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AUTO SHOW

Fulfilling dreams in Detroit

With 60 new models and concept cars in a variety of shapes and sizes, the auto industry intends to have a vehicle for every niche.

January 15, 2003|John O'Dell | Times Staff Writer

The North American International Auto Show in Detroit is not a local production anymore. It provides the domestic brands as well as the "implants" -- import car brands that have become permanent U.S. fixtures -- with an annual chance to flex their muscles.

This year the unspoken theme of the show is that you can have it all. Name your niche and there's a vehicle -- either already here or on the way -- to fill it.

Japanese companies are building full-size pickups in Indiana and Mississippi, domestic firms are building sports coupes based on German luxury car platforms, and every company seems to be experimenting with alternatives to the internal combustion engine.

From tiny city cars designed to scoot through crowded urban traffic -- the Kia Slice and Suzuki S concepts -- to monster touring cars such as the Rolls-Royce Phantom due out this summer to the 1,000-horsepower, V-16 powered Cadillac Sixteen concept that General Motors Corp. may build soon, the auto industry seems to be saying that it intends to fulfill every dream.

The realities of the economy, geopolitics and ecology may intrude, but there was little indication in Detroit as the auto industry unveiled 60 models and concepts during a three-day media preview last week. The show opened to the public Saturday and remains open through this weekend.

Several Web sites provide a close look at the show, including thecarconnection.com, edmunds.com and autos.msn.com.

Highway 1 was there, too, and here's a look though our lenses at a few of the highlights.

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