US auto industry exuberant heading into 2013
They have reason to be. U.S. new car and truck sales reached a five-year high of 14.5 million in 2012, and many executives and analysts think they'll climb to 15.5 million this year. Credit is easier to obtain, interest rates are low and many people who held on to old cars during the recession are ready to buy.
To catch those customers' eyes at the Detroit show, car companies are unveiling 59 new cars and concepts. That's up from just 41 in 2012, a sign that auto makers have more profits at their disposal and expect higher sales. Toyota, Nissan and Mercedes have larger, more elaborate displays. Ford is luring visitors with the oldest surviving Ford in the world, a 1903 Model A, and the newest, a chiseled pickup truck concept called Atlas that could become the next F-150. General Motors can just sit back and watch the crowds gather around the Corvette.
The Detroit show, one of the country's biggest, opens to the public Saturday. Here are five trends visitors will see:
Getting more efficient:
One lesson from this year's show: There are plenty of ways to squeeze more efficiency from cars and trucks.
Volkswagen is showing a plug-in hybrid SUV prototype called the
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