Best Production Vehicle: Ford Verve
The Verve sedan that Ford showed here isn't officially a production vehicle, but darned close to it and, officials confirmed, almost exactly how the 2010 model would appear. I'm going to let the name carry it here. I could definitely do without some of the details, like the three-bar grille and the chrome strip in back — both seemingly design afterthoughts — but the Verve has great proportions, a sporty stance, and more personality and presence than any American-bound small Ford.
Most Shocking Moment: A Car Event About
Toyota president Watanabe, committing sacrilege in Detroit and using the M-word — that's mass transit — in his address about sustainability. Did we hear "bike paths," too? Our ears were still ringing.
Most Predictable Moment: Chrysler Execs
Bob Nardelli once again asserting, in his opening address at the Dodge Ram reveal, that he has confidence in the automaker. Hello! He's at the helm.
A lot of heads are going to roll in the industry, as companies reconfigure their products in the pipeline and plan for tighter fuel economy rules.
2008 Cadillac CTS Coupe ConceptBest Concept: Cadillac CT Coupe
Unless you've been holed up since 2000, you've been witness to the rebirth of Cadillac. Back then the brand was written off for dead as its loyal but aged Fleetwood and DeVille buyers progressed toward rigor mortis. The 2003 launch of the first-generation CTS signaled the start of something important. This was the first Cadillac designed and engineered by a group directed to again make Cadillac The Standard of The World. Heady words, indeed, but with the release of the 2009 CTS-V and other extremely capable models, it's beginning to be believable. The CT Coupe Concept helps add more reason to believe that Cadillac's continued rebirth is not a fluke. The lines are true to the brand and exciting to the eye.
2008 Cadillac CTS Coupe ConceptEnlarge Photo
Best Production Vehicle: Ford F-150
This vehicle will make or break Ford. If it fails, the company will fail. If it is popular, the company has a bought itself a few more years. The highest-volume member of Ford's F-Series line has what it takes to compete with the GMT-900 trucks introduced late in 2006 and the new 2007 Toyota Tundra. Compared to the new 2009 Ram in terms of style, the F-150 reaches farther and sports considerably more refined detailing.
Most Shocking Moment: More Rampede-ing
When the steers got randy at the Ram debut .
Most Predictable Moment: The New Vehicle
Every damn time every manufacturer said that their new (insert name here) created a new category of vehicle. The worst offender was BMW with the X6. What the hell is a Sport Activity Coupe, and who cares?
GM will not lose sales leadership to Toyota. It’s still not clear how 2007 ended, but with GM's new products, I think they have a chance of taking it back.
Kid Rock with 2009 Corvette ZR1Best Concept: Lincoln MKT
Maybe it’s because of the plethora of details that draw on the Fords of the Sixties — check out the “thunderbird” taillamp and the chromed trim on the seats. But the Lincoln MKT proves that there’s new life in Lincoln yet to be discovered, with new vehicle types married to classic details. If it enters production — and our bet is emphatically yes — the MKT likely will get Ford’s 340-hp “EcoBoost” V-6, all-wheel drive, and a less radical rear end. As it is, it’s the best of a strong showing of Ford concepts including the Verve sedan and the Explorer America crossover.
Kid Rock with 2009 Corvette ZR1Enlarge Photo