Caravan moves on
IF it’s January, it must be Detroit. That’s the way the car world turns, with major motor shows as the landmarks through any year.
It’s the cars that make the news — from Chinese tiddlers through to rampaging Italian supercars — but the shows host the action.
January is the date for Detroit, or the North American International Auto Show, the most important of the US events each year. It used to make the running with teases and previews by the Big Three — Chrysler, Ford and GM — but these days every brand wants to be successful in the world’s largest showroom.
The show is always busy, usually snowy (sometimes with mini icebergs in the Detroit River by the Cobo Hall display arena) and this year we’ve got a full dance card to report back for Carsguide readers.
Once Detroit is done, the car show action runs rapidly through the year. February is Chicago, March is Geneva (the first big European show of the season), April is New York and so it goes.
In 2014, Beijing is the big show for China. The growing importance of the middle-class buyers who are flooding showrooms there means there will be a huge amount of news.
But there could even be newcomers at the shows in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
In Paris in September (it’s France’s turn this year, on rotation with Frankfurt there is the promise of style with substance before the show season reaches its finale in Los Angeles in December.
Regardless of what comes in 2014, we know there will be plenty of glitz and glamour, with incredible technology and an ongoing green tinge.
One thing is certain — there won’t be a major motor show in Australia in 2014. Current plans won’t come to fruition before 2015. By then there will be nothing uniquely Australian to show.
Nobody in Australia was dumb enough to buy a Mitsubishi iMiEV in 2013.
The tiny electric runabout was always underdone, undersized and overpriced, and it heads the list of underachievers in last year’s sales results.
The official Vfacts totals from the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries highlight winners — Toyota Corolla was No. 1 — and brands like Mercedes-Benz that did brilliantly last year.
But the i-MiEV tallied zero and that means it tops a losers’ list that also includes the Honda Legend with just eight sales (probably all to Honda executives), the struggling Infiniti start-up which managed only 42 deliveries of its M model, and Volvo with just 80 of its C70 coupe.
C FOR OURSELVES
I can’t wait to drive the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
I’ve seen the stylish new look at the Detroit show, had a sit in the sumptuous cabin, and read through the specifications.
But it’s the drive that will decide whether Benz, which has belted BMW in Australia over recent years, has reinvented the compact luxury car.
It’s already doing some brilliant work with its A and BClass babies, including the rorty AMG models that are Carsguide favourites. Now we’re keen to see how the CClass — trumped only by the Toyota Camry in medium-class sales — has been reinvented for 2014 and beyond.
Show time: General Motors stand at Detroit Picture: AP