Henny's Wrap 2012 Detroit Auto Show
See Complete Video 2012 Detroit Auto Show Press Pass Coverage
By Henny Hemmes
Senior European Editor
Photos - Thom Cannell
The Auto Channel
DETROIT, January 10, 2012. Before making arrangements to fly to
Motown, I thought about how the atmosphere would be this time. Would it be
as pessimistic as the past two years? Maybe not..
Now, with the media days behind us, I am looking back with a
positive feeling. With some 50 production and concept cars, there was more
interesting news than the press conference schedule issued before the show
Remarkable was that there were by for not as many electric vehicles
as one or two years ago. Which I think is realistic since the average car
on the roads (worldwide) will not be one with an electric drivetrain.
The first day took off with the sober presentation of the 2013 Ford
Ford’s new world car, which will be dubbed Mondeo in Europe.
The Mondeo was used for the Contour and had a good image. The Fusion is
good looking with nice design lines and knowing Ford, you can expect
driving qualities will be as good as those of the last generation.
Chrysler showed the Dodge Dart
, which is a nice mainstream car. A
colleague asked me: who would buy such a car (obviously he was not
impressed) and I thought about relatives who stick to the same brand and
buy new models every now and then. Why not? They know what they are getting
and are satisfied with the dealer.
Chevy unveiled the Tru 140S concept car
with the same weird name as
the Code 130R that debuted last year. There was no explanation about the
name, but GM said such a model should attrack ‘millennials’, a
new generation of car buyers between 15 and 30 years. According to GM there
are some 80 million of them in the US with a lot of spending power.
On to Mercedes-Benz who had Jon Lovitz help unveil its new SL at the eve of the show
in the Westin hotel
for invited journalists.
It is nice looking, but to be
honest, I do not see a true design philosophy here. Interesting though is
the innovative Magic Vision Control. It is a wipe-/wash system with water
coming from the washer blade and sprayed directly in front of it to be
wiped immediately after. You do not even notice the windshield getting wet!
New is also the availability of heated blades, which take care of snow and
ice adding on the blades. Even warm water can be sprayed onto the
It was good that Mercedes and Porsche took their new their open
models to Detroit - the Porsche 911 Cabrio
was there too – and that
also VW and BMW were presenting new models. The latter unveiled the BMW
Active5 Hybrid, the new 3 Series and the M5, while
Mini saved the world
premiere for the Roadster
for Motown. It is amazing that Mini is able to
develop new models from a practically unchanged base design. I like it very
much, but everybody realizes it will be a niche car and not sell as many as
the Mini One and the Countryman, the larger models that is an absolute
Also the innovative BMW i-brand models, the electric i3 city car and the
plug-in hybrid i8 sports car made it onto the stage, but they made their
North-American premiere in LA last November.
I especially liked the return of the Japanese car manufacturers
Toyota and Honda to the sports car segment, because that is what the
presentation of their concept cars indicates.
Honda (Acura) came up with the stunning NSX and says the next
generation will arrive within 3 years. Good thing, since Honda left the
segment after discontinuing the NSX in 2005 and its smaller S2000 three
Toyota already showed the FT-86 sports car that together with the
Scion FR-S and the Subaru BRZ is part of a triplet. They all look nice and
are important for the rejuvenation of the brand, just like the NSX will do
for Honda. And...what the 350Z – now the 370 Z and the GT-R are
doing for Nissan!
My favorite of this year’s show is clearly the Lexus FL-LC
that will be an strong opponent for the NSX in the near future. This all
means that exciting products are on their way and will bring back some buss
at Toyota and Honda, who recently focused much on their hybrid models. In
this respect I should not forget to say that I also liked the Scion C and
even better the Toyota SN4 Plug-in hybrid
that hints at a real interesting
and sporty new fuel efficient models coming up soon.
Hyundai launched its new Genesis Coupe and the nice looking Elantra
that with an
affordable price will attract younger buyers indeed. In my heart I hope
that buyers will also like the Shelby models, the Shelby GTS with its
conversion from a
Ford Mustang priced around 20,000 dollars will educate them in loving muscle powered
rear-wheel drive cars.
Like I said, there were many interesting models in Detroit, but the
above selection not only added to the buzz in Detroit, it shows that, it is
also about sex appeal.
From what I have seen at the 2012 Detroit and 2011 LA shows, there will lots
of great car news in 2012… and you will be able to read about it here
on The Auto Channel, tot zo Henny