Detroit overview: Rising sales lift the auto show mood image

It might be doom and gloom in Europe as far as car sales go but the mood at the Detroit auto show was much more buoyant with sales continuing to climb back towards pre-economic crash figures of 16 million a year.

Gas prices must be low at the moment because the new products on show seemed to be just that bit larger and more ‘American’ than we have seen in recent years which have seen the emergence of smaller, more European cars

What’s more, it seems that most of the car companies who have pulled out of the show in recent years came back. Jaguar Land Rover was there having been non-attendees last year and there were a couple of notable British absentees: Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin.

The show really kicked off fittingly with the unveil of the latest version of an American icon, the seventh generation Chevrolet Corvette. Ford was keeping a pretty low profile with the Blue Oval brand leaving its traditional big press conference in the Joe Louis Arena next door until the second press day.

Even then, the big news was all about commercial vehicles.

The European premium brands took the opportunity to unveil some important newcomers. BMW unwrapped the 4 series coupe concept while Mercedes introduced the new E-class. Merc didn’t show off its new CLA to the public, but it did do so behind closed doors to the media.

Potential customers who want to see this model will have to go along to the Berlin Fashion Show where Mercedes is a major sponsor.

Around the stands there was plenty to keep punters interested although nothing that really stood out.

The talk was generally about how the car companies are rebuilding their sales volumes and relief that the US didn’t fall off the fiscal cliff. Eyes were warily caste across the Atlantic however and at the dark economic clouds hanging over Europe. Even the weather seemed milder than back home.

With no sign of the market rebounding there, there are some tough decisions having to be taken from HQ in Detroit.

text: headline auto