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.
Instead, Mazda3 won the 2011 title by just 812 vehicles. Holden boss Mike Devereux admits they could have "done things" to win, but says that is not their goal.
"Our goal is to be solidly profitable over the long term," he says. "We need to be a future-proof business.
"If market share comes, it comes from a solid business.
"Our main aims are to take care of our customers and make profits. Market share is just an outcome.
"Mazda3 was number one by just 600 units. Do you really think that at the last minute we couldn't have done something about that! "But we have a long-term plan.
"We are proud to have two of the top-selling cars and they are made in Australia (Commodore and Cruze)."