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Auto Industry

Detroit's NAIAS to showcase latest car models as industry outlook brightens

More than 60 new car models are slated for global debuts at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)in Detroit. Global carmakers’ are looking to satisfy mounting consumer lust for speed and horsepower.

Opening Monday for the press and running through January 26, the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit comes at a time of growing consumer demand for cars.

The US car market has strongly rebounded since the devastating 2008 crash, seeing auto sales return to pre-crisis levels with 15.6 million vehicles sold in 2013.

Resurgent US demand helped the big three US carmakers Ford, Chrysler and General Motors (GM) in particular, which have been racking in massive profits after painful restructuring and amid major product revamps.

Toyota - the world's biggest carmaker - said it expected sales in the US market to grow to about 16 million vehicles this year, facing, however, a leveling off as pent-up demand was expected to slow. Germany's Volkswagen Group is more confident about the US market, announcing a $7-billion (5.1 billion euros) investment in North America over the next five years.

On a global scale, the Chinese car market is predicted to continue growing after record sales of 18 million cars in 2013. The world's biggest car market is crucial for the industry because still haunts global auto makers with stagnant sales.

New models galore

As more than 60 new concept and production models are being showcased at NAIAS this year, there's something new for everyone.

US carmaker Ford is scheduled to unveil what it has billed as a revolutionary new F-150 pickup truck, swapping out steel for aluminum in the body to improve gas mileage.

Chrysler is introducing a new version of its popular 200 sedan, while Japanese and Korean competitors are aiming largely at the lower and mid-level market.

In the luxury segment, German top-of-the-range carmaker Daimler, on Sunday, already staged the global debut of the next generation of its Mercedes C-class. Daimler brought the styling and functions of its pricier E- and S-Class cars into the C-Class, including driver assistance systems and Airmatic suspension technology.

“”We believe this car will rock the mid-sized segment,” Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said.

DW Interview - Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn

While luxury market leader BMW is featuring new models of its M3 an M4 models, German mass market producer Volkswagen (VW) hopes to boost declining US sales in 2013 with the latest edition of its Golf model. The Golf R is fitted with a 290-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but is very fuel-efficient doing 31 miles per gallon, according to an EPA highway mileage rating.

VW said it aimed to sell one million Volkswagen and Audi cars in the US by 2018 after 611,700 in 2013. The third largest auto maker in the world was trailing the US market development with just 2.6 percent growth last year.

uhe/pfd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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