2005 Detroit Auto Show Index by TCC Team (1/8/2005)
Best New Concept: Ford Fairlane. Some weird design elements, like the Home Depot plywood accents, but overall, a very intriguing turn of direction that I strongly expect to see in production.
Best New Production Car: Mercedes M-Class, certainly compared to the old car which was never that great to begin with and by now was nearly as ancient as a Model T.
Most Significant Production Vehicle: Infiniti M45. After years of being a sort of undefined, "me-too" luxury brand, this sporty new sedan finally gives Infiniti a real raison d'etre. Now let's see if consumers agree.
Biggest news story: GM's big employment cuts. The automaker admits it will end the year with about 8000 fewer jobs in the
2005 Jeep Hurricane Concept
2005 Jeep Hurricane ConceptEnlarge Photo
Worst Press Conference: Mercedes, by a long shot. Hmm, you have a new car and it almost gets lost in all the other stuff you want to talk about, rolling out just three minutes before the next newser, and after many journalists already had left?
Who’s On Top: There's no denying that
Who’s In The Barrel: Mitsubishi, without a doubt, is so far down, it's hard to imagine how it will ever pick itself back up again. But one also has to have some serious concerns about Jaguar, among the Europeans.
Personal Best: I've got a thing for over-the-top design in sexy sports cars, and I really do love the look of the Firepower, which I am convinced they'll build.
Prediction for 2005: The Japanese will target trucks, but
Editor and Producer
Best New Concept: If the Shelby GR-1 hadn’t been shown at Pebble, it would sweep this category. But of the remainder, I liked the Lexus LF-A – the audacity to out-‘Vette Chevrolet and Ford on their home turf shows you that
Best New Production Car: Honda Ridgeline. Wait ‘till you drive one.
Most Significant Production Vehicle: Honda Ridgeline. What happens when 500,000 drivers realize they don’t need a full-size truck?
2006 Dodge Charger
2006 Dodge ChargerEnlarge Photo
Worst Press Conference: Mercedes-Benz. For 30 minutes we get about ten different topics, none of which are the smart formore. Then in about two minutes, they zing over the vehicle that’s probably responsible for a quarter of MBUSA’s profit – the M-Class. Having worked with the
Who’s On Top: Fujio Cho,
Who’s In The Barrel: Rich Gilligan, Mitsubishi. Nearly unanimous here, Gilligan is just the latest skipper at Mitsu to be faced with a mountain of trouble and a teensy trowel to remove it all.
Personal Best: Not a car, not a concept – just kudos to TCC’s team for making my job posting and editing copy this year the easiest Detroit show in recent memory.
Prediction for 2005: We may finally wave goodbye to Isuzu and Mitsubishi if sales trends continue. But Jaguar too? Anything’s possible in the world of $5000 rebates and $5 billion losses.