Car­a­van moves on

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News - PAUL GOVER CHIEF REPORTER paul.gover@carsguide.com.au twit­ter @paulward­gover

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.

NO SHOCK

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

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