7 cars that will save Detroit

The Big Three automakers may be back in business, but they're not out of trouble. Here are 7 cars that will keep them on the road to profitability.

Building a future
Building a future
Although they are getting better, the quality of American cars isn't what kept the Detroit Three afloat during the 2009 crisis and keeps them profitable now. Rather, it was the cleansing effects of bankruptcy at General Motors and Chrysler, and some timely financial engineering at Ford. Even the newest cars arriving in showrooms this fall were developed prior to the existential crisis. Indeed, some models like the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Impala are based on designs that are more than a decade old.

Going forward, that will change. The demands of growing international markets and the requirements of global platforms will speed the obsolescence of Detroit's car lines. Vehicles that are too big, too thirsty, or otherwise ill-adapted for driving outside North America will face a higher hurdle to justify their survival. Herewith, a gallery of models on which Detroit can build its future.

By Alex Taylor III, senior-editor-at-large - Last updated August 16 2011: 5:31 AM ET