We’re gearing up this week in anticipation of the annual Detroit North American International Auto Show press preview which begins on January 14th at the COBO Center. This year’s show should be very exciting as there are a lot of new product announcements expected.

The press conference schedule shows a broad array of vehicles being introduced across all segments. After 2012’s standout new vehicle sales performance the atmosphere at this year’s show should be electrifying.
Looking at actual production vehicle debuts, as far as I’m concerned the most anticipated unveiling will be the iconic next generation Chevrolet Corvette which will be released for the 2014 model year. The previous generation C6 Corvette was introduced back in the 2005 model year and has held up well over time in terms of design and performance, but after a nine year run its time for a fresh face. There have been lots of rumors and speculation about the C7, but expect no disappointments in GM’s halo car as it should come packed with all the latest available technology and a new overhead-valve pushrod V8 that will also be shared with Chevrolet and GMC full-size pickups and SUVs.
Another exciting release from the GM family will come from Cadillac as they are expected to introduce their new ELR plug-in hybrid. As a brand, Cadillac is in the middle of a major overhaul of its lineup having recently added the XTS and ATS sedans to its fleet, leaving only the CTS and Escalade as previous generation carryovers. The ELR doesn’t fill a void in the lineup, but rather adds another dimension to the brand. The ELR will essentially be a massaged version of the four-door Chevrolet Volt packaged in a technology rich luxury coupe body. It’s certainly an interesting recipe and we are excited to see what it will look like --- maybe the days of cookie cutter hybrids are behind us now?
After recent overhauls to meat-and-potato models Explorer, Escape, and Fusion, Ford’s production introductions won’t be quite as exciting as GM’s but they will show off their new 2014 Transit commercial vans which will replace the current E-series. The new Transit will offer a slew of more fuel efficient powertrain options and boast a sleeker wedge-like design. In addition, Ford is expected to give a preview of its next-generation 2015 F-series pickups. The F-series preview seems a bit premature, but was most likely prompted by last month’s introduction of GM’s new 2014 full-size trucks meaning the next generation full-size truck battle has already begun.
Asia Pacific luxury manufacturers will also be bringing their A game as big product launches are expected from Acura, Infiniti, and Lexus.
Acura is set to unveil a near-production version of their next generation MDX mid-size crossover SUV. The current MDX has been around since the 2007 model year and is starting to show its age. Expect the new MDX to shed its sharp edges for a softer, more rounded look.
As a brand, Infiniti is launching their new global vehicle naming system which will be called “Q”. The first vehicle introduction under this new system will be the next generation G sedan which will now wear a Q50 badge, confused yet? It will be interesting to hear the thought process and expectations behind the naming system overhaul. As far as new product goes, details on the Q50 have not been released yet so we will have to wait until the show for more information.
Lexus is set to unveil its new 2014 IS sedan which will sport the brand’s new signature front grill design. Along with the exterior design architecture, expect the next generation IS to share its premium 3.5 V6 engine with the big brother GS sedan. If you don’t option up to the V6 the 2014 will come standard with a new 2.5 inline four, making this the first time that a four cylinder variant will be available in the IS here in the US.
Make sure to follow us on Twitter Monday and Tuesday for on the spot first impressions and pictures of the new products as well as next week’s blog entry when I’ll share a more in-depth analysis of the new products unveiled.