Future Shock vs. Same Old Detroit Auto Show

The Volt becomes another highly public test of G.M.'s environmental sincerity - if the experiment fails, skeptics may charge the company with reviving electric-car dreams, only to snuff them out a second time.

Published: 16-Jan-2007

IN January, the Motor City is usually more snow globe than crystal ball. But that never keeps thousands of auto executives, journalists, analysts and dealers from an annual rite: consulting the North American International Auto Show for the latest ideas on wheels — and trying to divine the industry’s future.

The 2007 show, which opened to the public yesterday at Cobo Center after a week of previews for the media and dealers, falls at the beginning of what may be a historic year, given that Toyota seems likely to overtake General Motors as the leader in global sales. It will also be a year in which Detroit’s struggling automakers will shut factories and lay off tens of thousands of employees.

As ever, there is a tempting yet often misadvised tendency to use Detroit’s show as a referendum on the industry, or to handicap the race among manufacturers. But while auto shows can be surprisingly unreliable guides to trends, each creates some striking snapshots and parallels.


Mahindra unveiled India's first SUV with the advantage of a hybrid powertrain called Scorpio-HEV (hybrid electric vehicle) at the ongoing New Delhi Auto Expo.

A new generation of Honda's Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology helps the Civic achieve an estimated fuel economy rating of 4.7 L/100km (city) and 4.3 L/100km (highway) - improved from the 2005 Civic Hybrid's figures of 4.9 and 4.6 L/100km.

The new Civic brings a roomier interior, more spunk under the hood, and fuel mileage around 40 mpg on the highway.


blog comments powered by Disqus