2012 NAIAS Part 3 – “N” thru “V”

Over the past two days we have covered all the intros at the 2012 North American International Auto Show from Acura to Mini.  Today we finish with Nissan to Volvo.  But before we finish we would like to point your attention to a new partner, Green Car Design, the only independent online eco-design car magazine.  All the reviews I write for eco-friendly cars will be posted on their magazine’s website so go to www.greencardesign.com/site for the details about hybrids, electrics and other alternative fueled eco-rides.

2013 Nissan Pathfinder Concept

Nissan Pathfinder Concept

The Pathfinder Concept from Nissan looks as close to production ready as the regular production vehicles in the Nissan booth so I have no idea why this is still a concept.  I didn’t see anything that would not make it to the showroom so perhaps Nissan is still playing around with trim levels and content.  Or perhaps they are just waiting to make the production into at some other better time and place.  The concept is a complete styling departure from the outgoing vehicle, curved where it was square, rounded where it was flat. I like it better from every angle except directly from the rear.  The new model looks sad for some reason.

2012 Porsche 911 Cabrio

2012 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

My future office - the cockpit of the new 911 Cabrio

The new 911 was introduced in Frankfurt last year so Detroit got to make the worldwide introduction for the Cabriolet.  I am pragmatic and prefer my 911’s with a roof.  For topless driving I would prefer a Boxster although I am sure they will sell ever one of these they can build.


Ram did not have any design-related news to report at the show.

2013 Scion FR-S


While the Toyota version was shown at the Tokyo show, the Scion version had to wait until the show was over so someone could swap out the badges.  After a couple of shows with concepts, it is finally nice to see a production version.

Smart For-Us Concept

Smart makes a pickup - the For-Us Concept

If you would have bet me last year what kind of concept Smart would be bringing to the Detroit show this year I never in a million years would have bet on a pickup.  Keep this in mind the next time you see me, I am terrible at betting.  To read more about the For-Us Concept visit my write-up at our new partner Green Car Design here.


Subaru did not have any design-related news to report at the show.

Tata eMO

Tata eMO is not a production-bound concept

Tata decided to develop a full concept vehicle to prove their capabilities as a full service product design and development supplier.  Some of the work was even done right here in Detroit (OK, technically it was done in Novi) I think they proved their point.   Check out the details at Green Car Design.

Tesla Model S “Beta”

Tesla Model S

The Model S features trunks at both ends

The Tesla Model S Beta interior was put together by hand so fit and finish have not yet been finalized

To prove that they are not a typical car company, Tesla is calling this pre-production prototype the “Beta”.  The car is handsome and I cannot wait to drive one but I am not sure I would be willing to ride in the two jump seats in the back.  Click over to the Green Car Design magazine website for specifications and more information.

Toyota NS4 Concept

Toyota NS4 Concept almost was a no show - it fell off the ramp when being driven onto the stand

I was witness to what could have been the biggest disaster for Toyota since the recent floods; the NS4 Concept slipped off the wheel ramps when being driven onto the stage.  I am sure they didn’t have a spare out in the truck so they were lucky nothing was damaged.  Read more about it on Green Car Design.

Toyota Prius c

Toyota's Prius c

Toyota FS-V Concept

Toyota FCV-R Concept

The FS-V Concept was actually introduced in Tokyo last year so this marks its North American debut.  It looks like a previous post I made about what design cue car makers where going to use to indicate their car is “green” has been answered.  It looks as if they intend to use the color BLUE (a bit ironic, don’t you think?).  Everywhere you look on this copncept they was some detail rendered in blue, including the wheels!  If you want to read about it check out the Tokyo show report from Green Car Design.

Volkswagen E-Bugster Concept

Volkswagen's E-Bugster Concept next to a standard production model

The E-Bugster's interior is finished in gloss white like an un-named MP3 player

Volkswagen gets the E-Bugster name from combining a bunch of different descriptors;  ‘E’ for electric, ‘Bug’ for the American nickname of the Beetle, and ‘speedster’ for an open-top two-seater.  There is a great write-up on it on the Green car Design website here (I couldn’t do any better so I suggest you read theirs)

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

With the Jetta Hybrid, Volkswagen now has multiple ways to save you gas money.  The new model features a more aerodynamic grille and the logo in blue – a sure fire way to prove this model is green.  Sorry Volkswagen, but I still prefer the diesel.

2013 Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid

Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid in a beautiful satin white paint

Volvo announced a new Plug-in Hybrid at the NAIAS – the XC60.  Capable of sprinting to 60 in less than 6 seconds, it also offers and impressive range of 600 miles and an even more impressive fuel economy number of 50mpg.  Coupled with Volvo’s legendary safety this should go over great with women in California (side note – Peter Horbury indicated that Volvo got a lot of great information about the future crossover market after talking to some women in California.  Come back later this week to read the details of the Autoweek Design Forum).  Read more about it at Green Car Design.

That does it for our review of the new model introductions from the show.  Come back later this week to get a summary of the trends and fashions.

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of CarFriend.me and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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