7 Top Cars at the Detroit Auto Show

Tickers in this article: F GM HMC TM

It does seem that Ford did not want all the attention going to the Silverado and the new Ram 1500, selected as the 2012 truck of the year at the start of the auto show, and so it rolled out a the Atlas concept on Tuesday. But there is something else going on here too: Wednesday, Jan. 16, was the 65th anniversary of F-Series, which was introduced on Jan. 16, 1948.

Ford even dug up the original press release, which noted that "the streamlined 1948 models, completely new from the wheels up, represent the first post-war product of Ford."

Toyota Furia Concept

The Toyota(TM) Furia is the concept for the Corolla, the fifth best-selling car in the U.S. in 2012, with sales of 290,147 units. It was unveiled Monday.

Ed Hellwig, automotive editor at Edmunds.com, said the Furia is "thought to be a lightly massaged version of what will be the Corolla," which is a very high volume car in the very important compact car segment, where the Civic, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cruze and Hyundai Elantra all compete for consumers who are focused on good gas mileage.

"The Corolla Furia Concept is an early indicator of where our compact car design may lead in the future," said Bill Fay, group vice president the Toyota Division, in a prepared statement. "It blends a heightened emphasis on dramatic design and modern elements of high technology to generate curb appeal that will surprise a lot of people."

Toyota said the theme for this car is "'iconic dynamism,' which uses pure and simple surface elements to create a confident, decisive and recognizable appearance appealing to more youthful consumers." By the way, a lot of people say it is worthless for a college student to major in art history, given a job market which is heavily slanted against an education in anything that does not seem practical and immensely lucrative from the get-go, but we say that somebody has to devise themes for concept cars.

Since introducing the Corolla in the U.S. since 1968, Toyota has sold more than 9 million of them, which is about 38% of all the passenger cars it has sold in the U.S.

VW CrossBlue Concept

At the Monday rollout for this concept, Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen of America, said Volkswagen is growing in the U.S. but "we are absent from the large and growing mid-sized SUV segment.

"Perhaps we can surprise somebody (and) deliver a stylish SUV that is fun to drive, in this class, one you might expect VW to take on," Browning said, noting that the segment is expected to grow by 22% in 2012 as "SUVs are replacing the classic minivan."

VW said the CrossBlue would flesh out its SUV lineup with a seven-seat midsize crossover that slots in above the Tiguan and below the premium Touareg. One advantage -- for the first time VW has an SUV with a name that does not sound like the name of a pet tiger. Also, CrossBlue features a plug-in hybrid powertrain with estimated fuel economy of 89 miles per gallon in the electric mode and 35 mpg as a hybrid.