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Upon entering Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit, the message was crystal clear: the auto industry is back. With a record-breaking 17.5 million unit year behind us, automakers pulled out all the stops for the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
Displays reached near the convention hall ceiling, featuring mega-sized digital screens running video full-time, not just during scheduled press conferences. This year, manufacturer stands were so large that one could easily get turned around inside this $200 million indoor city full of faux buildings, shiny cars and trucks, and carpets of all heights and textures.
“Of the 57 introductions at NAIAS, nearly 90 percent were worldwide debuts, which is an incredible testament to the global position of importance that NAIAS plays in automakers’ new vehicle and technology launch strategies,” said 2016 NAIAS Chairman Paul Sabatini.
Inspiration oozed from every automaker. Many reintroduced flagship vehicles that had been forcibly ignored during tighter times in the industry, particularly the economic downturn of 2009 and the years immediately following. But today’s bright picture for car sales gives car designers and product teams the freedom to be creative and to share their passion projects with us publicly.
No announcement was made without some sort of technological feature. Coming off the heels of the Consumer Electronics Show — traditionally a tech-only event that now dedicates 200,000 square feet of its space to the car industry — the Detroit Auto Show has become less about the futuristic, outside-the-box concepts and more about the tangible tech that automakers are excited to put in front of their customers.
For the Be Car Chic team on the ground, the most exciting vehicle debuts included:
Acura Precision Concept
Highlighting the future direction for the Acura brand and its vehicle design, the Precision Concept was a head-turner, both outside and upon opening its suicide doors.
Lexus LFLC and LC 500
Lexus has officially shaken things up with these bold and beautiful new designs of the LFLC, based on a concept that stole the Detroit Auto Show a few years ago, and the LC 500 coupe.
Infiniti proves that the brand is still very much in the two-door game by reviving its red-hot Q60 coupe. (This is the car we got a sneak peek at back in September!)
No, that’s not a Hyundai; it’s a Genesis. Hyundai CEO, Dave Zuchowski introduced the company’s newest venture into the luxury market.
Buick Avista Coupe
Buick’s surprise reveal was the belle of the ball, stealing a bit of the spotlight from Infiniti and Lexus. However, the question remains whether or not Buick will actually build this concept.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class and E-Class Plug-in Hybrid
Undoubtedly, this is the most refined E-Class yet. Mercedes pulled out all the stops with this one, bringing in luxurious features from its incredible S-Class. They also did us one better by offering a plug-in hybrid version of the E-Class — for those more eco-conscious Benz lovers out there.
Nissan Titan Warrior
Now, this is a truck we could get behind (the wheel of). We’re hopeful that this “concept” will mostly make it to production. The contrasting materials and colors are a nice touch.
Volvo S90 Sedan
Volvo is back on consumers’ minds with their XC90, recipient of this year’s coveted North American Truck of the Year award and the classically styled S90 sedan is likely to garner the brand even more attention.
We’ve never been so excited to test a minivan, but the reinvented people-hauler by Chrysler comes stacked with Uconnect and technology for every member of the family.