Detroit Auto Show: What to Expect in 2011

The Detroit Auto Show 2011 is in its 23rd year as an international event. In those 23 years the show has had, like anything else, good years and bad years and years in between. How will the 2011 version stack up — what can you expect? From Honda and Toyota to Audi and Chevy, the new number of new cars should not disappoint. Here are four examples of what we think might be among the most popular for show goers.

Toyota

Toyota has chosen the Detroit Auto Show to unveil a new entry into its Prius family, a 2012 wagon, said to be larger than the Prius available today. Expect plug-in hybrid technology and the latest lithium ion battery.

Honda

Honda will show a concept version of its next-generation Civic, expected to arrive in showrooms in the Spring. Word is the new Civic will be slightly sportier than today’s model, and about the same size.

Audi

One of the Detroit Auto Show’s most important debuts is the all-new Audi A6. Audi is hoping the new A6 really give its sales a boost. The A6 takes many styling ideas from its just introduced A8. When the A6 goes on sale this fall, just a 3.0-liter supercharged V6 will be available. Audi is said to be thinking about putting a diesel in the car.

Chevy

Chevrolet, still glowing from the popularity of its Chevy Volt, is expected to show the 2012 Sonic, the car that will replace its Aveo next year. The Sonic will come as a sedan and hatchback.

Those are just four automakers’ highlights at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. There will be many others. If you’d like to go, the show opens to the public Jan. 15 and runs to the 23rd.

Concept Cars and Cars to Come

Concept cars are prototypes of ideal cars. They are usually showcased for public exhibition. In the fiercely competitive world of car manufacturing, manufacturers are constantly designing and making special cars to show their ability to design and manufacture highly useful cars, built ahead of the times. As the name goes, such cars are purely conceptual in nature.

Why are concept cars conceptual?

Manufacturers of such cars do not go for mass production. This is because prototype cars are non-traditional and are made of very expensive materials or materials like paper or carbon fiber, mass production of which is not feasible. The designs and layouts of such cars are too fanciful to be implemented practically.

Purpose of designing concept cars:

Concept cars are made combining the best of modern technology with the highly effective and time-tested layouts of cars from the past. Reactions to such cars enable automobile companies feel the pulse of the market. The fanciness of the cars set the pace for future designs. Manufacturers come to know whether a car is acceptable or requires a few modifications before going to production. Cars which evince little interest are usually destroyed. Those which catch the imagination of the public are preserved as a strategy to expand the list of company patents.

Toyota Motor Corp. showcased 7 Toyota concept cars at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show. The cars unveiled by the company feature several groundbreaking and futuristic technologies. Among the concept cars showcased are the Fine-X and i-swing. While the former is a personal mobility vehicle the latter is a brand new fuel cell hybrid vehicle. The company has also showcased a prototype car, which has headlights that change intensity of light from dull to bright. The change in color reflects feeling of the driver, whether is happy, sad, or angry.

Among the 2009 concept cars Vision GLK Bluetec, the GLK compact crossover and Vision GLK Freeside are expected to be popular among the mass. Cheverolet will be launching the Chevrolet Camaro Convertile. Audi will introduce six new models in next three years. Audi Q7 SUV is the first of the six models. Audi r8 will make debut later this year. Other models are Audi A4, Audi A5, and Audi Q5. The last of the models which is shrouded in mystery is likely to be out after 2 years. To make its aging models come off age, Jaguar’s S type line-up is being replaced by Jaguar XF in 2009.

Los Angeles Auto Show 2009 Concept Cars Capture Attention

The Los Angeles Auto Show 2009 is featuring 11 concept cars which either have a space age design, a green theme or both. Concept cars from Audi, BMW, Honda, Lexus, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo offer a glimpse at what the vehicles of tomorrow may look like.

This group of concept cars include:

o Audi e-tron
o BMW Vision EfficientDynamics
o Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport
o Lexus LF-Ch Premium Compact Hybrid
o BMW MINI Coupe
o BMW MINI Roadster
o Mitsubishi PX-MiEV
o Subaru Hybrid Tourer
o Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
o Volkswagen Up! Lite
o Volvo S60 Concept

In regard to space age design, the Audi e-tron, BMW Vision EfficientDynamics and Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport blow away their respective competition. And of this group, the Honda Personal-Neo Urban Transport (or P-NUT as they are calling it) has the most futuristic design.

The P-NUT is a small urban vehicle meant to tool around big cities and fit into tight spaces. It has a small internal combustion engine coupled with a hybrid battery pack that makes it a green vehicle.

On the P-NUT, the windshield and sunroof merge into one as the swoop of the overhead design lends itself to this feature. Now, let’s face it, next to the space age vehicle, the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) isn’t very sexy.

It looks basically like a Prius. But what is sexy is that unlike many other concept vehicles, this one is expected to make it to market next year. Not only that, the Prius PHEV will compete head-on with the GM Volt PHEV.

While GM is making grandiose claims about the performance of the Volt (which is still a work in progress) setting up extreme expectations, Toyota is downplaying expectations of the Prius PHEV – for now.

One can look forward to next year and the years beyond and see the Toyota concept car of today, being one of the highest selling vehicles in tomorrow’s marketplace. And, that’s a pretty good concept, now isn’t it?