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.
General Motors is sparring its Opel Mokka SUV against a Holden version of the Buick Encore. The Encore debuted yesterday on the GM stand at the Detroit motor show while Opel made a less dramatic announcement by press release.
Both vehicles share the Corsa/Barina platform and the engines. Yet in Australia, the Opel Mokka will become a stablemate model alongside the Astra as Opel cements its local marketing program.
Opel starts launching cars - the midsize Insignia sedan and wagon, Corsa small car and the Astra - from July this year. The Mokka will join the range early in 2013, probably about the same time as the Holden Encore makes its showroom debut.
Opel claims it is the first German manufacturer to launch a contender in the growing sub-compact SUV segment. It says that despite its 4.28m length, the SUV can seat five adults "in a commanding position''.
The Mokka will be available in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD) layouts. Engines will be a selection from Corsa and Astra, including an 85kW normally-aspirated 1.6-litre petrol; 103kW/200Nm 1.4-litre turbo-petrol; and a 93kW/300Nm 1.7-litre turbo-diesel.
All come with a six-speed manual transmission with stop-start technology, with the 1.4 and 1.7 having the option of a six-speed automatic.
Opel says that the Mokka introduces new technologies to the SUV B-segment. These include driver-assistance technology like the "Opel Eye'' front camera system and a rearview camera.
The Mokka carries ergonomic seating that has been certified by AGR the German healthy back expert organization Aktion Gesunder Rucken.
Like other Opel wagon models, the Mokka has the option of being fitted with the fully integrated, latest generation Flex-Fix bicycle carrier. The three-bike carrier is a drawer that slides flush beneath the rear bumper when not in use.
Opel Australia says the Mokka will be available at international Opel dealerships from end of 2012 onwards, with details and confirmation for Australian release to be confirmed later.