2010 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The 2010 Detroit Auto Show saw more hybrids and a marked increase in hoopla for the electrification of the automobile. A dedicated “Electric Avenue” on the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) floor joined an electric test track in the cellar of Cobo Hall, which continued a tradition started in 2009. (Truth be told, I so busy on the show floor, that I never found my way to the basement.)

I spent a great deal of time hauling the camera gear from display-to-display, setting up to capture the best of the show. The goal here at MPGomatic is to provide an unfettered view, to give you the feeling of being at the show, without having to endure the crowds. You want to see the cars. You don’t want to see me saying blah blah blah, obscuring the view.

That’s not to say that we didn’t go deep. You’ll find a smattering of interviews with experts from GM, along with long looks at more than a dozen vehicles that premiered at the show, concepts and production models alike.

Of all the manufacturers at NAIAS 2010, Ford brought the thunder, winning the North American Car of the Year Award for the Fusion Hybrid and the North American Truck of the Year award for the Transit Connect. The premiere of the 2012 Ford Focus was extremely well received, as was the revamped My Ford/My Lincoln Microsoft Sync initiative.

GM earned high marks for Buick Regal (a reworked Opel Insignia), the Cadillac CTS-V and XTS, and the GMC Granite Concept, along with the Chevy Volt, Cruze, and Aveo RS show car (a huge step up from the current production model).

The addition of Ferrari and Maserati brought sparkle to the Chrysler booth, which was lacking in new model announcements. A Chrysler Lancia Delta Concept was most noted for the video in its display that hinted at the next generation 300C. Chrysler showed two sweet little Fiat 500C variants … an Abarth and a battery-electric (BEV) concept. Put us down for one of each.

Honda premiered the production version of the attractive new CR-Z hybrid. While many in the automotive press were unimpressed by the initial performance specs, we have an inkling that tweaked versions of the CR-Z are in the wings (from both Honda and the aftermarket), which offer the potential of greatly improved fuel economy and performance. If they’re not, we’ll gladly volunteer to lead the charge.

Volkswagen pulled the wraps off a stunning NCC (New Compact Coupe) hybrid concept, with the buzz being that this could be the new Jetta coupe. We would not be surprised if this critter evolves into a diesel hybrid.

Toyota doubled down on hybrid concepts, with the Toyota FT-CH and Lexus LF-CH. We also caught the Lexus LFA as it spun about tauntingly.

Audi brought a new and gorgeous electric e-tron concept, along with an R8 Cabriolet – providing inspiration to shave my facial hair into a Tony Stark-like goatee.

Tesla showed their Model S Sedan, still holding to the line that it will be a seven passenger vehicle. Tesla honcho Elon Musk suggests that owners shove two kids into the hatchback. We’ll all be looking forward to that demo. It’s a hatchback for Pete’s sake, not a wagon.

And there’s one more interview … just in case you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to go 0-60 MPH in 2.9 seconds without gasoline …

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Disclosure: GM kindly covered my travel to and accommodations in Detroit for NAIAS 2010, along with a varied group of automotive bloggers.

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