The North American International Auto Show, held annually in Detroit in early January, has become the premier event in the world for debut of new cars from American manufacturers and U.S. market cars from foreign builders. With the sluggish economy over the past several years, excitement was down, but last year showed a bit of a resurgence. With record sales in 2011, everyone was back in full force for the 2012 event, which was loaded with experimental concepts and new model introductions.
Of the American manufacturers, Cadillac struck a cord with their new ATS sedan, which is targeted directly at the BMW 3 series and the Audi A4. The new Dodge Dart was announced to fill the compact car spot vacated by the unloved Calibre. Calling upon Chrysler’s affiliation with Fiat, the Dart is based on an Alfa Romeo designed platform. The American car which really stole the show was, believe it or not, the new Ford Fusion. Based on a European Ford designed chassis, the body design is truly forward thinking and exciting. Adding to the excitement is the fact that it will be available with the choice of five engines, two of which are turbocharged plus a traditional hybrid and a plug in hybrid. Ford is confident that it will be the most efficient car in its segment by a wide margin.
The most exciting news from a foreign manufacturer was Honda’s announcement that there will be a new NSX supercar. The original NSX was the company’s halo model from 1990 until production ended in 2005. Honda has since been criticized for introducing one bland model after another. That talk has ended with the debut of the new NSX concept. Besides its striking looks, it will have cutting edge hybrid technology, which is almost unheard of in this segment. Another big surprise was the announcement that the NSX will be developed and built solely in their Ohio facilities. Truly great news for our area and a tribute to the great American worker.