The 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit won't open for the public until Saturday, January 19, (January 16-17 is the industry preview, and January 18, the charity preview) but if you’ve been following our coverage of event, you should know most things you need to know.
While no one was surprised by Detroit’s big three choosing their hometown to launch their new production and concept cars, this year’s show also had major world premieres from Asian and European automakers, too.
First things first: the seventh-generation Corvette, by far the most eagerly awaited presentation, undoubtedly impresses with its technology (aluminum frame, carbon fiber bodywork parts, cylinder deactivation) and performance. Bringing back the Stingray moniker is either proof of GM’s confidence in the new Vette or a clever marketing trick.
Next up is another GM product, the Cadillac ELR. That’s an even tougher one to judge. It sure looks delicious – but then again, with the Converj concept as a starting point, Caddy’s designers would have to be on mind-addling drugs to get it wrong. It's rumored, but not yet confirmed, $60k asking price will put it up against some pretty stiff competition, so it had better be much more than just a sleek Chevy Volt if it wants to succeed.
Ford came up pretty strong as well. If the Atlas concept makes it into production as the next F-Series pickup, it will probably increase the difference in the U.S. market from the runner-up on the sales front. The Blue Oval’s effort to resuscitate its Lincoln brand is also notable, as after the MKZ saloon, the MKC crossover concept not only puts the brand in a high-volume segment, but also makes for a convincing entry.
Oh Chrysler, where art thou? The Pentastar’s Detroit Motor Show presence was conspicuously restrained, with only the updated Grand Cherokee making a blip on the radar. The all-new Maserati Quattroporte also made its world debut, though a.) it’s aimed at a pretty small audience and b.) for the umpteenth time, WHERE is Alfa Romeo, signiore Marchionne?
As far as European manufacturers are concerned, it’s the premium brands that really made an impact with their NAIAS premieres.
After revealing the long-awaited “baby CLS” CLA saloon at a special event in Detroit, Mercedes-Benz headed to the Cobo center with the comprehensively reworked E-Class, while BMW had the 4-Series Concept, aka the new 3-Series Coupe, and the M6 Gran Coupe, while Audi debuted two high performance models, the SQ5 crossover and the wild RS7 Sportback.
From Japan, the new Lexus IS and the Infiniti Q50 sports sedans are among the stars of the show and it will be interesting to see how they will do against established rivals such as the 3-Series. Acura on its behalf premiered the near-production 2014 MDX Prototype and the NSX Concept II. Toyota showed what the next Corolla could look like in a far, far away galaxy with the Furia Concept and Nissan had a sleek study for a crossover named the Resonance.
A special mention goes to Bob Lutz and his VIA X-Truck that combines tough looks and a monstrous 800HP with a claimed 100MPGe, and the ZR1-powered Fisker Karma, and Hyundai for its daring four-door coupe, HCD-14 Genesis concept.
You can peruse the huge image gallery from the 2013 Detroit Motor Show and leave your comments after the break.
By Andrew Tsaousis