Tuesday 15 January 2013. The Green Piece Column.
The North American International Auto Show 2013 (or the Detroit Auto Show as we like to call it) starts its second day of press previews today, before opening to the public for two weeks of motoring delights (January 14-27, 2013).
Taking place in the home of car giants, Ford, Chrysler and General Motors (GM), the show is the biggest in the US’ automotive calendar and this year, the 106th show is expected to more than ever display how the car industry is changing and looking to address the transport issues of tomorrow. Look out for an odd mix of both the traditional sort of heavy gas guzzler that Americans love with the new age of light and efficient motors and alternative fuel offerings. Everything goes here.
1. Lexus IS hybrid
A refreshed version of the sports sedan will make its appearance at the show, complete with a hybrid version. Sadly, we don’t know at this stage, whether the hybrid version will actually launch in USA. U.S. market will get the 2014 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350, but the IS 300h hybrid model might be just for the Japanese and European markets.
2. Nissan LEAF 2013 model
While we’ve yet to hear exactly what we will get in the UK, when Nissan starts production of its all-electric hatchback here later in the year, the unveiling of the US version, like the Japanese version before it, will give us a very good idea of what we’ll be getting when we get a refreshed model of our own in 2013.
The new 2013 model will show off new optional leather seats (as not everyone was a fan of the light-coloured fabric ones) a darker interior and a more efficient heating system. Most importantly of all, the new model will boast an improved driving range. Although the official EPA ratings have yet to be released, Nissan is hoping that they will match closely to the new rating it’s been given in Japan-at 141miles – a 14 per cent improvement. That should help the model compete with new competition including the Ford Focus Electric.
3. Honda urban SUV concept
We don’t know much about Honda’s new urban SUV other than it is likely to be a compact model, designed to rival the Nissan Juke and probably built on the Jazz platform. Expect that Honda will put a focus on efficiency, though to keep up with its rivals.
4. Cadillac ELR
Cadillac’s take on the range-extended Chevrolet Volt is revealed at the show in production-ready form. As GM’s luxury brand, we expect to see a pimped-up version of the Volt. Based on the Cadillac Coverj concept we’ve already seen, the new 2014 Cadillac ELR will use the basis drivetrain of the Volt but might couple it with a more powerful engine.
5. VIA Motors
Backed by GM-man, Bob Lutz, this is a little brand that plans to make a big splash at the Detroit Motor Show. Using GM platforms, Via makes plug-in hybrid vehicles and will showcase no less than three different electric truck models .In case that is not enough to get your attention, Via will have a full size hologram of Thomas Edison conversing with Bob, the latter of which played a key role in developing the Chevrolet Volt.
6. Toyota Furia
We know next to nothing about the concept Furia, except that it is a concept sedan model which might hint at what a new Corolla could look like. Apparently, it is Toyota’s attempt to make more exciting-looking cars. Taking a look at it, we think Toyota has hit the nail on the head.
7. Ford F-150 concept
A pick-up might seem an odd choice for us, but this is US’ best-selling pick-up for 36 years running, and the best selling car or truck for 31 years. To meet new CAFE fuel efficiency standards to be introduced in the US, expect that the firm will make use of lower weight materials such as aluminium to improve fuel economy by ditching weight.
8. Infiniti Q50
A replacement for the G saloon, the new Q50 will be the first car to launch under Infiniti’s new Q naming strategy. With a hybrid model part of the new Q50 line-up, the new model is expected to take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series as a new contender in the business car market.
9. Mercedes-Benz CLA
Based on the A-Class, the CLA is a coupe version of the new family car and becomes an important of the brand’s growing small car line-up. As part of its new small car strategy, to meet regulatory and consumer demand, Mercedes will show a coupe that remains true to the Concept Style Coupe, first seen at last April’s Beijing Motor Show. On sale from the spring, fuel economy is expected to be as strong 62.8mpg economy with emissions of 109g/km of CO2.
10. Hyundai HCD-14
Hyundai released a teaser shot of its new sleek-looking saloon concept ahead of the show, and said very little except that it would give us all ‘a glimpse into future Hyundai premium vehicle design, advanced 3-D gesture-based technology controls, and spirited driving dynamics.’ Oh er secretive. Expected to take on the likes of the Audi A7 and BMW 5 Series, it could hint at what a next-generation Genesis model might look like, when it is launched in 2014. Sadly, however the Genesis is not currently sold here in the UK.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
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