What to Expect at This Year's Detroit Auto Show

      January 06, 2011 09:55

      The 2011 North American International Auto Show, which opens in Detroit next Monday (local time), will feature a host of new U.S.-made compacts. American carmakers are turning their focus from large and mid-sized sedans and trucks to compacts, which have been dominated by the Asian automakers.

      The Detroit auto show had lost its luster amid the financial crisis in 2008 and GM and Chrysler's filing for bankruptcy protection in 2009. But with the gradual recovery in U.S. car sales last year, the show is regaining its glamour as one of the world's top auto shows along with its counterparts in Frankfurt, Paris and Tokyo. The Detroit show has been held in the hub city of the U.S. automotive industry since 1907.

      ◆ Standout Designs

      Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group will debut its new flagship model at the show, the Veloster coupe. Boasting a unique appearance, it has one door on the driver's side and two on the passenger's side. Kia will unveil its KV7 concept car with gull-wing rear doors. Experts have already picked the two models as the ones with the most intriguing designs to highlight the show.

      Clockwise from top left: the Ford C-Max, Audi's new A6, the new Chrysler 300C, and Hyundai's Veloster /Courtesy of respective firms

      ◆ Compacts

      A number of U.S. compacts will be launched at the show, including Ford's seven-seater C-Max multi-purpose vehicle, which is based on the Focus compact and will hit the market there late this year. Visitors will also be able to see the new Focus that will be sold in Korea from the second half of this year. GM's Chevrolet brand will showcase its new Sonic compact, due to roll out here next month, while Buick will unveil its own compact.

      The show will also feature new cars by Japanese and European automakers. Toyota will showcase its Prius hybrid station wagon, and Volkswagen a U.S.-made mid-sized sedan that will be launched there in the latter half of this year. Honda will unveil its latest Civic concept which is expected to hit the U.S. market in March, and the Korean market within this year.

      ◆ Multi-Purpose Vehicles

      Chrysler plans to unveil its full-size 300C sedan and the new Jeep Compass SUV, which will be available here from April and March respectively. Audi will unveil for the first time in the world its new mid-sized A6 sedan, and BMW its new 6 Series Convertible, 1 Series M Coupe, and updates of the 1 Series Coupe and Convertible. The 6 Series Convertible will be released here in March, and the 1 Series M Coupe in April.

      MINI will show its future direction for design with the debut of its Paceman concept, a mix of compact MPV and sports car. Volvo will unveil its new S60 sedan, which will be released here in March.

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