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The best thing about the 2012 Detroit Auto Show is that it is full of new cars. Yes, that sounds obvious, but going to stay with me for a moment.

For years, who had come here and all the revelations would be swollen and 4x4 trucks. That was designed to reach the end of the world or take a ton of wood, but are marketed and used for Bubba and Billy Bob bowling. He did visit the Europeans feel like total strangers.

There was time of total bankruptcy and near-economic meltdown. The American industry was deep in a panic and tried like mad to distract us with feckless half-baked lentil-powered alternative-energy concepts that'd never see the light (honorable exception, Chevy Volt).

But this year it was proper cars everywhere you looked. Not just the marvelous Acura (Honda) NSX and rather lush Lexus LS-LC, or those nifty little Chevy coupe concepts. But real cars that makes the Detroit show, and Detroit's car makers, look globally relevant.

There were a whole bag of Mondeo-sized saloons, one of which is the new Mondeo itself. The Dodge Dart, which we won't get but will probably, is more than OK. (It'll spawn a Fiat which we will eventually get.)

The Cadillac ATS (above), and a lovely concept version of its Lincoln rival, the MKZ (below). There's an interesting contrast here. Cadillac has gone the BMW route and built a bespoke rear-drive platform. Cadillac people say that's the only way to be taken seriously as a prestige maker. In case of the Lincoln it is poshed-up (really beautifully poshed-up) Mondeo, with front-drive or AWD.

Ford people say Cadillac is being arrogantly over-optimistic and will never get the RWD investment back. GM people say Lincoln, by using a Ford platform, isn't showing commitment.

I think either could work and either could fail. What matters is the quality of execution of the cars, and the marketing and the dealers. Never mind what we petrolheads think about, it doesn't really matter which wheels are driven. Out there in the real world, the Audi A4 does just fine against the BMW 3-series.

We'll skate over the Acura (posh Honda) ILX, a saloon in the same size class, billed as ‘entry-level luxury' for people who can't afford a BMW. Hmmm, wasn't that what Rover and Saab were aiming for? Look what happened to them.the 2012 Detroit Auto Show

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