Technology, design, and safety were highlighted at the North American International Auto Show as Mercedes and Buick rolled out new cars. Fred Katayama reports.
Automakers are showing off advances in self-driving technologies and design at Detroit's auto show that opened Monday. Mercedes-Benz touted the autonomous driving capability of its new E-Class sedan. Mercedes head Dieter Zetsche. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. DIETER ZETSCHE, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF MANAGEMENT OF DAIMLER AG AND HEAD OF MERCEDES BENZ CARS SAYING: "This has a level of autonomy which has not been accomplished by any big number seal production car so far. It's of course still restricted by legal requirements, but is basically is capable of being more of less fully autonomous at least on freeways and we got as the first production car a test driver license for a production car in Nevada to go fully autonomous with the car as it is sold to our customers." Buick took the wraps off its Avista concept. The coupe features a twin-turbo V-6 engine, 400 horsepower, and sleek design. Kelley Blue Book analyst Rebecca Lindland says this year's show shines the spotlight on technology, design, and safety. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REBECCA LINDLAND, AUTO INDUSTRY ANALYST FOR KELLEY BLUE BOOK "What we're trying to do at the auto show is show consumers all the new innovations, all the new technologies that are coming out and the new safety features." Americans' renewed love affair for beefy pickups and sport utilities helped drive up sales and profits to a record for the 'Detroit Three' automakers. Fueling that demand: cheap gas prices that sank to multi-year lows. With oil prices expected to stay low for some time, the big automakers are looking to guzzle a bigger slice of profits from the U.S. truck market.