When it debuted as a 2002 model in 2001, it was slotted between the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the smallest four-door SUV the automaker offered.

Seen as a replacement for the Jeep Cherokee nameplate, the Liberty had a Renegade trim level, which would eventually inspired the name of an even smaller four-door Jeep SUV.

2001 Jaguar X-Type

2002 Jaguar X-Type

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

The Jaguar X-Type was a front-engine compact executive car designed during the period when Ford owned Jaguar. It shared a platform with the Ford Mondero and was available with all-wheel drive.

The model filled a lucrative hole in the Jaguar lineup and Ford hoped that it would help double the company's sales. That didn't happen. Though it was projected to sell 100,000 units per year, just 350,000 total X-Types were produced during the car's eight-year manufacturing run.

2001 Lamborghini Murciélago

Photo courtesy of Lamborghini Automobili

The Lamborghini Murcielago succeeded the Diablo in the company's lineup. Manufacturing of the flagship sports car commenced in 2001 with the first models coming to North America wearing 2002 model year VINs.

The car marked an important moment for Lamborghini as it was the first new design in 11 years and the first model under Audi ownership. The Murcielago was designed by current Chief Creative Officer at Hyundai Motor Group, Luc Donckerwolke.

Just 65 were produced in 2001 but production picked up with 442 coupes coming off the line in 2002.

2002 Lincoln Blackwood

2022 Lincoln Blackwood

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

Ford made the Lincoln Blackwood exclusively for the U.S. and Mexico markets from 2002 to 2003. It was the first pickup truck Lincoln ever sold, and was initially met with enthusiasm when it debut at the North American International Auto Show in January 1999.

The luxury truck was a bit before its time offering more glitz and glam than practicality. The features list included a power tonneau, plush carpeting, a box lined with stainless steel, and a navigation system.

Lincoln made just 3,356 Blackwoods at its Kansas City Assembly plant from August 2001 to December 2002.

2002 Maserati Spyder

2002 Maserati Spyder

Photo courtesy of Maserati

By 2001, Ferrari was well into its ownership of Maserati, having purchased the brand from Fiat in 1999. A series of new vehicles were developed including Quattroporte Evoluzione and 3200 GT. The Maserati Coupé and Spyder replaced the 3200 GT in the company's lineup for the 2002 model year. Those two would eventually be replaced in the company's lineup by the GranTurismo and GranCabrio.

The Spyder was unveiled at the 2001 Frankfurt Auto Show and sales of the model started in March 2002. The Spyder marked Maserati's long-awaited re-emergence in the U.S. market.

Maserati gave the Spyder an electronically operated soft top that took 30 seconds to deploy/stow. The Coupé and Spyder were both powered by a Ferrari 4.2-liter V8 engine that delivered 385 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission was available, as were paddle shifters. The Spyder version of the car had a 176 mph top speed and could get from zero to 60 mph in 5.0 seconds.

2002 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

2003 Mercedes-Benz SL

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Design work that began in 1996 to resulted in the Mercedes-Benz SL (R230) debuting in July 2001. It was first presented to the public at the 2001 Frankfurt Auto Show with production beginning the following month. The car was designed using what at the time was state-of-the-art super computer referred to as the "CAVE" (Computer Aided Virtual Environment). The computer used five projectors to create the virtual image.

Mercedes sold the SL in two variants for the 2002 model year: SL350 and SL500. For the 2003 model year (shown above), the SL 55 AMG and SL 600 were added to the company's lineup.

2003 Mitsubishi Outlander

2003 Mitsubishi Outlander

​Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors

The Mitsubishi Outlander was introduced to the Japanese market in 2001 but wouldn't make its way to the U.S. until 2003. In Japan, the model was known as the Airtrek and came with either a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or a 2.4-liter diesel engine. Both engines were paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.

When it arrived on U.S. lots looking like the model in the photo above, it replaced the Mitsubishi Montero Sport and featured a modified grille and headlights. In the U.S., Mitsubishi sold the Outlander with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produced 157 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque. It was available with either front- or four-wheel drive.

The Outlander is still sold in the U.S. It is set for a redesign for the 2022 model year, which will debut in February 2021.

2002 Toyota Camry

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The fifth-generation Toyota Camry was introduced in 2001 as a 2002 model. In the U.S., the new generation marked the end the Camry CE trim level and the reintroduction of the Camry SE grade. Toyota sold the 2002 with the buyer's choice of a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (157 brake horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque) or a 3.0-liter V6 (190 brake horsepower and 197 pound-feet of torque). The Camry LE and SE were available with a manual transmission when equipped with the inline-four.

Opting for the top-tier Camry XLE gave owners a model equipped with alloy wheels, a JBL premium audio system, and leather upholstery. Side airbags and vehicle stability control were available as add-ons.

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The 2023 Sequoia is all-new and a huge improvement over its predecessor.

Toyota

The Toyota Tundra and Sequoia were two of the oldest vehicles on the market, but that's all different now. The new Tundra is already on the streets, and today Toyota released a load of specs and details on the all-new 2023 Sequoia. The full-size SUV gets a major update for the new model year with completely fresh styling, impressive new tech, and a powerful standard engine. We don't have pricing details yet, but Toyota says the 2023 Sequoia will be available starting in summer 2022.

2023 Toyota Sequoia In addition to new styling, the SUV gets a twin-turbo hybrid V6 powertrain and a load of updated tech.Toyota

Five trims of the Texas-built SUV will be offered: SR5, Limited, Platinum, TRD Pro, and Capstone. All 2023 Sequoia models get the impressive twin-turbo V6 hybrid i-Force Max engine from the all-new Tundra. It makes 437 horsepower and 583 pound-feet of torque, and sends it to the rear or all four wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. The powertrain delivers a max towing rating of up to 9,000 pounds, which is a solid number and a massive increase over the previous Sequoia.

Toyota offers automatic-leveling air suspension and adaptive suspension settings with modes for Comfort, Sport S+, and Custom. The Sport drive modes also improve throttle response and changes transmission shift points. The electric motor handles most propulsion duties below 18 mph, but after that the gas engine steps in. The motor is constantly involved when the truck is in Tow/Haul mode.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro models get under-body cladding and beefier tires.Toyota

Similar to the high-end treatment given to the Tundra, Toyota will offer a Capstone trim for the new Sequoia that brings unique upholstery and trim materials, 22-inch chrome wheels, power side steps, American Walnut inlays, and more. That said, even the standard Sequoia SR5 offers plenty of standard gear. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is standard, along with heated seats and more. An available Premium Package adds an enormous 14-inch infotainment display, power third-row seats, a hands-free liftgate, and additional power outlets.

Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 will also be standard for the SUV. The system includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and rear seat reminders. Blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts is also standard.

2023 Toyota Sequoia The new Capstone trim is a super-plush trim with an interior rivaling those in many luxury brands.

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Electric vehicle production

GM outlines huge investment in new EV production

The $7 billion number is GM's largest single investment to date.

General Motors

Automakers are not shy about their plans to electrify their vehicle lineups. In fact, it's just the opposite, as most can't wait to release a media kit that sings the virtues of moving toward electrification and outlines their commitments to investing billions to make the move a reality. General Motors has been more active than most, building new facilities and revamping existing factories to handle new-age EV manufacturing. Today, the auto giant announced a further investment to build a new plant and overhaul the Orion Township facility in Michigan. The move creates thousands of jobs and positions GM as an early powerhouse in the EV race.

GM EV investment. GM says its new and existing facilities will create and retain thousands of jobs.General Motors

The $7 billion investment is slated for four Michigan manufacturing facilities. GM says the move will create 4,000 new jobs and retain 1,000 existing positions, and notes that the amount represents the single largest investment in company history. A new Ultium Cells battery plant in Lansing is part of the deal, along with the conversion of the GM assembly planting Orion Township. Orion will eventually house production of the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and the electric GMC Sierra, making it the second of GM's facilities dedicated to building electric pickup trucks.

The Orion and Ultium Cells Lansing facilities will help GM boost its total full-size electric truck production to 600,000 units per year when both Factory Zero and Orion are in full swing. Though Ford sells more full-size trucks than Chevy or GMC individually, GM notes that the two combined move more trucks per year than The Blue Oval. The two plants join General Motors' existing EV-ready facilities that include Factory Zero in Detroit-Hamtramck, Spring Hill Assemble in Tennessee, CAMI in Ontario, and the Ramos Arizpe Assembly facility in Mexico.

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