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GM takes prizes, Ford remakes F-150

Associated Press

Global automakers previewed their new cars and trucks for the media Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The show opens to the public Saturday. Here are some highlights from Monday’s events:

GM scores

General Motors’ Chevrolet brand swept the North American Car of the Year and North American Truck/Utility of the Year, giving the resurgent Detroit automaker another boost as the show began.

The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray received the car award, and the winning truck was the Silverado.

Chasing Barra

The first woman to lead a major global automaker has a press corps following like no other executive.

Mary Barra, who officially becomes General Motors’ CEO on Wednesday, was pursued by about 100 reporters and photographers after GM swept car and truck of the year awards.

During the pursuit, one cameraman tripped over a couch and another ran into a post.

Ford’s radical step

Ford unveiled a new F-150 pickup truck that makes extensive use of aluminum to make the truck lighter and more fuel efficient.

The radical departure from traditional pickup design could shake up the pickup market. In a splashy presentation in the Joe Louis Arena, top executives including CEO Alan Mulally and Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields introduced the latest version of America’s best-selling vehicle for the last 32 years.

Cleveland car show

Lou Vitantonio, president of the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, is urging Ford to bring its new F-150 to his group’s annual Cleveland Auto Show.

He traveled to Detroit to represent the Cleveland Auto Show, which opens March 1 in the I-X Center. His visit involves, among other things, lobbying manufacturers to bring vehicles to the Cleveland show. Vitantonio said he has gone to the Detroit show 10 of the past 16 years.

“It’s great to see everything new,” Vitantonio said. “There’s a resurgence of the industry.”

Vitantonio said while he has been in Detroit he has ensured that Ford will bring its redesigned, 50th-anniversary 2015 Mustang to the Cleveland show.

Cleveland also will get the new Chevrolet Corvette and the new Chrysler 200, Vitantonio said.

The 2014 Cleveland Auto Show runs March 1-9 this year at the I-X Center next to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Video game car

Toyota’s FT-1 is straight out of a video game. The car was devised first in the Sony PlayStation Gran Turismo game environment.

Now, video game players will get a chance to try out a virtual version of the new concept sports car.

The 200 redux

Chrysler’s 200 has been relatively successful, but mostly because the price is right for budget-minded drivers. Now, a resurgent Chrysler is rolling out a revamped 200, this time with hopes of competing against the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Fusion — not just on price, but on style, gas mileage, refinement and beauty.

CEO to stay

Sergio Marchionne will lead a merged Chrysler and Fiat at least for three more years, Fiat’s chairman said. John Elkann told reporters that he has a deal with Marchionne to stay at least through 2016. Italian automaker Fiat SpA announced Jan. 1 that it reached a deal to acquire the remaining shares of Chrysler from a union trust fund for $3.65 billion. Fiat had previously owned 58.5 percent of the U.S. automaker.

Beacon Journal business writer Jim Mackinnon contributed to this report.


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