2010 Detroit Auto Show

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2010 Detroit Auto Show
By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®

The Detroit Auto Show (North American International Auto Show) wasn’t as exciting as previous years but the industry is trying to make a comeback.  Here’s a review of some of the newly launched vehicles.

Car and Truck Of The Year

 
Ford’s 2010 Fusion Hybrid and Ford Transit Connect have earned the Detroit Auto Show awards. The Fusion emerging victorious over the shortlisted Buick LaCrosse and Volkswagen Golf, and the Transit Connect besting the Chevrolet Equinox and Subaru Outback.

The last time a single manufacturer won both the Car and Truck of the Year awards was back in 2006, when Honda did double duty with its Civic compact and Ridgeline pickup.

GENERAL MOTORS (Chevy, GMC, Buick and Cadillac)
GM wants to pay back its government loan as soon as they can and product is where it starts!

Buick GS (A Crowd Favorite)

You may remember the Buick GS of the muscle car era, well it’s back and it has power to satisfy too.  The new Buick GS delivers 255HP, high-pressure turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder, all-wheel-drive, six-speed manual beast that will be a joy to drive.
Many people don’t believe Buick’s image is high-performance models, but that was part of their past.  The last performance model Buick produced was the Grand National and GNX.  The new GS is a front-wheel-drive platform, but it looks like an Opel Insignia OPC with a new grille. In many ways it is, except the OPC has an upgraded 325 HP version of the 2.8-liter turbocharged direct injection V6.

Buick Regal GS is lowered, has dual exhaust, a body aero kit, all chrome the chrome is a premium satin finish, performance Brembo brakes and upgraded suspension.  Sounds like a car we all want to take for a test drive.

Inside, the Regal GS varies from the standard Regal by featuring a completely jet black interior, including the pillars and headliner, sport shifter for the six-speed manual transmission and a suede-covered, flat-bottom steering wheel reminiscent of those used in international racing series. The instrument panel glows ice blue when the driver engages the sport mode of the Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS).

The mechanical elements were developed with the aim of delivering a driving experience that is sporting, confidence-inspiring and refined. It has a performance-oriented drivetrain, a lowered body and lower center of gravity.

Exterior and interior cues include two additional vertical front air intakes; large, forged aluminum 20-inch wheels and performance tires; a racing-inspired sport steering wheel and metal pedals. Recaro high-performance front seats feature four-way lumbar support and cushion extensions.

The Regal GS exterior is distinguished by vertical air inlets in the front fascia, as well as unique rocker panels, an integrated rear spoiler, dual exhaust outlets, Olympic White paint and satin metallic accents.

The high-performance drivetrain is expected to enable the Regal GS to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. That performance is complemented by a four-wheel-independent suspension.

The Regal GS is also equipped with Interactive Drive Control System (IDCS) chassis technology (also offered on Regal CXL models with the 2.0L turbo engine). It delivers enhanced vehicle stability and greater driving safety, while also adapting the driving characteristics of the car to the driver’s preferences. The driver selects among three operating modes – normal, sport and GS – that change the suspension settings, throttle response, shift pattern and steering sensitivity through the variable-effort steering system.

Buick’s conquest rate has tripled in the past few years, and that is in addition to their big sales in China.
Regal CX model – starts at $26,995

2011 GMC Acadia Denali

The Acadia Denali has a strong heritage and continues to expand into new market segments. The new Acadia is more efficient, compact and yet fashionable too.
Denali brand-new front facia, 20″ wheels, Inside – chrome lit sill plates and inner dash, leather steering wheel and real wood. The seats are heated & cooled. Available 3rd quarter of 2010.

GMC Granite – Concept


This concept is a premium vehicle with cabinet style or suicide doors. The interior has Nubuck leather interior, and HID headlights, GMC is pitching the Urban Utility Concept as the mobile home-away-from-home for the modern youth, caBulling it “a new breed of truck that’s as efficient as it is chic, innovative as it is functional.”

The GMC Granite is something relatively unique. GM hasn’t divulged what platform underpins the Granite, but it’s likely to share many parts with GM’s global compact (Delta II) architecture. That means this Granite will have a lot in common with the upcoming Chevy Orlando, but with a five-inch shorter wheelbase and a few other unique attributes you can read about after the jump.

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe


The new CTS-V coupe has 6.2 liter V8 with 556 super-charged horsepower, and gets to 60 mph in 3.9 short seconds.  The CTS-V is one of the best looking cars at this years show, with 19” wheels, super six-speed automatic or manual gearbox, magnetic ride control suspension and Brembo brakes.
The sedan is similar to the coupe except it has two doors, a slightly wider rear track and an available Saffron interior color (a coupe exclusive), but that’s about it. The CTS-V Coupe is a muscular, angular coupe that looks good and goes fast.  Available this summer.

Aveo-


The new 2012 Aveo is larger than the current model, built by Daewoo, with two tone details, more than in the past. The Aveo RS will be a new addition to the lineup; with 19-inch wheels, slotted rotors and center-mounted dual exhausts. The black-on-black interior was impressive with contrasting blue stitching and “motorcycle-inspired” dash that make this a real looker.

Cruze


The Cruze is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four cylinder sending 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque to a six-speed manual transmission and earns 40mpg.

Audi – All Models

Audi has announced that HD Radio Technology will be standard on its 2011 model year A6, A8 and Q7 vehicles. The 2011 Audi A4, A5 and Q5 models, sold at lower price points, will also offer the technology but with the optional navigation radio.

“These upcoming 2011 models will be fully equipped with the best in digital broadcast engineering, making it a clear choice to offer HD Radio Technology to our customers,” stated Audi.

Compared to static-laden traditional AM/FM radio, HD Radio offers CD-quality sound on FM channels and FM-stereo quality sound on AM channels. There are more than 2,000 HD Radio stations and more than 1,100 HD2/HD3 channels (FM multicast) currently on the air.

In other Audi news, Audi has officially announced a hybrid version of its Q5 compact SUV. Audi says the Q5 Hybrid will make its debut in late 2010.

2011 Hyundai SONATA

The 2011 Sonata represents a modern approach to the traditional midsize sedan segment by using only advanced four-cylinder engines, emotional design and luxury features offered with Hyundai’s strong value proposition.

All-new sixth generation Sonata midsize sedan has Fluidic Sculpture design with four-cylinder, 2.4-liter direct injection (GDI) engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy of 23 mpg city/35 mpg highway.  A new 2.0-liter Theta II turbocharged GDI four-cylinder engine and Hybrid Blue Drive models to debut by 2010 year-end.  The Sonata is equipped with XM Satellite Radio™, real-time XM NavTraffic, XM Data Services, HD Radio Technology™, Bluetooth®, Touch-screen navigation and iPod®/USB inputs.

Production news from Kia

There’s a new Kia plant that was just built in Westpoint, GA and will create an economic boost for Alabama as well.
Automotive giant Kia plans to bring it’s first U.S. plant to full scale production in January. Though Alabama may have lost the bid to West Point, Georgia, the manufacturer’s presence means a big boost for the economy.

The billion dollar plant will start milling out SUV’s at full speed. At the same time, it will give Alabama’s and Georgia’s automotive suppliers a nice jump start.

Since Kia started working on their manufacturing facility, twelve new companies moved into the state, the creation of more than 3,600 jobs at many plants throughout both states will benefit.
Right now, the plant employs about 1,200 people. Kia plans to hire 1,200 to 1,500 more workers by mid-2010. KIA Sorrento’s are already rolling off the state-of the-art facility.

Nissan Leaf


Nissan is showing off its Leaf electric vehicle along with other electric and alternative energy vehicles. But on the main floor, Nissan is a no-show for the second year in a row.

The Leaf is 100% electric, zero emissions, 5 passengers, 5 doors and Nissan’s plan that the Leaf, which runs a 100 miles on a single charge, excluding the cost of the batteries, will cost no more to buy and run than a traditional gasoline-powered car. Zero-emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases Rumors state the car will sell for around $30,000.

Ford Motor Company

In my opinion Ford has really set the pace in the auto industry with new products, new technology and their use of innovative advancements.  I was surprised to learn that Ford claims that 85% of their cars and trucks are recycled.  Expect more products and concepts coming from Ford, Mercury and Lincoln in the near future.  I ‘d love to see more European products and diesel engines coming to America.

2011 Ford Focus

Ford Motor Co. unveiled its 2011 Ford Focus with a sportier look — engineered only for North America but with a European-inspired ride, handling and styling.

The 2011 Focus, which goes on sale this year, has a new trapezoidal grille, and Ford says the interior is meant to evoke the feeling of an airplane cockpit. Executives unveiled the five-door hatchback and sedan at the Detroit auto show.

The car is meant to “demonstrate how Ford will bring European flavor to America,” says Martin Smith, the automaker’s design chief for Europe.

The vehicle comes off Ford’s new global platform created to underpin 10 new and redesigned small cars. Ford expects U.S. annual sales of the redesigned Focus to be about 220,000 units, said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of global product development.

Kuzak has promised that Ford will be the fuel economy leader in every vehicle segment. The automaker hasn’t released estimated fuel economy for the new Focus, but Kuzak said the car will deliver on his promise. The current Focus has an estimated rating of 24 mpg city and 35 highway.

Kuzak said the Focus will offer a “sporty, edgy drive as opposed to the more relaxed drive of the Toyota Corolla.”

The Focus interior is meant to evoke the feeling of an airplane cockpit.  An electric version of the Focus is planned for 2011.

Honda CR-Z

The Japanese automaker claims the CR-Z will bring back the kind of driving joy that hasn’t been felt since the CRX last left dealer lots in 1991, saying that owners will embrace this new mild hybrid with both their hearts and minds.

Powered by a 122 horsepower engine and 128 lb-ft of torque from the 1.5-liter VTEC four-cylinder with Integrated Motor Assist, earning 36 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway.

The 2011 CR-Z is slated to arrive in dealerships this summer.

Technology and The Eco-Innovative Trends

Fuel Efficiency
Plastics are making cars lighter and more fuel efficient, and make up 50% volume of cars on the road today. In fact, for every 10 percent reduction in vehicle weight, fuel economy improves 5-7%. This weight reduction by using plastic components is saving drivers money at the gas pumps and reducing CO2 emissions.

Safety

Plastics play an instrumental role in vehicle safety features, such as seat belts, air bags and foam energy absorbers in bumpers and framing.  Plastics work in partnership with other materials, like metal, to strengthen vehicle structures. Plastic composites can absorb six to 12 times more crash energy than steel, so cars can be safe and light at the same time.

Design

Plastics permit cool, aerodynamic and innovative designs not possible with other materials traditionally used in cars.  From exterior bumpers and headlights to interior seats and dashboards, plastics allow for unique, creative design that can be applied to almost all aspects of vehicles.

Eco-Innovation

Recycled plastic water bottles and detergent bottles are now living a second or third life to make seats and carpeting in cars, adding an eco-friendly element to creative automotive design.
PlasticsMakeItPossible.com

Other Automotive News:
The People’s Republic of China is the largest auto market in the world. Here’s the specifics; China has around 1.3 billion citizens compared to our 310 million or so souls – let’s not forget that. That said, China closed 2009 with consumers buying 13.5 million cars, whereas we sold 10.9 million here in the U.S. Running the numbers, the U.S. demand for cars fell off by 20 percent, whereas the Chinese market charged ahead, up by 40 percent.
Is the playing field totally level? Probably not, as the politburo greased the skids a bit by cutting taxes on vehicles with motors smaller than 1.6-liters. The central planners also encouraged the sales of alternate fuel vehicles, such as what’s being offered by BYD. There were also programs in place to assist rural farmers in need of wheels.
Unfair comparison? Maybe, and there are also claims of the Chinese government purchasing and stockpiling vehicles to keep factory output up. Of course, we had Cash-for-Clunkers, federal and state incentives for green vehicles and giant tax loopholes that allow Hummer H2s to be taxed like farm vehicles. Also, the Federal Government, the UAW and Canada owns General Motors. And finally, does being the world’s largest car market actually matter? Isn’t it akin to having the world’s tallest building?
Source: The Detroit Bureau

We work hard at these auto shows – no matter what your job we all get real tired as seen by this cameraman.  I just don’t have the guts to do this in public.

Everyone wants to get the point across these days – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (and TV cameras) attracted a few Tea Party and anti-Tea Party protesters to the Detroit Auto Show.