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Detroit Auto Show

Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln is hip again!

Well... at least in the movie theaters. Ford executives are hoping enthusiasm for its re-tweaked Lincoln brand grows as well (the company is using the former president in advertising campaigns for the newly named "Lincoln Motor Company").

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., President and CEO Allan Mulally, and Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales and Service Lincoln James Farley were all up on stage to unveil the new concept car at the Detroit Auto Show this morning - the Lincoln MKC.

Take a look at the unveiling:

Bill Vlasic wrote about the challenges faced by the struggling Lincoln brand in the New York Times:

As recently as the 1990s, Lincoln was the top-selling luxury automotive brand in the United States. Its large Town Car sedan and hulking Navigator S.U.V. defined the brand, and sales topped more than 230,000 vehicles a year.

But since then, Lincoln has been left in the dust by the German category leaders BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota’s Lexus division. This year, Lincoln ranks eighth in the American luxury segment, with sales down 2 percent, to 69,000, vehicles in the first 10 months of the year.

Its crosstown rival G.M. has had much better success reviving its Cadillac brand.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

A group of 49 automotive journalists from North America chose the Cadillac ATS as the 2013 Car of the Year.

The announcement was made this morning during the press preview of the Detroit Auto Show.

The Cadillac was among two other finalists, the Ford Fusion and the Honda Accord.

In a statement, Bob Ferguson, GM's vice president of global Cadillac said "this is a very meaningful honor for the entire Cadillac team, especially the men and women who build the ATS in Lansing, Michigan, and our dedicated and talented designers and engineers."

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

At this morning's press preview of the Detroit Auto Show, the Ram 1500 won the 2013 North American Truck/Utility of the Year Award.

The truck was chosen by a group of 49 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.

The Ram 1500 was up against two other finalists in the category, the Ford C-Max and the Mazda CX-5.

The Ram 1500 also won the 2013 Motor Trend Truck of the Year award.

In a statement, Fred Diaz, President and CEO of Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group LLC, said:

"For the Ram Truck Brand, this ranks as one of the proudest days in our history. Every truck-maker aspires to win the North American Truck/Utility of the Year. I tip my hat to the folks who worked behind the scenes to make the 2013 Ram 1500 a technological triumph."

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Road funding to be discussed in State of the State Wednesday

"Governor Rick Snyder says he’ll outline a new plan to fund road improvements during his State of the State address on Wednesday. The plan could include higher vehicle registration fees to pay for road projects and maintenance," Jake Neher reports.

Michigan left out of Superstorm Sandy relief money

Michigan is one of three states affected by Superstorm Sandy that will be left out from federal money for disaster relief. Steve Carmody reports, "Superstorm Sandy largely missed Michigan last October.  Now the state appears poised to miss out on the billions of dollars of federal disaster relief tied to the storm. The U.S. House is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a $50 billion relief bill."

Chevrolet and Mercedes Benz show off cars at auto show early

Chevrolet  and Mercedes Benz got an early start to Detroit's North American International Auto Show. They showed off their most important cars the night before the official start of press days. Chevrolet unveiled the seventh generation Corvette called the "Stingray" at a gala event.  "For its part, Mercedes Benz showed journalists a new $30,000 car that will be its lowest priced luxury sedan ever, aimed at younger buyers who never thought they could afford a Mercedes," Tracy Samilton reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit kicks off on Monday with preview days for the international press.

The show opens to the public next Saturday.   One of the highlights this year may not even be a car.

Auto show vice chairman Bob Schuman is pretty confident that everyone who goes to the show will be talking about the new Corvette, Chevy's top of the line sports car.   But they may also be talking about the ongoing Cobo renovation. Cobo has a new atrium that opens up the convention center to a view of the river and the Windsor skyline.

The North American International Auto Show will be starting at Detroit’s Cobo Center in a couple weeks, and anyone who cares about cars can go see virtually every new model in existence.

This has been an annual tradition for more than a century. But I’ve thought for a long time that we don’t do nearly enough to celebrate the amazing heritage of our signature industry.

Think about it. Motor vehicles, primarily cars, are what transformed Michigan from a farm state not all that different from Iowa into the industrial powerhouse that put the world on wheels.

That’s fascinating, and there are few of us whose lives are not connected to the auto industry in some way.  But where do you go to learn about and celebrate that heritage? Sadly, fewer and fewer places.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The North American International Auto Show is less than a month away.  But part of Detroit’s Cobo Center is still a very active construction site.

Rain is pouring through gaps in the roof.  Construction crews are using heavy equipment.  The space hardly looks like a scenic atrium.

But officials say wait three weeks.

The final phase of a $279 million renovation of Cobo Center is close to completion.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

The Detroit auto show wrapped up yesterday, and officials say attendance was strong.

From the Associated Press:

Organizers of the North American International Auto Show say this year's attendance was the highest since 2005.

The annual event at Detroit's Cobo Center closed on Sunday.

Organizers say attendance during the public portion of the show was 770,932. That's also up from last year, when 735,370 went to the
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

Auto companies use words such as "affordability", "reliability", "high performance", "style" and "fuel economy" to sell you a car.  

Ford Motor Company thinks they’ve got it all. Of course, they do have some competition.

Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports:

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. 

Here's the splashy unveiling of the 2013 Ford Fusion at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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.

The North American International Auto Show gets underway in just a couple of weeks in Detroit.  While the show is still really big, it’s facing new competitors. 

India-based Jaguar and Land Rover are skipping the Detroit auto show this year to focus on a show in New Delhi.  In recent years, some big launches happened at China auto shows instead of Detroit.    

Michelle Krebs is with Edmunds.com.   She says Detroit’s auto show also has domestic competitors.

"New York, Chicago and L.A. all want to take a big piece of Detroit’s premier status," she notes.

Chicago Auto Show organizers like Detroit's trend

Jan 25, 2011
Chicago Auto Show

For the second year in a row, attendance at the North American International Auto Show increased.

It's not just good news for Detroit. It could also be good news for Chicago.

The 2011 Chicago Auto Show kicks off in two weeks.

Its organizers say they’re encouraged by the figures out of Detroit where 735,000 people attended this year’s show.

That’s about 20,000 more than last year.

It's not a huge increase, but it is a change from years of steady decline.
Paul Brian works with the Chicago Auto Show, which attracts a lot more people than the Detroit Auto Show. Brian says regional rivalries aside

"It's kind of like whether you’re Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines - everybody’s playing on the same team. If it’s good for the Detroit show, it’s good for Chicago, and New York, and LA, and it’s good for the industry."

After all, buzz is buzz.

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.

Roger Hart / Auto Week

Editors at Auto Week perused the offerings at the 2011 North American International Auto Show and named their top picks.

Executive Editor of Auto Week, Roger Hart, said the show had more than two dozen new models on display, and most had one thing in common:

 "There were no fancy, pie-in-the-sky, dreamlike concept cars. Nearly everything billed as a concept looked as if you could buy one tomorrow at your local dealership and drive it home."

Here are their picks:

BEST IN SHOW: Porsche 918 RSR Concept

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

At the Detroit International Auto Show, domestic automakers are celebrating a comeback of their industry. GM and Ford both saw profits last year, and the car makers are expecting a good year this year.

As more proof of the comeback, Bill Vlasic and Nick Bunkley report in the New York Times about profit-sharing checks that are expected to go to GM and Ford workers:

The two big Detroit carmakers will announce profit-sharing checks this month for their hourly workers, perhaps the largest in a decade, company officials and industry analysts say.

The checks are expected to top out at $5,000 at Ford, less at GM.

They report these checks "would be the biggest payout since the $8,000 checks that Ford handed out in 2000." Chrysler, the report says, is not expected to issue bonus checks this year.

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.

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