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Chrome and confidence in Detroit

Monday, January 12, 2015 - 02:32

A mixture of hype and hope dominated the auto industry's big annual show in Detroit, as executives promoted their vehicles, and expressed strong confidence for the year ahead. Bobbi Rebell reports.

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Glitz and chrome in Detroit as automakers show off what they hope will be the cars of the future at the industry's annual event. Coming off a strong 2014- there was an air of confidence among industry leaders. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche- promoting the Mercedes GLE Coupe - says he expects 2015 growth of 4 percent this year - and that Daimler will outgrow the market. SOUNDBITE: DR. DIETER ZETSCHE, CEO DAIMLER AG AND HEAD OF MERCEDES BENZ CARS,(ENGLISH) SAYING: "In this market, Mercedes will launch lots of great new products, namely many SUVs, four altogether. So we are very bullish for 2015. " SUV's and pickup trucks still fuel Detroit's profits- and with oil prices still falling- that's where a lot of the buzz was: Edmunds.com's Ed Hellwig: SOUNDBITE: ED HELLWIG, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "People feel comfortable in them. They see them as more practical, more useful and if they can afford to drive something bigger, more spacious, they'll do that. So as oil prices drop they automatically go back to what they're comfortable with." But automakers are hedging their bets, still promoting hybrids and electric cars. BMW's Ian Robertson was enthusiastic about the company's luxury electric offerings: SOUNDBITE: BMW'S IAN ROBERTSON, NORTH AMERICAN BOARD MEMBER, (ENGLISH) SAYING: " We of course had the first full year on the i3 and i8, our innovative zero emission vehicles, and they I think will see more momentum as we come into this year." Edmunds Hellwig says the hybrid and electric car market is an expanding segment for the industry: SOUNDBITE ED HELLWIG, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "There are a couple of big trends I see. One is the re-emergence of hybrids being an important aspect of automakers lineups. You have some on the low end like the Chevy Volt and the Hyundai Sonata and then they even have higher end ones like the Acura NSX and Mercedes getting into it." And in fact General Motors was heavily promoting the Chevy Bolt concept car. It has an electric driving range of more than 200 miles and a $30,000 price tag. The company is once again facing questions about safety- after news of an additional 141 claims for compensation related to the ignition switch defect in the past week: SOUNDBITE: GENERAL MOTORS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER MARY BARRA (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Our goal is to clearly be the the number one safety leader and quality leader . We're intent on doing that. We've made the change and that's what we're executing. So, it's going to be great products that are safe and are high quality." Barra said while the longer range Bolt is not slated for production, they could develop the car in as little as 18 months.

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Chrome and confidence in Detroit

Monday, January 12, 2015 - 02:32