Detroit show to host 50 car launchesComment on this story
Detroit Motor Show - Confident car companies gave journalists a taste of fresh new metal along with canapes and cocktails on the eve of the Detroit show, which is set to open to the press on Monday.
At least 50 new models from more than a dozen carmakers are set to be unveiled in the Motor City during two days of press previews.
Capturing the attention of the 5000 journalists flying in from around the world could be a struggle amidst the back-to-back reveals and carmakers have poured more than the equivalent of R2-billion into dazzling displays.
Mercedes-Benz hired R&B songstress Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child to serenade its sleek new C-Class sedan as it rolled onto stage at an elegant invite-only event at the luxurious Westin hotel on Sunday night.
"In developing the new C-Class, we aimed for a car that simply lives up to our mantra: 'The best or nothing,'" Mercedes chief Dieter Zetsche said while unveiling the new sedan.
General Motors chose a former industrial complex which has been revitalized into a centre for artists and small businesses as the venue to reveal its GMC Canyon, a mid-sized pickup truck.
But all eyes were on incoming chief executive officer Mary Barra, the first woman to be tapped to lead a major carmaker.
Barra - who was previously in charge of global product development and has been hailed within the industry as a 'car guy' - signaled that the accountants will not be allowed to dominate business plans.
"At today's GM, our products are the result of putting the customer at the centre of everything we do. That has fostered a bold new culture at our company, a culture that promotes innovation and encourages risk taking," she said.
The North American International Auto Show formally gets under way on Monday morning at a newly renovated convention centre in downtown Detroit, which is currently struggling through the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.
The Motor City is hoping to echo the success of GM and Chrysler, which emerged from government-backed bankruptcies in 2009 as stronger, leaner and far more successful companies.
After years of painful restructuring and mass layoffs, the Detroit Three automakers are racking in massive profits as major product revamps allowed them to take advantage of resurgent demand.
IOL Motoring will keep you updated on the top launches at the show.
Here are some of the top reveals thus far:
Stay tuned for more!