It's another winter of discontent in the Motor City, with automakers still reeling from bankruptcies, new fuel and safety rules, and a world that cares roughly half as much about buying new cars and trucks as it did 18 months ago.
Still, as we plumb the depths the 2010 Detroit Auto Show this week, the predictions of gloom are at least being cut into bite-sized pieces. General Motors seems to finally be rid of its underperforming brands. Chrysler's sending out greetings in Italian. Ford's electrifying nearly everything it can touch. Toyota is coming to grips with its own problems at home and in the U.S. Around the rest of the world, the Europeans are thriving, relatively speaking. The VW juggernaut rolls on with the added weight of Porsche, and though the luxury brands are hurting, there's no talk of any ditching the U.S. market entirely--as there was in the 1990 recession.
There are even bright spots. Ford's quality is getting widespread notice, as are its hybrids--illustrated with its sweep of the 2010 North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. Hyundai and Kia continue to grow in a way that puts fear into the smaller Japanese brands. And mighty Subaru--yep, mighty--keeps posting monthly sales records while sales droughts hit nearly every other brand.
If you can't find it in your heart to brave a Midwest winter, we're ready to help. High Gear Media is reporting live from Detroit, armed with cameras and voice recorders and really comfortable shoes to make sure you don't miss a beat. Our coverage from Cobo Hall starts here--bookmark this page and stay with us as we update you throughout the show, and as we update all the links to all of our coverage which you can access over the next several pages:
2010 Detroit Auto Show: Concept Cars
2010 Cadillac concept teaser
Cadillac XTS concept: Cadillac's confirmed it will show a new concept car alongside its 2011 CTS-V Coupe in Detroit. We can confirm that the new concept is a preview of the 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan, the replacement for the current STS and DTS sedans that is set to go into production late next year.
2010 MINI Beachcomber Concept
The past couple of months have been terribly busy for the MINI brand. Not only did it turn 50 years old, but two new concept cars were unveiled as part of the celebrations of the historic milestone in the form of the MINI Coupe and Roadster concept vehicles from September’s Frankfurt Auto Show. Now, a third concept vehicle is set to be unveiled, the 2010 MINI Beachcomber Concept. Built along the lines of the original Mini Moke from the 1960s, the new Beachcomber combines the toughness of an off-road vehicle with the convenience of a minicar. Will it be the long-awaited Countryman? We'll ask.
2009 BMW Concept ActiveE
BMW's next step into all-electric cars is the Concept ActiveE, slated for a Detroit show debut. Powering the concept is an electric motor located in the rear axle, making it rear-wheel drive. Peak output stands at 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to offer 0-60 mph acceleration times of approximately 8.5 seconds. Top speed has been limited to 90 mph. The electric drive system draws its energy from a new, advanced lithium-ion battery pack developed jointly by BMW and its partner SB LiMotive. It enables a range of roughly 100 miles and will take about 4.5 hours to fully charge.
Toyota FT-CH hybrid concept car, 2010 Detroit Auto Show
The latest hybrid concept out of Toyota promises a new family of Prius-branded hybrids. As a compact car a full 22 inches shorter than the current Prius, the FT-CH is the small end of the family. A wagon or crossover-like hybrid is expected to fill out the lineup, though even more variants could be on their way. You can find live shots of the FT-CH Concept here.
2010 Buick Regal GS Concept
GM revealed a performance version of its new 2011 Buick Regal in the form of the Regal GS concept car. The idea behind the new concept is to explore the appeal of a new-generation of high-performance Buicks and you can bet a production version of this car will be arriving in showrooms later this year. We've got the latest live shots of the Regal GS here.
2010 GMC Granite Concept
GMC is going after a younger target audience and its weapon of choice is a compact crossover, which is being previewed at this week’s Detroit event in the form of the Granite. Similar in size to the Kia Soul and Scion xB, the new Granite--if it’s ever produced--will be the smallest GMC ever. Catch the live shots here.
2011 Chevrolet Aveo (RS Concept, 2010 Detroit Auto Show)
The all-new 2011 Chevrolet Aveo is due to go on sale later this year and though we don’t have all the technical details for it, we do have a preview of the upcoming compact in the form of the Aveo RS concept car.
-We're also hearing rumblings about a Chrysler-Lancia concept, but it's not been confirmed--and Chrysler is not scheduled to hold a press conference in Detroit.
-Audi is also expected to be showing something special but for now it's only a rumor.
-VW will be pulling the wraps off an all-new Jetta Coupe concept vehicle previewing a future production model planned for the U.S.
2010 Detroit Auto Show: Green Cars
2011 Hyundai Sonata
We brought you the 2011 Hyundai Sonata live from the Los Angeles auto show. The Hybrid edition's up next: it will feature a 2.4-liter gas engine paired to a six-speed automatic transmission and a 40-hp electric motor running on lithium-polymer battery technology. The hybrid set-up will be able to run on electric power alone for short distances but most of the time it will utilize both the electric motor and internal combustion engine.
2010 Tesla Roadster Sport
The Roadster Sport has 15% more peak power than the 248-horsepower Roadster and will go from 0-60 mph in just 3.7 seconds (the standard model takes 3.9 seconds). The vehicle also comes with a hand-wound stator and increased winding density for lower resistance and higher peak torque (the stator is the stationary part of an electric generator or electric motor. The motor still spins to a redline of 14,000 rpm, with drive being sent to the rear wheels.
Angular Front Exterior View - 2010 Volvo C30 2-door Coupe Man R-Design
Volvo has some ambitious plans for the future. In addition to the market launch of a plug-in hybrid in 2012, work is currently under way on evaluating the viability of an entirely electric-powered car. At the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, Volvo will present this car, the battery-powered all-electric C30 that we first read about back in September. However, the C30 soon to be shown in Detroit actually takes the company one step further in the development process. It features both a complete interior and full instrumentation, as well as enhanced battery packaging.
This year's Detroit gathering will see a new display area for up to 20 electric vehicles -- many of which come from smaller companies like San Jose's Green Vehicles that couldn't ordinarily afford to display at the show. This is a great way for NAIAS to generate revenue and buzz, and we dig the idea of seeing startup automakers given a chance to shine, but we wish EV engines were louder: we're expecting an endless loop of terrible background music down on "Electric Avenue".
-Chrysler is scheduled to unveil an all-electric version of the widely popular Fiat 500 minicar in Detroit. Packing similar technology and performance to the MINI E from BMW, the new Fiat 500 electric vehicle is purely a concept and there are currently no plans for production.
2010 Detroit Auto Show: Family Cars
2008 Chevrolet Orlando Concept
GM officials confirmed that a new version of the Chevrolet Orlando will be on display in Detroit. The latest Orlando concept will preview a production version scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. sometime in 2011. The new Orlando shares some architecture with the 2011 Chevrolet Volt and 2011 Cruze, both displayed at the Los Angeles auto show in December.
2011 Ford Focus
Midway through next year, the new 2012 Ford Focus will come on line. There will be two body styles, a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. Unfortunately, unlike Europe, we don't get the two-door hatch, or the hot RS version that comes as a two-door over there. At the core of the new Focus's assault, beyond the new global platform, lies an efficient 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder with dual variable camshaft timing and direct injection. Check out the live photos here.
Angular Front Exterior View - 2007 Lincoln MKX AWD 4-door
The latest version of Ford's luxury crossover is updated for the new model year. Our High Gear Media team has seen the new vehicle and some exceptional details it holds in store--but we'll hold off on telling you until Ford confirms and releases final information.
2011 Audi A8 NWB
Audi recently unveiled the new A8 at an art show in Miami--so what's the next logical step? Cobo Hall, of course. Powered by either a V-8 or a V-6 engine, gas or diesel, the new Audi A8 promises to be the sportiest of the large luxury sedans while also delivering on efficiency. With a coefficient of drag of just 0.26, the car seems prepared to do both, but we'll withhold final judgment until Audi puts us behind the wheel. With a 372-horsepower V-8 4.2 FSI engine in the U.S.-market normal wheelbase launch vehicle, there's no shortage of power, however. That power is sent to the front two wheels in base configuration, with the quattro all-wheel-drive system an optional upgrade. Whichever drive system you choose, however, the standard transmission is an 8-speed Tiptronic unit that should prove smooth and efficient. A long wheelbase version is due to debut next year, but Audi is already targeting the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series with its new car, calling the Jaguar XJ and Lexus LS "secondary competitors."
2011 BMW 7-Series
BMW will bring two new six-cylinder 7-Series sedans to its lineup for 2011. The new 740i and 740iL sedans will join the existing ActiveHybrid, eight-cylinder, and twelve-cylinder models in the 7-Series lineup. The new engines are twin-turbo in-line six-cylinders, with the short- or long-wheelbase body being the primary difference between the two. The new engine will put out 315 horsepower at 5800 rpm, and 330 pound-feet of torque from 1600-4500 rpm.
2011 GMC Acadia Denali
The Acadia's the first crossover vehicle to get the Denali designation. The tag applies to luxury versions of its Yukon SUV and Sierra pickup with distinct styling add-ons, standard luxury gear like leather trim and DVD navigation, and in those trucks and SUVs, an all-wheel-drive system that takes the place of a more basic four-wheel drivetrain. In the Acadia, the Denali trim can be applied to seven- or eight-passenger versions No drivetrain changes are made from the standard 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic, though the front-driver will be offered with optional all-wheel drive. GMC says the basic version will earn a 24-mpg highway mileage rating from the EPA.
-It's being rumored that the next Chevrolet Malibu will appear in Detroit. There's no confirmation from GM that the Malibu will be on display, though it is expected the car could be pulled ahead from the 2012 model year into the 2011 model year.
2010 Detroit Auto Show: Sports Cars
2011 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off its all-new 2011 E-Class Cabriolet, and will bring the new ragtop to the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. The car is the replacement for the open-top CLK and is the fourth addition to the expanding E-Class family, joining the Sedan, Coupe and high-performance E63 AMG variants. Going up against the BMW 3-Series, Audi A5, Infiniti G37 and Lexus IS C, the new 2011 E-Class Cabriolet comes with a raft of new technologies to keep its occupants both safe and comfortable. The list includes cool new features like AIRCAP and AIRSCARF, which are designed to keep occupants comfortable whenever the car’s soft-top roof is down--whatever the season--by reducing turbulence and blowing warm air.
2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe
The 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is out, after a Los Angeles auto show debut. Now the high-performance CTS-V version is due. Coming in as a 2011 model as well, the new CTS-V Coupe will pack the same 556 hp and 551 pound-feet of torque supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 found in the regular CTS-V Sedan. That could be joined by a CTS-V Wagon, if GM's Bob Lutz gets his way. If not, don't expect a convertible: the Coupe's architecture just doesn't permit that kind of flexibility. We have live images of the CTS-V Coupe from Detroit right here.
2011 Ford Mustang GT
At the 2009 L.A. Show, we brought you word of the 2011 Mustang's new V-6 engine, a 3.7-liter Duratec V-6 with 315 horsepower. For Detroit, the 2011 Mustang returns to the hallmark V-8 displacement of the recent past. Yep, in shorthand, the 5.0 Mustang is back. Vanilla Ice be praised, it'll turn in 412 horsepower--only 14 hp or so less than the Chevrolet Camaro SS. Check out the live photos here.
We all know the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is due to go on sale in the second quarter of 2011, which is still a significant length of time away we’re sure most of you would agree. However, if you’re already having trouble waiting, Chevrolet will offer some solace by showing the new drop-top in full production trim at next month’s 2010 Detroit Auto Show.
2011 BMW Z4 sDrive35is
BMW is adding an upgraded Z4 to its lineup, but it's not calling the new car an M model. With 335 hp, though, it's as close as BMW may come in the current Z4. According to BMW it will sprint from a standstill to 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds and easily reach an electronically controlled top speed of 155 mph.
Boss 302R Mustang
Forty years after its namesake became a road racing legend, the BOSS name will return to race tracks all around the country strapped to a new 5.0-liter V-8 engine. In honor of the 40th anniversary of Parnelli Jones’ 1970 Trans-Am championship in a Mustang BOSS 302 prepared by Bud Moore Engineering, Ford Racing is introducing the new 2011 Ford Mustang BOSS 302R, a factory-built race car ready for track days and road racing in a number of Grand-Am, SCCA and NASA classes.
Revenge Verde supercar teaser
You may recall that at last year’s Detroit Auto Show, America’s Revenge Designs, a tuner of GM products turned niche auto manufacturer, unveiled its GTM-R supercar based on the Factory Five GTM platform. For this year’s Detroit event, Revenge Designs is set to unveil a brand new supercar called the Verde.
2010 Detroit Auto Show logo
2010 Detroit Auto Show: Press Conferences
Monday, January 11, 2010
8:00-8:30 am North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards
8:45-9:10 am Ford
9:25-9:50 am Buick and GMC
10:05-10:30 am Toyota
10:40-11:05 am Volkswagen
11:15-11:40 am Mercedes-Benz
11:50-12:15 pm BMW
12:25-12:50 pm Audi
1:00-1:25 pm Bentley
1:35-2:00 pm Honda
2:10-2:35 pm Kia
2:45-3:10 pm MINI
3:20-3:45 pm Hyundai
3:55-4:20 pm Chevrolet
4:30-4:55 pm SMS Supercars
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
7:30 am Show Floor Opens
8:00-8:25 am Lincoln
8:40-9:05 am Cadillac
9:15-9:40 am Subaru
9:50-10:15 am Commuter Cars
10:25-10:50 am BYD
11:00-11:25 am CT&T United
11:35 am-12:00 pm Revenge Designs
12:10-12:35 pm Tesla
12:45-1:10 pm Michelin
1:20-1:45 pm MEDC-X Prize
1:55-2:20 pm ZF Group
2:30-2:55 pm Dow Kokam
3:05-3:30 pm EyesOn Design Awards
2010 Detroit Auto Show logo
2010 Detroit Auto Show: Stay Updated
This year's Detroit show is open to the public from January 16th. For more on visiting the show on your own, steer over to the Detroit Auto Show Web site.
High Gear Media has partnered with Tesla Motors on a new writing contest where YOU can win a tour and road test of the 2010 Tesla Roadster Sport. You can submit as many articles as you like and enter multiple times. Enter now!