Luxury models dazzle Detroit auto show

Published Jan 15, 2013 09:54am
Mark Reuss, President of GM North America, and the redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
Mark Reuss, President of GM North America, and the redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
Mercedes Chairman of the Board Dr. Dieter Zetsche poses for a photo at the launch of the company's CLA class car on the eve of the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013.    AFP PHOTO / Geoff ROBINS
Mercedes Chairman of the Board Dr. Dieter Zetsche poses for a photo at the launch of the company's CLA class car on the eve of the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Geoff ROBINS
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Cars are displayed at the Jaguar exhibit at the 2013 North American International Auto Show media preview at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th.   Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Cars are displayed at the Jaguar exhibit at the 2013 North American International Auto Show media preview at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The 2014 Corvette Stingray is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The 2014 Corvette Stingray is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The 2014 Corvette Stingray is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The 2014 Corvette Stingray is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Johan De Nysschen (R) president of Infiniti Motor Corp. and Shiro Nakamura chief creative offcer, introduce the 2014 Q50 to replace their best-selling G sedan at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Johan De Nysschen (R) president of Infiniti Motor Corp. and Shiro Nakamura chief creative offcer, introduce the 2014 Q50 to replace their best-selling G sedan at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The Mercedes-Benz E-400 Hybrid is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Mercedes-Benz E-400 Hybrid is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The BMW 4 Series Coupe concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The BMW 4 Series Coupe concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: The 2014 BMW Z4 is revealed at the 2013 North American International Auto Show media preview at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th.   Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: The 2014 BMW Z4 is revealed at the 2013 North American International Auto Show media preview at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg a member of the board at Volkswagon introduces the Cross Blue Concept at the North American International Auto Show during the press preview at the Cabo Center on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg a member of the board at Volkswagon introduces the Cross Blue Concept at the North American International Auto Show during the press preview at the Cabo Center on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The BMW 4 Series Coupe concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The BMW 4 Series Coupe concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
Ian Robertson, BMW management board member in charge of sales and marketing, introduces the BMW M6 Gran Coupe at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
Ian Robertson, BMW management board member in charge of sales and marketing, introduces the BMW M6 Gran Coupe at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Audi RS7 is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.    AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The Audi RS7 is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the RS7 at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the RS7 at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Honda Urban SUV concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.    AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Honda Urban SUV concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Honda Urban SUV concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.    AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Honda Urban SUV concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Toyota Corolla Furia concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.    AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The Toyota Corolla Furia concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The Toyota Corolla Furia concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.    AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The Toyota Corolla Furia concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: The Hyundai HCD-14 concept vehicle is revealed at the 2013 North American International Auto Show media preview at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th.   Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: The Hyundai HCD-14 concept vehicle is revealed at the 2013 North American International Auto Show media preview at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Mike Manley, President and CEO Jeep Brand, stands with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee (left) and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT (right) as they make their world debut at the media preview of the 2013 North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th.   Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET,
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Mike Manley, President and CEO Jeep Brand, stands with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee (left) and the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT (right) as they make their world debut at the media preview of the 2013 North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET,
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Ralph Gilles, President and CEO SRT Brand and Motor Sports, Chrysler Group LLC, introduces the new Jeep SRT Grand Cherokee at its world debut at the media preview of the 2013 North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th.   Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVI
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Ralph Gilles, President and CEO SRT Brand and Motor Sports, Chrysler Group LLC, introduces the new Jeep SRT Grand Cherokee at its world debut at the media preview of the 2013 North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Approximately 6,000 members of the media from 68 countries are attending the show this year. The 2013 NAIAS opens to the public January 19th. Bill Pugliano/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVI
The Hyundai HCD-14 concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.    AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Hyundai HCD-14 concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Hyundai HCD-14 concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.    AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The Hyundai HCD-14 concept car is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors photograph a 202 MPH Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors photograph a 202 MPH Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The Maserati Quattroporte is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.     AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The Maserati Quattroporte is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors look over a 202 MPH Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors look over a 202 MPH Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Several generations of Chevrolet Corvettes are displayed during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Several generations of Chevrolet Corvettes are displayed during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the SQ5 SUV at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the SQ5 SUV at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: A Bentley emblem graces the steering wheel of the 202 MPH Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: A Bentley emblem graces the steering wheel of the 202 MPH Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The Maserati Quattroporte is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013.     AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
The Maserati Quattroporte is introduced at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, on January 14, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Geoff Robins
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors look over a Mercedes SCG AMG Black Series during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors look over a Mercedes SCG AMG Black Series during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors look over a Mercedes SCG AMG Black Series during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Visitors look over a Mercedes SCG AMG Black Series during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Maserati unveiled the all-new Quattroporte during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Maserati unveiled the all-new Quattroporte during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: A Kia Soul with the DC Comics package is displayed during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: A Kia Soul with the DC Comics package is displayed during the media preview at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the RS7 at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the RS7 at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
The redesigned 2014Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is introduced the night before press previews start at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, January 13, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the RS7 at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27.   Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 14: Audi introduces the RS7 at the North American International Auto Show on January 14, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The auto show will be open to the public January 19-27. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP== FOR NEWSPAPERS, INTERNET, TELCOS & TELEVISION USE ONLY ==

DETROIT, Michigan, Jan 14, 2013 - Stand-out styling, performance and luxury were on display Monday as global automakers sought to stake out ground in the high-profit premium car sector at the Detroit auto show.

From a 202 mph Bentley cabriolet to a clutch of new BMWs and Audis, car makers were confident that lower-volume, higher-margin cars would find buyers in the coming year despite the slow global economy and the recession in Europe.

Auto makers are also increasingly taking aim at younger buyers no longer seen as bound to their parents' brands and - according to Infiniti chief Johan de Nysschen - not wedded to the idea that only the Germans get it right.

Despite the slowdown in Europe, manufacturers are optimistic that the rebound in the US market and the still-strong China market will be enough to keep them going.

US sales are expected to rise five to 10 percent in 2013 after jumping 13 percent in 2012, the biggest yearly gain since 1984.

And China, the world's largest car market, is expected to grow five to six percent.

The Detroit Three carmakers are raking in huge profits again after years of painful restructuring and a renewed focus on the product side of their business.

Their Asian and European counterparts are also investing heavily in the United States, as they jostle for position in the highly competitive market amid a slowdown in China and Brazil and the collapse of European demand.

“The product is the best consumers have seen in a long time,” Jesse Toprak, an analyst with the automotive site TrueCar.com, told AFP.

In China, the world's largest market, last year's double-digit growth is slowing, but could still hit five to six percent in 2013, according to BMW marketing chief Ian Robertson.

GM's new Corvette was the most hotly anticipated debut of the show.

Dubbed the Stingray, a name Corvette used for its iconic 1963 model, the quintessential 60-year-old American sports car nevertheless had an “Italianate”feel in its complete makeover, its first in eight years, said one auto analyst.

“The soul of our company is sitting right here in Corvette,” GM North America president Mark Reuss said.

“This car is the reason I work at GM.”Daimler also offered a sneak peak at an entirely new car, the compact, stylish -- and lower priced -- Mercedes CLA coupe, which is aimed squarely at the youth market.

“The CLA is a style rebel,” Mercedes design chief Gordon Wagener said.

“The dynamic design idiom is manifested in breath-taking proportions, muscular, flowing contours and sculptural surfaces.”US luxury makers Cadillac and Lincoln - ever-aspiring to the ranks of the German luxe-purveyors - also unveiled new wares.

Cadillac's electric touring coupe the ELR was a fresh bookend to the ATS gas-engined sedan introduced last year, which pulled in the North American Car of the Year award in this year's Detroit show.

Lincoln showed its MKC, a luxury compact sport utility vehicle billed as a concept car that looked not too far from production.

Luxury wasn't everything: the global battle is still on among the moderately priced cars which make up the bulk of sales, numbers released Monday showed.

Toyota regained the global sales crown lost when the 2011 Japanese tsunami devastated its supplies, as US rival General Motors saw its share of the global market shrink.

The largest US automaker, whose sales have been hit by a deep downturn in Europe, a reduction in its offerings and a decision not to chase market share with costly incentives and low-margin fleet sales, shrugged off the bad news.

“As I said last year, I didn't necessarily want to be number one in sales as I wanted to be number one in profitability - that's what we focus on,” GM chief Dan Akerson told reporters.

Meanwhile Honda laid out an aggressive goal of boosting its total sales by 50 percent to six million units in 2016.

The Japanese automaker introduced a stylish new “urban SUV” concept car aimed at providing the flexibility, performance and function of a sport utility vehicle in a much smaller package.

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