Post-show, much the same's being said and I can't quite figure out why (Full disclosure: I helped cover the show from the office, by co-ordinating our guys on the floor.) Sure, the sheer volume of reveals didn't rival say Geneva or Paris, but in my books, Detroit 2012 was the venue for plenty of make-or-break gambles for a number of automakers.
Take the new Dodge Dart compact sedan. Let's not sugar coat this: Chrysler's not built a decent small car since the Neon debuted almost 20 years ago (if you hated the Neon, that's all we need to say about the Caliber…) and even then it wasn't a car that set the world afire. The Dart is the first car to be truly created with help from the automaker's new Italian parents at Fiat. It's time to see what this partnership can reap.
Lincoln, listen to me: How I yearn for you to stop being so mediocre. No amount of chrome or leather is going to convince me your machines aren't just bedazzled Fords. The MKZ Concept is such a chance for you! You seem to be embracing that, saying publically that the car marks a relaunch for the brand.
As for the last of the Detroit Three automakers, I think Chevy's dual concept car debuts were some of the most under-appreciated of the show. Read between the lines on what GM's saying with the Tru 140S and Code 130R Concepts, folks. They, like every other car company on the planet is trying to figure out how the hell to sell cars to a generation of kids growing up with more interest in the latest iPhone apps then driving a car?
But the biggest, most important, cars to debut in Detroit were the three new products from Acura, officially the ILX Concept, RDX Prototype and Acura NSX Concept. Make no mistake these are all near-production looks at the new core models for Honda's fledging luxury brand. An entry-level sedan to get new people into showrooms, a compact crossover for a segment that's so hot right now and a halo super car that basically needs to prove Acura has not lost its mojo like so many people (including me to a degree) think it has.
Tell me now that Detroit 2012 was a non-event.
What other debuts stood out for you?