>> Wednesday, February 18, 2009
What recession? Economic woes and a few key no-shows can't keep a good show down.
Much was said—admittedly, some by us—in the weeks leading up to the 2009 Detroit auto show about what a somber event it would be, what with the economic climate and withdrawal of numerous manufacturers. Rarely do we so enjoy being wrong.
Therewas a different feel this year, with many manufacturers' displays significantly toned down, and the absence of Nissan and Infiniti in particular left a large hole, but the mood was less one of desperation than of determination and hope. Nothing breeds hope for an embattled company or industry like quality product, and of that there was plenty on display in Detroit. Of the biggest and most promising debuts gathered below, note that four are from GM, three are from Ford, and one from Chrysler. Not one of those eight cars looks or feels anything less than world-class.
Buick keeps telling us it's going after Lexus, but the Enclave is the closest the company has come to a serious effort. Now, the chase intensifies with the introduction of the new LaCrosse. Styled after last year's Invicta concept, which was penned jointly by studios in the U.S. and China—the latter being Buick's biggest market—the 2010 LaCrosse resembles a Lexus in profile and proves that semi-derivative Chinese designs spiced with American input can actually be pretty good-looking.
It seems as though the nearer the Chevrolet Volt gets to production, the higher its price climbs. GM officials claim a higher potential price had nothing to do with the creation of the Cadillac Converj concept—which is built on the Volt's platform and uses the same drivetrain technology—but the premium brand could charge more for the same mechanicals and offer GM a way to at least lose less money per unit sold, and maybe even turn a profit.