Detroit 2013 has finally started in a complete different scenario than previous years. US car market is at its best since 2007 (pre-crisis) and seems there’s still a bit more to grow in the coming months before reaching its natural top. In Detroit all auto makers are supposed to show their latest inventions as it is America’s most important motor show. Chrysler, which had the best results in 2012 since its bankruptcy, disappoints at this event. When we were expecting at least two all-new models, the group revealed the first facelift of current Grand Cherokee’s generation (coming along with new gearbox and diesel engines), and the GT version of Dodge Dart, as the main ‘new’ products. It’s a pity that the expected Chrysler 100 or new 200, or the new Jeep Cherokee were not ready for this show. According to Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler should sell 2.6 million units this year, or 200.000 more than in 2012, but he thinks is not enough and they will be busy enough to reach higher numbers. But how? yes, demand is still growing in USA, but if there are no new models consumers will look at competitors. The mid-size SUV segment is really important in America and the group does not offer anything at this moment. Chrysler brand needs to add more products to its small range, and Dodge must be boosted with better and more modern sedans. Good for the move of working even more to reach the goal, but bad for the fact Detroit 2013 will not be remembered as Chrysler’s main event.
Some pictures of the show:
The first restyling for the Grand Cherokee. It continues to be one the most beautiful SUV
Chrysler 300S Turbine Concept. A homage to the 50th anniversary of the brand. Photo by: Automotive News
The Dart GT: a R/T version at a lower price. Six-speed automatic and manual transmission with 184 hp. Price: $21.790. Photo by Automotive News
Maserati’s CEO, Harald Wester at the official presentation of new Quattroporte
Click here to see Los Angeles Motor Show 2012
In one week Detroit auto show will open its doors for the first big event in the car industry so far this year. ‘North American International Auto Show’ (January 14 – 27) will be the place where all big car makers will release their latest products for world’s second largest car market. This event takes even more relevance as US car market is having a great moment. 2012 sales figures indicate that the market reached pre-crisis levels. Most analysts say that 2013 registrations will be better but more stabilized as growth seems to have reached the top in the last months. That’s why Detroit 2013 will be more important and is expected to be the starting point of 2013 race. Chrysler Group had a wonderful 2012 with an awesome growth. Among the 3 of Detroit, Chrysler had the best performance in terms of sales growth (USA 2012 Full Year analysis soon). However it is expected not to grow that much in 2013 as the market will stabilize. If Chrysler wants more, it needs more and Detroit 2013 should be the place to introduce more cars. But according to Automotive News, the group will not be a protagonist of the event starting next week.
Autonews says that the only ‘new’ car to be presented will be the updated Jeep Grand Cherokee. Yes, the Grand Cherokee is a very important product for the group and now faces a fall in sales ranking due to more competition. But it is not the only car that deserves an updating. If Chrysler wants to maintain its sales performance it needs more fresh products. Most of current offer is old (with tiny exceptions) and soon Americans will look other car brands if Chrysler offer does not change or evolve. What about the Dodge sedans? Dodge counts for more than 40% of Chrysler Group sales but it seems that the Charger and Avenger will have to keep fighting for long. What about the expected Chrysler 100 hatchback or the new 200? These products were scheduled to be shown in Detroit. As concept or production cars, Chrysler needs more new products and Detroit should not be the next Sao Paulo auto show where Fiat, the absolute leader of Brazilian car market, did not release anything new. Let’s wait and hope Autonews missed some information about it.
After Paris and Sao Paulo, the next important auto show will be held in Los Angeles, USA. It is certainly not as important as Detroit motor show, but Los Angeles has some relevance as it is the main city of the largest car market among USA states (California state captures 11% of the US market). California is also important as it is the place where hybrid and new energy-sources cars are really popular. According to California New Car Dealers Association, September YTD sales figures indicate that the hybrid Toyota Prius is the best-selling car over there, with more than 46.000 cars sold so far. The market is clearly dominated by Japanese brands with ‘C-Segment’ sedans, different from what happens in the rest of the country where big trucks and sedans are the kings of the roads. The same source shows that the small Fiat 500 occupies an interesting place, among best-selling models, with more than 6.300 units sold, much more than what it has sold in some European markets such as Spain or the Netherlands. Actually, California counts for 19% of Fiat 500 sales in USA, which is not a small number. It is why, according to some press releases, Fiat is getting prepared to present the 500E in Los Angeles motor show, starting November 30th. According to Autoblog Español, the small electric car will be limited edition, on sale exclusively for US market and will be powered by 100 hp, not bad to be a small and electric car. It follows Marchionne’s statement in which he said the small electric 500 would be ready in early 2013, even though it was not a profitable car, but an image brand car. And that’s really what Fiat needs now in America. After the great success of the regular 500 and Abarth, they must keep working on brand awareness to get more and more clients. The best way is with new presentations or special editions. In Los Angeles it is expected the presentation of the Fiat 500C Abarth and this electric version. They will be in charge of increasing the 500 family while the 500L arrives next year.
Paris Autoshow is the next important car exhibition show in Europe. It will take place from September 29th till October 14th 2012 and is expected to be a regular autoshow without any espectacular launches due to European economic crisis. However it will be the place for the introduction of new generation of Renault Clio (the most important car in the event) and some other important cars from Germany. As it gathers all major auto press of the world, all car makers should introduce whether a new car, a revised or new versions of existing models. From Fiat-Chrysler Group there will not be a lot of news. This is because Fiat is delaying all its launches waiting for better times and because the group is now focusing in other important markets with higher potential such as China, Russia, India or even Brazil or USA.
This is the render for Maserati Quattroporte 2013 shown by Italian car magazine, Quattroporte
The most interesting launch of the group will be the new generation of Maserati Quattroporte. It is expected to be larger, more powerful and luxury to gain more market share as the brand wants to reach 60.000 units by the year 2014 from 8.000 units sold last year. According to Quattroruote magazine, it will be lighter, but larger and will be moved by a V8 and V6 engines. Though they say it will be only presented in Detroit 2013 because they Fiat guys will be concentrated in the arrival of Super Ferrari with more than 800 hp. Another release will be the Fiat Panda 4X4, based on the current Panda but higher and better suspension. The mini car is suposed to hit the market as the unique full four wheel drive available with interesting prices. Of course there will be place for the Fiat 500L and maybe they could show the 500XL, but the reality should place it in Geneva 2013. Maybe new versions for the Fiat 500, while the Punto could get more engines. Ferrari, as said before, will show its new super car to replace the Enzo, and is expected to have more than 800 hp. Certainly it will be one of the stars of the event. From the other brands nothing new.
It shows how it looks the new Fiat Panda 4×4 according to carscoop.blogspot.com
Is a pity brands such as Alfa or Lancia, or even Fiat don’t have anything really new. Paris is a big event where all Europeans brands show their best. It would be the perfect place to present new generation of Fiat Punto, that should not be delayed anymore as it is a core product of the company. Alfa Romeo should have the new Giulia or at least the Giulietta Station Wagon or MiTo 5 doors, but again they will take more time and therefore there will be less sales. Lancia should present a deep restyling of the beauty Delta, which is rapidly loosing market share in Italy. Maserati should not only present the new Quattroporte but also the new E-segment sedan (supposedly called Levante) if they really want to multiple their sales by 10. And Jeep should be thinking of a great successor for its compact Compass. Marchionne could be waiting more time to save some money, but consumers might not be waiting more to change their car. And it works even more when talking of the Punto. Paris 2012 will be the place.