Detroit Auto Show gets serious about CAFE cars

January 12, 2011
By: Kate Bachman

Reports about the North American International Auto Show in Detroit indicates that the show has taken a serious turn toward fuel efficiency. According to a recent Wall Street Journal blog, the Detroit auto show has transformed itself from a showcase of the big, powerful, and outrageous to a showcase of the small and oh-so-fuel-efficient.

“Honda says it will take the wrapping off a concept for the next-generation of its Civic compact car during next week’s Detroit show, and the car’s introduction will probably generate as much buzz as the supercar concept Porsche says it will unveil—if not more,” the article reads. “The Honda and Toyota displays reflect a shift in the auto industry toward smaller cars that is more serious than in the past.”

GM and Ford are strutting their sustainability seriousness with compacts with the Chevrolet Cruze and a redesigned Ford Focus—both backed by big marketing campaigns, the article continued.

After all, the 2016 corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) levels standard to 35.5 miles per gallon is now only five years away.

Perhaps most convincing of this shift is the proliferation of the single Prius to a “family” of them. A Toyota banner ad asks, “What’s the plural of Prius? Pri__. You decide.”

Another indication that sustainability has a firm foothold at the show is that the lead sponsor of the sixth annual EyesOn Design Awards competition, Dassault Systèmes, touts its cradle-to-grave, Product Lifecycle Management philosophy, by providing “a 3D vision of the entire lifecycle of products from conception to maintenance to recycling.”

What is the last time auto show buzz included the word "recycling"?
Kate Bachman

Kate Bachman

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