Detroit Motor Show Gets Into Gear As Sales Up

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Global car firms have descended on America's spiritual home of the car as the world's biggest motor show is unveiled.

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit has made preparations to open to the public, where visitors can see 500 cars and trucks spread over 18 carpeted acres of exhibition space.

Monday is the first day of opening for media previews.

Automotive journalists quickly named the Cadillac ATS sports sedan and the Chrysler Ram 1500 pickup truck as the 20th North American car and truck of the year.

At least 800,000 people are expected to take in all the gleaming models, amid the bright lights and thumping mood music when it opens to the public on Saturday.

Detroit has hosted a motor show for more than a century, and is known as Motown for its long car manufacturing history.

For US car fans the biggest draw will be the first new Corvette in nine years, which has been hailed for its new European looks.

While the Corvette has wowed sport car fans, other less glamorous offerings are also being unveiled.

Electric carmaker Tesla is displaying new vehicles and Jeep is embracing diesel power for its Grand Cherokee.

And although Honda is offering a small SUV concept car British firm Bentley is releasing its new luxury convertible.

Mercedes (Xetra: 710000 - news) has already released photos of its new E-Class coupe and convertible, as some firms struggled to keep cars under wraps and away from car fans' websites.

US carmakers suffered major falls in demand during the global financial crash but demand for show tickets remains strong, according to organisers.

"You can't do enough on a screen. You can't crawl inside and get a feel for it," Rod Alberts, a 23-year veteran of the Detroit show who is now its executive director, said.

US car sales rose 13% to 14.5 million last year and could reach 15 million in 2013.

Last week Britain's car industry revealed that 2012 was the best year for car registrations since 2008, with more than two million processed by the DVLA.

Meanwhile, bloggers are already abuzz about next year, and whether a new Ferrari supercar will appear.

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