Jan 14 - Glamour and optimism expected to dominate when the North American International Auto Show kicks off on Monday. Sharon Reich reports.
It's the return of the Stingray. The latest version of America's most iconic sports car the 2014 Chevy Corvette. The show-stopper is only the 7th model ever designed and is the first and most highly anticipated reveal at this year's North American International Auto Show. Tadge Juechter, Corvette's Chief Engineer says the car is sexy looking, but it feels even better. SOUBDBITE: TADEGE JUECHTER, CORVETTE CHIEF ENGINEER (ENGLISH) SAYING "The big story is the way it feels behind the wheel. The way it wraps around you and hugs your body, makes you part of it, so you feel totally in control. It's super super responsive, it's a very different kind of driving experience than what people have had before." Chevy's launch may end up being the most talked about as the show opens, but it's just the first of many to take place at Detroit's Cobo Hall. Inside, automakers are still putting the finishing touches on their booths, and some are pulling out all the stops. Industry insiders get their first look on Monday, when the wraps come off more than 50 new models. TrueCar.com's Larry Dominique says after bankruptcys and bailouts, the glamour is back in Detroit. SOUNDBITE: LARRY DOMINIQUE, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF INDUSTRY FOR TRUECAR.COM, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This Year Is different than other years. Going back 3-4 years the auto show was depressing. What we've seen over the last 3-4 years is step by step resurgence of energy and excitement. What I'm seeing this year is a tremendous number of debuts from European, asian manufacturers and domestics. Also seeing a wide range, everything from luxury to entry level vehicles. So what you're seeing is a tremendous number of reveals, world debuts and overall a lot of energy and excitement." In 2012, U.S. auto sales topped out at nearly 14.5 million new vehicles, the best performance since 2007. Many analysts predict 2013 sales could slightly back off last years five-year high due to the fog of uncertainty still emanating from Washington. But nowhere is the recovery of the industry more evident than in Motor City itself. The big three U.S. automakers all reported increases in sales in December. And between them - are rolling out at least 12 new models between them. REPORTER BRIDGE: SHARON REICH, REUTERS REPORTER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "While the U.S. car market's rebound may be slowing, it still looks like the best bet to many Asian and European brands who are hoping to dazzle with their here too." German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz expects to sell a record number of vehicles this year in the United States. Daimler CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche. SOUNDBITE: DR. DIETER ZETSCHE, CEO OF DAIMLER AG AND HEAD OF MERCEDES BENZ CARS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Last year for the first time we sold more cars in the U.S. than in any other market and therefore for us the U.S. market is the number one market and we are putting a lot of focus and emphasis with our great new product being launched in this market." The Detroit auto show will run through January 27th and the hope here is that recovery is here to stay.