2008 Lincoln MKTEnlarge Photo
2008 Detroit Auto Show Coverage by TCC
Ford F-150, Hyundai Genesis and Corvette ZR1.
2008 Lincoln MKT ConceptBest Concept: Lincoln MKT
This is a close one, but I am leaning heavily towards the Lincoln MKT, which shows that there’s still life left in the old brand. Finally, something that really breaks out in the increasingly crowded luxury segment. A close second, in my mind, was the Cadillac CT Coupe , which shows you can draw on your heritage without going retro.
2008 Lincoln MKT ConceptEnlarge Photo
Vehicle: Hyundai Genesis
I’m definitely going to take flak for this one, but I’m going to herald the Hyundai Genesis . Wait, you might say, didn’t your own preview suggest it looked a wee bit too much like a Mercedes-Benz knock-off? Yep, it still does, but it’s a real perception changer, suggesting that the Koreans are not only not content to stay where we were all ready to ghetto-ize them, but that they’re ready, willing and able to make a serious move on some of the world’s toughest competitors. Now let’s see whether the market will actually accept a Korean luxury car.
Most Shocking Moment: Longhorn Lovin’
Those frisky bulls wandering down Washington Blvd. doing what comes naturally – even if there weren’t any cows in the herd. The Dodge Ram press event also qualifies as the…
Most Predictable Moment: Rampede
What do you do, it seems, if you have a reputation for pulling off the biggest, most memorable moments, year after year, smashing Jeeps through Cobo’s plate glass windows, or launching minivans over the heads of its executives. Sooner or later, though, you run out of shtick. Maybe it was predictable that this year would be that moment. Oh, and second place to the Presidential candidates glad-handing their way through Cobo Center in their bid for votes in Tuesday’s primary.
Well, I could take the easy way out and predict that 2008 is the year of the Green Machine, but that’d be too easy. So let’s go out on a limb, here. This’ll be the year that Detroit shores up its share, reversing a decades-long downward spiral, with some of the most innovative products and effective marketing we’ve seen in years. I’ll also predict that at least one of the three senior managers at Chrysler won’t be around for the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, though Ford’s oft-maligned Mark Fields will return, next year, alongside marketing czar Jim Farley and CEO Alan Mulally.
Bengt Halvorson 2008 Toyota A-BAT ConceptBest Concept: Toyota A-Bat
To me, this neglected product segment is a no-brainer — a little car-based pickup for either urban-dwellers or exurb-dwellers who have a long commute and can't afford the fuel bills of a gas-guzzling truck. For years shoppers have been frustrated with the lack of compact pickups or so-called pickup cars. All the formerly compact nameplates now seem just short of full-size, and there isn't a single vehicle on the market that offers pickup ability with truly high fuel economy, for people who want to occasionally haul but have nothing to tow. The A-Bat promises that, with a useful midgate configuration and a version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive and a four-cylinder engine. It has the frugality that made the Rabbit Pickup and the Subaru Brat stand out, without the design missteps of the Baja.
2008 Toyota A-BAT ConceptEnlarge Photo