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Detroit show: 50-car parade planned

2014-01-10 14:13

NEW MODELS HEADED FOR DETROIT: Lexus new RC F coupe is one of 50 models making their debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 14. Image: LEXUS

DETROIT, Michigan  - Consumers will be simply spoiled for choice as automakers compete for their attention with a renewed focus on design, fuel economy and tech at the 2014 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan.

Automakers emerged from the 2008 financial crisis, that nearly killed General Motors and Chrysler, with leaner operations and a focus on product quality.

CONSUMERS TO BENEFIT

Tom Libby, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said: "For the consumer we're seeing a fabulous situation. They're getting a huge array of fantastic products and prices are coming down because of competitive pressure."

It's a pretty fantastic time to be an automaker, too.

US vehicle sales finally returned to pre-recession levels in 2013, rising 7.6% to 15.6 million vehicles. They're forecast to continue to grow in 2014, though slightly slower.

50 NEW MODELS ON SHOW

At least 50 new models from more than a dozen automakers will be unveiled in Motor City.

Some of the most intriguing are concept cars, a way to test news media and consumer reaction before a vehicle is finalised for production, such as Honda's hydrogen fuel-cell powered FCEV, GT5 racer Mercedes-Benz originally designed for the Gran Turismo video game, and Kia's GT4 Stinger sports car.

An important model for Chrysler will be its 200 sedan. It uses Alfa Romeo architecture and will be studied to gauge the success of the integration of Chrysler and Fiat.

Cadillac will unveil its ATS coupe, Dodge will show a new iteration of its sexy Viper sports car and  Chevrolet will reveal a convertible Corvette Stingray.

Mercedes-Benz will debuts its new C-class and Infiniti will introduce a carbon-fibered Eau Rouge sedan.

Toyota is expected to show a new sports car, the Supra, while Lexus will show its high-performance RC F coupe.

Jaguar will introduce a sporty new coupe and Land Rover will show its limited-edition Autobiography Black, which comes with a whopping R1.9-million price tag.

DAZZLING THE JOURNOS

People with smaller budgets or a focus on fuel economy won't be disappointed either. Honda will be introducing its new Fit compact and there will be new hybrids on offer as well.

Automakers have poured R2.1-billion into displays aimed at dazzling the more than 5000 journalists attending the show. Another 850 000 people are expected to attend industry and charity preview events and the nine-day public show.

Bob Shuman, chairman of the NAIAS, said: "The optimism is on display with all the money they put into the show. There's a spirit of exuberance."


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