Been away from your computer this week and missed all the automotive news? We’ve gathered a few of the top stories of the past week for your viewing.
Officially, the media preview for the 2011 North American International Auto Show starts on Monday, but that hasn’t stopped a number of automakers from either teasing or revealing their latest concepts and production vehicles ahead of time. Some examples we’ve seen over the past week include…
- The 2012 Buick Verano — known as the Excelle GT in China — finally arrives in North America, providing the brand a premium offering in the increasingly crowded compact segment.
- The Hyundai Veloster will finally make the transition from concept car to production vehicle, while the company teases a possible sport compact crossover with the new Curb concept.
- Kia’s KV7 looks like a stretched Soul and is strictly a concept, but the show car could potentially influence a new people mover due to arrive in the not-too-distant future.
- After a four-year absence, Porsche is returning to the Detroit show, where it may reveal a hardtop version of its eco-friendly 918 Spyder concept.
- Volkswagen’s Passat replacement, currently known as the New Midsize Sedan, will finally make its first public appearance come Monday morning.
2011 Consumer Electronics Show
The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has traditionally seved as the showplace for new personal and household gadgets, but in recent years, the automotive industry has steadily invaded the trade show. General Motors announced a new partnership with Powermat for in-car wireless charging, but the big news surrounded the expansion of its OnStar telematics service. Ford revealed a mobile application that allows users to keep tabs on their EV, notably the new 2012 Focus Electric. Hyundai rolled out its Blue Link telematics service that provides crash assistance, navigation guidance, and remote unlocking — similar to OnStar. Toyota, meanwhile, rolled out its all-encompassing Entune infotainment system, while Audi showed prototypes of a three-dimensional heads-up display.
2010 was much kinder to automakers than 2009; as a whole the industry grew 11 percent. GM saw a 21-percent sales increase overall, while its Buick division — previously seen as teetering on the brink of existence — grew a whopping 51 percent. Ford regained its spot as the second-largest global automaker, thanks in no small part to a 17-percent sales jump in the U.S. alone. Chrysler’s totals were also up 17 percent, with Jeep sales paving the way with a 27-percent increase. Honda sales grew 7 percent, while Nissan’s volume grew 18 percent. Hyundai and Kia, however, were literally on fire; each posted a 22-percent sales increase over 2009. Volkswagen and Subaru each reported sales increases of 22 percent, while BMW and Mercedes-Benz sales grew by 10 and 18 percent, respectively. Although most automakers saw an uptick in sales, Saab, Suzuki and Volvo bucked that trend, posting drops of 44, 38, and 12 percent, respectively. Toyota, it seemed, broke even — sales neither increased nor decreased from 2009’s totals.