By on January 20, 2015



As I look back on my career in automotive journalism – which has now officially outlasted an elephant’s gestation period – I am reminded of several important highlights; several moments where I rolled out of bed, crawled over to the mirror, flashed a big smile, and said to myself, using an especially cheery, positive tone: If you really work at this, someday you might be able to make $19,000 a year.

One of those moments was the very first column I ever wrote for The Truth About Cars, almost exactly two years ago today, wherein I provided a rather unique perspective on the Detroit Auto Show without actually attending the event. So when Derek asked me to reprise my role as an occasional contributor to TTAC, I did the obvious: I said yes, and then I spent approximately nine minutes getting up to speed on Detroit.

So, without further ado, here is this year’s definitive wrap-up of the Detroit Auto Show, as told by a bona fide Detroit Auto Show expert in the sense that I looked at a few photos from 1,000 miles away.

We’re going to start with Acura, as we always do, because their name is first in the alphabet – a concoction undoubtedly dreamt up by 1980s marketers, who shrewdly realized it was the only way anyone would consider their cars.

Anyway: Acura’s big debut at this year’s Detroit show was the all-new, second-generation NSX. Coincidentally, this has been Acura’s big debut at every auto show since Plymouth announced fuel injection at the 1907 Los Angeles Auto Show, which was hosted on a vacant lot in Northridge. When reached for comment, Acura PR staff said: “Wait until you see the NSX we have in store for New York.”

One major showstopper was Audi, who released the all-new Q7 luxury SUV to the oohs and aahs of eleven journalists who could tell it apart from the old model. To help distinguish it from last year’s Q7, Audi painted the new one bright blue.  “That’s a good idea,” said Acura PR staff, diligently taking notes with the same quill pens they’ve been using since the NSX was first announced.  “In Frankfurt, the NSX will be blue.”

Chevrolet was responsible for two huge debuts, when they rolled out the Bolt Concept – with a 200-mile range – and the all-new Volt, with a 50-mile range and a “range extending” gasoline engine. Rumors are swirling that the next model in the series will offer 80-mile electric capabilities, plus “range extending” feathers. It will be called the Chevrolet Molt.

The all-new Ford GT drew the largest crowds in Detroit, largely because Ford offered free parking validation to any journalist who didn’t complain about its V6 engine.

My personal favorite debut at this year’s Detroit show came from Hyundai, who rolled out a concept pickup truck dubbed the Santa Cruz Truck Concept. According to a Hyundai press release, this truck was designed to serve as a “bold, aggressive reminder that Nissan and Toyota aren’t the only ones who can compete for full-size pickup leftovers.”

It wouldn’t be an auto show without a concept car from Infiniti, who used Detroit to reveal the all-new Q60 Concept – the brand’s seventh concept car in three years.  When asked about this curious strategy, Infiniti PR representatives replied: “We employ a lot of people who worked on the NSX.”

Journalists in attendance were foaming at the mouth to condemn the Lincoln MKX, which is objectively an excellent car that would compete closely with Lexus and Mercedes-Benz if it were wearing literally any other badge, including the Comcast logo.

The strangest vehicle in the entire show was a concept car from Mercedes-Benz dubbed the F015 Luxury In Motion. Features include – all of this is true – “lounge-style” seating with four chairs that face one another, wood flooring, and six display screens mounted on various interior panels.  “With this car, we didn’t want to create a traditional automobile,” said Mercedes-Benz PR representatives, who spent years striving for a master’s degree in communications so they could stand next to the vehicle and ask journalists to remove their shoes before climbing inside.  “We wanted to create a giant slug with wood flooring.”

Nissan heralded the arrival of an all-new Titan, which will be a highly popular choice for Nissan employees interested in moving heavy furniture around greater Nashville.

Tiny automaker Smart debuted a run-out version of its Fortwo city car, inexplicably dubbed the “Flashlight Edition” despite the fact that the car doesn’t have any apparent connection to a flashlight. Other potential names reportedly included the Fortwo Gift Card and the Legal Pad Edition.

After safely watching from the sidelines as the midsize SUV segment gradually expanded over the last 25 years, Volkswagen finally rolled out an SUV concept car at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, a mere two years after they rolled out their last SUV concept car. Industry insiders expect Volkswagen to debut an actual midsize SUV in the second half of 2061, beating the Acura NSX to the market by six months.

So there you go, ladies and gentlemen: everything that mattered at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, as told to you by someone who was nowhere near the place. It’s good to be back.

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36 Comments on “This Year’s Definitive Detroit Auto Show Wrap-Up...”

  • avatar

    Humorous article as ever, glad you are back on TTAC. I assume you have patched things up with Jack regarding how you left last time.

  • avatar

    Welcome back Doug!

    Anyone ever tell you that you are like P.J. O’Rourke without pants on?

  • avatar

    Welcome back, Doug. Your act was missed around these parts.

  • avatar

    “If you really work at this, someday you might be able to make $19,000 a year.”

    Wow, that’s like twice as much as Chris Harris, or so he seems to imply

    Welcome back, Doug

  • avatar

    Wow that was a very humorous piece- well done, sir!

    p.s. Way did you leave? What happened btwn you and Jack ( I can’t recall, either).

  • avatar

    If you’re going to buy the Lincoln rebadged with the Comcast logo, you should already know–their service is TERRIBLE.

    The SmartCar was typoed, it’s actually the Fleshlight Edition, brought to you by the same developers who brought you the Mercury Mistress (look it up on Youtube NSFW)

    I’m surprised no one has yet made a surprisingly apt comparison between the Jaguar XJ220 v6 and the new Ford GT v6.

    The Cadillac production version of the Bolt concept will be out before the first generation Tesla Model 3, and will be cheaper than the 3 with comparable range and content. Though you will have to visit GM service centers for all the recalls. Tesla will force customers of the Model 3 to update their own software and transport the ‘mass market’ EV to service centers on their own dime. AAA memberships within 99 miles of Tesla service centers skyrocket, some people buy them for every member of their family and invent fake children as well.

  • avatar

    Well folks given the fact that he hasnt answered the questions about his departure I will assume that he is not going to answer and jut say welcome back. PS why didnt you say anything about Caddy?

    • 0 avatar

      I’m glad he didn’t address it.

      One of my few pet peeves on TTAC (and other auto-centric sites) is what I consider to be in poor taste public airing of catty fighting & p!ssing matches & the assorted drama.

      If I wanted drama I’d watch Jerry Springer.

      Welcome back, Doug.

      p.s. – He probably didn’t mention Cadillac because they didn’t have anything worth mentioning, aka Product Fail (cheaply built but expensive sedans, a front wheel drive Chevy Impala clone & 5 year old to decade old drivetrain CUVs & SUVs but with new, melty transformer Cadillac “wreath” badges marketed with Christmas masked orgy “Celebrate The Season” commercials.

      • 0 avatar

        I wholeheartedly agree with you on the whole drama thing. There is, however, significant space left for respect to be shown for the readership.

        The first step to rectifying a problem is to acknowledge that you have one and too many times quality contributors have vanished without a trace, leaving us to wonder WTF has happened to our daily read.

        Yes, it is too much to expect for us to go scouring the corners of comments threads to try to pick up clues. The fact that there might be clues buried here or there is even more reason to be forthright with us.

        Maybe this is a guideline set by Verticalscope since they have ignored polite requests for information. So yes, no drama is a good thing, but treating your audience respect should not fall victim.

        And welcome back, Doug!

  • avatar

    Glad to see you back! I’ve been reading your articles on Jalopnik since you left TTAC but this place hasn’t been the same without you.

  • avatar
    John R

    “Journalists in attendance were foaming at the mouth to condemn the Lincoln MKX, which is objectively an excellent car that would compete closely with Lexus and Mercedes-Benz if it were wearing literally any other badge, including the Comcast logo.”


  • avatar

    “Snark, snark, snark, snark… SNARK”

    (Not that that is a bad thing, just give it to us in small doses. I think I could handle an article with that level of snark about once or twice a week.)

  • avatar

    Hey, why no mention about the return of Oldsmobile?
    I was looking forward to the Omega Brougham concept car…
    Guess I can pursue my dreams with my three Toronados for now.

  • avatar

    Welcome back. As noted above, you missed Caddy, which, given your past ownership of a CTS-V, is borderline inexcusable.

    Decandes ago, Powder Magazine had two authors that would do a column taking opposing viewpoints on a given topic, and lampoon the heck out of each other in a good-humored (mostly) way.

    Highly recommended for you and Jack!

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’ve determined that auto shows only exist as a way for car makers to subtly poke fun at enthusiasts and fanboys. How else do you explain the concepts for cars we’re all clamoring for and then the production car either never happens or the real car is so disappointingly different that you’re better off buying an Altima?

    Speaking of Altimas, the people in the Altima racecar ads are all either from a planet without cars or they last rode in a car in 1982 and it was 1975 Beetle.

    Glad to have you back, Doug. I’m trying to decide if I want to react in the comments of your posts here like they are serious journalism and your articles on AutoTrader as satire. Also, please enable commenting on AutoTrader, just in case.

    • 0 avatar

      Its less that people haven’t driven a car, and more that people haven’t driven their car *fast*. The average sedan is plenty capable today. Improved rubber and the march of progress have ensured that. But when it exists only to drive to work and get groceries, nobody notices. You could put a 3k rpm and 50% throttle limiter on them and very few would notice.

  • avatar

    Welcome back Doug, hope this time last longer than the first time around.

  • avatar

    Way too much sarcasm. By no stretch is this a “definitive” guide to anything. I would rather just read the manufacturer supplied press releases than this. Is this the truth about cars?

  • avatar

    Congratulations on the longevity of your career. Those elephants present a stern test. I think, though, that you missed a chance to display the genius of GM with its Bolt/Volt stablemates. There’s room for a Colt, Dolt and Jolt in there, leading to a spin-off of an entire new car company. Then again, like the bad luck of three on a match, three variations of the same joke can go too far. You stopped short of that, which is why you’re an automotive journalist and I’m just a commenter.

  • avatar

    Dave Barry writes under pseudonym for TTAC now??

    I thought he only did cheesy year-end recaps…

    Just kidding ya man, so many things are totally deserving of this level of cynicism/sarcasm, keeps things in perspective. So thanks for fighting the good fight!

  • avatar

    A general truism for most trade shows is the weaker the product, the prettier the girls. Any feedback on this discernible from your 1000 mile vantage point?

  • avatar

    “Nissan heralded the arrival of an all-new Titan, which will be a highly popular choice for Nissan employees interested in moving heavy furniture around greater Nashville.”

    This was by far the funniest line…. IMHO

    Good on’yah

    Remember me if you fly out to SLC, rent a Hertz Mustang and track it at Miller Motorsports Park

  • avatar

    Welcome back Doug! As good as TTAC is, it can benefit from the levity.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    So what’s replacing the Ferrari????

    And why didja decline my FB friend request? Come on, man!

  • avatar

    Welcome back Doug. As for the Q7, I expected Audi to have hidden snipers ready to take out any journalist they saw scribble the word “wagon” on his notepad.

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