Stories indexed with the term ‘North American International Auto Show’

Column: On the Road

Rob Cleveland

Rob Cleveland

The media days preceding the 2010 North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit kicked off to a pace that indicated far more optimism than the subdued, wake of an auto show that ran in 2009. At last year’s show, little did we know what was in store for us in the coming months – GM and Chrysler filing for bankruptcy, the lowest vehicle sales in 25 years – and it isn’t likely 2010 will be any less entertaining.

Optimism, though, seems to permeate through the show this year. Ford Motor Co., the only domestic automaker not to take bailout loans from the government, swept the North American car and truck of the year for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2010 Ford Transit Connect. Only two other automakers have taken the double header in the 17-year history of the award.

And GM’s chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre told reporters at the show that the federal government “had made a great investment” in effectively purchasing GM, and that he expected some $6.7 billion in loans to be paid back this year.

There still are sobering issues to deal with, though, and product will trump any good intentions as the year winds on. [Full Story]

No Secret: Sakti3 Wants Its Batteries in Cars

University of Michigan engineering professor Ann Marie Sastry – CEO and co-founder of a hot, new automotive battery development company – sits shivering in her overcoat in the cold Cobo basement at the Detroit auto show.


Ann Marie Sastry, CEO and co-founder of Sakti3, at her company's booth at the Detroit auto show. (Photo by the writer.)

But Sastry and her company, Ann Arbor-based Sakti3, is far from “out in the cold.” They are in the auto business for the long haul and do not plan on being relegated to a basement booth forever. Eventually, if all goes well, her company’s battery technology will be powering the cars upstairs on the main show floor’s Electric Avenue.

What is it about the “Eureka moment” in her UM lab that prompted her to help found a company two years ago? What is it that turned the heads and opened the wallets of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and cleantech venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who chipped in $2 million out the gate? What exactly is her company’s battery technology? [Full Story]

Column: On The Road

Rob Cleveland

Rob Cleveland

If you’re one of the many Prius owners in Ann Arbor and enjoy lording your environmental sensitivity over other drivers on the road, look in the rear-view mirror. The Big Three are unveiling new concepts and new plans to put some of the most environmentally sensitive vehicles out to market, meaning Prius owners may have to trade in for a Chevy, Ford or a Chrysler if they want to continue to hold the automotive moral high ground.

New model announcements made at this year’s Detroit Auto Show (also known as the North American International Auto Show in deference no doubt to the NAFTA agreement so loved by the UAW) were prolific, despite a pall created in the wake of December’s brutal and sometimes embarrassing executive testimony in Washington D.C. Most of the green news generated came out of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, who all tried their best to put on a positive face as U.S. auto sales continue their free-fall. [Full Story]