Tag Archive | "Detroit Motor Show"

New Year New World New Cars


One of the best things about seeing ourselves into any new year is that we know Spring is just around the corner and we can look forward to gradually improving weather – or so we hope. Another good thing is the arrival of a new crop of car shows to delight car enthusiasts everywhere; and it all starts in Motor City – Detroit.

It’s inevitable that any American show is going to favour home grown products – like the awesome new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. This may well be the star of the show, resurrecting as it does the Stingray name from 1963, but it is less likely to interest the average UK motorist for whom such cars are just a primordial dream.

Much more interesting, yet probably never available to the UK market, is the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept. This is an SUV for the North American customers and is even bigger than the same company’s Toureg, although it does indicate the ‘face’ of VW SUV’s in the future. It’s a six-seater and would be instant must have for Tony Soprano – if he were still around.

Also at The Detroit Motor Show was a new Mercedes that will make fans of the brand very happy indeed. This car is seriously good looking as you can see from the image, above. It has all the style of the CLS but packed into a vehicle not much bigger than an A-Class. The CLA is part of Mercedes new small car family and is the first compact four-door coupé of its kind; although not for long as BMW will soon launch a 4-Series Coupé , as will Audi with an A3 saloon. More on these two cars shortly.

In keeping with the ‘let’s make them smaller’ trend Honda have shown their new SUV concept to be based on the forthcoming Jazz. It’s called the Urban SUV for now and, if it goes ahead, will rival the Nissan Juke and Renault’s Captur that we featured yesterday.

Mini fans will be delighted with the new John Cooper Works version of the Paceman. This 215bhp pocket rocket comes with four-wheel drive, is lower than the standard Paceman and is augmented by a more aggressive body kit and a rather splendid choice of paint jobs. At a starting point of around £30k however it might find itself price compromised. There are cheaper hot hatch offerings.

Jeep have revamped the Grand Cherokee and added a new and impressive front end which will give UK drivers who hanker for USA styling a bit of a lift. It is suitably butch but in an appealing way. Additionally on show are the new BMW M6 Gran Coupé , the Infiniti Q50 sports saloon and the revised Mercedes E-Class to name but three. World recession there might be but in the motor halls of Detroit – like speaking of the Dark Lord – nobody is mentioning it.

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UK Motor Industry Bucks The Trend


Demonstrating its resilience in the face of our economic woes, the British automotive sector has had a good year. It is amazing to think that the UK actually has no less than seven volume car makers, eight commercial manufacturers and eight Formula 1 teams resident. We are the second biggest vehicle market in Europe and have produced ten per cent more vehicles than last year.

So whilst the British media like to concentrate on – and hype up – all our problems, they have remained fairly tight-lipped about this industrial success story that continues to provide many jobs as Nissan in Sunderland have proved.

It doesn’t stop there because UK car makers are doing their bit for the environment by continually reducing emissions which are down 3.5% in just one year. The average is now a sweet smelling 133.2g/km. In fact, in the last ten years emissions are down by 23% in total. It has become obvious that fuel efficiency, new types of vehicles and some exceptionally good deals especially in the city car and supermini sectors, have driven this growth in the industry.

There are plenty more new models in the pipeline and, in 2013, more electric cars will join the fray – despite the public’s reservations – and the number of hybrids continues to rise. Cars are offering increasingly sophisticated safety features as the lists of options available grows and grows. Cars are now seen as lifestyle choices rather than just playthings or transport.

In 2013 new car registrations are expected to top two million units. This is because the industry has invested a not insignificant £6 billion in just two years. Overseas sales account for as much as ten per cent of British exports and the net value-added to the UK economy is some £12 billion, so at least someone is paying their taxes.

The continued popularity of the automobile worldwide can be judged by the content at the North American International Motor Show in Detroit in January 2013. Manufacturers have committed to unveiling some 50 new models either for worldwide or North American distribution. That’s great for the global auto industry and great for new car byuers. The choice has never been better.

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