The Koreans starred, the Japanese mounted a comeback, and One Ford hit the headlines with an extended family of Focus-based newcomers that it is certain to make a big hit in Australia. But it was one car and the commitment of its company chief that made the most impact as America fought back on the opening day of the 2011 North American International Motor Show.
Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman David McCarthy says several four-seater products being developed with Nissan and Renault would be suitable for Australia, but they are not due until 2014.
"We continue to support Smart because people love it," he says. "We're maintaining our interest in the brand to take it out of the hands of the grey importers.
"We're also investigating bringing in the second generation of the electric Smart, but only in small numbers; half a dozen or so just to trial."
However, he's not too keen on the Smart two-seater urban pick-up concept unveiled at the Detroit motor show this week.
Smart boss Annette Winkler described the "for-us" as "the perfect pick-up for the city".
The awkward two-seater features a tray in the rear that fits two bicycles and the show car had a Smart electric ebike in the back.
The 55kW/130Nm three-cylinder engine has been made in a joint venture with Mitsubishi.