- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DETROIT (AP) - Headlights, grilles and other doodads are stepping up and popping out on cars: from daytime running lights that go up the hood of the new Cadillac ATS, to a wide, bold grille on the Ford Fusion, to engraving within the lamps of the new Corvette and Ford Transit. They are inexpensive but distinctive, providing automotive eye candy that can even boost gas mileage or improve safety.

Car bling is in abundance at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, which opens to the public Jan. 19. Here’s what’s adorning vehicles on the floor:

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FETCHING ETCHING

Mom never advised looking into lights, but peering into the lamps of certain vehicles offers some aesthetic rewards: Tiny engravings are appearing inside, like figures inside a snow globe.

Headlights in the splashy new Corvette feature the brand’s crossed-flag logo, and the utilitarian Ford Connect offers Ford’s Blue Oval logo contained in a seven-sided shape.

Likewise, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee features a vintage miniature Jeep silhouette and the phrase, “Since 1941,” referring to the year Jeeps began rolling out.

IHS Automotive analyst Rebecca Lindland says it’s intriguing that designers are “laying this kind of jewelry in just that small spot” _ in the process attracting buyers and providing recognition on the road.

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LINE OF SIGHT

Distinctive lights abound, but a prime example graces the front of the new Cadillac ATS, a sport sedan.

The car’s daytime running lights go up the top of the fender along the hood line. They help contribute to an overall design that is angular and edgy.

Those lights are helping Cadillac set itself apart from competitors, says Consumer Reports lead car tester Jake Fisher.

Osram Automotive supplies lighting components for the ATS and other Cadillacs. David Hulick, the company’s global marketing director of solid state lighting, says the ATS benefits from hidden LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, which offer an “intense, white appearance” that can’t be duplicated with traditional bulbs.

Hulick says getting more out of illumination was the impetus behind the first automotive use of LEDs in exterior lighting: a mid-1990s Ford Thunderbird. He said that model used “super-red LEDs with a neon look” _ something that also “couldn’t be achieved with traditional technology.”

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