GM Shows Off Style, Celebs


Can an automaker once renowned for its styling prowess regain its design leadership? That’s what General Motors had in mind Saturday night as it paraded out a procession of its hottest cars, trucks, concepts and crossovers – all with the helping of some of Hollywood ’s biggest names.


Dubbed GM Style, the mega-event was scheduled to not only mark the start of this year’s Detroit auto show, but to also ensure that GM’s big design push dominates the annual event, one of the most influential gatherings in the global auto industry.


Jennifer Hudson, one of the stars of the hit film Dreamgirls, was among the many celebrities to grace the wide runway set up under a football field-size tent near GM’s world headquarters, along with actors Christian Slater, Rosie Perez, Carmen Electra, Cheryl Hines and Vivica A. Fox, rap star Jay-Z, and other big names. As each star walked, or drove, onto the set, they were greeted by wild cheers and applause from the more than 1000 fans, executives and journalists on hand.


But tonight, stressed the event’s emcee, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, “The cars are the stars.” And that became obvious when the last four-wheeled celeb rolled onto the runway turntable. The GM Style event’s big draw was the world debut of the new Chevrolet Camaro Convertible – the spin-off of the Camaro coupe that was generally considered the big hit of the 2006 Detroit Auto Show.


With special effects Hollywood might have been proud of, the Camaro lifted into the air, spinning around as smoke billowed into the air. As it settled back down, Electra and the other Hollywood “extras” surrounded the car, waving farewell to the crowd.


GM officials were mum when asked about the cost of the Saturday night extravaganza, though it’s believed to have run several million dollars, and was likely the most expensive event any automaker has ever staged in conjunction with the Detroit Auto Show. But Mark LaNeve, GM’s head of North American marketing, clearly was pleased, whatever the pricetag.


“This has really come together well,” he said, noting the extensive media coverage of GM Style, including crews from a number of the popular entertainment TV shows. LaNeve said he expects to see the program become a regular event leading into the auto show for years to come.


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