Jan. 15 - Car makers are appealing to egos and buyers desire for status to push a new wave of luxury cars at The North American International Auto show. Sharon Reich reports.
The Continental GT Speed Convertible, which makes its debut at the Detroit auto show, is no exception. This car has it all. Sleek style and a 616 horsepower 12 cylinder engine that pushes the convertible to 200 miles per hour. Bentley CEO, Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber says there's only one way to describe it. SOUNDBITE: BENTLEY CEO DR. WOLFGANG SCHREIBER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Dream on wheels. It's a dream on wheels." There is a serious luxury vibe this year at Cobo Hall, as carmakers strive to draw more affluent consumers into showrooms. And it's no surprise. When times were tough in the North American market, luxury carmakers held their footing and were able to reinvest in those brands. At the end of 2012, automakers like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche all reported strong finishes. At the BMW stand all eyes are on the new 4 series Coupe. Lead designer Adrian van Hooydonk says he designs specifically with the American consumer in mind. SOUNDBITE: BMW DESIGN GROUP CHIEF ADRIAN VAN HOOYDONK (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I saw with my own eyes that people actually use cars differently here. Of course a car is something you absolutely need in and between most American cities. People drive further than in Europe and people see cars as their most important personal accessory." And that, is the allure of the luxury car, according to Guggenheim Capital Markets Director Matthew Stover. SOUNDBITE: MATT STOVER, DIRECTOR AT GUGGENHEIM CAPITAL MARKETS, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Psychologists say your house is who you are and your car is who you want the world to think you are. And I think that when you buy a luxury car you're making a statement about yourself." REPORTER BRIDGE: REUTERS REPORTER SHARON REICH (ENGLISH) SAYING: "With the recovery underway, U.S. automakers are upping their luxury game too. This new Corvette Stingray has everyone here buzzing. But it's not the only domestic brand hoping to make headway in the market." Lincoln puts a foot forward with its new MKC, its first ever small utility vehicle. Ford CEO Alan Mulally hopes the concept car will rekindle interest in the brand. SOUNDBITE: FORD CEO ALAN MULALLY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Lincoln is the brand that will re-ignite these opportunities for growth at the Ford motor company and we are proud to have the right products, the right team, right experiences to be successful." Ford won't reveal just how much it has invested in the Lincoln brand, but the green is significant. Just how well luxury consumers respond, remains to be seen.