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The 2012 North American International Auto Show: Open to the Public

by Jerry Stanford Jr. • also see Detroit Auto Show Press Days Coverage and Press Kits

I attended the 2012 NAIAS in Detroit on Wed Jan 18th. I was very surprised at the sheer number of people attending on a Wednesday morning. It was like attending in an evening due to the high number of people.


We came in near the Mercedes and Audi displays. We continued past Smart and Falcon into the Chrysler Group area, and SRT first and foremost on that corner. Lots of nice looking cars there and then into the Chrysler area. I was immediately drawn to the 700C concept. I had read about it of course, here on Allpar, but wanted to see it for myself.


Personally, I found the vehicle to be good looking and overall a nice package, although there are a few tweaks I would like to see done with it, such as painting the hood body color, and enlarging the front grille, but that is personal taste. I also spoke to a few people who were standing nearby and found that many of them liked it overall, but would also like some changes done. Some didn't like the look of the black hood, others the angles of the side windows, and another wanted to see a more boxy look like the current vans.


Also walking around it was very nice to see the nice engine displays throughout the Chrysler Group displays. Each showed a cutaway of the different engines and have them move to simulate being run, with the bases giving information on the engine.

We also got to see Frank Beckmann on the air live at the WJR booth in the Chrysler section.

Moving beyond Chrysler, there was the Maserati stand with the Kubang. I have to say it is a rather striking vehicle and although it is based on the Grand Cherokee, I couldn't see any similarities other than a wheelbase between the two.


From there we walked through the Ram and Jeep areas. My son who is married and 22 said his favorite vehicle in that area was the Ram 3500 Dually with the Cummins. And I liked the Patriot from the Jeep area, although I am not a fan of the CVT. I hope that the Compass/Patriot replacement has a regular automatic available in it.

Moving past a wall with Mopar accessories, we arrived into the Dodge area, and first and foremost in the area was the new 2013 Dart. I have to say it is a very good looking vehicle but was rather disappointed that there was not a single one of them that was open to sit in. Only the cutaway display for seeing the interior very well. The cars all had tinted windows.


Across the aisle from the Dart cutaway was the Fiat area. Very little traffic in that area except for a few people looking at the copper colored 500 Cabrio. There were a few different 500s, including the Abarth.


From that point we walked the rest of the show.


I found the Honda area to very similar to last years layout. The Main Turntable this year had the Accord Coupe Concept. I found it to be about as different from the current Accord Coupe as the 2012 Civic was different from the 2011. Different, but not without having to take a good look at it.


They also seemed to be showing that Honda is more than a car company. Also in a corner of their exhibit was a model of the HondaJet, a private business jet, and a Honda CBR motorcycle. The biggest thing was across the aisle in their Acura section, where they had a photographer taking your picture in front of a silver screen and you could download the pic with a NSX concept pictured behind you.



Ford seemed to have a rather large area on one end of the show. They showed off the new 2013 Ford Fusion, Escape and the C-Max Hybrid. The Escape seemed to be extremely different from the current model. Much less boxy and far better interiors. The lines are much more European as most of their lineup seems to be going. Same can be said of the Fusion.


Chrysler will have a new benchmark for the 200 replacement going against the Fusion, and Chevy's redesigned Malibu. The C-Max appears to be a beefed up, tall Focus 5 door, similar to the difference between the old Dodge Colt Wagon and Colt Vista was to each other.


[Editor's note: head on, the new C-Max seems to have been copied almost directly from the Rover/BMW Mini.]


Chevy had a lot in their area. The Camaro Hot Wheels Edition, two new concept vehicles (all three of which were shown on Allpar already from Media Day), and the new 2013 Malibu and Spark. The Spark is a four door hatchback that is smaller than the Sonic but has a lot of Sonic design features in my opinion with a little more of a 'creased' look to the design.


The Malibu looks much better for 2013 as well. Gone is the bloated look I've felt its had and cleans the lines up, looses some bulk, and the interior seems a bit more refined as well from what I was able to see.


Buick did not have a lot of people in their exhibit. But they did have the new Verano there. Its their new small model, on the Cruze's platform.




Toyota had several Concept Vehicles there as well. Both Hybrid and Fuel Cell cars. And the new versions of the Prius family. The V and the C were both on hand. And across the aisle in the Scion area, they had one of the new IQs and the FR-S on hand.




VW had an exhibit along the back wall near the escalators to Michigan Hall with several Hybrid versions of their lineup. The new Beetle was there and the US built Passat. One thing I didn't see, and I may have missed it, is the Routan.


Kia had a nice area with a couple of 'souped-up' vehicles including a car painted with a basketball themed look to it. Their area had a nice look to it, and had a video area on one side where you could dance along with the Kia Hampster. A Kia Optima Hybrid was downstairs in the Ride and Drive section.


Hyundai's area was also interesting. They pushed the fact that the Elantra was voted as Car of the Year. And one side of the exhibit was built up on a platform where they had glass covered cutout around the vehicles showing vehicle parts and add-ons. They had a couple versions of the new Veloster, including the Turbo, and the new 2013 Genesis Coupe on hand.

It's hard to talk about everything that was there at the Auto Show this year, but definitely some things that made the trip worthwhile and to see some of Chrysler's new competition for the new models that are coming in the next year.

Also see Detroit Auto Show Press Days Coverage and Press Kits



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