POSTED: Friday, March 2, 2012 - 6:21pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 12:03pm
New car sales are up, and as we all struggle out of this economic Chernobyl a lot of us are thinking about that new car purchase we put off while the whole country had a bad case of the nerves.
And there’s no better place to car shop than the Houston Auto Show.
The Houston show is the first major show every year after the big North American Auto sShow in Detroit, and next to the State Fair, the biggest in the state.
So if you want to see all that’s new in one place, this is the place to be.
Now, you might have missed the show this year, but don’t worry…we’ll take you there.
The folks at Jeep showed us a new concept vehicle built on the Grand Cherokee platform. With February sales numbers up 40%, they are on the way to another incredible year.
“It’s the product of hard work. A 44% increase in sales is pretty incredible, and this year is going to be challenging.”
The little Fiat 500, which I drove down to Houston, is the newest in car for the swell crowd, and though it isn’t expensive, it is also slow.
But Chrysler’s big debut was the new Dart. Resurrecting the 60’s nameplate for a new, gorgeous sedan built on an Alfa Romeo platform. That means it will handle, kids.
More benefits from the new Fiat ownership.
Toyota showed us a new addition to the Prius family priced around $20,000.
In fact, green was the color of this show.
Ford has both a hybrid and plug-in electric version of the gorgeous new Focus.
And the stunning new Fusion comes in both standard and hybrid versions.
“It’s a new car, and we’ve done a lot of research. The reactions from customers to the styling has been incredible.”
And while we were there, Ford was given the trophy earned by the F-150 at the Texas Auto Writers annual Truck Rodeo as the Truck of Texas.
Sports cars are also making a comeback with the incredible new LFA from Lexus. Looking for all the world like a new Ferrari, it joins the lovely new GS sports sedan in the Lexus lineup this year.
“It has 200-horsepower “
At Scion, which is Toyota’s youth brand, we were simply floored by the FRS sports car. Made in conjunction with Subaru, which will have its own version, the car is just plain beautiful. And it will cost south of $30,000, which means Porsche looks for Scion money.
The Chevy stand ranged from the futuristic Volt extended-range electric car to the Camaro convertible to the new Sonic sub-compact. The Malibu mid-sized sedan has been restyled for 2012, taking on a more Camaro-like rear end.
At Cadillac, a new flagship and entry-level model were shown.
The XTS is simply stunning and looks like the product of a romance between a Mercedes and a spaceship.
The ATS is simply a knockout and fullfills the dream of Cadillac management…
“Yes, I definitely think we can make Cadillac cool again.”
So, as Infiniti wrapped up press day with a tour of its JX35 sport wagon, the auto writers prepared to brave a miserable Houston storm to head home and write up what they saw.
The industry is back, and in a big way. And though you’re too late for the Houston show, the Dallas auto show is coming up in late March.
As we said, a great way to car shop.
Roger Gray, ketk news.