“American cars are back,” declared the Wall Street Journal in the days leading up to last month’s Detroit International Auto Show, one of the industry’s biggest showcases for what’s new, what’s next and, well, which cars to drool over.
American cars were back in Detroit. The buzzword at this year’s show was “Small Premium,” meant to capitalize on American consumers’ taste for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars — but without giving up luxury. Ford and GM seem to have gotten the memo, as did their European and Japanese counterparts. Another hot topic, predictably, given sky-high prices and warming temperatures, was green — manufacturers touted the fuel efficiency of their fleets along with their investments in hybrid, electric (EV) and other new technologies.
But Detroit is still the show for automakers to roll out their latest and greatest, no matter what the MPG or buzzword. BMW debuted updates to its best-selling and arguably most important model, the 3 series. Acura showed off the sporty ILX sedan. Cadillac talked up its “3 series fighter,” the ATS sport sedan. And Toyota’s Scion division released the rear-drive FR-S, finally making good on its promise to Celica enthusiasts.
Here’s our selection of some of the best cars showcased at the 2012 Detroit International Auto Show: