Detroit automakers seem resurgent in their hometown. That’s the take of Consumer Reports Senior Director of auto testing, David Champion. The most impressive models on display so far at this year’s Detroit auto show in the Motor City include the Big 3’s bread-and-butter sedans. The midsized Chevrolet Malibu and Ford Fusion sedans, and the smaller Dodge Dart, the first offspring of the combined Chrysler and Fiat all look competitive in their segments. Another impressive domestic is the Cadillac ATS. The company’s first small car in decades could be a credible BMW and Mercedes fighter, says Champion.
In the new Fusion “exterior styling is really nice; interior fit and finish is excellent, better than we’ve seen in many other Fords,” he says. From the Japanese automakers: “maybe not quite so much,” Champion says.
These assessments by the veteran automotive engineer are backed up by sales numbers showing dramatically higher sales than the industry has seen since the economic meltdown of 2008, with domestic automakers gaining market share at the expense of the big Japanese players, Honda and Toyota.
We can’t wait to get our hands on these new models to see how they really stack up in our full battery of tests. Then we’ll see if their beauty is only skin deep.
See more of Champion’s thoughts on this year’s Detroit auto show in the video below. Check out our complete coverage of the 2012 Detroit auto show in our special section.