Luxury cars are turning more heads than hybrids at the 2013 Detroit auto show, a sign the industry has roared back to life in Michigan, analysts say.
Gov. Rick Snyder told local media that he’s happy the lagging enthusiasm from 2009 and 2010 are in the rear-view mirrors of most automakers.
“Those were difficult shows,” Snyder told The Detroit Free Press. “In 2009 and ’10, there was just a whole different atmosphere. …
“The atmosphere here today is fabulous,” he added. “We’re the world’s capital of the auto industry today.”
The North American International Auto Show – the official title of the world’s most watched car show – opened Monday to media.
The public can peruse the offerings from Jan. 19 to 27.
The governor also spent much time trying to convince other carmakers not using Michigan to set up shop in the state.
“The starting point to get someone to set up in Michigan is to say, ‘Start with engineering,’” he said, according to The Detroit News. “Eventually that could lead to manufacturing.”
Among the early offerings – over 50 new models are using Detroit to debut – are luxury brands and iconic sports cars.
“They brought their A-game,” NAIAS chairman Jim Seavitt told MLive.com. “Just looking around, the brightness of it, it’s just fantastic.”
Consumers bought 14.5 million cars last year, a 13 percent increase from 2011. That’s a slow but noticeable crawl back to the 17-million mark set in 2007, AOL Autos reported.
Early awards went to General Motors, which won its first North American Car of the Year award in Detroit for the Cadillac ATS, while Chrysler won Truck of the Year for the Ram 1500.
That’s signs Detroit is ready to retake the world, optimistic analysts say.
“The US auto market has revitalized itself with amazing speed and dynamism,” German carmaker association boss Matthias Wissmann told Reuters.
“The fascination of the car is again alive and well in the US.”
What has many surprised is that performance vehicles are gaining as much, or more, attention than hybrids.
For example, Nissan announced its decision this week to cut prices of the all-electric Leaf by $6,000.
The carmaker says a weaker US dollar has cut production costs, which are passed on to consumers.
However, the Japanese brand sold fewer than 10,000 Leaf cars to Americans last year.
That was contrasted by GM revealing a 450-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette and Fiat introducing its $130,000 Maserati Quattroporte luxury sedan, Reuters reported.