Friday, January 20, 2006

Detroit Car Show

I’ve been looking at all the reports to come out of the North American Auto Show. The Detroit Auto Show is the biggest and most prestigious of the car shows at least on this continent and the manufactures, form all over the world, show their latest and greatest. The Mazda Kabura was probably the most exciting design. There were sub compacts from the Asian automakers including the Chinese Geely. I love the idea of the Nissan Urge. This is the car that Nissan is aiming at the Gen Yers. They have partnered with Microsoft. You drive around town and when you park you can fold down the Xbox 360 screen and play your road race game using the cars steering wheel brakes and gas pedal.

All the car companies were showing off their new technologies the new Toyota Camry will offer a hybrid. And the European carmakers are pushing their new cleaner diesel cars.

Ford has the new Super Chief that I wrote about earlier and the Reflex concept car. Ford seems desperate to show they will do something. While the cars they will be selling will be more of the same.

The bigger problem, it seems to me is General Motors. Even though their stock seemed to recover a little last week and their sales in China are good many analysts see serious and persistent problems at GM. In Detroit GM unveiled the new 400hp V8 Camero.

This is hardly innovative thinking and from what I’ve heard it was designed and built in Australia. If they decide to build it where will it be built in the Cadillac plant in Lansing they sure can’t build it in Flint.

Until American carmakers take up the challenge and start giving us smaller, safer, more fuel-efficient and more reliable cars. Things are not going to get better for them. Trouble for GM means trouble for the Midwest and for America.

Lets not forget that when GM made a deal the UAW to lower the total employment from around 600,000 to the current 150,000 or so and become more efficent the people that were let go were to keep thier health insurance and retirement bennifits. The idea was that GM would sell more cars because the cars would be better cars. It seems they just don't listen to what people want.

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