Mitsubishi's SSS Concept Vehicle Defines New 'Enhanced Utility Sedan'
12 January 2000Mitsubishi Motors' SSS Concept Vehicle Defines New 'Enhanced Utility Sedan' Category
Third in Concept Car Series with 'Geo-Mechanical' Design Launched at North American International Auto Show DETROIT, Jan. 11 -- For the third year in a row, Mitsubishi Motors has unveiled a concept car at the North American International Auto Show that reflects the "Geo-Mechanical" design philosophy of the company's Cypress, California design studio. Mitsubishi Motors' SSS concept sedan was created to meet the increasingly comprehensive aspirations of today's automotive consumers. Combining the driving pleasure and passenger comforts of a sport sedan with the packaging versatility of an SUV, the SSS defines a whole new vehicle category -- the "enhanced utility sedan" in a shape like nothing else on the road. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000111/LATU020 ) The SSS was joined at the Detroit show by updated versions of the SST and SSU concept vehicles previously launched in the Motor City by Mitsubishi Motors to represent the range of new products the company is planning to build at its Normal, Illinois, manufacturing facility starting in 2003. Last summer, the company announced a $1.4 billion investment in new products designed specifically for the American market and based on a new platform to accommodate at least three different vehicle segments. Sharing many styling cues with the SST and SSU, SSS features a luxurious yet versatile interior, with fold-down rear seats that allow two full-size adult mountain bikes to be stowed in a standing configuration. Powered by Mitsubishi's 3.5-liter SOHC V6, mounted transversely, the SSS is built on a front-wheel-drive plticated ride and handling. In keeping with the "enhanced utility sedan" theme, though, the design is flexible enough to accommodate a full-time all-wheel-drive system with viscous coupling. Functional touches of the SSS include: -- parallelogram-hinged doors that minimize the space needed to open side doors and protects against door dings; -- a blade manifold front lighting system with high intensity discharge (HID) to increase distribution of light on the road; -- LED lighting system in the rear for immediate response time; -- full-function center-console computer system with mouse and a heads-up display (HUD), allowing the driver to focus on the road while still seeing instrument panel information; -- and a dual front bumper system (one low and a second one higher) that decreases the possibility of nosedive under a larger SUV in a rear-end collision. To create the SSS, 26-year-old lead designer Jon Hull started with computer images and transformed those images directly into milled forms for both the interior and exterior. Skipping the clay model step allowed Hull to complete the program in a shorter amount of time and control more of the finished product. "I started this project with a question in mind -- 'what can't you do in a sedan?'" said Hull. "Our target was to build a sedan that could carry a couple of bikes, have higher lines of sight to increase visibility, and provide style and safety at the same time." Other features of the SSS include an all-new, 8-step paint process to give the car a milled-metal look, an interior that feels more like a living room than a car and a steering wheel covered with a Plasmium(TM) material that increases grip and holds body temperature. Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America, Inc. was established in 1982 by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, Tokyo, and markets a full line of vehicles, including coupes, convertibles, sedans and sport utility vehicles. Their website address is mitsubishicars.com.