Automakers are pouring billions of dollars into fuel-efficient powertrains. But shapely sheet metal still sells cars -- which is why fresh design statements will be abundant at the North American International Auto Show next week.
Hyundai and Kia, for example, promise to make a splash with the Hyundai Curb and Kia KV7 crossovers.
Chrysler is trying for a more refined rear-drive sedan with the redesigned 300.
And a Toyota Prius wagon is scheduled to make its debut.
Here is a roundup of world production and concept debuts planned for the show.
The redesigned 2012 A6, a crucial car in Audi's strategy to boost U.S. sales, will be unveiled. The A6 takes styling cues from the redesigned A8 that went on sale in late 2010. Initially, only the 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 engine will come to the United States, but Audi also is considering the six-cylinder diesel. The A6 goes on sale in the second half of 2011.
The second-generation 2012 BMW 650i convertible will debut. The car has new sheet metal. It goes on sale in the spring.
A mildly freshened 2012 1-series coupe, convertible and all-new M coupe also will be shown. They also go on sale in the spring.
Buick is expected to a show a compact car, which will be the smallest in its lineup.
Chinese automaker BYD Auto Co. plans to show a plug-in hybrid SUV concept, the S6DM. BYD has shown the S6, a gasoline-powered version of the vehicle.