Join us as MSN.ca Autos hits the auto show floor January 9th and 10th, during the press preview days! Get expert updates and opinions on vehicle announcements throughout the press days. You can also submit comments on what you'd like to see and share your thoughts!
Join us as MSN.ca Autos hits the auto show floor January 10, during the press preview day:
En route to a zip around the Detroit auto show's EcoXperience test track, a new exhibit added this year in Cobo Center's basement, I came across the most lovable car of the show: the NmG (aka: No more Gas).
"It looks like a banana!" laughed my father on the phone when I sent along the website. Personally, I think it resembles a shoe - a lady's pump to be exact, which is a good play on the company's motto: "Laugh your way past those pumps!" (or while driving a "pump").
According to the company's website, Myers Motors, the all-electric, three-wheel car can travel at highway speeds of 122 km/h and costs US$29,995. Though there's one catch, unlike the Smart fortwo (starting at $14,990): it's a vehicle built for one.
By Angela Forgeron, Sympatico/MSN Autos
A few weeks before the official start of Sunday's media days for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, it was clear that several automakers would be absent from this year's exhibition: Porsche, Land Rover, Suzuki, Nissan/Infiniti, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Mitsubishi. (Read more here.)
Though it turns out Mitsu declined - but then accepted - the RSVP.
Sandwiched between Hyundai, Smart, Maybach, Bugatti and Revenge Designs is dimly lit, medium-sized chunk of real estate occupied by the Japanese car maker. Better late to the party than not at all.
By Angela Forgeron, Sympatico/MSN Autos
The writers, bloggers and TV personalities are used to see cars coming down the catwalk - not models. (Though models have a more prominent role, posing next to cars at this year's show - see The real show stopper: The babes.)
With a few thousand (mostly male) journalists gathered around the Lambo stand, the lights dimmed, three massive TV screens positioned behind the three supercars on the stand came to life and the music blared like a Paris couture show.
Then, one by one, out marched the girls, prancing around, twisting, posing and seducing the cameras -- all while sashaying between the Lambos. There were three female models, all equally attractive, and a lone male model -- poor guy -- who elicited laughs from the crowd (keep in mind: auto show preview days are one of the only events I've ever been to where men wait in line for the loo while women waltz in and take their pick of water closet).
By Michael Bettencourt
We've given you the goods already on why Saab's future as a brand under GM is shaky at best, so now it's time to touch on why Hummer and Saturn likely won't survive either, at least as a GM entity. Hummer has officially been on the shopping block for the past six months, although it hasn't exactly been a seller's market for car companies this year.
The problem with the brand is that it somehow became a poster child for the evils of the environmentally unconscionable, argued Bob Lutz, GM's (current) car czar, a perception that couldn't be shaken despite the best efforts of Canadian Martin Walsh, who until recently headed up the brand in Detroit.
Saturn was a different story, with highly lauded products, and a modern vehicle fleet, but couldn't muster up enough sales or recognition from its 400 or so North American dealers to make it work. "We certainly spent the money on Saturn products," lamented Lutz, noting that the Sky roadster that debuted for 2006 was the oldest vehicle in that brand's lineup
Although nothing is set in stone in these turbulent times for the Detroit Three, GM's vice chairman for product Bob Lutz broke down how all of GM's brands around the world stacked up, and the likely future for each.
It's no secret that some GM brands are not likely to survive, at least in GM's hands (see related Saab, Time to Go posts). Here then are the ones that remain part of GM's long-term strategy, according to Lutz, in (my own) order of relative importance:
Chevrolet: GM's one true mainstream global brand.
Cadillac: Also a strong global brand, sales can't match some luxury competitors, but profitable.
Buick: More of a regional brand, but very strong in China, which GM is trying hardest to spare from product cuts.
GMC: Also a regional brand, but still profitable, although with little sentimental value.
Vauxhall/Opel: These European Saturns will likely keep their separate identities, Vauxhall for England, Opel for the rest of Europe.
Pontiac: the G8, G6, Solstice and Solstice Coupe will remain, said Lutz, but the days of Pontiac as a mainstream brand will likely come to a close.
Holden: Another regional brand, this one from Australia, but one which has integrated itself into the global product pipeline, as a source for rear-wheel drive V8s especially.
By Michael Bettencourt
Saab may have a future past this year, but the way things are sounding now, that future won't be with GM for long.
GM vice chairman of product development at first wouldn't discuss future specific Saabs to come or not come at all, but where the future of Saab as part of the GM family seemed pretty clear.
"Saab has never been profitable, and likely never was, so it's just a luxury we cannot afford right now," said Lutz.
He didn't specify how long GM could keep the brand's lame duck status going, as it was already named as a brand that was not part of GM's future in plans submitted to the U.S. government. GM and Chrysler have until the end of March to submit a final plan to the government on how they plan to restructure themselves into smaller, profitable versions of themselves, but their initial plans are due in to the government on February 17.
Last year Fisker arrived and surprised the crowd with its deliciously sexy hybrid: the Karma. This year it wowed the crowd again.
While the niche automaker debuted its production model Karma, it also offered a first view of the Karma S convertible. For a while it seemed that most automakers were ditching curvy body lines in favour of chunky boxes or aerodynamic designs that look more Jetson's than J.Lo. Thankfully, Fisker is bringing sexy back ... and making it enviro-chic.
The Karma S is a two-door convertible with an automatic retractable hard top. Henrik Fisker, the company's CEO, pledged to debut the production car - the concept is badged with the word "Sunset" - at the 2011 Detroit auto show.