2013 NAIAS: Performance and luxury models are hot, electric vehicles are not

Article by Anita Panait, on January 16, 2013

The opening of 2013 Detroit Auto Show at Cobo Center aptly tells the attitude of consumer in the United States towards automotives – performance and luxury models are hot, electric vehicles are not. For instance, General Motors chief executive Dan Akerson unveiled a new 450-hp Chevrolet Corvette while Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne praised its $130,000 Maserati Quattroporte luxury sedan. On the other hand, Nissan Motor Co. chief executive Carlos Ghosn disclosed a price cut of over $6,000 on its Nissan Leaf electric vehicle. Overall, the heads of carmakers participating in the Detroit auto show seemed optimistic on the prospects of the US auto industry, which is expected to continue its fourth straight year of recovery since the 2009 financial crisis and the collapse of US companies GM and Chrysler.

The fascination of US consumers towards performance and luxury vehicles is being driven partly by foreign brands like Maserati, also a part of the Fiat group like Chrysler. Despite that, some foreign carmakers are not that optimistic of their prospects in the US market. For instance, Italian supercar maker Lamborghini has been absent from the Detroit auto show after 2009. However, Lamborghini still considers the US as its largest market, even posting a 53-percent surge in sales in 2012.

The Italian supercar maker, owned by Volkswagen AG, also plans to unveil its new Aventador roadster at a special event in Miami in early February 2013. Drawing significant interest from show visitors is GM’s seventh-generation 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, which will be rolled out this summer. On the show's first media preview day, GM also managed to grab attention for its redesigned pickup trucks -- the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. GM is set to unveil today the new 2014 Cadillac ELR plug-in hybrid. GM’s Cadillac ATS was named Monday as the 2013 North American Car by a jury of US and Canadian journalists.

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