Saturday, January 8, 2011

North American International Auto Show Preview - NAIAS - Detroit

Four auto shows in North America have media days for manufacturers to unveil vehicles as World or North American debuts - Los Angeles (November), Detroit (January), Chicago (February) and New York (Easter week which is in mid-April this year). It's usually today, the day before leaving for Detroit, that I get excited with anticipation and this year should produce some surprises.

Porsche, which historically doesn't display in Detroit because they have few buyers in that market, will have a vehicle debut this year to kick off the show at the crack of dawn Monday. Tomorrow night, on the eve of the show Volkswagen will show off their American-made mid-size sedan that will be assemble in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a plant run by longtime Toyota manufacturing boss Don Jackson. Also, somewhat surprising is the fact Nissan and Infiniti are saving a lot of money by not having displays in Detroit.

As already written in Saxton On Cars, we'll have a first-hand look at the 2011 BMW M Coupe, 2012 BMW 1-Series coupe and convertible, 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Buick Verano and 2011 Chrysler 300 sedan. Also expected is the 2012 Audi A6, 2012 Chevrolet Sonic (formerly Aveo), 2012 Ford C-Max (from Europe), 2012 Ford Focus Electric, 2012 Hyundai Velster, 2012 Toyota Prius MPV and 2011 Jeep Compass.

Concepts we're expecting to see include Kia KV7, MINI Paceman, Ford Escape, GMC Sierra All-Terrain HD, 2012 Honda Civic and Hyundai Club. On the high performance side, Chrysler will have the Mopar 300, Ram Runner and Fiat 500 while Cadillac will show off their CTS-V Coupe racecar. Detroit is the home of GM, Ford and Chrysler so there could be some added surprises.

The North American Car and Truck of the Year picks to be announced Monday morning will be significant with so many great vehicles. Ford Focus Electric, Honda Civic, Volkswagen's new mid-size sedan and Mercedes new C-Class have got the gas in my veins flowing as all of them have huge sales potential.

Stay tuned for the latest from Detroit on vehicle debuts and executive comments on the industry.