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The annual North American International Auto Show, one of the largest such events in the U.S., starts its engines this weekend with dozens of new production vehicles and experimental concept cars. (Jan. 12)
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Auto shows traditionally are a time for automakers to make grand promises and gung-ho predictions.

Over the years, some of the cars touted at events such as the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit have found their way into our garages, other times they have vanished almost as quickly as the venue spotlights dimmed.

This year’s incarnation of the big auto show starts Sunday.

USA TODAY took a look at three of those memorable hits and misses, all with different outcomes:

2016 Nissan Titan Warrior Concept

 The Japanese automaker rolled into the Motor City that year with the swagger of a Navy Seal on home leave, introducing a beast of a truck boasting 37-inch tires, an extra three inches of suspension travel and quad chrome tailpipes.

Even considering a general softening of attitudes towards monster SUVs and trucks, the Warrior Concept seemed a bit over the top in terms of looks and performance, although the notion of buying a quasi-monster truck at a dealer certainly would have appeal to some. It didn’t help matters that a sheet draping truck during its fancy unveiling got hung up, marring the theatrics of the moment.

Titan Warrior was a concept meant to make an impression, which it clearly did, paving the way for production of the toned-down, current-generation Titan which has gone on to have had a thunderous year in showrooms. Nissan sold 52,924 of them last year, up 141.9%, sales tracker Autodata reports.

Verdict: Titan Warrior lost the battle, but won the war

 

2007 Chrysler Aspen

 It seemed like a genuinely sunny idea that winter in 2006, with the pre-recessionary economy chugging along and consumers eager to spend their wealthy on second homes and new cars.

Chrysler wanted in on the party and trotted out a new upscale SUV based on the Dodge Durango dubbed the Aspen. It had a splashy debut, arriving in a blizzard of white confetti that blew into the overflow audience at the auto show in Detroit.

Once Aspen hit the showrooms, it became a victim of disastrous timing. Soon enough, the economy went into a subprime mortgage-induced nosedive, spiking gas prices made SUVs an albatross and consumers opted to hold onto cars that were already paid off. Aspen was scotched and the big auto companies braced for potential ruin.

DaimlerChrysler was soon no more, with Daimler exiting its position, Chrysler filing for bankruptcy, and Italian giant Fiat stepping in to begin a stewardship of the iconic American brand that continues to this day. Chrysler has done well with its Pacifica minivans, but still has no true SUV in its line-up.

Verdict: Memorable introduction, sad ending

 

2007 Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept

Acura genuinely wowed the sports car world when it introduced the NSX in 1990. The low-slung wedge of a car looked like a Ferrari and was as reliable as, well, a Japanese car. It status only grew over the next 15 years of production, and then it bowed out.

A decade ago, Detroit auto show onlookers took in what appeared to be the imminent replacement for the haloed and hallowed NSX. Dubbed the ASCC, the concept looked sporting enough with its crisp lines and large wheels, but with a high beltline and front-mounted engine, it seemed to stray too far from the mid-mounted NSX of legend.

No surprise then that the ASCC did not turn into the second coming of the NSX. That wouldn’t happen until 2012, when Acura teased Detroit show onlookers with an NSX return that wound up gracing the show stands in earnest three years later as the reborn 2016 NSX. Acura sold 581 NSX supercars last year, up 116% from the year before, according to Autodata.

Verdict: Try, try again, and it may pay off at the showroom

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