Highly Efficient Models Highlight Quieter, Greener Detroit Show

A tour of the sheet metal on display made it clear the Chinese have a long way to go to meet U.S. consumer needs, let alone government requirements, before they can be taken seriously here.

Published: 22-Jan-2008

This may not go down as one of Detroit's most memorable auto shows but it did have its telling moments.

On a macro scale, we saw General Motors' product resurgence continue with an array of new vehicles and concepts, both green and mean in character, notably the Cadillac Provoq, CTS coupe and blisteringly fast CTS-V and Corvette ZR-1. And for the second big show in a row (counting Los Angeles), GM seems to be out maneuvering Toyota in terms of perceived leadership with plug-in hybrid and alternative fuels technology.

Detroit's other players, hard-pressed Ford and Chrysler, regrouped around brand new versions of their core products, the Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram pick-up trucks respectively. While such vehicles -- as presented -- do not score many points in the green column, Ford and Chrysler did their best to appeal to that constituency with an emphasis on turbocharged smaller engine technology (from Ford), as well as diesels and advanced hybrids in Chrysler's case. Chrysler also showed off a compelling trio of lithium battery powered concepts, the Dodge ZEO, Jeep Renegade and Chrysler EcoVoyager.


Purportedly capable of hitting 0-to-60 in under 6 seconds, the plug-in hybrid Karma can hit 125 mph. The company hopes to sell 15,000 of the luxury electric cars annually.

GM's newest fuel economy fighter is the Cruze.

Analysts note that General Motors has made dramatic improvements in its vehicles over the last decade. Pictured is new small call, Chevy Cruze.

Volvo C30 is plug-in hybrid concept that utilizes electric wheel motors.

The real problem we face - and in the US it's far worse, with car makers bleeding money - is that the car is unviable and has been for a long time, contends Larry Buttrose.


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