Detroit auto show better than last year

The 2010 version of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit is widely reported to be better than last year. Unfortunately, this is not a first hand account, as I am unable to attend this year but, I am certain it is true. Last year’s auto show had a lot more to do with politics and the possible bankruptcy of GM, Ford and Chrysler, along with terrible sales figures for virtually all manufacturers. This year however, the spotlights focused once again where they are supposed to be focused on: the cars. There is no shortage of concept cars that boast about new technologies, especially hybrid, both conventional and plug-in, as well as, fully electric vehicles. There was also a lot of talk about improved fuel efficiency of models that will be coming to show rooms soon. This type of news never ceases to amaze me because every year I hear about how “experts” say that the gasoline powered engine has reached its potential in terms of fuel efficiency. Yet every year and even more so this year, we see countless 2011 models of the same cars we drive today that improve on performance and fuel efficiency. I expect this trend to continue until we see the gasoline powered engine become obsolete in favor of electric or some other power source, regardless of what the “experts” say.

The 2011 Audi A8 delivers 22 more horsepower while being 15% more fuel efficuent.

The 2011 Audi A8 delivers 22 more horsepower while being 15% more fuel efficient.

From the pictures I have seen of this year’s Detroit auto show there were some interesting concepts and some that I hope don’t actually make it to production. you should look at the pictures for yourself by googling it, but one tidbit of advice that I have for you while you look through the pictures is one of the ways that you can tell how far along a company is in the concept car’s design in terms of actually being ready to produce it is by looking for door handles. Often times you will see that a concept car does not have any door handles. If this is the case, then more than likely they are not actually going to produce that car or if they do plan to produce it then, the production version will look a lot more conventional and tame than the concept car shown at the auto show. However, when a concept car does have normal looking door handles then if the feedback the manufacturer receives is generally positive, you may see a very similar looking car in show rooms in the not too distant future.

The auto show is meant for the public, the media, governments and competitors alike. I always enjoy seeing the posturing the manufacturers attempt at the auto show. Each company tries to out do the rest with not only the cars but with the sometimes, Hollywood style and budgeted sets. This year much of the posturing centered on the emerging power source technologies. Some companies featured clean diesel and hybrid engines (the more now and near term technologies) while other companies focused a little further in to the future with full electric and hydrogen engines. Also, the style and design of the concept cars are meant to out “wow” the competition. For an automobile manufacturer at the auto show there is nothing more gratifying than having attendees go home thinking and talking about the one concept car that has them saying “that car was so cool, I really hope they produce something like that”. In essence, that is really what the auto show is all about.

Hyundai BLUE-WILL concept car. I chose to show this one because it has nice door lines and a plug-in hybrid engine, but no doors which means it is unlikely to hit dealerships any time soon.

Hyundai BLUE-WILL concept car. I chose to show this one because it has nice door lines and a plug-in hybrid engine, but no door handles which means it is unlikely to hit dealerships any time soon.