detroit auto show

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

Attendance is up about ten percent at the North American International Auto Show.   

195,000 people attended the show on Saturday and Sunday, the first two days the show was open to the public. That compares to about 180,000 people the first two days of the show last year.

Of course, the weather has been quite good for Michigan this time of year. But organizers think there's more than that to account for the increase.

Detroit Auto Show Chairman Bill Perkins says there’s a feeling of “euphoria."

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

The North American International Auto Show opens to the public tomorrow.

The show has been a time for automakers to roll out new models and concept cars, letting consumers know what to expect in the future. The Detroit Three are heading into the year’s auto show with positive sales figures.

Joining us to take a historical look at the auto show and the Detroit Three is Michigan Radio’s Jack Lessenberry.

You can read Michigan Radio reports and see photos and video here.

 

 

This week the The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) opened to the press and industry professionals at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Kicking off the event was the North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards.

The 2012 Hyundai Elantra took 2012 North American Car of the Year.

And, the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was named the 2012 North American Truck of the Year award.

Tracy Samilton reports:

The mood at the North American International Auto Show is upbeat. Sure, Europe’s debt crisis and the battered Euro have auto executives concerned, but so far that crisis isn’t stopping the U.S. economy’s improvement, albeit at a very measured (slow) pace.

You can read all Michigan Radio reports and see more photos and videos here.

On Saturday morning the show opens to the public.

Tickets are $12 each. Seniors and children are $6 each.

The show runs January 14-22.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

The Detroit Auto Show is in press preview this week.

Michigan Radio’s auto beat reporter Tracy Samilton spoke with Jennifer White about her experience there.

 

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

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The last time I attended the Detroit Auto Show was around ten years ago.

Back then, the so-called “green” fuel efficient cars were relegated to a small corner of the Cobo Center. There weren’t that many, and most seemed to be concept cars.

The show seemed to be all about big powerful SUVs, and new cup holder designs, but little, if anything, was changing under the hood.

On Monday, Chrysler unveiled its 2013 Dodge Dart at the Detroit Auto Show.

Sarah Cwiek reports:

Reid Bigland, President of the Dodge brand says the Dart represents a true blend of Fiat and Chrysler’s traditional strengths. “Quite simply, it is groundbreaking. It has a world-class architecture, the DNA of an Alpha-Romeo, with the unmistakable presence of a Dodge,” said Bigland. He says the Dart will make its debut in showrooms this spring with a price tag of just under $16,000.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

 It’s a good show this year….unless you like “far-out” concept cars

The mood at the North American International Auto Show is upbeat. Sure, Europe’s debt crisis and the battered Euro have auto executives concerned, but so far that crisis isn’t stopping the U.S. economy’s improvement, albeit at a very measured (slow) pace. 

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

Detroit automakers are introducing cars at this year’s Detroit Auto Show that could help them make gains against foreign-based competitors. 

Ford Motor Company is unveiling its new Fusion, hoping to topple the traditional midsize sedan leaders, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.  

The Fusion will also come in hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, with the plug-in getting the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon.  

Ford CEO Alan Mulally says the company sold a record number of Fusions in 2011 -

"It had its best sales year ever," Mulally told reporters after revealing the Fusion at Joe Louis Arena.  "So the new Fusion is going to build on that success and be very, very popular with consumers."

But Ford Executive Chairman, Bill Ford, Jr., says the company is not going to pursue an increase in market share for the coveted midsize sedan segment just for the sake of market share.

"We are not going to play that volume game," he says.  "If it happens organically, great, but we don’t have some magic number on the wall that we’re all pushing toward."

Meanwhile, Cadillac on Sunday introduced a new small luxury vehicle, the ATS, to compete against BMW and Mercedes Benz.   GM North American President Mark Reuss says the car is a "true driver's car," and can compete head to head with the Mercedes Benz C class and the BMW 3 series.

BMW North America head Ludwig Willisch says a new competitor is always a concern, but he's confident that upgrades to the new 3-series will enable the company to keep its leadership position.

For its part, Chrysler introduced a new small car called the Dodge Dart.  The car will compete against small cars made both by its Detroit rivals and foreign-based companies including Toyota, Honda and Hyundai.

Mercedes Mejia/Michigan Radio

According to U.S. Census data, there are 80 million American consumers approaching 30.

And it's no surprise car companies want their business.

“Today's younger generation will be a driving force in the automotive market in the years ahead,” said Mark Reuss, President of GM North America.

Chevrolet launched its new 2013 Sonic RS at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It comes with a 138-horsepower engine, and sportier look than the non-RS models.

Reuss said rather than advertising on television, the car company has chosen to go online to promote the new 2013 Sonic, which will be available at the end of this year.

Chevrolet also revealed two brand new concept cars with traits they say young buyers want - style and performance.

The Code 130-R is a four-seat coupe. The Tru 140s is based off the same platform as the Chevrolet Cruze and the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle with extended mileage.

Check out the new cars in this video:

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The 2012 North American International Auto Show opened to the media today. Journalists are scurrying about the Cobo Center in Detroit working to cover the flashy unveilings of new model cars.

It can be tough. Especially if you’re the Michelin Man. I caught the big fella getting a rubdown. The massage therapist said his upper traps were really tight.

It looks like whoever is in that suit might be really hot, but there's a bit of technology to the rescue here. The suit had a little battery powered fan on the side to keep the occupant cool.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Chrysler is using this year’s Detroit auto show to debut something pretty novel for that company: a compact car.

The Dodge Dart represents Chrysler’s first real foray into the compact market since its effective merger with the Italian automaker Fiat.

Reid Bigland is President of the Dodge brand. He says the Dart represents a true blend of Fiat and Chrysler’s traditional strengths.

“Quite simply, it is groundbreaking. It has a world-class architecture, the DNA of an Alpha-Romeo, with the unmistakable presence of a Dodge,” said Bigland.

Bigland says the Dart will make its debut in showrooms this spring with a price tag of just under $16,000.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

It doesn't really look like a "truck" in the traditional sense, but neither did the other two finalists for the "Truck of the Year" award (the BMW X3 and the Honda CR-V - see photos above). These are more SUV or Crossover vehicles.

But, the government classifies them as trucks, so trucks they are.

The 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque took the 2012 North American Truck of the Year award. The award was announced this morning at the Detroit Auto Show.

This is the third time a European automaker has won the "Truck of the Year" award in the 19-year history of the award (domestic automakers have won it 12 times and Japanese automakers have won it four times).

Andy Goss, the president of Jaguar Land Rover of North America, said the company is excited about the award and plans to "market the hell out of it."

The award is judged by 50 automotive journalists. One juror, Frank Aukofer of Driveways, was quoted as saying "there's only one totally new vehicle in this class, which should not even be classified as a truck. It's the Range Rover Evoque. It would be my top choice except for its high price and laggard multipurpose touch-screen, which reacts in slow motion. Nevertheless, it's an entirely new direction for Land Rover, more a sports-car hatchback than off-road basher."

In it's review, Car and Driver asks "Can style rule in a utilitarian realm?"

That’s the $43,995 question riding the broad shoulders of the smallest-ever Range Rover, the Evoque. To be accurate, it’s the $43,995 to $53,895 question, if we include all the trim levels. That lofty base-price range makes the thesis issue—the preeminence of style as a purchase motivator for SUVs—critical to this Range Rover newbie. A matter of life and death, even.

Corvair Owner / Flickr

Media preview days have begun at the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Hall in Detroit. Michigan Radio's auto-beat reporter Tracy Samilton is at the show and spoke with us this morning about what we should look for over the next week.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The 2012 Hyundai Elantra has been named the 2012 "North American Car of the Year" by a jury of 50 automotive journalists.

The announcement was made at the Detroit Auto Show this morning.

To be eligible for the award, a car model must have gone through a significant redesign from previous model years and be expected to have reasonable sales numbers in North America.

The U.S. News "Best Cars" report says this of the 2012 Hyundai Elantra:

Most members of the automotive press agree that the 2012 Hyundai Elantra outshines many of its competitors because it’s well-rounded. For example, the Elantra has high fuel economy ratings of 29/40 mpg city/highway, and unlike the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze, shoppers don’t need to upgrade to higher trims to get those figures.

According to the North American Car and Truck of the Year website, the 50 jurors judged the car on things such as "value for the dollar, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction." 

The other two finalists in the North American Car of the Year Award were the 2012 Volkswagen Passat and the 2012 Ford Focus (see photos in slideshow above).

The award has been given out for the last 19 years. This is the second time the  Korean automaker, Hyundai, has won the award.

The Hyundai Genesis won in 2009.

More from the NACTOY website:

Domestic automakers have won North American Car of the Year ten times. European automakers have won four times, Japanese automakers have won three times. A Korean automaker – Hyundai - has won once.

Prior to announcing the award at the Detroit Auto Show, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood took the stage to highlight the success of the restructuring of Chrysler and General Motors. The "Big Three" U.S. automakers (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) have returned to profitability for the first time since 2004.

LaHood said the cars here at the Detroit auto show represent the return of the American automakers.

Detroit will hang on to the North American International Auto Show for at least another five years.

The deal signed today by auto show and Cobo Center officials should reverse years of suggestions that show sponsors might take their business elsewhere.

"It is our way of saying: 'Detroit, we are with you,'" said Bill Perkins, chairman of the 2012 show. 

A regional authority took control of Cobo away from the city two years ago. The move paved the way a $278 million renovation of the aging facility. Perkins says those renovations will put the facility on par with other top global venues, "helping us to maintain our position on the world auto stage as the show at which to introduce new and exciting vehicles."

The renovation is under way that will add space to Cobo and open views to the Detroit River. The facility is also getting new loading docks and other amenities. The auto dealers who put on the show had warned the city could lose the auto show if renovations were not made.

The show opens to the public January 14.

Jdpowers65 / Flickr

Attendance is up at the North American International Auto Show so far this year, the Detroit Free Press reports. The Freep says:

Attendance Monday was 64,520, up from 61,112 from the same day last year, said NAIAS spokesman Sam Locricchio. On opening day Saturday, 86,622 attended the show, compared with 83,715 on the opening Saturday last year, he said. Sunday's attendance was 99,111 -- up from 96,623 for the opening Sunday in 2010, he said.

The show, at Detroit's Cobo Center, is open until Sunday.

Corvair Owner / Flickr

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing visited the North American International Auto Show today in Detroit. As the Associated Press reports:

The former NBA great toured Cobo Center... checking out the latest offerings from companies including General Motors and Ford. He says a comeback for automakers such as GM, Ford and Chrysler is positive for the city and the state.

Bing is just one of many politicians who have visited the show over the past few days.  Governor Rick Snyder visited the show yesterday and members of Michigan's Congressional delegation, including Democratic Representatives John Dingell, Sander Levin and Gary Peters, have also visited Cobo Center this week.

Governor Rick Snyder visited the Detroit auto show yesterday, something governors traditionally do. They greet the CEOs, make nice comments about the new models, and disappear.

I can’t recall a single thing any politician has said at the auto show that was worth remembering.  But this year is a little different. Two years ago, it was highly uncertain whether there would be either an domestic auto industry or an auto show in 2011.

What’s more, almost nobody in the industry or the state had ever heard of Rick Snyder, and nobody imagined he’d be governor.

Well, the auto industry is a good bit healthier today, and the state is getting used to a governor who doesn’t like to wear a tie, and doesn’t mind being called a nerd. Like other governors before him, Snyder didn’t say anything especially stirring at the auto show. But he did a few things worth noting. He didn’t just visit what we might now call the not-so-big three, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. He stopped by Kia and Hyundai and Toyota too.

Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

Governor Rick Snyder visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit yesterday.  He sat in a Chevy Volt, stopped by the Ford and Prius pavilions, and visited with Fiat-Chryser CEO Sergio Marccione. Rick Pluta was at the show and filed this report:

Governor Snyder cheered the rebound in the auto industry from where it was at this time last year. Snyder says he does not want to play favorites when it comes to economic development -- that Michigan should make all entrepreneurs feel equally welcome. But the governor also says he recognizes how big the car business still looms in the state’s economy. Snyder said:

The role of manufacturing and the auto industry in Michigan’s future is critical. I don’t walk away from it all. Actually, I embrace it. That is part of our heritage. That is something we have world-class people in.

The governor says he will call for lower taxes and less regulation and will reveal more details of his economic plan next week when he delivers his first State of the State address

The show opened for media previews on Monday and opens to the public on Saturday.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The 2011 North American International Auto Show is in a decidedly upbeat mood.

After two years of somber shows, automakers are rolling out new products and showcasing an unusual level of variety and innovation. And they're bullish about how consumers will respond to all those new choices.

Chrysler might be the poster child for the resurgent feeling at this year’s show.

Last year, the automaker barely had a presence, and Chrysler Brand President Olivier Francois remembered how that felt.

Photo courtesy of www.stabenow.senate.gov

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow visited the North American International Auto Show yesterday in Detroit. The Associated Press reports the Democrat said, "she's excited that the Chevrolet Volt was named Car of the Year," at the show.  The Car of the Year award was announced yesterday morning.  The Ford Explorer won the Truck of the Year award.

Former House Speaker and California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi was scheduled to attend the show yesterday but canceled the trip after Saturday's shooting in Arizona.

Governor Rick Snyder plans to visit the show with his Lt. Gov., Brian Calley, later today.

Photo courtesy of www.governorelectricksnyder.com

Governor Rick Snyder will visit the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today. Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will also attend.

The two will tour the auto show and meet with President and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Authority Michael Finney.

Media previews of the show began yesterday.  The show opens to the public on Saturday and runs through January 23rd.

Charles Manley

Update 11:33 a.m.:

Here's a video of Carl Brower, editor-at-large of Edmunds.com talking about the Chevy Volt winning the "Car of the Year Award."

Update: 10:11 a.m.:

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody spoke with Edmunds.com editor-at-large, Carl Brower. Brower headed the jury of auto industry journalists who picked the Volt. Brower said:

"I think the Volt represents not only a break from traditional drive train technology, but a break from the manufacturing image. It's a hybrid plus. It's beyond a hybrid. And I don't know how many people would have believed that a big domestic auto maker like GM could pull this off a few years ago."

8:23 a.m.:

It's just been announced that the Chevrolet Volt has won the 2011 North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show.  The Ford Explorer won truck of the year. The awards were announced this morning.

The Associated Press reports:

Finalists for the car award were the Volt, Hyundai Sonata and Nissan Leaf. Truck finalists were the Dodge Durango, the Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Forty-nine auto journalists from the U.S. and Canada made the picks. The vehicles are judged on innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value.

The NAIAS opened this morning for media previews.  The show is open to the public on Saturday and runs through January 23rd.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody just attended a press conference with Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Marchionne told reporters that his goal is to pay back the government loans by the end of this year.

Chrysler owes around $7.5 billion to the U.S. government.

He said he was heartened by the response to GM's IPO last year and the investor interest in the auto industry makes a Chrysler IPO more likely.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody was up early this morning taking some pictures at the auto show. You can scroll through them above, or check out this little video below:

The 'press preview' of the auto show is taking place today and tomorrow.  The show opens to the public on Saturday, January 15th.

Corvair Owner / Flickr

The North American International Auto Show begins this week in Detroit. It opens to the public on Saturday and runs through January 23rd. The media, however, get a preview of the show beginning today. It's the biggest annual media event in the state as thousands of journalists from around the world travel here to cover the show.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton gave us a preview:

The auto industry had two bad years in 2009 and 2010, and so did one of its biggest shows: the North American International Auto Show. Some car companies like Porsche didn't even have displays.  But, Porsche is back, and so are some of the traditional glitz and optimism.  Baron Meade, Chairman of the show, said, "I would set the stage of this show as the start of the next real Golden Age of the Automobile."

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton, Sarah Hulett, Sarah Cweik and Steve Carmody will all be reporting from the show throughout the next couple of weeks.

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