2013 North American International Auto Show

This one should have been called the C7 unveiling, plus a whole bunch of other things.

By Whitney Ellis

Have you heard about the C7 Corvette? Well, the next generation of the only (somewhat) mass-produced American sports car is now here, first seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Sure, there were about 200 other cars at NAIAS this year, but nobody really cared.

News of the next-generation Corvette dominated the automotive media for the months and weeks leading up to the auto show, with spy shots, artist renderings and more. When the car was unveiled during the auto show’s press event, everyone ate it up. The car and its technologies were featured in USA today, Yahoo! and other traditional news outlets.

Road and Track and others had YouTube specials on the “game-changing American icon,” featuring product engineers, designers, marketers and others on why they did what they did. My thoughts, I think the car is great, but not what I expected. I can go hours about what “game-changing” really means, and why this Corvette really isn’t it, but I digress. Back to the Corvette show.

As we’re in awards season, let me try to make a comparison… stay with me here. When the Academy Awards are on television, say ABC, well its competitors have reruns on because they don’t want to show new episodes because they know the Academy Awards will dominate the viewing public.

Not to say these automakers have it right, but it was disappointing. The C7 was the most talked about car for General Motors since the second generation CTS-V or the C6 Corvette. So, the most important car there was… none.

Ford had the Atlas concept, which looks a lot like the F-150 already. Lincoln has the MKC, based on Ford’s Escape (no MSRP yet, but it will be way overpriced). Lexus trotted out the LF-A (again), Toyota looks to have freshened up the Corolla with the Furia Concept, and that was about it.

All the other car companies were playing reruns while the Corvette had its day. I guess I was just expecting more. Needless to say, I’m expecting a lot more from next year’s show.

I’ll end on this point – cars aside, let me talk about something I was pleased to see… people. This year’s show was packed. I haven’t seen this many people since the first year I attended seven years ago. While I hated maneuvering through traffic to see cars and trucks, if there are this many people interested in the auto industry