The cloud of doom that hovered over the last several North American International Auto Shows is finally gone. Detroit's Cobo Hall was a busy place this week, as the world's automakers unveiled an inspired crop of attractive sedans (many of them hybrids, and some with a plug), sports cars, and concepts. Here's a look at the highlights.
For the first time since the auto industry raced off a cliff two years ago, the Detroit auto show was mobbed. Back were the sold-out hotels, the lavish parties, the teeming masses of reporters. The sensible plans that carmakers—particularly those from Detroit—had been talking about for the past three years had finally yielded fleets of solidly built, attractive, efficient production cars. In the absence of a few more stunning concepts and surprising debuts, however, the confidence felt a little tentative.
Ford has been talking for months about its plan to bring five electrified vehicles to market by 2013. The last remaining mystery about that lineup -- a plug-in hybrid whose name, shape, or size were long unknown -- was solved this morning, when Ford revealed its C-MAX Energi, a five-passenger plug-in that pairs a lithium-ion battery with an Atkinson cycle engine for a total range of 500 miles.
The Detroit Auto Show is kicking off this morning, and the first big news from the showroom is the Porsche 918 RSR, a hybrid supercar that not only takes design cues from sexy predecessors like the 911, the 908, and of course the 918 Spyder, but that churns out a whopping 767 horsepower between its gasoline and electric-powered motors.