A parade of positive thinking, paced by new Corvette
Cobo Centre in Detroit has 723,000 square feet of exhibition space, enough to spotlight hundreds of new cars. Mysteriously, as journalists gathered here for press previews of the North American International Auto Show, it seemed as if there was room for only one vehicle: the 2014 Corvette.
Chevrolet’s 2014 Corvette Stingray revived a storied sports car name, ruling the show the way it hopes to rule the street. And General Motors hopes the 450-horsepower Stingray—powerfully reloaded for a post-recession comeback—can help to revive the company in both symbolic and sales terms. The ’Vette, that most aspirational dream car for heartland buyers, may be a bellwether for America’s recovering car industry and economy: when middle-class strivers feel flush enough to splurge on Corvettes again, the good times may be about to roll.
GM grabbed more attention as its Cadillac ATS won the North American Car of the Year award, chosen by a jury of auto journalists. Cadillac also unveiled the swoopy ELR, a plug-in hybrid coupe based on the Chevy Volt.
Of course, buyers have mostly shunned today’s crop of electrified cars. After years of EV frenzy, Detroit’s show saw a dearth of electric models.
Instead, automakers poured out creamy luxury models, especially in entry- and mid-price territory that’s prized for sales volumes and attendant profits. Seemingly unprecedented in blue-collar Detroit, if not at any American auto show: only two non-luxury, truly all-new showroom models were introduced. They were Nissan’s Versa Note hatchback and the Kia Cadenza.
Emboldened Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50 luxury sport
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