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2012 North American International Auto Show

Wholesale change: The rear-wheel-drive Cadillac ATS – built on an all-new lightweight vehicle architecture – will go on sale in the US in the third quarter of this year.

The US gears up for its annual motoring extravaganza

13 Jan 2012

By MIKE COSTELLO in DETROIT

We expected big things from the Detroit show - North America's largest - and Motown did not disappoint.

Both federal minister for manufacturing, Senator Kim Carr, and South Australian premier Jay Weatherill made trips to the home of the US auto industry for talks with Ford and GM chiefs.

Ford announced a significant investment into its Australian manufacturing and design operations, and GM is likely to do the same with Holden.

A slew of new metal was revealed for the first time at the show, with local heroes GM, Ford and Chrysler showing off their crucial new Cadillac ATS luxury sedan, Fusion/Mondeo mid-sizer and Dart small car respectively.

The Blue Oval brand also breathed new life into its struggling Lincoln luxury brand with the MKZ sedan - designed by Aussie Max Wolff.

GM brand Buick unveiled its Encore compact crossover, which looks set to doff the Holden badges by 2013, while Nissan unveiled its more car-like Pathfinder family SUV.

The ambitious Japanese car-maker also showed its all-electric e-NV200 van, which is a strong chance to arrive in Australia to take on the Renault Kangoo ZE EV.

Fellow Japanese giant Toyota continued its sporting bent, revealing its luxury arm Lexus' all-new LF-LC coupe.The brand also showed off a stylish NS4 plug-in hybrid sedan - said to hint at its future styling direction - as well as a facelifted 200 Series Landcruiser due here in March.

Honda's showing proved that the natural disaster-hit brand continues to recover its mojo with the stunning Acura NSX supercar concept and slick Accord coupe, which previews the next-gen mid-size model.

The Volkswagen Group debuted its Jetta hybrid model and the chopped and changed electric Bugster concept based on the new New Beetle.

Korean monolith Hyundai revealed its turbocharged Veloster coupe concept with which it plans to attack the likes of the VW Golf GTI and RenaultSport Megane RS 250.

Volvo unveiled its latest adventure in plug-in hybrid tech with its clever XC60 SUV-based petrol-electric car, while fellow European Mercedes-Benz showed its all new SL-class luxury cabriolet, fresh off a drastic weight loss program.

Finally, Porsche debuted its drop-top 911 cabriolet ahead of its release (including in Australia) in the coming months.

For all this and more, check out the links to our stories on the right of the page - brought to you from the show floor in Detroit as well as our offices right here in Australia.

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Cars at the show:

1st of January 1970

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