By Jeff Gilbert

DETROIT (WWJ) –¬† After years of recession and recovery, media previews for the 2014 North American Auto Show wrapped up with a lot of high end glitz.

“The industry’s back,” says Jake Fisher, who heads the vehicle testing team at Consumer Reports. “We’re selling a lot of cars now. People are buying a lot of cars. Y’know, it’s not just necessarily the cars that people have to buy. It’s the cars that people want to get, with all the features.”

The final morning of the two day media preview featured Lexus new RC F performance coupe, Infiniti’s Eau Rouge performance version of the Q50, and a coupe variant of the Cadillac ATS.

“Obviously, the coupe is more expressive,” said Cadillac Design Director Andrew Smith. “But, I think it’s going to be a fairly discerning customer, who doesn’t need four doors, but obviously enjoys the drive.”

The ATS Coupe comes as Cadillac looks to expand the brand globally. But, Smith says wherever Cadillac’s are sold, they will have an American soul.

“Frankly, what I want to do globally is not shy away from being American. It is the American luxury brand.”

Cadillac is also reportedly looking at producing other variants of the ATS, including a wagon and convertible.

The luxury market remains relatively strong, and has been outpacing the auto market as a whole. Infiniti Vice President Michael Bartsch expects luxury sales to grow ten percent this year.

“The reality of it is that we still have a bit of a two tier economy. Those of us who are doing well are doing real well. Unfortunately, there are some of us who are struggling.”

Overall the press previews ended with a feeling that the year ahead is going to be a good one for car and truck sales.

“Interest rates are low,” said GM’s incoming North America President Alan Batey. “Resale values are high. On top of that there’s a lot of pent up demand. The average vehicle in America is ten years old.”


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