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Electric Avenue: Hybrids, EVs and Small Cars Take Spotlight at 2010 Detroit Auto Show

Much of the show's buzz is expected to come from electric-drive vehicles.

Published: 12-Jan-2010

DETROIT — Electric, hybrid and small cars will grab centre stage at the Detroit auto show this week, as the industry adapts to a world reshaped by the Great Recession and environmental worries.

The event will demonstrate just how automakers are responding to this new reality. Ford wants to build on its success in midsize sedans and re-ignite its small car sales, while Hyundai aims to extend last year's triumph in budget-conscious models. GM and Chrysler will start fresh with electric vehicles but also try to boost their small-car credibility. Toyota hopes to solidify its dominance in hybrids.

The new crop of models must be successful if automakers are to reverse last year's 21 per cent sales plunge. Mounting job losses, GM and Chrysler's bankruptcy filings and the death of several iconic brands sent sales skidding to their lowest level since 1982.

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Ford plans to make only 10,000 of the electric vehicles a year at first - very few by Detroit standards - to test the market cautiously. GM and Toyota are following a similar cautious approach.

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