Car fair signals recovery, Toyota regains top seat
DETROIT, Michigan - Agence France-Presse
A Chevrolet car sits under cover before its presentation as a guitarist performs at a Pre-North American International Auto Show introduction in Detroit.The luxury and sports cars are in the spotlight at the Detroit auto show opened yesterday amid booming sales and renewed optimism as the U.S. economy rebounds from a deep downturn. However, General Motors lost the global sales crown once again to Toyota in 2012, as its sales grew just 2.9 percent to 9.2 million vehicles, the U.S. auto giant said yesterday.
The American automaker, which briefly regained the crown after Toyota’s supplies were shattered by the 2011 Japanese quake and tsunami, nonetheless remains at number two worldwide. German rival Volkswagen, which aspires to be the world’s biggest automaker by 2018, reported a day earlier an 11 percent increase in 2012 sales to 9.07 million. Toyota has forecast its 2012 sales will jump 22 percent to 9.7 million vehicles.
“The mood is going to be pretty good,” said Dave Sergeant, an analyst with JD Power, stating that the industry was coming off a reasonably good year and this year should be even better.
U.S. sales are expected to rise to between 15 and 16 million vehicles this year after jumping 13 percent to 14.5 million vehicles in 2012, the biggest yearly gain since 1984.
The Detroit Three carmakers are raking in huge profits again after years of painful restructuring and a renewed focus on the product side of their business. Their Asian and European counterparts are also investing heavily in the United States as they jostle for position in the highly competitive market and look for a place to grow sales amid a slowdown in China and Brazil and the collapse of European demand.
“The product is the best consumers have seen in a long time,” Jesse Toprak, an analyst with the automotive site TrueCar.com.
GM’s new Corvette was the most hotly anticipated and select journalists were given a sneak preview at a lavish preview on Jan. 13. The muscular and sculpted Corvette Stingray shares a name with the iconic 1963 model but is an entirely new vehicle, sharing only two parts with the previous generation Corvette.
Daimler also offered a sneak peak at an entirely new car, the compact, stylish - and lower priced - Mercedes CLA coupe which is aimed squarely at the youth market. “The CLA is a style rebel,” Mercedes design chief Gordon Wagener said.
Pickup truck fans will also have plenty of new models to feast their eyes upon, with the new Chevy Silverado and a concept (or pre-production) truck from Ford ahead of the 2015 launch of the next version of its top-selling F-series. Honda will be testing out a concept for a smaller sport utility vehicle, as will Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand. There will be plenty of new hulks on the floor as well, especially from Chrysler’s Jeep and Dodge brands. And even the more down-market vehicles are going to be decked out with features that were once reserved for luxury brands, like collision avoidance technology and heated side mirrors.
TURK DESIGNS LINCOLN CAR
DETROIT - Hürriyet
A Turkish automotive designer, Murat Güler, has created a new model for the Lincoln, an iconic brand of the U.S. automotive firm Ford. The new crossover, named “MKC,” is being presented at the Detroit Auto Show. Güler, who has been working at Ford for more than a decade designing the Focus, Kuga and Mondeo brands, was asked to recreate the Lincoln in 2011 with Max Wolff from Cadillac. Güler stated that he was in charge of the outer design of the automobile. He said Ford aimed to make the Lincoln competitive with global leading automotive companies BMW, Mercedes and Audi in international markets. “The Lincoln, which started to increase its share in the U.S., aims for a global expansion that will begin from China through Europe.”