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2012 NAIAS: What We Didn't Learn

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On: Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 1:57PM | By: Chris Salamone

2012 NAIAS: What We Didn't Learn

While the press viewing of Detroit’s full bounty has expired, and many newly-exciting models are slotted for market, we have to ask ourselves one remaining question: what did we miss? Sure, Acura unveiled a new NSX, RDX, and ILX. Yes, we learned about the Accord, Buick’s Encore, the Dodge Dart, and a few Audis meant for ski country. But amongst all the ad posturing, marketing plans, and novel product innovations we can also glean some interesting non-information about the auto industry in 2012.

Welcome to the flip side of automotive journalism, where a company’s actions might – in themselves – speak volumes about what is or isn’t happening.

Beginning with Nissan, the company’s new f-alpha platform never hit the showroom floor. Although most spectators weren’t expecting a completely redesigned Titan or Xterra, a little teasing would have been warmly welcomed. What we do know, however, is that Nissan expects to show off their latest platform “in about a year’s time.” And you can expect big changes when a new f-alpha emerges. The current platform underpins the Pathfinder, Xterra, Titan, and Frontier.

Secondly, GMC’s much-loved Granite concept seems to have disappeared with Buick’s introduction of an Encore production model. How can this be?! Well, the good General failed to reproduce a more-chiseled Granite concept at Detroit. And we can safely predict that GM has no interest in returning to the 1990s fad of introducing several nearly-identical vehicles in every niche market – now that the Encore looks to tap the wallets of young urbanites.

Then we turn to Jeep. Since this is a brand which has struggled with self-identity for a few years, Detroit would have been the perfect setting to move the company’s product onto solid ground. What’s more, Jeep’s anticipated Fiat Panda remake never came down from the trees – so we’re still stuck with a product lineup which mixes trendy hipsters with Spartan off-roaders without a model to bridge the two.

A final distillation from NAIAS comes from Honda who waived the Acura flag diligently throughout the show, but refused to give us a peak at a mid-cycle refresh for the company’s Civic. Perhaps this is a shrewd move on Honda’s part, where a consecutively average review on the company’s poster child for value would amount to high treason.

So there you have it. We didn’t learn about Nissan’s future truck platform, a former GMC concept model, Jeep’s brand image realignment, or Honda’s plan to give the Civic a boost. And to make matters more confusing, so many questions remain unanswered: why does Acura feel compelled to use unidentifiable letter monikers and only show cars in silver; will Chrysler have the funds to move their product lineup forward; and will electric car tax credits even be available next year?

‘Tis the spirit of Detroit, to unveil the next generation of products and simultaneously raise an equal number of unanswerable questions. Luckily that’s what Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York are for!



Stephy21 | 9:11AM (Fri, Jan 13, 2012)

Wow its amazing how much you miss when your in the heat of the moment. Thanks to this article we now know what we did miss. Thanks Guys:)

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